Janet Yao- Piano
Li-wen Yao (Janet) learned the piano since the age of four and had taken private piano lessons from famous pianists and professors Panan Chen, Ho-Hui Lin and Lina Yeh in Taiwan. Janet has been a piano soloist, piano accompanist for all kinds of music instruments, solo singing, chorus, Chamber musician with various ensembles since 1987. She had also been an elementary school teacher for 5 years and maintained a private piano studio for more than 7 years.
Karen Lin- Violin, Piano
Hsuan Wen Lin (Karen) is a native of Taiwan and attained her doctoral degree in performance at the University of Minnesota. She is also a registered Suzuki teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Lin has frequently been invited to perform in professional orchestras and local concerts. Her performance, Schulhoff’s Duo for Violin and Cello, was featured in World Journal in 2012. The Minnesota Daily also covered and published her solo recital on, Schuller’s Duologue.
Her recent solo performances include the Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in 2015 and the premiere recital for the 50 States Project “Amerigo” in 2016. As a devoted educator, Lin successfully coached students into becoming concertmasters in school orchestras, becoming active performers in summer music festivals, and getting accepted by audition-required events.
Justin Sheppard- Classical Guitar
Justin Sheppard was born in the small south Georgia town of Tifton. Showing an aptitude in music throughout middle and high school, he played jazz trombone, concert tuba, and marched the baritone horn. His early love for music allowed him to perform and travel with the local college while in high school, and he also taught private brass lessons on tuba and baritone to middle school students in the area at the time. Justin attended the University of Georgia from 1997 to 2000 studying music performance and music education, where he also worked in supervising and tutoring kids at a local elementary school. He finished his bachelor of Science degree in Classical Performance from the University of Georgia while studying under international performer and Professor of Guitar, Daniel Bolshoy.
He enlisted in the Navy in 2000, deciding to step away from music for a time, and was educated as an electronics technician and nuclear reactor operator. After being selected for a Navy Officer commissioning program, he completed a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Florida State University. As an Officer, Justin served in various positions both aboard ship and ashore in San Diego and also completed a second degree in Nuclear Engineering Technologies from Thomas Edison State University. After an honorable discharge from active duty service in 2011, he returned to Georgia to continue education at GA Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He bought his first classical guitar at this time and self-taught himself, working through the Christopher Parkening method books for classical style. After two years studying biology and foreign language, he took the opportunity to move abroad and study in a Masters program in International Business at the Russian Presidential Academy in Moscow, Russian Federation. While in Moscow, Justin taught private English language lessons to both children and adults and also taught group English lessons to businesses desiring English improvement.
In 2015, Justin decided to return to Athens, GA in order to return to his musical roots. He auditioned on classical guitar and was warmly welcomed into the UGA Guitar Studio within the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. He has been teaching private guitar lessons while finishing the Guitar Performance degree at the University and is a current member of the UGA Guitar Ensemble and UGA Choruses. Starting in the Fall of 2017, Justin has looked forward to combine his love of teaching and love of the guitar with students at the Vivo Music and Arts Academy.
His teaching style can be best described as both disciplined and flexible, emphasizing development of a well-rounded musical education within the context of the instrument of the guitar. Development of each student on an individual basis is key, and he commits to the learning styles best for each and every person. Justin instructs each student to learn the skills necessary to play their favorite music, and he also wishes to open students’ eyes to the full range of the guitar’s music, capabilities, and history.
Hailing from Kentucky, Justin grew up in his father's hometown guitar store learning all about the music industry and picking the musical brains of local music heroes, learning to play guitar, bass, ukulele, and drums along the way. Upon graduating from the Atlanta Institute of Music in the summer of 2005, he was placed on a national tour in support of American Idol’s Diana Degarmo. After wrapping up touring later that year, he began teaching privately for several Atlanta area teaching studios, directing rock bands for summer camps and aftershool programs, in addition to teaching clinics and masterclasses dealing with music theory and guitar ensemble. In between teaching, Justin has played guitar and bass for several Atlanta based artists as well as writing and performing with his own bands. He has also lent his talents to various Atlanta recording studios most notably doing sessions for Britney Spears and R&B singer, Mya. Currently, Justin is focusing on directing his rock band program and is accepting students to join bands as well as private instruction.
Xiaodan Chen- Piano
Ms. Xiaodan Chen is the Music Director and piano accompanist at Neptune Music and Arts Center in East Cobb. She received her bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from both Sichuan Conservatory of Music and Eastern New Mexico University, and her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Arnaldo Cohen and Reiko Neriki. She has won the Second Prize at the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition held by Fryderyk Chopin
Society of Texas. Being an experienced soloist and accompanist, Ms. Chen has taught many young pianists how to show their best performances on stage. She also teaches children from beginners to exam takers. She takes pride in nurturing their musical journey and celebrating their accomplishments, fostering a lifelong love for the piano and music in all its splendid forms.
Elijah Head- Saxophone, Clarinet, Bassoon, Oboe
Elijah is from Warner Robins, GA. He grew up playing saxophone in middle school and bassoon and oboe in high school. In high school, he was in the marching band and symphonic band. He was also apart of 3 district honor bands and 1 region band honors. Once he graduated from Warner Robins High School, he went to Alabama A&M University to study music. He was apart of the marching band, wind ensemble, and jazz band. He graduated in 2021 with a Bachelors Degree in General Music. Elijah’s goals are to make sure students are having fun with music and to guide students in the right direction in music and in life.
