Meet The Teachers & Staff
Julie Chambers, Capital University graduate, studio owner, and teacher has been teaching since 2008. She has her state teachers license, Bachelor’s and Master’s in music education, Kodaly certification, Music Pedagogy diploma, and has begun her Estill Voice Training. She has experience teaching public school music, preschool general music, choir, piano, and voice lessons. She currently performs regularly at Grove City United Methodist Church as organist, accompanist, and vocalist. Contact us to get scheduled for piano or voice lessons with Julie!
Dr. Amy Schumaker Bliss is a Capital graduate, returning to the area of her alma mater to teach and continue her music career after a long detour which took her to the UK for her master’s degree and New Jersey, where she earned her doctorate at Rutgers University and taught at Rowan University. Amy has experience teaching music to students in preschool through university level and her degrees are in music performance (euphonium) and music education. In private lesson and small group settings, Amy has experience with teaching low brass (especially euphonium and baritone), chamber brass, music theory, and even music history. Amy has recently published a children’s book, called “Amy’s Brass Band” which introduces the brass band to young children. Click here to hear her performance with the Atlantic Brass Band. Contact us now to get scheduled for lessons with Amy!
–Piano & Voice Instructor-
Christa is a 2011 graduate of the Ohio State University with a degree in Music Education where she received Student Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching general and choral music in schools ever since. Christa started her public school teaching career in the Worthington City Schools, and has been teaching at the Buckley School in New York City for the past five years. With 15 years of experience teaching piano lessons privately she is excited to get back to her hometown of Bexley, Ohio to continue her teaching passion. Contact us now to get scheduled for piano lessons with Christa!
–Piano & Voice Instructor-
Dr. Meredith Smith has been performing and teaching music professionally for over 15 years. She enjoys teaching musical theatre and classical music. She is currently the Director of Vocal Music at Licking Heights High School in Pataskala, Ohio. At LHHS she directs five choirs, has served as Academic Chair for the Performing and Visual Arts, teaches various levels of music theory, and is music director of the high school’s musical theater productions. Meredith obtained her Ph.D. in 2021 from The Ohio State University in Music Education. She obtained both her BM in Vocal Music Education and MME with Kodaly Choral Emphasis from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Her teaching experience includes teaching private piano and voice lessons, elementary through high school general, and choral music in Northern Virginia and Central Ohio. She’s been teaching at Licking Heights for more than nine years; her choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall and have worked with directors such as Dr. Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Dr. Sandra Mathias, Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Dr. Dennis Malfatti, Dr. Katalin Kiss, and John Rutter. Also, Meredith’s ensembles have served multiple years as a lab choir for the graduate students in Music Education at the Kodaly Institute at Capital University. Currently, she lives in central Ohio with her husband, two children, and two dogs.
Ejiela has been teaching piano lessons since 2013 to students of varying ages in the Columbus area. Her primary area is classical piano, but she has had experience with other genres and encourages her students to explore other genres as well. She graduated from Capital University in 2015 with a degree in Piano Performance. Her performance experience includes masterclasses with Dr. Nelita True and Gale Berenson as well as solo playing, accompanying, ensemble playing, and competitions in the Indianapolis and Columbus areas. Contact us now to get scheduled for piano lessons with Ejiela!
Amy Jackson is a music teacher in the Columbus area, teaching voice, piano, and ukulele lessons in Bexley and Pickerington. Amy is a graduate of Capital University, where she earned her Bachelors in Music Education. She currently teaches K-6 general music and choir in Springfield, OH. Throughout her career, she has studied many genres of music and can teach contemporary music, classical, opera, and musical theatre. Amy is passionate about helping others find their voice and fervently believes that everyone can sing. Throughout instruction, students of all ability levels engage in vocalises, multiple genres of music, and singing games that will challenge students while meeting them where they’re at. Outside of the music studio, Amy is a Disney fanatic and loves going to baseball games. Contact us now to get scheduled for piano, ukulele, or voice lessons with Amy!
Maria Prentice, from Granville, Ohio, is set to graduate from Capital University in May 2020 with degrees in Piano Pedagogy and Performance. As a student, she has earned several music scholarships, including the Presser Award. Maria started playing piano in 2006 through the Denison University Suzuki Program. She has been teaching, using the Suzuki Philosophy, since 2016; and began taking Suzuki Teacher Training in 2018. Her current and previous teachers include Tianshu Wang, Chad Baker, Maryfrances Kirsh, and Orlay Alonso. She is currently a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and Capital University’s chapter of the Music Teachers’ National Association. Learn more about Suzuki lessons from her blog or contact us now to get scheduled for piano lessons with Maria!
