Meet Your Instructors

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Farshad Zadeh

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Harrison Cole

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John Wassmuth

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Jacob Gray

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Joel Pacheco

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Youngjae Lee

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Cicely Deaton

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Tianyi Zhang

Farshad Zadeh

Piano Instructor

North West Austin, Round Rock

Farshad received his Bachelor’s degree in piano from Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Alvin Chow. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in performance at the University of Texas in Austin, under the tutelage of Anton Nel. Farshad has been teaching piano, in individual and group settings, for 5 years. He has privately taught young beginners at UT’s Piano Project, as well as group piano and chamber music at the Blue Mountain Festival music camp in Lancaster, PA. Aside from teaching and performing, Farshad enjoys biking, reading, and traveling.

Farshad provides in-home lessons and teaches from his location off I-35 and 183.

Harrison Cole

Piano Instructor

North West Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park

Harrison Joined the studio in summer of 2016. Though new Austin and to the studio Harrison has over 10 years of experience teaching piano to students of all ages. Harrison Cole was born in Hannibal, Missouri and began taking piano lessons at the age of 6. He attended Eastern Illinois University and studied under W. David Hobbs and Susan Teicher. While at Eastern, Harrison won the honor of playing the first movement of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor with the EIU orchestra in 2007. After graduating with a degree in piano performance in the spring of 2009, Harrison attended the University of Arizona and completed a Master’s in Musicology during the summer of 2012.

Harrison has taught piano to students of all ages for over ten years. He loves adapting lesson plans to fit the needs of each student. With advanced students, Harrison’s goal is to help students express their own vision of the piece. Aside from teaching and playing, Harrison enjoys researching historical topics and hanging out with family and friends.

John Wassmuth

Piano Instructor

John Wassmuth is from, New Jersey.  Along with gaining recognition as a solo artist, John is also an accompanist, composer, and teacher. In Spring of 2017 John graduated from the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University with a B.M. in piano performance studying under Professor Steven Heyman where he was granted the Sentor Music Award. John is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in piano performance under Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin. John was the music director at the Alibrandi Catholic Center as well as the accompanist for various denominations and choirs during his undergraduate degree. He has taught privately for the past 6 years before coming to Austin to study under Anton Nel.

Jacob Gray

Piano Instructor

North West Austin, Cedar Park, Leander

Jacob received his Bachelor’s of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in Music Studies.  As a percussionist he had the opportunity to study under renowned musicians Thomas Burritt and Tony Edwards. At the University of Texas, Jacob participated in various ensembles including the Percussion Ensemble, Symphony Band, University Orchestra, and Pale Blue.  A lifelong piano enthusiast, Jacob brings both his love of piano-playing and music-making to his educational approach. With years of individual and group-based teaching experience, both in percussion and piano, Jacob focuses on setting up students for success while ensuring that lessons are engaging, fun, and rewarding.

Joel Pacheco

Piano and Voice Instructor

Central Austin, South Austin

Joel Pacheco graduated from High. He joined the Army in 2007 and served as Ranger Medic for the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. After receiving his honorable discharge, Joel attended the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT where he received his Bachelors degree in music with an emphasis on performance, and his M.S. in Music Education in 2016. While attending UB, Joel had the opportunity to learn under Alexis Zingale and Chris Coogan, who studied directly with renowned jazz pianist Bill Evan’s wife. Joel also had the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center in the Alice Tully Hall, New York City, with the New York Small Chamber Ensemble in March of 2014 as part of the Masterworks Festival Chorus in a performance of Franz Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G Major, D. 167.

Joel continues to challenge himself by continuing to improve his artistry by learning other instruments and other styles. His future educational goals include achieving his Doctorate in musical studies and a performance degree from Julliard. He is proficient as a classical and jazz pianist and singer, and actively works with students from all backgrounds both in person and online to teach music to people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. His favorite musician of all time is Ludwig Van Beethoven, but his favorite classical pianist is Frederick Chopin, while his favorite jazz pianist is Oscar Peterson. Joel considers his musical journey a lifelong one and hopes to pass on the joys of that journey to all whom he meets. In the words of Hans Christian Anderson “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Youngjae Lee

Piano Instructor

North Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Cedar Park

Youngjae graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Film Scoring and as a Piano principal. She has been working as a film composer and piano instructor for over 10 years. She was twice nominated for the "Best Score" category at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival, and she also won the award for "Best Music Score" at the Wide Screen Film Festival in Miami. She enjoys working with children, and sharing her passion for music with her students.

Cicely Deaton

Piano Instructor

Round Rock, North West Austin

Cicely has been studying piano for over fifteen years and was classically trained under Melanie Karr Munro from 2003 through 2011. Cicely continued her musical career at The Academy of Art University in 2012 and studied music production and sound design for two years before going on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science in Music Business from the University of Colorado Denver in May of 2018. With a focus in piano performance, Cicely studied under Peter John Stoltzman and Gregory T.S. Walker at UC Denver, learning chamber composition and performance as well as composition techniques, commercial styles, and music theory. Cicely is devoted to helping her students receive the best musical foundation possible so their music capabilities can foster and grow. She brings an upbeat attitude to lessons and is patiently willing to work with every child’s learning needs. She is also committed to nurturing creative minds and teaching practical piano skills in hopes of developing a lasting enthusiasm for music. Alongside teaching piano, Cicely also enjoys site seeing, taco tasting and a good live band; she plans to return to school in 2020 to study Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin.  

Tianyi Zhang

Piano Instructor

South Austin, Central Austin

Tianyi attended Berklee College of Music, studying with Laszlo Gardony and Ross Ramsay. She has taught students of various ages in Indiana, Massachusetts and the Philippines, and she believes in helping students discover their unique understanding and expressions in music. She started learning piano when she was 4 years old. Since then, she has played at various venues, such as the Indiana State Fair, Boston's Old South Church and the Purdue Memorial Union. Some highlights include performing Chopin's Piano Concerto in E minor with the Carmel High School Symphony Orchestra and Liszt's Un Sospiro at Carnegie Wiell Hall in New York City.

Kristen Smith

Founder

Meet our Founder

Kristen Smith is the studio founder and director of Harmony. Kristen has a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in piano pedagogy and has studied with Dr. Beth Quillian (Dallas Baptist University), Sheila Page (Taubman instructor), and David Renner (University of Texas at Austin). Kristen has been teaching children ages 3 and up for over 14 years and loves introducing students of all ages to the joy of music. After teaching for many years Kristen decided to expand Harmony to serve families in need of high quality in-home lessons. In addition to teaching private lessons, Kristen designs and leads the summer music camps, group classes, theory classes and recitals that the studio offers. Her organizational skills, creative materials, and commitment to hiring skilled teachers who embrace the studio’s philosophy have cultivated the success of the studio.