Chicago Area Piano Teachers
Laura Boekeloo, originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently earned her Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she studied under Roland Vamos. She previously earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Western Michigan University, where she studied under Igor Fedotov. Laura began studying viola at the age of ten and quickly became an avid member of the Kalamazoo Prep String Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. Throughout her studies, Laura performed regularly with the Western Michigan Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra. Ensembles with which she has performed professionally include the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Holland Symphony Orchestra, and Whiting Park Symphony Orchestra. She has performed internationally in Puebla, Mexico; Casalmaggiore, Italy; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Laura has over four years of experience teaching Violin, Viola, and Piano to students of all ages. In Kalamazoo, Laura tutored young students in Violin, Viola, and Piano through Thompson Tutoring. In Chicago, she teaches students of all ages and skill levels in Violin, Viola, and Piano. Laura strives to foster enthusiasm for learning music among all of her students.
Irene Zissis is an accomplished pianist and piano/vocalist who has performed for over 25 years in the Chicago area, Chicago suburbs and overseas. Her vast repertoire includes: jazz, light classical, pop/rock, movie themes, show tunes, wedding music, holiday & theme music, & new age. A second generation pianist and piano teacher, Irene began lessons at the age of 4 under Masters of Music DePaul graduate and longtime piano teacher, Kathryn Zissis, her mother. Irene continued her music education at the University of IL at Chicago. After graduating, Ms. Zissis studied at the American Conservatory of Music under virtuoso pianist Frank Caruso. She both perfected her musicianship and acquired further valuable teaching skills under his exceptional tutelage.
Irene Zissis has taught piano to children age 5 - adults for over 20 years and maintains both an active performance and teaching schedule. The essential goal of her teaching philosophy is to give her students the life-long joy of making music.
To accomplish this, students must first acquire competence in theory and proper technique. Artistic expression and creativity are then developed. To progress, students must practice daily. Duration of practice depends on the student's age, level and goals. Children require parental involvement to oversee daily practice and to ensure that the student is practicing assignments correctly. Irene's teaching style is encouraging, patient, nurturing, engaging, challenging and fun. Her approach is flexible and suited to the needs, abilities, interests and objectives of each student. A variety of styles are taught including classical, jazz, pop/rock, folk and New Age. Irene believes in a wellrounded teaching method which also incorporates ear-training, chording, improvisation and music history.
Irene also taught piano at Chicago's renowned Old Town School of Folk Music for 4 years. She taught both private piano to children and adults as well as group piano to young children age 4 - 7.
Along with her expansive career as both a performer and an independent music teacher, Irene studied psychology and visual arts, and earned a Certificate in Creative Arts for Young Children. She uses her psychology background to determine each student's personality and learning style. When teaching young children, she incorporates visual arts and games to enhance musical concepts. Irene has an excellent rapport with children.
Adults can choose to learn their favorite songs by playing the melody with the right hand and chords in the left hand. Those who enjoy singing and want to accompany themselves with piano chords are taught this skill.
Irene's continuing education includes seminars and Masters classes through professional associations. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association.
Natalie Finamore is a 20-year-old musician and audio engineer currently earning her bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at Columbia College Chicago. She is passionate about music and inspiring others to learn through positive lesson experience. She has been playing piano for 10 years, guitar for 8, and has also had professional vocal training for 8 years. Natalie is new to professional teaching but has been giving informal lessons to friends and family for years.
Natalie participated in musical theater and bands all through high school, and was a member of Jazz Ensemble, Choir, and Handbell Ensemble at Whitter College in Whittier, CA. She is currently a member of several bands.
Courtney Hollenbeck was born in a small town in Ohio, and has always had a love and passion for the performing arts. Whether participating in gymnastics, youth theater productions, dance classes, or piano lessons, Courtney always found her way onto a stage! This passion carried her to Anderson University in Indiana where she studied Music Education, graduating cum laude in 2012. Throughout her time at Anderson she studied piano, voice, participated in various operas, musicals and dance shows and sang in the top mixe voice choir for 3 years.