Stephen has many passions through education with a solid basis in early music education. Graduating from Capital University with a bachelors in music education, his passion for teaching music grew on a more individualized level. Stephen has been teaching privately since graduating. He teaches voice, drums, piano, and ukulele. Balancing his other passion with early childhood education, Stephen is currently an early preschool teacher at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus right here in Bexley. He finds there are many similarities with ECE and music education that make for a wonderful partnership. Stephen is an active church musician singing in various church choirs throughout the Columbus area. Check out Stephen’s recent blog articles on vocal health, practice tips, and singing styles or contact us now to get scheduled for piano, ukulele, drum or voice lessons with Stephen!
Janie Burwick, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, is an education major at Capital University. As a music education major, she studies both classical and jazz piano, as well as voice. Past and current instructors include Emily Beck, Scott Ewing, Sharon Stohrer, Tony Bondardi, and Dr. Tianshu Wang. She also plays ukulele, clarinet, electric bass, and works as a collaborative pianist and music theory tutor. Her performance experience includes rock bands, solo recitals, and performances with Capital University’s Choral Union. Currently, she is a part of Capital University’s Women’s Chorus and Rock Ensemble. A piano student since 2004 and a private lesson instructor since 2015, she is passionate about sharing music with the world, and making it approachable and accessible for everyone. Contact us now to get scheduled for piano, ukulele, or voice lessons with Janie!
Sara has been playing music since she was about 5 years old. On piano, French horn, cello, and bass, she has been performing since 2005 and teaching since 2011. Sara has been freelancing throughout Columbus since 2016 on bass and cello, and has worked on various albums in studios. Sara not only includes playing strings and bass proficiently, but also incorporates music theory and how to work as a musician.
Austin Hamilton is currently a Jazz Studies major, with an emphasis in guitar, attending Capital University in Bexley, Ohio. He has been playing guitar since 2011, and has studied under Terry McClanahan, Doug Neel and Stan Smith. Austin specializes in rock and jazz, but also has experience in playing classical, country and funk. Along with guitar, Austin teaches music composition, songwriting, and ukulele. Austin has studied music composition with Dr. Dina Lentsner, Tony Zilincik, Dr. Mark Lochstamphor, and Stan Smith. He currently performs in ensembles at Capital University and his rock band Null Set. Contact us now to get scheduled for guitar, banjo, or ukulele lessons with Austin!
Claire Dollison is a musician who is primarily known as a trumpet artist who is currently attending Capital University as a music education major. Claire has been involved with music, playing trumpet, and many other instruments including piano, flute, and French horn, since 2008. She has accomplished many things throughout her career. She has been invited to play in many honor bands much like the Ohio State University Honor Band, Wright State University Tri-State Honor Band, and the Ohio University Honor Band Festival. Claire has done numerous amounts of performances as well through ensembles and solo playing with things like recitals and OMEA contest, receiving superior ratings on class A solos. Claire has also booked multiple gigs ranging from things like pit orchestras for musicals, churches, etc. Throughout Claire’s career, she has won many awards in school ranging from Most Outstanding Brass Player, Most Improved, and also school scholarships on behalf of her playing. Check out our Get Started page now to get scheduled for lessons with Claire.
Julian Dittmer is a 2020 graduate of Capital University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies. As an up-and-coming pianist/keyboardist in the Columbus music scene, Julian has amassed significant professional experience, performing over 500 gigs since 2014 in a wide variety of styles—jazz, pop/rock, funk, soul, salsa, and gospel. He has been teaching private piano lessons since 2017, and tutored Jazz Theory and Jazz Arranging while at Capital University. Julian is passionate about music, and loves to share his musical knowledge with others. To him, there is nothing more satisfying than expressing himself creatively through the piano. By equipping his students with the proper music theory knowledge, ear training, and practice techniques, Julian seeks to enable his students to express themselves creatively as well. When not on stage, performing, or in the studio, teaching, you can often find him out on the disc golf course, or cheering on his favorite Ohio sports teams. Check out our Get Started page now to get scheduled for composition, jazz piano, or beginning piano lessons with Julian.
–Piano, Voice, & Jazz Voice Instructor-
Anne Todt has taught piano and voice for over twenty years at Capital University’s College-Preparatory and Adult Education Departments. She enjoys teaching classical, musical theatre, and jazz voice. She has sung professionally in Cantari Singers, Lancaster Chorale and Columbus Bach Ensemble. The Columbus Chamber Singers, which Anne directs has performed in Austria and Italy. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the Ohio State University (voice emphasis) and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
Besides music, Anne enjoys swimming, riding her bike, reading and movies. Check out our Get Started page now to get scheduled for lessons with Anne.
