Our teachers are renowned performers and passionate educators that live and work in the nation. They are committed to consistent student growth and excellence.  Each teacher at CSMA has been background checked and has been an expert in their field for over 10 years.


Many of our artist-teachers have music degrees from the most recognizable schools in the space.

Jade Dashá



Jade Dashá is a Cleveland born, Florida raised and Chicago based soprano and music teacher studying under Dr. Viktoria Vizin.Jade began 2023 as a Smith Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera singing Miss Jones in the world-premier of Charlie and the Wolf, which toured local schools. She has also had the pleasure of working with Opera Steamboat (CO) and Chicago Fringe Opera this year, and was a Studio Artist with Central City Opera (CO) this summer.

Rachel Mossburg


Always seeking a good adventure, violist Rachel Mossburg continually explores ways in which to nourish her musical wanderlust. She is an engaging performer, active chamber musician, has a love for teaching private lessons to youth, and enjoys pushing musical boundaries by playing genres of all types. Having come from a classical background, she is also passionate about supporting talented young composers and playing new works.

Lindsay Fulton

Piano, Voice, Steel Tongue Drum, Accordion, Ukulele and Harmonica

Lindsay Fulton or ‘Miss Lindsay,’ was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has called Chicago home for over fifteen years. As a child, she was asked to perform violin duets and to serve on a select strings group. Today, she enjoys performing at private holiday events as well as watching her current piano students’ progress.

Thomas Kimball

Spanish Style Guitar, Vocals


Thomas Kimball began playing the Spanish guitar in 1992, following an inspiring trip to Mexico. Based in Chicago, he has been fortunate to be able to study Flamenco and Latin American styles with respected local and visiting artists.

Kirsten Leslie

Voice, Piano


Kirsten Leslie, originally from the Chicago area, has performed nationally and internationally as both a singer and actress. Her repertoire is quite diverse including operatic roles, musical theatre roles, and straight theatre roles.

Susie Smith



Susie is a versatile musician and educator in the Chicagoland area. She has toured with classical ensembles in London, Prague, Rome, and Los Angeles. Ms. Miller has played at prestigious venues such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Grace Heuer

Ukulele, Guitar, Musical Adventures



Grace graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts High School, where she had musical theater training.  She then attended Columbia College Chicago where she studied theater. Grace has been a caregiver and nanny for over 15 years.

Lina Mar Yamin



Lina has studied with Janet Sung (DePaul), Kevin Lawrence (UNCSA) and Edgar Aponte (El Sistema). Before coming to Chicago, she was for more than fifteen years a part of “El Sistema” – a social program focused on providing free music education to children and young students- in Caracas, Venezuela.

Chris Winters

Guitar, Ukulele

Chris teaches children and adults, beginners to advanced. He is extremely knowledgeable about the history of rock and roll, and different styles of blues electric guitar. He recorded three albums with the band Mississippi Heat and toured with them throughout Europe and Canada.

Emily Munn-Wood


Emily will begin her first season with the Peoria Symphony in the fall. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance and from DePaul University, summa cum laude, with a master’s degree in cello performance.

Liza Micelli

Voice, Piano


Cataloged by her peers as a young visionary and promising artist, Liza Micelli has been the principal keyboardist for Jussie Smollett, Terrence Howard, and celebrity guest artists on 20th Century Fox’s hit television show Empire since its inception in 2015. Liza has performed with Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Rita Ora, and others.

Carolina Soto


Carolina Soto is a dynamic voice teacher based in Chicago. Graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Vocal Performance and Music Business in 2020, Carolina empowers her students to embrace their creative spirit, develop their musical abilities, and find their unique voice.

Noah Plotkin


Noah Plotkin is a professionally trained drum set and world percussion musician who is a 2007 graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has collaborated as a percussionist with notable institutions in the U.S.and abroad including Emerson College, Boston College, and The Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Emily Zouras

Dance, Cheer

Emily began dancing at the age of 2 and was a cheerleader in high school. She continued her dance education in college as a dance minor at the University of Tennessee and was accepted into their Performing Arts Dance Company. Upon graduation, Emily moved to Chicago and continued to hone her craft at studios throughout the area.

