Meet your instructors

Natalie Baker
Chase Borne
Chase Borne
Sofia Ciobanu
Cynthia Ward Cooper
Cynthia Ward Cooper
Cicely Deaton
Cicely Deaton
Quinlan Facey
Quinlan Facey
Andrew Held
Andrew Held
Dorie Howard
Dorie Howard
Kathy Kolesar, piano instructor for Harmony Lessons
Kathy Kolesar
Youngjae Lee
Curtis Peel
Curtis Peel
Tony Perez
Tony Perez
Josh Posada
Josh Posada
Rachael Rubright
Rachael Rubright
Michael Sanders
Michael Sanders
Kristen Smith
Kristen Smith
Stephen Steele
Stephen Steele
Charlie Tellez
Charlie Tellez
Farshad Zadeh
Farshad Zadeh
Seth Zamora
Seth Zamora

Natalie Baker

Vocal Instructor

Northwest Austin
Southwest Austin
Central Austin

A native Austinite, Natalie Baker began taking voice lessons at the age of ten after memorizing an entire Liza Minnelli CD. She then fell in love with the art of classical singing, the beauty and versatility of the human voice, and the process of learning to sing. In high school, Natalie began taking piano lessons in college. She holds a B.M. degree in Voice Performance from Gordon College, where she studied under Heidi Clark. Natalie has performed in numerous masterclasses, choirs, chamber ensembles, opera scenes, and musical theater. 

Natalie has been teaching for several years and is eager to share the joy of music with her students. She also teaches preschool music classes at Veritas Academy and Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Her approach to teaching is student-centered, building lessons around the student’s individual goals. When not singing or teaching, she enjoys hiking, thrift store shopping, and exploring Austin.

Sofia Ciobanu

Piano Instructor

Northwest Austin
Round Rock
Steiner Ranch

Sofia was born in the Eastern European country of Moldova to a family of musicians. After graduation from C. Prumbescu Music High School, she moved to Romania for university studies. She went on to receive her Bachelor’s in Musicology and Pedagogy from G. Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and completed her Master’s degree in Musicological Synthesis in 2001. Throughout her studies, Sofia has been an avid performer in choirs and vocal ensembles across Europe. Her most recent collaboration was with the Calgary Philharmonic Choice of Canada in 2019.

Relocating to the U.S. in 2004, Sofia has over 20 years of international teaching experience, and is fluently tri-lingual in English, Russian, and Romanian. Sofia specializes in teaching voice, piano, theory, harmony, and music history to students of all ages and skill levels. Many of her students have gone on to receive Royal Conservatory of Music certifications. She joined the Harmony family in the Summer of 2018, and continues to follow her passion of guiding students on their musical journey.

Cynthia Ward Cooper

Cynthia Ward Cooper

Head Instructor

Southwest Austin
Northwest Hills
Belterra

Cynthia began piano lessons at the age of 7. An Army brat whose family moved frequently, Cynthia had many teachers, notably Jim Dykes in Honolulu and Adel Galanffy in Central Texas. Through Dr. Galanffy, Cynthia can trace her musical genealogy to Liszt, Haydn, Czerny, and (her favorite) Beethoven. While still in high school, she was accepted to Mary Hardin-Baylor College’s piano performance program, studying under Dr. Sharon Wilson and Irene Edwards. Cynthia attended Rice University, where she continued her studies at the Shepherd School of Music. She graduated with a B.A. in History from Rice, and later earned an M.L.S. from the University of North Texas. 

After years as a librarian and consultant, Cynthia has happily returned to her musical roots. She loves teaching students of all ages, and delights in watching them progress. An experienced yoga teacher, Cynthia uses patience and kindness to meet students wherever they are on their individual musical journeys.

Cicely Deaton

Piano Instructor

Round Rock
Northwest Austin

Cicely has been studying piano for over fifteen years and was classically trained under Melanie Karr Munro. Cicely continued her musical career at The Academy of Art University, studying music production and sound design, receiving a B.S. in Music Business from the University of Colorado Denver in 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. She brings an upbeat attitude to lessons, and is willing to work patiently with every child’s learning needs. She is committed to nurturing creative minds and teaching practical piano skills to give students a lasting enthusiasm for music. Alongside teaching piano, Cicely also enjoys sightseeing, taco tasting and a good live band. She is currently studying Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin.

