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.
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 daughter Riley.
Yasuko Amano, Pianist
West Lake Location
Yasuko Amano grew up in Tokyo, Japan and became interested in music from a very early age. She enjoyed performing and composing as a young child and appeared in many public concerts and competitions as a soloist and a collaborative pianist in Tokyo. Yasuko moved to the United States to further her piano study in 2002. Yasuko received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Baylor University, and her first Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Baylor University and her second Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma where she studied with Jeongwon Ham.
Yasuko believes that it is important for piano teachers to really understand “how to teach,” and not only be able to play, but also understand the educational foundations that can facilitate learning. Her passion for teaching led to pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy to study with two of the most prominent piano pedagogy figures in the world, Dr. Jane Magrath and Dr. Barbara Fast at the University of Oklahoma. She thoroughly enjoys teaching piano privately to all age ranges and levels of development. “I love teaching piano so much. Every day my students inspire me to become a better teacher and musician.”
Lauren Brinson, Vocalist
Lauren Brinson grew up in Dallas, TX where she became involved in singing at an early age. Lauren earned her Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. There she performed in numerous operas including Cosi fan tutte, L’elisir d’amour, Don Giovanni and Les Dialogues des Carmelites. She also earned her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Texas at Austin.
Lauren’s main goal in teaching voice is to provide a structured yet enjoyable and challenging environment for her students. She believes the classical style in which she was trained is a solid foundation for any genre of singing. She emphasizes sight reading and ear training skills with all her students to help them become well rounded musicians.
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 is currently pursing a master’s degree at UT 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.
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.
Tyler Dunnam, Guitarist
West Lake Location
Tyler Dunnam was born and raised in Austin, Texas, a city whose vibrant music culture would prove irresistible. He began his sonic journey by taking piano lessons at the age of 9, but it was a tandem strum session on the guitar with his father that really lit his musical fire.
In 2005 Tyler began studying classical guitar with Prof. Mark Anthony Cruz, M.M. at Texas State University. While there, Tyler experienced several facets of the classical music world, including a recording session in the historic Firestation Studio, Master classes with Alejandro Montiel and Duo Melis, and performances at the Guitars Galore Festival in Austin. His highest achievement was winning Second Place for Guitar Ensemble Performance at the UT-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College Guitar Festival with his Senior Guitar Quartet in 2009.
Tyler is now pursuing a full music career in teaching, performing, and composing. His teaching style blends the practice and performance techniques of classical guitar with the raw “heart and soul” emotion of rock guitar. He believes music is about passion, hard work, and patience; but also joy, sharing, and creation. “Play the music, not the instrument.” -Anonymous
Sarah Dutcher, Pianist
Sarah Dutcher grew up in southern Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with two Bachelor’s degrees in English and Piano Performance. She is currently working on a Master of Music in Musicology at the University of Texas at Austin. While at UGA, Sarah studied piano with Dr. Martha Thomas, piano pedagogy with Dr. Pete Jutras, and jazz with Steve Dancz. She has taught with the UGA Community Music School, Chick Piano and privately in her own home.
Sarah enjoys teaching students of all ages, especially beginners! She incorporates theory, sight-reading, aural skills, improvisation and collaborative playing as much as possible. She also encourages her students to listen to a variety of musical genres and styles. Her teaching philosophy involves helping students to find their own creativity and voice in the music they make while also developing good technique and a strong knowledge of the keyboard.
Rebecca Fine, Pianist
Rebecca Fine is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at The University of Texas with Professor David Renner. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance summa cum laude from UT, where she took lessons with Dr.
Betty Mallard and studied pedagogy with Professor Sophia Gilmson. Rebecca also participated in the Piano Project at UT, a program giving private lessons to students from the community.
A native of Austin, Rebecca grew up taking piano lessons in the Westlake area and studied for many years with Susan Allen. Her own positive experience at Clavier-Werke has drawn her back to teach at the school and pass on her great love of music to her students.
Michael Hobson, Guitarist
Michael Hobson has been playing guitar since 1999 and teaching since 2003. He performs and teaches on both electric and acoustic guitars in a variety of styles including rock, blues, jazz, country, funk, R&B, classical, and finger-style. He is experienced teaching students of different ages and skill levels. Michael holds a Master’s of Music from the University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) and a Bachelor’s of Music from Hope College (Holland, MI), both with an emphasis in jazz performance. He also spent two years at Belmont University (Nashville, TN) and attended the National Guitar Workshop (Los Angeles, CA). He has played professionally in the Austin, TX, Tampa, FL, Grand Rapids, MI, and Flint, MI areas, as well as been active in several rock bands with friends, including recording with the Travis Kingma Band.