Sage Manning- Guitar
Sage Manning was born in Oklahoma and moved at an early age to a town near Athens, Georgia where he was raised. Early in life Sage showed a keen interest in guitar when he picked up his father’s acoustic guitar and committed to learning how to play it. He took private lessons from various teachers throughout middle school and high school. During this time he was given unique opportunities to perform in his local church service. He also frequently volunteered to lead holiday sing-along events where he would accompany with his guitar. This eventually gained him the attention of Dale Monson, the Dean of The University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. After an introduction by Dr. Monson, he started receiving private instruction in classical guitar technique from professor Philip Snyder until he graduated high school. From 2019 until today he has studied with Professor Daniel Bolshoy at The University of Georgia. He is nearing completion of a bachelors degree in Classical Guitar Performance and Music Theory.
Andrea Coutinho- Piano, Voice
Andrea was born and raised in Suwanee, Georgia and has played piano since she was 8 years old. Soon after, Andrea began singing in choirs and leading rehearsals as well as accompanying choirs in the Gwinnett area. Andrea recently graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and a minor in Contemporary Conducting. She enjoys teaching students to play piano and sing, and she hopes to help students become the musicians that they aspire to be.
Blake Roach- Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium
Blake studied music at the University of Central Florida where he was a soloist and lead trumpet for the UCF jazz ensembles, as well as played in the UCF wind ensemble and orchestra. While in Orlando, he worked as a musician at the Walt Disney World Resort, in addition to playing with local latin bands. Blake also has experience in Drum Corps International where he joined Carolina Crown in 2005. He continued performing with them in 2006, 2008, and as an upper lead in 2010.
Daniel McCrary- Percussion, Drum Set
Daniel was Born and Bred in St. Louis, Missouri. He recently graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Major in Music Business and Minor in drum-set performance. His musical career dates back to before he could even speak. Ever since he was young he have been playing drums and doing music. He was Influenced by his musical family that dates back to him being in youth choir. He also began playing drums in church in elementary school. By the age of 6 Daniel decided drums would be my primary instrument. He began to study all genres and broaden my horizon as a musician. All throughout high school he studied Jazz, Pop, R&B, soul and funk while maintaining a mild stint in choir. He also played gigs and did studio work.
After high school, Daniel was not only accepted but received a generous scholarship to attend my dream college Berklee College of Music, the only school he applied to. He was blessed with wonderful opportunities such as playing different gigs around Boston, participating in cafe shows, and starring as an Extra in detroit. He accompanied Robert Glasper, and last but not least participated in a promo video for Alesis drums that debuted to thousands of musicians at the world renown NAMM this year! He also have a passion for fashion and photography.
He is now living in Atlanta concentrating on Drums, A&R, Music Production & Engineering as well as the Music Business.
Kaixi Yang- Piano
Linyi Ge- Piano, voice, chorus
Helen Kim- Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
Todd Markey- Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, Ukelele
Wilson Tong- Violin, Piano, Guitar, Ukelele, Viola, Cello
Wilson Tong currently teaches in Academe of the Oaks (High School) as orchestra teacher. He serves as Artistic Director of Atlanta Metropolitan Symphony in 2017 Fall. He graduated with Master of orchestral conducting degree in Georgia State University in 2013, served as an assistant conductor, conducted and played violin in Georgia State University Orchestra under maestro Michael Palmer, Artistic Director of the annual Bellingham Festival of Music. He conducted Pleven Philharmonic of Bulgaria in 2012 under Diane Wittry, music director Allentown Symphony Orchestra.
Donna Bailey- Piano
Donna Bailey holds a Master of Music degree in Piano and Music Education. She is a retired Georgia music educator, whose experience includes teaching in Douglas,Cobb and Forsyth counties. Mrs. Bailey began teaching private lessons in 1975. She is trained in various methods of music for young children, with a published music curriculum for young children. Teaching lessons in Forsyth and Dawson counties, she has added voice instruction and vocal audition preparation to her teaching.
Mrs. Bailey is a member of GMTA, NFMC and GMEA. This affords her students performance and festival opportunities. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, and levels, from young beginners to adults.
She also continues to study and perform, serving as accompanist for many school choirs in Forsyth County.
Jia Lee- Piano
Jia Lee has been a certified piano teacher and player for over thirty years and continues to practice and teach to this day. Her studies include a degree in piano-organ performance from Seoul Shindae University (1995) and an organ master’s degree from LSU (1997-1999). Not only is her background education diverse, with training from both in and out of the states, her experiences also range from both formal and informal practices. From performing with the Atlanta Chamber Singers society from 2011-2016 to being both the pianist and organist at the largest Korean church in the southeast (2007- ), she continues to grow her love and knowledge of music everyday. Jia currently works with students of all ages from Fulton and Gwinnett counties as a private piano teacher since 2001. She believes it is never too late to pick up music and has also been working with the seniors of Happiness College of seniors choir in helping elders discover and grow their own love for music every Saturday since 2015 and sometimes indulges in conducting as well.
Her ability to nurture and push students is the driving force behind her extensive work experience. She believes that music is a language itself and has the ability to connect all different types of people. Learning styles are different for every student and Jia is keen on working with each student’s personality and adjusting as it is key in a student’s progress. Her goal is progress over perfection and truly helping each student learn to develop their own relationship with the piano!