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.
Tina Cui - Voice, Piano
Ms. Tina Cui graduated from the Shenyang Teacher's College in 1983 with a music focus, and from 1983 to 1986, she taught music in elementary school. In 1985, she received recognition from the city of Shenyang for exceptional music education. In 1986, was admitted to the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, graduating top of her class in 1990, and she was chosen as the faculty to the Shenyang Teachers' School's music department.
During her time in the Shenyang Teachers' School, the two choirs she directed received 1st place in the Shenyang City University Choir Competition in the professional and aspiring categories. In 1994, Ms. Cui competed in the Liaoning Music Teacher Skill Competition, which judges piano, voice, conducting, improvised accompaniment, sight-singing, aural, and lesson planning skills. In the 1996 National Music Teacher's Competition, she received 1st place in voice and 3rd place in piano.
Whether it be a university or an elementary school level, Ms. Tina can teach either in accordance with their ability. She is serious yet entertaining, allowing her students to learn various aspects of music in a lively environment.
Jennifer Chancellor- Flute
Jennifer Chancellor has studied the flute for over thirty years. Love of music, professional training from well-renowned instructors, and gifted abilities are the reason behind Jennifer’s passion for teaching and playing music. During her tenure playing as a student, and professional in weddings, funerals, community orchestras, and ensembles, Mrs. Chancellor has acquired a solid understanding of both the theoretical and practical applications of music. Technical abilities such as breath control, finger technique, tone, and intonation are critical foundational skills a good flautist should master.
Justin Sheppard- 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.
Brandon Faulkner - Drum
Starting out with mom’s pots and pans with some wooden spoons, Brandon began playing drums at a young age. Growing up with a radio DJ father, music was a constant; hearing everything from classic country, Motown, rock, blues, soul and R&B solidified his appreciation for groove and melody. Growing up in the age of music videos and MTV, Brandon self taught much of his early skills from simply watching and imitating rockstars. Having received formal eduction at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, Brandon studied under such notable instructors and musical influences as Tom Knight, Creig Harber, and Chip Lunsford. Over the years Brandon’s performance successes include drumming for Perris Records artist Mad Margritt opening for Firehouse, Candlebox and Saliva. Notably mentioned in Issue no.19 of Rocknation magazine, the band officially released their album Show No Mercy in July of 2013. With a small local classic country tribute band CONVOY, Brandon was part of the first band to ever play at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA. Later he joined Appetite For Destruction, a nationally touring tribute band to Guns ’N’ Roses, opening 2015 with shows at the House Of Blues in Houston and Dallas.
Even with 20 years teaching under his belt, Brandon understands the value of continuing education, he currently receives instruction from famed jazz musician and historian Daniel Glass and Barry James(the last living George Lawerence Stone student) as he explores new musical interests. Even with his pursuit of new paths in the music industry, Brandon holds true to his one priority and joy of life, playing drums and motivating others. Brandon
currently plays with Nashville recording, EMG/Sony artist Angie Lynn Carter as well as his own projects and is a private music instructor, clinician and session drummer, Brandon is endorsed by Vic Firth/Zildjian and Remo; plays Gretsch drums, DW pedals and hardware.
Eric Brown- Percussion, Drum Set
Eric received his undergraduate degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Georgia where he studied under Dr. Thomas McCutchen and Dr. Arvin Scott. Mr. Brown went on to study with Dr. Julia Gaines at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he received his masters degree in Percussion Performance. Eric is currently the Associate Director of Percussion at Lambert High School in Suwannee, GA in addition to working closely with the percussion programs at South Forsyth Middle School and West Forsyth High School.
Through his performance career, Mr. Brown has had the privilege of performing in the XXXIV Super Bowl Halftime Show, at Carnegie Hall, as well as internationally in Spain, Italy, and China. Mr. Brown was a marching member of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps as well as WGI World Class Finalist ensembles Pariah Indoor and Odyssey Percussion Theatre. As an educator, he has worked with Forsyth Central High School, Young Harris College, the University of North Georgia, the University of Georgia, the University of Missouri, Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps, Odyssey Percussion Theatre, Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, and Gateway Indoor.
Eric is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and proudly endorses Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets and Remo drumheads.
Xiaolei Yu- Piano
Xiaolei Yu (Yinyin) was born in China in 1986 to a family of musicians. She started her musical life when she was 5 years old. Xiaolei Yu had the honor to learn piano from one of the greatest piano professors Zhu, Yafen. She finished her undergraduate and Graduate degress from Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China. She has over 10 years of teaching experience on piano, music theory and solfeggio. Xiaolei Yu is a patient teacher who enjoys sharing the joy of music to her students.
Kim Chan- Guitar
Helen Kim- Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
Todd Markey- Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, Ukelele
Yao Lu- Chinese bamboo flute, guzheng
She was invited to record the
She began her professional car
She has taught at the Shanghai
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.
David Yao- Violin, Viola
Mr Yao has over 35 years of teaching experience. Upon graduated from Sichuan Conservatory of Music in 1982, Mr Yao worked as principal violinist in Chengdu Symphony Orchestra in China before coming to US in 1991 to pursue higher education in music. He received Master’s in violin performance from University of Georgia.
Some of Mr Yao's achievements include: first place of Louisiana music teacher association violin competition in 1993, principal violinist in Mississippi Symphony for 8 years and concertmaster of Ray Charles orchestra in Memphis.
He played many orchestras throughout the Southern States including:
Principle viola: South Arkansas symphony
Principle viola: Monroe symphony
First violin: Shreveport symphony
First violin: Meridian symphony
First violin: Birmingham Symphony
Steve Freeman- Guitar
Judy Huang- Piano
Angie Kim- Piano, Cello
John Hightower- Guitar, drum
John studied classical guitar at the Lovett School of the Performing Arts with teacher Jack Winchester and later with Mary Ackerman, chair of the guitar department at Kennesaw State University. John met his wife in 1982 and began a long career of writing and performing professionally. He has been performing in restaurants and venues throughout the city of Atlanta for 15 years and has been teaching private and group guitar lessons and drum set lessons at the Suwanee Academy of the Arts since 2005.
John offers instruction in both popular and classical styles on acoustic and electric guitar. Taking his lead from the student, John works diligently to find just the right approach to bring out the best in each musician.