Outside of guitar, Michael is an active composer, arranger, and songwriter, and plays
some bass guitar, piano, and banjo. He enjoys a wide variety of music from different styles and generations. When students study with Michael, they can expect a qualified, friendly instructor who is personally invested in their improvement, as well as willing to teach to their musical goals.
Jim James, Pianist
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.
Bryan Kennard, Flutist and Theory Lab Director
West Lake Location
Bryan attended Mercyhurst College, where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He continued his education at Youngstown State University, receiving his Master of Music in Flute Performance. Bryan is an improvising flutist, composer, and teacher in Austin where he regularly performs in and writes music for several jazz and classical ensembles. He also performs as both a sideman and a leader with jazz and Brazilian groups. Bryan’s compositions have been featured on several concerts. His chamber works have been performed on programs throughout the country, and his jazz compositions are regularly played in small group shows.
Bryan has enjoyed contributing to Clavier-Werke’s Theory Lab since 2010. He believes, “Music theory is essential to gaining a complete understanding of the music we study and perform. Even the most basic awareness of melody, harmony, rhythm, and how they relate can improve how one plays a piece of music. This understanding is the same whether one is playing a piece by J.S. Bach, singing and playing a folk tune, or improvising over a set of chord changes in a jazz setting.”
For more, visit: www.bryankennard.com
Ee Lyn Lee, Pianist
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Ee Lyn Lee began her musical studies at the age of five. She had earned her Masters of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Texas State University-San Marcos and her Bachelor of Music (HONS) in Piano Performance from UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur.
As an educator, Ms. Lee has been teaching piano since 2005 starting in Malaysia and following at Texas State University in San Marcos. She has taught students from age four through adult and from beginner to pre-college level. Many of her students have scored Distinctions and Merits in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in both practical and theory exams. She had also taught several diploma students for the Australian Guild of Music and Speech (AGMS). Ms. Lee was a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Texas State University, teaching class piano from August 2010 to December 2011. In July 2011, Ms. Lee was a presenter at the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy in Lombard, Illinois where she presented her research poster on the piano education system in Malaysia.
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.
Turner Partain, Violinist
West Lake Location
A native of Beaumont, Texas, Turner Partain finished his Bachelor’s of Music at the University of Houston in spring 2009. As a student of Kyung Sun Lee, currently of the Seoul National Conservatory, Turner graduated with honors and began his graduate studies at the University of Texas. He is currently a student under the internationally renowned violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Texas Music Festival, and the Interlochen Arts Camp. A passionate teacher, Turner began working privately with young violinists while still a high schooler. His students have achieved honors at UIL Solo and Ensemble and TMEA All-Region. This previous summer, Turner was invited to coach chamber music at the University of Texas-San Antonio’s Summer Music Institute. Mr. Partain is thrilled to be a part of the violin faculty at Clavier-Werke.
Jestin Pieper, Pianist
Jestin Pieper is an active classically trained pianist, teacher, collaborator and arranger. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance, graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University and an MM in piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Pieper has gained both experience and unique pedagogical training in teaching piano under the tutelage of world-class piano pedagogues Sophia Gilmson and Martha Hilley.
Jestin has a profound interest not only for his own pursuit of music but with the opportunity to share it. Jestin’s teaching philosophy states that every individual has the capacity to achieve a degree of musical proficiency and excellence through a balance of dedication, technical and intellectual understanding of the art, and the cultivation of enjoyment and appreciation of the benefits of making music. In addition to teaching at the Clavier-Werke School of Music, Jestin is working as a free-lance Collaborative Artist at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Caleb Hans Polashek, Violinist
Striving for musical versatility, Caleb Hans Polashek is an Iowa-grown, Austin-based violinist enjoying an active performing career. Caleb earned his Master of Music Degree in Violin in May, 2012 from the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin. By audition Caleb secured multiple appointments to the concertmaster chair of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. Caleb actively participated in chamber music at the Butler School of Music, receiving guidance from members of the faculty that included the Miro Quartet and Anton Nel . He has also studied jazz through participation in a jazz combo, The Combros, and performed in the Cactus Café on the UT Austin campus. Caleb Polashek is active with the avant-indie rock band Les RAV, the ensemble that won the Recording Conservatory of Austin’s 2011 singer-songwriter competition.
