Clavier-Werke offers lessons with classically trained and degreed teachers. We are a family business and consider our teachers a part of the family as well. We welcome you to join our musical family too! Read more about our amazing teachers below.
Susan Allen, Director
Susan Allen is the Director and Founder of Clavier-Werke School of Music. Susan has been teaching piano in the Westlake area since 1980. Susan graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelors Degree in Piano Pedagogy. In 1993 she received her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Soon after this she began networking with many of the fine young musicians at UT and eventually created a staff of ten excellent teachers The School moved into the Sunday House Square on Westbank Drive in November of 1999.
Susan is an Austin Chamber Music Center staff member, a member of the Austin District Music Teachers Association and the Wednesday Morning Music Club, and also maintains affiliations with the Texas Music Teachers Association, the National Music Teachers Association, the American College of Music, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. She received the Top Teacher Award for outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education from Steinway & Sons for 2016.
Maggie Allen, Administration
West Lake Location
Maggie Allen, the Assistant to the Director of the Clavier-Werke in West Lake Hills, works in her studio office Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 6:00. Maggie is available to take messages for teachers and answer questions either by phone or in person. You can also turn your tuition payments of cash or check in to Maggie’s office. Maggie can answer most of your general questions and requests such as directions and dates for festivals and signing up students for some events. Maggie holds a bachelors degree in Anthropology with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.
Nathan Allen, Administration
Nathan Allen, the Office Manager of Clavier-Werke South, works in his studio office Monday – Friday, 12:00 – 6:00. Nathan is available to take messages for teachers and answer general questions about lessons and scheduling either by phone or in person. Nathan lives in the Austin area with his wife Shauna and their daughters Riley and Colbie Rose.
Sarah Bellows, Pianist
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Sarah Bellows graduated Summa Cum Laude from Baylor University with her Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy. While studying at Baylor with Dr. James Williams and Dr. Lesley Sisterhen-McAllister, Sarah learned about technique, musicianship, performance, and the art of teaching. She earned a Master’s of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy degree from the University of Oklahoma. Sarah’s instructors, Dr. Barbara Fast, Dr. Jane Magrath, and Dr. Ed Gates, exposed her to many different teaching methods, including group piano teaching, private instruction, and collegiate level instruction.
Sarah married her college sweetheart, Brandon, in 2012, and the family recently grew with the addition of their sweet puppy, Pepper, who loves to visit students! Sarah’s teaching career blossomed at Park Cities School of Music where she taught over 45 students for three years with excellent retention rates. Her teaching philosophy is summed up as follows: piano lessons are about learning an instrument, developing a strong work ethic, sparking a passion for music, and, most importantly, providing a nurturing environment for students.
Jonathan Carbin, Cellist
West Lake Location
Jonathan Carbin is an adventurous musician as well as a dedicated and experienced teacher. He began playing cello at the age of nine in Oklahoma, where he grew up. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and received his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin as a student of Joshua Gindele.
Jonathan’s teaching philosophy is based on setting all around good habits, emphasizing solid technique and developing strong reading and rhythm skills. Jonathan strives to make learning to play the cello a fun and positive experience and seeks to inspire a lifelong passion for music in his students.
Jon Chaney, Guitarist
While Jon Chaney has been teaching for over 10 years, he has been playing guitar & loving music for most of his life. Chaney was born and raised in Texas and after finishing high school he attended McLennan Community College’s commercial music program with a performance scholarship. After graduating, Chaney auditioned for scholarship and entrance to attend Berklee Music College in Boston and received both. While there he earned a bachelors degree and gained more advanced training in harmony, ear training, improvisation, performance studies and courses in private studio instruction. He has shared the stage with players like Pine-top Perkins, Brad Andrews (Marcia Ball) and performed with many local bands.
As a teacher Jon tries his best to help his students realize their potential as musicians. He is very understanding of students goals and needs while maintaining an appropriate course of study. Jon is great with all ages and experience levels. Areas of specialty for more advanced students include slide guitar, improvisation, blues, solo jazz playing and contemporary music theory.
Leslie Chu, Pianist
Leslie Chu holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her private studies were under multiple teachers including Dr. Min Kwon, Dr. Paul Hoffmann, Dr. Daniel Epstein & Christina Yao. She has won 3rd place and finalist multiple times under the Young People’s Music Association competition, is a certified music teacher under the ABRSM International Assessments and received the Excellence in Pedagogy Award under the AAFAA competition in 2016 at Carnegie Hall, in which one of her students performed. Ms. Chu has been teaching piano privately since 2006 and has also taught as a public school music teacher and choir director. On the side, she accompanies for choirs, weddings, and other social events.