Alejandro Cortes



Born into a family of musicians, Alejandro was always surrounded by the music of Mexico and Latin America. As a member of the United Community Center’s Latin jazz band in Milwaukee,WI, he was introduced to the music of Tito Puente and Sergio Mendez, which set the course for the rest of his musical journey.

Valentina Guillen Mensello



Born and raised in Venezuela, Valentina began her violin studies when she was 7 years old. Years later, she became part of “El Sistema”, a music education orchestra program in Venezuela. Currently, Valentina is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 2021-2022 season.

Tamila Salimdjanova



Salimdjanova attracted attention by winning the 1st prize and Audience Award at the prestigious BNDES international piano competition in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and Massarosa international piano competition a year later. She is a semifinalist of Leeds, Arthur Rubinstein and Montreal international piano competitions.

Seth Pae

Violin, Viola

Seth completed both a Master’s Degree and an Artist Diploma at DePaul University, studying with Wei-Ting Quo of the Chicago Symphony and legendary Chicago violist, Rami Solomonow. Seth is a champion of playing new music. He frequently works with Chicago-based composers and premiers new works.

Camilo Rincon

Guitar, Ukulele, Piano, Bass

Camilo has taught music since 2010 in the bilingual, musical, cultural-immersion program, Son Chiquitos. Additionally, he has taught private lessons for classical guitar, Son Jarocho (guitars and singing), and music theory. He is a musician and a music teacher who teaches guitar, bass, piano, and ukulele.

Kenny Smith


Kenny Smith was born into blues royalty. He grew up in the same house where Muddy Waters once lived in Chicago, the home of the blues in the North. Throughout his childhood, Kenny was surrounded by Muddy and his friends, including his father. These same blues icons helped mold him into the person and drummer he is today and later in life asked him to provide his famous backbeat on some of the largest and most respected stages and recordings in the world.

Hiroko Nagahata


Hiroko Nagahata has performed internationally for solo and chamber music. She was a
Special Presentation Award winner of the Artists International Audition and made her
New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in 2009. She has
accompanied for renowned organizations such as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Choirs of
America, and Chinese Fine Arts Society among many others.

Camille McClellan

Voice, Electric Guitar, Bass


Camille grew up in Lake Forest, IL, studied Songwriting at Berklee College of Music, and moved to LA to record a solo EP. She’s back in Chicago and happy to share her love of music with the students of Chicago SMA through teaching lead vocals, electric guitar, and bass.

Michael Cepela



A University Park native, Michael began studying classical piano under the instruction of a family friend. He graduated from North Park University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Education in May 2020. Since his graduation, he’s worked as conductors assistant under two working conductors with the Chicago Children’s Choir.

Chad McCullough


Heralded for his “solos of mercurial poetry and high craft” (Chicago Tribune) Chicago based trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough is active throughout the world. His latest album, Forward, was released in the foal of 2020 and was featured in several “Best Jazz Releases of the Year” lists, including the Chicago Tribune, and All about Jazz.

Sasha Brusin

Guitar, Electric Bass & Ukulele


Originally from Novi Sad, Serbia, Sasha Brusin’s musical education and performance experience spans Europe and the United States. He is comfortable and proficient on guitar, electric bass, and ukulele in many styles of music including jazz, rock, funk, R&B, blues, latin, Brazilian to European ethic blends.

Mike Hanko


Michael began playing piano at the age of 6.  He studied performance and composition at Northern Illinois University, jazz piano with Willie Pickens at the Chicago Conservatory College, composition and creative writing at Columbia College, and arranging with Cliff Colnot at DePaul University.

Larissa Mapua


Larissa is a Filipino-American viola and violin teacher dedicated to sharing her passion for music.
Selected by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, she performed Debussy’s String Quartet, Op.10 at the U.S. Capitol for members of the 114th U.S. Congress.

Paige Kizer

Voice & Beginner Piano


Paige is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree. Paige got her start in music by beginning on the saxophone in elementary school and later venturing into musical theater. She’s been releasing original music since 2019, and plays live with her band Paige and the Kizers.

Jennifer Rule

Musical Theater


Jennifer received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Western Michigan University and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory. Before touring nationally with children’s musicals she performed in many Chicago theaters. Her greatest joy is the rehearsal process when she can create those amazing moments together into a fabulous show!