Kaitlin Reed, from Worthington, Ohio, is a music education student at Capital University, studying trombone under Dr. Tony Weikel and Dr. Tom Zugger. She enjoys playing band, orchestral, and jazz repertoire. Since 2018, Kaitlin has been the low brass instructor for the Capital Cadet Band. Currently, she serves as the president for Capital University’s Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association chapter. She is the manager for the Bandfestival and the Columbus Youth Symphonic Band. Prior to attending Capital, she spent three years playing trombone in the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Peter Stafford Wilson and concluded her three years with the orchestra by performing at Carnegie Hall in the summer of 2018. Kaitlin has a passion for helping students learn to express themselves through music and would love to work with you!
Zsolt aka “Z” is an active musician in central Ohio. He played acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, ukulele and banjo in dozens of theater productions. You can also hear him on stage playing with the Rick Brunetto Big Band, with Standard Time, in John Vermeulen´s Swing Orchestra, and he appears from time to time in Vaughn Wiester´s Famous Jazz Orchestra.
Z’s guitar and bass guitar lessons are designed to help complete beginners, intermediate and advanced players. Beginners don’t need previous music experience to join his lessons. They’ll learn how to hold and play the instrument properly, how to identify strings, how to play melodies and guitar chords. Intermediate and advanced students will learn about scales, advanced chords, arpeggios, improvisation, the fretboard, notation reading, constructing solos, music composition and arranging in different genres.
Wes Miller holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Saxophone Performance from Bowling Green State University where he was a student of Dr. John Sampen. He has performed with the Tulsa Philharmonic, Adrian Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Toledo Concert Band, Columbus Symphony, United States Navy Band Woodwind Quintet, University of Kentucky Orchestra, Bowling Green Philharmonia, Lexington Philharmonic, the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, New Albany Symphony and the Westerville Symphony. As one of the original members of the Black Swamp Saxophone Quartet, Wes was a First Prize Winner of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. He has also had the pleasure of participating in masterclasses with Claude Delangle (Paris Conservatory), Don Sinta (Univ. of Michigan), and Fred Hemke (Northwestern University). He was saxophone teacher at the Arosa Music Academy in Arosa, Switzerland. Additionally, he was the adjunct replacement for saxophone professor, Dr. Michael Cox at Capital University. Wes has been band director at St. Philip, St. Katherine, St. Matthew and St. Pius schools. He also created and directed the band programs at KIPP Journey Academy, Columbus Bilingual Academy and was the founder of The Buckeye Homeschool Band program. While he specializes on saxophone his experience as a performer and band director have allowed him to gain significant expertise in teaching: flute, clarinet, piano and trumpet. As a teacher with 30 years experience Wes continues to be passionate about teaching and performing.
Currently, he teaches private lessons, conducts the Gahanna New Horizons Band, plays soprano saxophone in the Black Swamp Saxophone Quartet and is principal saxophone in the Ohio Capital Wind Ensemble.
Nick Riley is a freelance music educator, composer/arranger, ensemble administrator, adjudicator, performer, and clinician.
Nick is currently pursuing his Master of Arts degree in Music Education at The Ohio State University where he also supervises student teachers and conducts research as a Graduate Teaching Associate for the School of Music. Prior to pursuing his graduate studies full time, Nick was the Director of Bands at Liberty Center Local Schools in northwest Ohio from 2012 to 2021. While at “LC,” Nick doubled the size of the band program and his marching, concert, and chamber ensembles were noted for their performance excellence. Nick received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Capital University in 2011. Some of Nick’s notable former teachers include: James Swearingen, Bob Breithaupt, Dr. Barry E. Kopetz, Dr. Dina Lentsner, Tony Zilincik, Nate Anders, Eric Paton, Wayne Markworth, Andrew Markworth, Tim Fairbanks, Ross Williams, and Allen Justus.
During the winter months, Nick is extremely involved in the indoor percussion activity as an ensemble administrator, composer/arranger, and consultant for groups nationwide. Nick is the Co-Founder of ConneXus, a Percussion Independent World (PIW) percussion ensemble from Delaware, Ohio where he currently serves as President of the ConneXus Performing Arts Association, Inc., Ensemble Director, Program Coordinator, Development Coordinator, and Front Ensemble Instructor. ConneXus is a 4-time WGI World Championships Finalist and a 4-time WGI Regional Champion.
As Founder/Composer for NPR Marching Concepts, an online pageantry arts music composition business, Nick has written nearly 600 works for over 60 ensembles since beginning his writing career in 2007. Noted for their compositional intrigue, unique orchestrations, and competitive success, Nick’s compositions are performed by an international clientele of some of the most successful marching bands, indoor drumlines, winter winds, and drum corps in the world. Nick presented a clinic on marching percussion composition at the 2013 OMEA Professional Development Conference.
As a performer, Nick has over 20 years of experience as a percussionist. He has been a featured soloist and is equally comfortable on the stage, in the orchestra pit, and in the studio. Nick has maintained an active private lesson studio since 2007 and regularly mentors performers of all ages and abilities. Some of Nick’s former students have gone on to major and earn degrees in music, earn positions in major symphony orchestras, and perform with the top drum corps and indoor drumlines in the country.
