Meet Your Instructors
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 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.
Betty Lin-Gallardo is a native of Dominican Republic and grew up in Taiwan. She received her Bachelor’s degree in piano from Advanced Conservatory of Badajoz in Spain with Ángel Sanzo. She was later on admitted to the University of Memphis with full tuion scholarships and graduate assistantship in collaborative piano, where she studied piano under Victor Asuncion and Cathal Breslin, and received her Master’s degree in 2016.
Ms. Lin-Gallardo joined Memphis Music Initiative as a teaching fellow in 2016, where she taught daily group and individual lessons at Memphis middle and high schools. She has also worked with Memphis opera and Memphis symphony chorus as a collaborative pianist. She is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree at University of Texas at Austin in Collaborative Piano.
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 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.
Piano and Voice Instructor
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.”
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.