Quinlan Facey

Quinlan Facey

Piano Instructor

Central / South Austin

Quinlan Facey, from Dallas, Texas, is a pianist devoted to sharing his love for music and his instrument at the highest level of quality and passion. Quinlan first began his journey with classical piano at the age of 6 in Massachusetts, studying with Albert Avadyeyev. From the age of 12 and until his bachelor’s studies at the Eastman School of Music, he learned under the guidance of Baya Kakouberi in Dallas. At Eastman, he studied under the great pianist and Van Cliburn competition winner Alexander Kobrin. Quinlan has had the opportunity to perform across the country and in Europe. Some notable performances include: Beethoven’s third Piano Concerto in C Minor with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta at Carnegie Hall, Mendelssohn’s first Piano Concerto with the New Texas Symphony Orchestra, and various performances in Ragusa, Sicily, and the United States with the IBLA Grand Prize foundation. Some notable awards also include: first prize at the Nashville International Piano Competition and IBLA Grand Prize competition top prize and Prokofiev special mention. Quinlan is also a recipient of the prestigious Texas Young Masters grant, and is a frequent collaborator with the Blue Candlelight Music Series in Dallas. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Piano Performance at UT Austin under the guidance of Professor Anton Nel.

Andrew Held

Piano Instructor

Central Austin

Andrew studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he was a dual major in Piano Performance and Contemporary Writing & Composition. His teachers include: Daniel Smith, Daniel McIntyre, Vadim Neselovskyi, Jacques Schwartz-Bart, Suzanna Sifter, and Jeff Perry. He has vast experience as a bandleader, and has created hundreds of complete chord charts and comprehensive arrangements for many genres of music.

To quote Andrew: “I find myself engaging with as many different musical genres as I can. There are few things more rewarding and satisfying to me than playing music with people that I love, and the never-ending road of growth as a musician is one that I find to be equally as exciting as it is demanding. I always look forward to opportunities to spread the joy and passion that learning and understanding music ignites in me.”

Dorie Howard

Dorie Howard

Piano Instructor

Dripping Springs
Belterra

Dorie successfully auditioned for a local girl’s choir at the age of 7, and began playing the flute by 9. Although not formally trained, she played her parents’ upright piano for hours on end. By age 10, Dorie knew composing was her calling, and she has been writing music ever since. As a pre-teen, she began training with the Austin Chamber Music Society, eventually enrolling in the music school at the University of Texas at Austin to major in Music Composition.  She was later accepted into Texas State University’s Sound Recording Technologies program. While obtaining these degrees, she worked at Apple, Inc. as technical support, and also as a freelance flute and piano teacher, music transcriber, and as a composer for short films. These days, Dorie is happily splitting her time between teaching music and composing for short films, online streaming videos, and other media.

Kathy Kolesar, piano instructor for Harmony Lessons

Kathy Kolesar

Piano Instructor

North Austin
Cedar Park
Round Rock
Tarrytown

Katherine has been playing piano since she was six years old. She majored in Music and English at Texas State University, and has a passion for sharing her love of music with her students. Katherine enjoys sharing music with her students as a fun and fulfilling pursuit and an engaging, fun way to tell a story. She brings lots of energy and creative tools to her students and looks forward to helping them achieve their musical goals, whether it’s learning “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or a Beethoven sonata.

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 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.

Curtis Peel

Piano / Guitar Instructor

Driftwood
Central/North Austin
Southwest Austin

Originally from Dallas, TX, Curtis attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, majoring in Musical Composition. Curtis enjoys piano, guitar, voice, percussion, and music production. He has performed in a variety of bands, ensembles, and choirs in his 30+ years of music. He currently fronts the alternative rock band Futurist.

As a teacher, Curtis enjoys finding what students like most about learning an instrument and making lessons fun and engaging. Curtis emphasizes theory, composing, and songwriting in his curriculum, and tailors lessons and goals to each student.

Tony Perez

Violin / Guitar Instructor

Central/North Austin

Tony got his start in Las Cruces, NM, to a family of musicians. He started playing violin at 11 and guitar at 16, playing in his high school’s top orchestras, jazz band, and multiple gigging bands. In 2015, he continued to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, where he completed his undergraduate degree in violin performance. Tony taught violin, viola, cello, guitar, piano, ukulele, mandolin, music production, and music theory at the Flagstaff School of Music for 3 years. He continued to perform in and around the Flagstaff music scene with various folk, rock, funk, blues, jazz, and experimental music projects, and also formally studied both jazz and classical violin at NAU. Tony has been performing and teaching around the Austin area since July 2021, and continues to thrive in a new and extremely talented music scene. He spends his spare time composing, performing, producing, and doing what he can to broaden his understanding of music.