Throughout her college career she also participated in the Miss Ohio (Miss America system) pageant for 3 consecutive years placing as a Top Ten Semifinalist in 2011. Professionally, Courtney has been a full-time elementary music teacher, private piano and voice teacher and choir member/soprano section leader at an Indianapolis church. One of her proudest moments was in 2014 when she was selected as an Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader in the NFL, dancing for upwards of 65,000 fans on game days.
Currently, she resides in Lisle with her husband Brett and daughter Harper. In her spare time she enjoys cooking healthy meals for her family, fitness, nature and spending time with family.
She is excited to meet and work with your child and she hopes to give them confidence both onstage and beyond!
Saxophonist Spencer Schillerstrom is becoming the best kept secret in the Chicago and Indianapolis metropolitan areas. The young musician started his musical career at the age of 6, growing up in Downers Grove, Illinois. He has since then won numerous improvisation awards through various jazz festivals, performed in Germany, performed in Hawaii on the Pride of America Cruise Ship and graduated from the DePauw School of Music with Summa Cum Laude honors. Spencer has performed with a large group of musicians in his early career including Brad Leali, Pharez Whitted, Ron Carter, Mark Colby, Fareed Haque, John Fedchock and Eddie Henderson. In addition, he has studied music with some of Chicago's biggest names including Mark Colby, Christopher McBride and Marquis Hill.
Currently, he is continuing his music education at DePaul University by pursuing a graduate jazz performance degree. He has a diverse 8 years of teaching experience in both saxophone and piano, including both private lessons and ensemble directing. Spencer was also a counselor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where he assisted in counseling and teaching over 45 Blue Lake campers (ages 12-18) on musical performance concepts. He is currently and excitedly taking students in Chicago and surrounding suburbs! and beyond!
Kim Mason is a Music Education major at Elmhurst College. She started with the clarinet in 5th grade and has playing through her college career. She really fell in love with music when she picked up the electric bass in 8th grade. In high school she learned how to play jazz and received a scholarship for her playing before she graduated.
Since then, Kim has studied electric bass with numerous professors in both jazz and classical genres. She has played professionally across the Chicagoland area. A few years she picked up the double bass and has continued into her college career and currently plays in the Elmhurst College Orchestra. In addition, she has played in the Elmhurst College Symphonic Band, Jazz combos, Late Night Blues vocal jazz ensemble, Electric Guitar Ensemble, Pit Orchestra, Women's Choir and Varsity String. Kim has picked up piano and studied under professional jazz and classical professors. She has also started learning the viola and teaches it to beginner students.
Presently, Kim teaches voice and piano lessons through Northwest Special Recreation Association. She works extensively with children and adults with disabilities of all kinds. While music has opened Kim up to many amazing opportunities in life, she has discovered that teaching music is her true passion.
An impressive, rich, dramatic soprano, with extensive European concert experience, Sladjana is now successfully building her career in the USA.
Sladjana is described as a 'true Prima Donna' being able to sing the entire soprano repertoire, with the voice that carries easily over the orchestra. Stunning in pieces from Mozart to Wagner, this black vixen gives a completely new opera experience to her audiences.
Mrs Saric has an extensive portfolio of international performances. In the role of Mimi in La Boheme, her rich, textured, intense voice and performance stole the show. Sladjana performed in the Mozart's opera La Clemenza di Tito during Chicago Summer Opera in 2017, where she shined in one of the most intriguing soprano roles - Vitellia. With a unique voice like hers, her most noted roles are the most demanding ones, the women living intensely, the heroines - Floria Tosca from Tosca, Abigail from Nabucco and Amelia from A Masked Ball. The National Theatre in Belgrade still remembers her performance in the Puccini's Suor Angelica that earned her and the entire stage a few minutes long, standing ovation.
