Our teachers are renowned performers and passionate educators that live and work in the Chicagoland area. 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.

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.

Darwin Noguera



Nicaraguan born jazz pianist and composer Darwin Noguera is an emerging voice in the jazz and Latin idioms. His latest project is the “Continuum Trio”, a hard-hitting modern jazz group. Darwin is considered a rising star in the new generation of pianists.

Dana Anex

Violin, Viola


Dana Anex studied viola performance with Helen Callus at Northwestern University, where she received her Bachelor of Music in 2019. She has been teaching private lessons in violin and viola and organizing group classes and concerts since high school.

Brandon Taylor Sides

Voice/ Vocal Ensemble


Brandon Taylor Sides is a Chicago native and graduate of Columbia College Chicago concentrating in Music Composition for Film and Contemporary Classical Music. He has expertise in many different genres, such as Jazz, Rock, Choral, Classical, Pop, R&B, and Gospel.

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.

Adam Gabbert


Adam has been teaching professionally for seven years and is a certified Suzuki guitar instructor. He maintains a private studio in addition to teaching group guitar classes. When not playing or teaching the guitar, Adam enjoys playing the flute and cooking.

Isabelle Innocenti



Isabelle Innocenti, a Chicago native and daughter of two Suzuki string teachers, started her violin studies at age three, and went on to study violin at Oberlin Conservatory. A social justice advocate as well as a musician, she also received a B.A. in Environmental Justice from Oberlin College.

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.

John-Paul Pendowski


John- Paul studied at DePaul University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees under the direction renowned pianist, George Vatchnadze. Before this, he has been honored to study under pianists such as Angela Yoffe, and Brenda Huang while also receiving valuable instruction from Cheryl Lim.

Claire Corriveau

Ukulele, Guitar, Voice, Piano, Songwriting

Claire Corriveau has been playing music professionally for a decade, both as a solo singer/songwriter and a member of different bands. Claire started teaching private music lessons after graduating from Columbia College in 2012 and found joy working with young children.

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.

Matthew Flanagan

Band, Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn


As a soloist, Matthew was the winner of the 2016 Southeast Missouri State University Concerto and Aria Competition. In 2017 Matt was selected as principal trombone in the Missouri All-Collegiate Symphony Orchestra.


John Pope

Band, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon

Upon completing his music education degree at Valdosta State University in Georgia, John developed a passion for performing on the bassoon. He regularly performs with professional orchestras in the far west suburbs such as Fox Valley Orchestra.

Timothy Kelley



Recently transplanted from Alaska, Timothy Kelley is excited for the opportunity to participate in Chicago’s rich musical heritage – both as a performer and as an educator. He has been making music since early elementary school and enjoys sharing his love of music with his current students.

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.

Rouchana Iagoudina


Rouchana studied dance at the Joel Hall Dance Center in Chicago and with a renowned founder of the Chicago Moving Company, the late Nana Shienflug, creator of Conscious Body. She graduated from a Russian university with an MA in education. After moving to the USA she decided to pursue her long life passion – dance!

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.

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.

Joanna Schulz

French Horn

Joanna Schulz is a dedicated chamber and orchestral performer. A resident of Chicago, Illinois, Joana performs as a member of the Gaudete Brass Quintet. Originally from Vancouver, CA, Joanna moved to the US to become a member of the UW-Madison faculty ensemble, the Wingra Wind Quintet from 2015 through 2019.

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. In 2013, Valentina attended her first international summer program at the Meadowmount School of Music in upstate New York.

Brian Gavilan


Brian Gavilan is a saxophonist based in the Chicagoland area with 12 years of saxophone experience. He has performed throughout Chicago with various ensembles, been a member of multiple saxophone quartets, and performed abroad in France with the Ohio University’s Marching 110.

Dan Nicholson



Dan studied with Jack Wilkins at USF and Chicago saxophone legend Bunky Green at UNF. After obtaining his degree and gaining valuable experience working with luminaries such as Joe Williams, Mel Torme, Arturo Sandoval, and John Pizarelli as a part of the Disney Grammy All American College Jazz Band, Dan moved to Chicago and became a sought-after side man.