Josh Posada

Josh Posada

Voice / Piano Instructor

South Austin

Josh, a South Texas native, is a baritone, songwriter, and church music director who has a decade’s worth of experience in the world of music and teaching youth. He has a B.A. in Music with a vocal emphasis from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied under the world-renowned baritone David Small.

When Josh was in middle and high school, his teachers empowered him, helping him discover his love for music and setting him on the path to pursue music in college and as a career. These teachers have greatly impacted Josh, and motivate him to help students discover their gifts and purpose.

Josh’s approach to teaching voice and piano incorporates engaging and fun activities that help students grow in their love for music, and help them learn the skills they need to perform and succeed. He takes an individualized approach to teaching, listening to each student’s needs and crafting lessons to best suit them.

Rachael Rubright

Voice Instructor

Round Rock
Cedar Park

Rachael had her very first voice lesson at the age of 12 but began singing long before that, participating in church choir, school plays, and beauty pageants. Her official voice training occurred at the University of North Florida, where she studied opera performance under the tutelage of Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki, Dr. Elizabeth Wade, and Dr. James Hall. Rachael has been an avid community theatre performer for as long as she can remember, with some of her favorite shows including Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, and It’s a Grand Night for Singing

When not practicing her singing, Rachael enjoys swing dancing, yard work, and playing board games with friends. One of her favorite parts about being a voice teacher is helping students of all ages find and fall in love with their own wonderfully unique voices!

Michael Sanders

Piano / Guitar / Voice Instructor

Leander
Cedar Park
North Austin
South Austin

Michael Sanders is a multi-instrumentalist originally from Baton Rouge, LA. He has taught students ranging from ages 4 to 50 on piano, vocals, guitar, drums, bass, and trumpet. His favorite part of teaching is seeing his students get excited about the pieces they’re working on. His speciality is finding the right approach for each individual student.

As a songwriter and performer, Michael has played in bands ranging from jazz to pop to punk, and has been on multiple full-scale U.S. tours. New to Austin, Michael most recently lived in New York City for four years where he yearned his Master’s in Music Composition from Mannes School of Music at The New School.

Stephen Steele

Piano Instructor

Northwest Austin
South Austin

Stephen Steele is a homegrown Texan, raised near the Red River. He began taking classical lessons at a young age and attended various music festivals, workshops and competitions. At one of them, he met pianist John Shelton, who would become his teacher. Stephen continued his creative pursuits in an adjacent field, graduating from Texas State University in 2018 with a B.F. A. in Theatre with an emphasis in dramatic writing and direction. His studies allowed him to explore different methods of acting, improvisation and vocal training, which he incorporated into his musical endeavors at every opportunity. Plays, musicals, elaborately choreographed dance fights – you name it, he probably helped to score one!

Stephen enjoys being able to cultivate a comfortable environment in which students feel permission to be inquisitive and unafraid to make creative choices. Outside of music, Stephen enjoys gardening, listening to music, and walking, sometimes bringing along two very reluctant cats.


Charlie Tellez

Piano Instructor

Round Rock

Charlie has been studying music since the age of 11, when he was in his middle school band as a tuba and baritone player. He began learning to play piano while in high school. Charlie attended Stephen F. Austin State University, where he continued his musical studies, receiving a B.A. in Music with a focus in Sound Recording Technology.

Farshad Zadeh

Piano Instructor

Northwest 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 several 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.

Seth Zamora

Piano Instructor

South Austin
Central Austin

Joseph “Seth” Zamora is currently studying for his Master’s degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas, Austin. In his free time, you can find him composing. Several of his pieces have been premiered; he also composes regularly and is an actor with the Everyman Ensemble Theatre Company.

His piano journey began as a freshman in high school. Two years later, he enrolled at the El Paso Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Dr. Esequiel Meza. He graduated from New Mexico State University in 2018, where he studied under Dr. Laura Spitzer.

Seth has competed in several competitions throughout New Mexico and El Paso. Some of his accolades include: second place in the Dennis Alexander 3rd Annual Piano Competition and the El Paso Youth Symphony Orchestra Inaugural Piano Competition; honorary mention in the Jackie McGehee Young Artists Competition; first place at the EPYSO Concerto Competition; first place at the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra Inaugural Young Artist Competition; first prize in the Third Annual UTEP Piano Competition. In 2017, Seth won the prestigious Theodore Presser Scholarship.

Kristen Smith

Founder

Kristen Smith is the studio founder and director of Harmony. Kristen has a B.A. 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. 

Kristen created 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. The success of the studio is a result of her organizational skills, creative abilities, and commitment to hiring skilled teachers who embrace the studio’s philosophy.