Simone Ducloux, Pianist
West Lake Location
Simone Ducloux is a native Austinite and granddaughter of former UT-opera professor and Austin Lyric Opera founder/director, Walter Ducloux. As a scholarship student of Professor Nancy Garrett, Simone earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at the University of Texas at Austin, and also finished her Masters degree in Music at the University of Texas. Simone studied piano pedagogy at UT under the instruction of Sophia Gilmson since 2003, where she taught in the UT Piano Project.
Simone believes that teaching music to others is one of the most important elements in the development of one’s own growth as a musician, artist, and performer. “I want to provide students with the tools to teach themselves new things every day.” She is committed to providing students with a firm understanding of music theory and music-reading from the beginning of their studies. “I want my students to have a deeper understanding of what’s going on in their favorite part of a piece.” She is also highly committed to helping students realize the healthiest technical skills that they can personally achieve, so that they can express their musical ideas with as much freedom and ease as possible.
Jeffrey Fratus, Guitarist
West Lake Location
Hailing from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Jeffrey Fratus (pr. Fraytis) was raised in the small city of Knoxville. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of six. Throughout his formative years, Jeffrey studied predominantly in the classical vein, but also enjoyed playing and singing on the steel string some of his favorite folk songs. In high school he was a member of a Knoxville band that played in and around the East Tennessee valley.
At the age of seventeen, Jeffrey received a guitar performance scholarship to attend music school at Middle Tennessee State University, right outside of Nashville. After graduating in four years, he immediately went on to accept a graduate assistantship and full scholarship to CCM, the music conservatory at the University of Cincinnati. It was during his time at CCM that Jeffrey was able to realize a love for the art of pedagogy, due mainly to the inspiration given him by Clare Callahan, who is one of the guitar world’s most renowned teachers.
Benjamin Franklin once said that, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” It is Jeffrey’s goal as music instructor to help his students realize the silver that lies within them in order that they might uncover it and refine it into something beautiful. There is an unlimited wellspring of potential in everyone. Jeffrey aims to help his students dig deep enough to find it.
Sami Froncek, Pianist
Sami Froncek has established herself as a performing solo and collaborative pianist and a teacher in the state of Texas. Ms. Froncek holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Baylor University in piano performance. She loves mixing concerts of the standard repertory that non-musicians recognize with new and relevant works, from Bach to Rautavaara.
Ms. Froncek has spent the past two years researching and studying in Belgium. As part of her research, she completed a post-graduate diploma at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. She received a Fellowship from the Belgian American Educational Foundation and was also a finalist for the Fulbright study/research grant.
Even though she considers multiple places home, Ms. Froncek is from small-town Derby, Kansas where she graduated first in her class from Derby High School. It was here that she began teaching, beginning with swimming for her club team, academic mentoring, French horn lessons, and piano lessons. She later maintained a small private piano studio throughout her undergraduate and master degrees, and afterwards served as a faculty member of Dallas/Music, in the Park Cities area of Dallas, and the Sugarland School of Music, in Houston, Texas.
She is on piano faculty at the Mt. Blanca Summer Music Conservatory in Alameda, Colorado. This summer, she will be returning to Europe, and she will be stopping in Belgium to restock her chocolate supply.
Rebecca Garia, Pianist
Rebecca Garia is a native Austinite and has been studying the piano since the age of four. She is currently studying under Dr. Jason Kwak at Texas State University, and will graduate in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance. While at Texas State University she has participated in both solo recitals as well as chamber performances. She discovered a passion for teaching at an early age and has been teaching private lessons for around 10 years, in her home as well as at Texas State University.
Rebecca has a passion for equipping her students for success not only in piano, but also in life. She helps her students realize the importance of sight-reading as well as theory, so they have the ability to not just play the piano, but to have a deeper understanding of music and strive to become the best musician and person possible. She works with both her students and their supportive environment in order to ensure everyone understands the importance of practice, patience, and perseverance.
Rachel Garner, Cellist
Rachel A. Garner, a San Antonio native, has been playing cello since she was 10 years old. She recently received her Bachelor’s of Music in Cello Performance from Texas State University. At Texas State she maintained the position of principal cellist of the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra for 4 years. Additionally, she participated in Texas State String Project as a private lessons teacher. Rachel is actively involved in the music community through her string quartet, as a sub for Laredo Philharmonic, and as a guest artist with several local music groups. Rachel is a guest artist on local Austin band The Antiques premier album “If you have to ask.” Currently Rachel teaches in San Antonio and Austin.