Caleb enjoys teaching a small number of students on a regular basis. He has taught masterclasses in Kansas and Iowa and is presently employed at the Clavier Werke School of Music.
Kerry Polk, Pianist
West Lake Location
Kerry Polk comes to Clavier-Werke after teaching piano successfully for over ten years in the northwest area of Austin. Originally from Mississippi, Kerry received her Bachelors of Music Education with emphasis in Piano and minor emphasis in Voice from Mississippi State University. After finishing her B.M.E. she continued studying piano performance with Roy McAlister of the University of Alabama. She moved to Austin and began working in Adult Education and Retraining through Department of Labor Programs doing grant writing and project management at the Texas Department of Commerce on military base closures.
She has since returned to her first love and passion — music. “I firmly believe that instilling a joy in music appreciation and creativity is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.” In addition to teaching, she performs as a singer-songwriter with her own compact disc produced with Polk, Barton & Towhead and as a solo and children’s artist.
Kristen Randolph, Violinist
Kristen Randolph is from Austin, Texas and has been playing the violin for over fifteen years. Kristen moved to Brooklyn, NY to pursue a music degree at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music where she studied with Roumi Petrova and Masao Kawasaki. It was in Brooklyn where she began to teach violin. Her teaching experiences in New York ranged from private lessons to group lessons of all ages.
Kristen has been teaching violin for over eight years. Although Kristen is a classically trained violinist, she has begun to study fiddle and is interested in exploring other genres of music and continuing her music education.
Music has allowed Kristen to travel and meet many interesting people. She finds so much joy in creating and performing music, and enjoys spreading what she has learned with others. Kristen is very patient, passionate and excited about teaching, and finds great joy in working with both children and adults.
Russell Reed, Composer and Pianist
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
Jenny Reynolds, Guitarist
West Lake Location
Jenny Reynolds has been teaching private guitar lessons for more than seven years. A former high school teacher, Jenny has a Masters in Education from Boston College and has taught guitar and songwriting at The National Guitar Workshop’s summer seminars. Like many music teachers, Jenny believes good playing comes from good listening. Her students learn about different styles by becoming familiar with everyone from Django Reinhardt to Jack Johnson, to Bach and the Beatles, to James Taylor and Taylor Swift.
Beginners learn chords and sing songs from the start; tablature, notes and theory follow, in a way that compliments what the student is already doing. Intermediate and advanced students work toward the percussive strumming of rhythm guitar, as well as Travis picking and fingerstyle. Jenny’s approach is to help students develop patience, self-reliance and independence through basic musicianship and performance skills. Whether they write and perform their own music, or play Beatles songs in their rooms, Jenny’s students find their own sound, and experience the confidence and fun that comes from making music a consistent part of their lives.
Levan Shengelia, Pianist
Levan Shengelia is a native of the Republic of Georgia, where he began studying piano at the age of five. He received his master’s in piano performance from the Conservatory of Music in Tbilisi, Georgia. During his music studies Levan had a debut performance at Tbilisi State Opera House where he was named the best composer and performer of the year. Later he continued his studies in Hart School of Music at the University of Hartford, in West Hartford, Connecticut where he received his Artist Diploma in Composition. Levan returned to Georgia where he embarked on a concert tour with an orchestra to perform in his country and neighboring countries. In between appearances, he taught piano and composition to students from the neighboring towns and cities.
After the Russian invasion of Georgia Levan returned to the U.S. He is continuing as a teacher and composer, sharing the love a joy of music with his students – the same joy he gets when he plays for an audience of a packed house or just for himself while unwinding from a hard days work.
Emily Singor, Pianist
Emily Jensen grew up outside of Chicago, where she started piano lessons when she was three years old. She earned a double Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Music Therapy from Wartburg College, Iowa, in 2003 and became a Board Certified Music Therapist in 2004. Emily continues to practice music therapy, focusing on adaptive piano lessons for individuals with disabilities, including autism.
Emily brings a unique view of music and learning to her teaching. Having taught for over eight years, she draws on her experience in piano performance and pedagogy, music education, and music therapy to make each lesson a success for her students. Emily’s goal for all her students is to help them develop a love of music and see how learning to play an instrument can be fun and exciting. “My greatest joy as a teacher is seeing my students perform with confidence and enthusiasm. I encourage my students to become independent learners so that they will continue to seek out and enjoy music for the rest of their lives.”
Andres Vargas, Pianist
West Lake Location
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”.