Nick is an accomplished adjudicator for the pageantry arts, having judged music general effect, music performance, and percussion performance in seven states since 2012. Nick has been selected annually for the adjudication panel for the Mid-States Band Association Circuit Championships since 2017, has presented clinics on marching band adjudication, and has served as Chief Judge for marching band competitions.
Nick’s former staff assignments reflect a diverse background in the pageantry arts. He has served as Assistant Visual Supervisor for Legends Drum & Bugle Corps, Percussion Consultant for The Ohio State University Marching Band, Front Ensemble Instructor for Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, and Visual Instructor for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. Nick is currently the Percussion Composer/Arranger for the Gran Banda Drum & Bugle Corps of Medellin, Colombia, South America, where he has served on both the percussion and visual staffs since 2014. The “GB” is the 2014 DCI SoundSport Champion, runner up in 2017, and the first ensemble from South America to perform in DCI events.
Nick is a member of the OMEA, NAfME, CSJA, PAS, and ASCAP and holds endorsements from Vic Firth, Inc. and Black Swamp Percussion. He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Kevin is a well-versed multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. He has performed all of his life, and his experience ranges from rock bands to orchestras, jazz combos to musical theater, and even as a stage and screen actor. He has been featured on public and national television and toured nationally. He holds performance degrees in classical trumpet and voice, and currently serves in the 249th Army Band where he plays bass, guitar, trumpet, and sings for various ensembles. As a teacher, he has taught private lessons for over 15 years. He comes from a family of artists and educators, and has a passion for teaching anyone who wants to learn. At Chambers, he’ll be offering guitar, voice, electric and upright bass, trumpet, beginner piano, ukulele and banjo. His students will not only learn their chosen instrument, but also the fundamentals of theory, developing their ear, performance concepts, and specific things the student wants to learn. He strongly believes in an individualized approach to education, and will meet every student where they are at and work to teach them in the way that they learn best.
Kevin Hagans began his violin studies at the age of nine and studied violin at Capital University. He embarked on his violin teaching career in 2016 and in 2018 he earned his Suzuki Unit 1 Teaching Certification from The Suzuki Association of the Americas. The Suzuki Method is a popular and successful method of teaching which incorporates ear training and natural learning styles based on the way children learn their native language. While Suzuki is an excellent teaching style, Kevin recognizes what teaching styles work for each individual student and tailors the lessons appropriately. Kevin enjoys working with both beginner and intermediate violinists, beginner cellists, and beginner ukulele students looking to grow their understanding of music and the instrument. In addition to classical studies, he also teaches improv, bluegrass, rock, jazz & music theory.
Kevin believes that music is supposed to be fun, and he emphasizes this attitude into his teaching style with both children and adults. In addition to teaching, Kevin is an active performer and improviser across Columbus.
Ayman Abi Kheir is a Lebanese-born percussionist/artist/composer from the mountainous village of Dhour El Shweir, Lebanon.
Picking up the drum sticks at age 8, Ayman was mentored by his cousin Wissam Sawaya who is a renowned professional Lebanese drummer.
During his drumming years, as his love for music grew bigger, Ayman decided that he should pursue a career in music and enrolled at Notre Dame University in Louaize, Lebanon to major in Jazz Studies. While at Notre Dame, he managed to become a very active musician in the Lebanese music scene, touring, recording, and gigging with many Lebanese artists and groups. The music he was playing ranged from Lebanese Pop, Rock, Fusion, to Jazz.
After 2 years at Notre Dame, Ayman got a very generous scholarship to continue his Jazz Studies at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio to which he transferred and got his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies in 2020.
While in Columbus, Ayman recorded and released his first authored album “Zayzafoon” on which he played drum-set and percussion. This album features Columbus-based musicians.
Ayman is currently gigging intensively and giving private drum instruction in the City of Columbus.
Andrea grew up in Columbus and now lives in Bexley with her family. Her daughter Alex began piano lessons at Chambers Music Studio and now Andrea works for the studio helping with administrative work.
Jim Lindroth is a percussionist living in Columbus, Ohio and has been teaching in various capacities since 2014. Jim has a Bachelors degree in percussion performance from the University of South Carolina and Masters degrees in performance and ethnomusicology from Ohio State University. Along with his extensive background in classical percussion, Jim is an avid fan and performer of various folk music styles, having studied West African drumming, Zimbabwean mbira, Irish bodhrán, Irish guitar, Scandinavian guitar, and North and South American folk percussion. Jim takes a holistic approach to music education, hoping to encourage lifelong musicians through social engagement and creative music-making. When not getting excited about music, Jim can be found drinking coffee, carving wood, or petting his cats.