As a teacher, Rachel believes in cultivating all aspects of the young musician. While technique is the focal point of each lesson Rachel also incorporates music theory, aural skills, and music history. She believes these are all vital aspects of a well rounded musician. Her teaching style is best described as nurturing and adaptive to each student’s unique needs. Rachel enjoys teaching all ages and levels.
Jennifer Garza, Vocalist
West Lake Location
Jennifer Garza grew up in South Texas. It was her performance with the Texas All-State Choir that inspired her to pursue further studies in music. She studied at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, where she appeared in many operatic roles, including Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Gianetta in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers.
Jennifer went on to teach at Musician’s Academy in Corpus Christi until she began her graduate studies in Music Performance at Texas State University in San Marcos. With the Texas State Opera Theatre, she had the honor of debuting the role of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the World Premier of Henry Mollicone’s Children of the Sun. She still performs in local productions.
Jennifer has focused her studies on Vocal Pedagogy, and she has taught private voice lessons for almost six years. Her main teaching goals are to build a solid foundation for healthy vocal technique, to gain music-reading comprehension, and to help her students enjoy discovering more about themselves and their relationship to music-making. She lives in South Austin with her two cats, Lilu Dallas-Multipass and Momo..
Jim James, Pianist and Performance Event Coordinator
West Lake Location
Dr. Jim James grew up in rural Iowa , where he began his piano studies at the age of 7. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He also spent a semester studying at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France. In 2002 Jim took first prize in the Badger Piano Competition of the Wisconisin Music Teachers Association, and received the Margaret Daniels and Jane Shephard Keyboard Awards at Lawrence University .
As a teacher, Jim focuses on giving students the musical and technical tools they need to confidently practice during the week. He also encourages students to think creatively and positively during their lessons so that they can see their daily practice can be more of a challenge and less of a chore.
Felicia Kim, Pianist
Felicia Kim holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park and M.M. and B.M. in Piano Performance from Baylor University in Texas (Pi Kappa Lambda). She has studied with Larissa Dedova, Krassimira Jordan, Andre Watts and Young Hi Moon. She worked with Guaneri String Quartet, YoYo Ma, Josheph Gingold and Rita Sloan for chamber music.
As a soloist and collaborative pianist Ms. Kim played throughout the United States including Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas. She performed at the Bösendorfer International music Festival in Vienna, Austria and Bathurst, Canada. Ms. Kim received recognition from national as well as international competitions including: Russell Wonderick Piano Competition, New Orleans International competition, Alabama International competition, Baylor University Piano Competition, etc.
Ms. Kim served as collaborative pianist at Sam Houston State University. She has taught piano for 20 years in a variety of teaching setting. She believes the best teachers tailor their teaching to the needs of the individual student, rather than being welded in all respects to a single approach.
West Lake Location
Jacque Lawrence grew up in Texas and graduated from Houston Baptist University Summa Cum Laude with two Bachelor’s degrees in Piano Performance and History. Jacque continued to study at Baylor University under Jane Abbott-Kirk and Dr. Lesley Sisterhen-McAllister and received her Masters degree in Piano Pedagogy and Music History. She fell in love with music at an early age and has been teaching private lessons for nearly 10 years to students of all ages and levels in private studios and at home during her time in school.
Jacque focuses on not only having the students be able to play the music, but also how to love the piano as well as a wide variety of music. She incorporates theory, technique, sight-reading, and ear training into lessons to involve the students in learning and enjoying the music as much as possible. She encourages students to set aspirations for themselves or for pieces which they want to play, and helps them work towards their goals each lesson. Throughout the lesson, she hopes to inspire the students to be involved in the learning process and to think through the music for themselves allowing them to express their own ideas and develop their skills as much as possible.
Karli Leal, Violist and Violinist
West Lake Location
Originally from California, Karli Leal began her musical education in high school under a wide variety of Russian and Eastern European violin and viola teachers, participating in statewide CMEA competitions and the National High School Honors Orchestra inColumbus, OH while also serving as a section violist in the Tulare County Symphony. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her BM in Viola Performance with Professor Roger Myers. Karli continued her studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, completing her Masters in Music Performance with professors Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catharine Carroll.
Since 2004 Karli has played in both the United States and across Europe in numerous international music festivals, and played in a variety of ensembles over the years. Her diverse background allows her to connect on multiple levels with her students and determine what pace is best for each individual.
She loves to share her enthusiasm for playing string instruments with a wide variety of ages, and advocates the fusion of classical music with rock, heavy metal and other popular genres. With her students she ensures that all aspects of music education are brought together, so that the function of music theory, music history and technique can be applied to the performance side of playing. Through this she hopes that all her students gain knowledge of and appreciation for classical music that stays with them, no matter what direction their life may take.