One of her most noted appearances was as a member of the International Vocal Arts Institute in NYC, with the rest of 2016 spent as a member of the International Opera Academy in Montecatini Terme, Italy, where she was awarded the 'Al Miglior Interprete Verdiano' for her outstanding soprano voice. With titles such as the winner of 'SBC Voice' in Chicago, Sladjana is on her way to shake and stir the opera world.
In 2016 and 2017, Sladjana has attended masterclasses by some of the most notable opera names of our time. In Chicago, the Masterclasses of the soprano Elisabeth Byrne and the conductor Emanuele Andrizzi. During the attendance of the IVAI - The International Vocal Arts Institute in New York, in 2016, she attended the unmatched session of MasterClasses of Diana Soviero (Soprano, Prima Donna), Sherrill Milnes (Baritone, Metropolitan Opera), Joan Dornemann (Assistant Conductor Metropolitan Opera) and the amazing Ruth Falcon (Soprano, Metropolitan Opera,Voice teacher, Mannes School of Music,New York). Never missing a chance to practice and refine her expression, Sladjana also attended the MasterClasses of Hemdi Kfir (Language/Diction Coach, Metropolitan Opera, Israeli Opera), Omer Ben Seadia (Stage Director Houston Grand Opera), Joshua Major (Stage Director, New England Conservatory of Music) and Liora Maurer(Vocal Coach,Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera).
Her fascination with music has begun at an early age. Sladjana was only five when her mother took her to see Nabucco opera in Novi Sad. She remembers being so startled, that the following year she enrolled in the musical school. Her first steps in music were with the accordion. Since her talent started to flourish, she was advised to take upon another instrument to get a fresh perspective and broaden her expression. That is when the flute came into play. With strength, subtlety and versatility, the flute was a major inspiration for Sladjana to develop her talent.
After obtaining both BA and MA in flute performance from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, she earned another Masters in Vocal Performance from the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Serbia. The specialization degree in Vocal Performance was done at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary in the class of the majestic opera star - Eva Marton.
From 2007 to 2013, Sladjana perfected her skill and voice at the MasterClasses of the marvelous opera stars: Biserka Cvejić (Mezzo soprano Metropolitan Opera, Voice Teacher University of Music, Belgrade, Serbia), Mirella Freni (Soprano-Primadonna, in Modena, Italy and Worgl, Austria) and Radmila Bakočević (Soprano,Voice Teacher FMU Belgrade, Serbia.
Lesley Goodman has been teaching private piano and voice lessons for over 20 years while maintaining a career as a singer in Chicago and abroad. She received a music degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and she has extensive teaching experience for both piano and voice.
Lesley has been a teacher and studio accompanist to students at Interlochen National Music Camp, Northbrook Children's Theater, Quest Theater in Chicago, New Trier High School, Niles North High School and the Children's Theater in Houston.
She customizes her lessons to suit the interests and musical goals of each student. She has taught a wide range of ages and experience levels is certified to teach the Music Together program (a popular early childhood music education program). Lesley is passionate about music and brings this energy and excitement into her teaching practice.
Melissa Piantedosi, voice and piano instructor, has been performing for over 17 years. Her education includes a Masters Degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and a Bachelor Degree from The Boston Conservatory both in Vocal Performance. Melissa has performed in a wide variety of venues across the country and in Verona, Italy. She is comfortable teaching classical as well as popular styles of music. Operatic roles she has performed include Fanette in Milton Granger's comic opera, Bluebeard's Waiting Room and goddesses Venere and Pallade in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea.
Melissa co-founded Con Fuoco, a group that tells compelling stories of the lives of composers through performance of art song and prose. Melissa also has experience giving educational outreach performances with South Shore Opera Company at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Helen C. Pierce School of International Studies.
It is one of Melissa's greatest joys to share her knowledge and passion of music with others. Her goal is to not only teach her students a reliable technique but to help them find their unique voice and expression through the music.