Jessica Pace, Pianist
Jessica Pace is from Austin, Texas and graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance with an emphasis in Pedagogy. She has taught piano privately since 2005 and also taught inthe University of Texas Piano Project under well known pedagogue Sophia Gilmson, Associate Professor of Piano atUT and Director of the Piano Project. Jessica Pace studied piano both under Lita Guerra, Professor of Piano at UT and David Renner, Associate Professor of Piano.
Music has always been a part of her life whether listening to it or playing piano. Jessica always had a love for music growing up and was enthusiastic to begin piano lessons when the opportunity arose as a child. She hopes to nurture in her students this same enthusiasm for the piano and for exploring music. Her goal is to make lessons an enjoyable experience and to look at each student as an individual in personalizing lessons to their degree of dedication and personal musical style.
Bridget Perez, Vocalist
Bridget Perez, from San Antonio, is a graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelor in Music Studies. During her time at Texas State, she was a section leader of the premier ensemble, the Texas State Chorale, and was actively involved in other music ensembles such as Vocalibre, a classical and pop a cappella group, the Texas State Symphonic choir, which toured in China in 2015, and the Orchestra del Rio salsa band. In 2014 she was also invited to be a guest student conductor at the TCDA music conference and convention. She has worked with students from K – 12, in schools such as Harmony Hills Elementary, Dahlstrom Middle School, Johnson High School, San Marcos High School and has previously directed a children’s chorus in New Braunfels for CYT. She was part of the All State preparation for the Texas State Choir Camp for 4 years where she held positions such as a counselor and section leader. Along with teaching, she has preformed and been involved in Texas State Opera Theater productions such as Speed Dating, HMS Pinafore and premiered as Young Lady Bird in the newly commissioned opera Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land.
Bridget loves music and enjoys inspiring children to do the same. Her students will learn proper technique in singing, along with music history, theory, and aural skills. In her lessons, she strives to always maintain a positive flowing energy because that is what allows the student to grow as a musician and as a person. Her teaching methods will expand not only student’s perspective on different types and methods of music, but also lessons learned in life.
Russell Reed, Pianist and Resident Composer
West Lake Location
Dr. Russell Reed received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance at Baylor University where he studied with artist-in-residence Krassimira Jordan. Russell received his D.M.A in composition in 2005 from The University of Texas at Austin where he served as the assistant director of The New Music Ensemble. Since graduating, Dr. Reed has received many notable honors and performances including a state sponsored performance and exhibition at the historic home of Alexander Scriabin in Moscow. Recently, light the lovely candles, a piece for Soprano, Viola and Piano was nominated for a Austin Critics Table award for best original composition/score of the 2008-2009 concert season.
Russell describes his approach to teaching piano as directed toward the specific needs of each individual student rather than adherence to a strict general method or pedagogical program. He believes that patience and steadiness can help students develop a love of music-making that lasts a lifetime. He feels that learning to play the piano should also be about learning to be a whole musician — technique, repertoire, history, theory, artistry, and certainly, if not namely, fun.
For more, visit: www.russellmreed.com
Stephanie Reyes, Vocalist
Stephanie Reyes is a Choral Conducting graduate student and member of the Texas State University Chorale. She received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance, and continues to study voice under the direction of Brigitte Bellini-Mungo. Stephanie holds a choral scholar position at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, has conducted at the 2015 TCDA convention in San Antonio, has served as the Associate Director of both University Singers and Men’s Choir at Texas State, and has recently founded an early music chamber choir: Les Ancients. Aside from conducting, she has been active in opera, playing the roles of Mrs. Olsen in Street Scene, the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Madame Laminoche in Angelique, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, and the Old Prioress in Dialogues of The Carmelites. Stephanie is also recognized for her talent in performing concert works, serving as the alto soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers.
Sean Riley, Violinist
West Lake Location
Violinist Sean Riley maintains a career throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a performer, entrepreneur and educator. As a solo artist he was given the honor to perform for Charles, the Prince of Wales at his 65th birthday celebration and the Sultan of Oman in a special evening performance in London.
Sean’s interest in innovative methods of communication has led him to creating performance programs with social media at the Royal College of Music, using Critical Response Process to teach communication and leadership at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and winning an innovation grant to 3D print a six-string electric violin to perform John Adam’s The Dharma at Big Sur. These entrepreneurial practices have led him to a professorship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London.
Sean holds both bachelors and masters degrees in violin performance from The Juilliard School as well as an artist diploma and Master in Philosophy on the subject of performance training and peer communication in higher music education from the Royal College of Music, London. His teachers have included Radu Blidar, Kyung-Wha Chung, Hyo Kang, Roland and Almita Vamos and Brian Lewis. Sean the recipient of the Williamson Foundation of Music annual grant, Rayne Foundation grant, Donald Paterson Award and the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal and the Rainwater Innovation Grant.
Justin Scheibel, Violinist and Violist
Justin Scheibel was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and has a passion for both teaching and performing. He earned his Bachelor of Music with distinguished honors from University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of internationally renowned violinist Piotr Milewski. Justin was regularly appointed concertmaster and principal second of Philharmonia and Concert Orchestra. He also was resident violinist for four years as the youngest member of CCM Chamber Players, a nationally recognized graduate ensemble, where he collaborated with Eight Blackbird and Steve Reich. In his second year at CCM, Justin earned honors for his performance of Paganini’s “Violin Concerto No.1” and would later go on to win second prize in the Kurt Weill Violin Competition and perform in televised broadcasts on CET. In Cincinnati, Justin taught an independent violin studio of all ages and studied pedagogy under Kurt Sassmannshaus.
“My philosophy focuses on individuality, positive reinforcement and discipline. Each of us has a unique way of perceiving the world, and it is my belief that the teacher should adapt to the abilities, learning style and personality of each and every student. I emphasize shaping education around the natural learning style of the student while providing a structured curriculum. Ultimately, I want to help every student develop their creativity, discipline and foster a lasting appreciation for music and the arts.”
Scott Simon, Guitarist
Scott is an award winning professional guitarist and music teacher in Austin, Texas. He developed his music skills at a young age touring with bands throughout the Midwest. While earning his PhD in Music & Technology at the University of North Texas, he was fortunate to have studied with guitarists for Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, and more.
As an experienced performer and teacher, Scott has a versatile range of capabilities and is fluent in pop, rock, blues, country, jazz and classical styles. He teaches all ages and levels from beginner to advanced, and has a flexible teaching style based on the goals of the student. Scott’s method focuses on building strong fundamentals while learning the songs and styles that inspire the student the most.
Mary Cushing Smith, Pianist and Vocalist
Mary Smith grew up in a musical family and began playing piano and singing in choirs at an early age. She studied piano and voice through high school and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Boston University with an emphasis in piano. Upon graduation, she added piano technology to her skill set. She has taught piano for 15 years. In 2009, she began voice studies with Cheryl Parrish and “found her voice.” She has added teaching voice to her resumé since that time.
Mary loves teaching music because learning music empowers her students. They learn to make music themselves, which gives them a vehicle for self-expression, pleasure, and joy for the rest of their lives. She loves teaching children and is also excited about teaching adults to play piano or sing.
Mary lives in Bee Cave with her husband, two springer spaniels, and a cat. They have been restoring their property to native Texas grasses and flowers for nine years, creating a habitat for all sorts of Texas critters!
Andres Vargas, Pianist
Andres Vargas was born in Chile, where he began his piano studies at the age of 3. He holds a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from the Universidad Austral de Chile where he studied with Ximena Cabello. In 2004, he became a private student of Krassimira Jordan, artist-in-residence at Baylor University. In the fall of 2008, Andres relocated to the United States in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance at Baylor University.
Prior to coming to the US, Andres taught in two Chilean music schools. He has been teaching piano as a private teacher for more than twelve years. As a teacher Andres enjoys having fun with his students and likes to communicate to them his love for music. Andres is fluent in English, Spanish and German and can teach piano in all three languages. “To become a good pianist you need to become the music, and you must be one with the piano. It is important to be able to connect your soul with your body in order to discover the perfect sound for music”.
Sophie Verhaeghe, Violinist
West Lake Location
A native of Colorado, Sophie Verhaeghe began playing the violin at age 3 and made her solo debut at the age of 12. She has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
A passionate educator as well as performer, Sophie taught in UT’s String Project for two years and is an in-school chamber music coach through Austin Chamber Music Center. She maintains a small private studio in Austin. Sophie is also a co-founder of and Director of Marketing for Austin Camerata, a chamber music festival that seeks to stretch the boundaries of artistic collaborations.
Sophie graduated with a Bachelor of Music with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan and holds a Master of Music from Boston University. She received an Artist Diploma from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2017. Her previous teachers include Aaron Berofsky, Bayla Keyes, and William Fedkenheuer. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys hiking in her native state, cooking, yoga, and watching college football.