PIANO INSTRUCTORS

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RONAN DOWLING

Piano | Voice

DENVER STUDIO & ONLINE

Ronan Dowling began playing music in Minnesota when he was 6 years old. Piano was his first instrument but he came to love singing in high school. Since then, he knew music was his ultimate passion, and attended the University of Colorado Denver to pursue a degree in Songwriting and Music Business. Ronan has written over 50 original songs and plays out with local Denver bands Fresh Fruit!, Messenger Music Collective, and Grace Divine. With only a couple years of teaching under his belt, there's still much to learn as a music educator, but he's excited for the challenge and has absolutely loved teaching up to this point. He's a firm believer that music is all about self expression. Technique and repetition are obviously important, but how does music make you feel, when your fingers touch the instrument to when the first note is played, it's all about feel and creativity.

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ANDY WHITEHEAD

Piano | Guitar | Bass | Ukulele | Voice

DENVER STUDIO & ONLINE

Andy is a guitarist and songwriter in Denver with his Bachelor's degree in Jazz Guitar Performance from the University of Northern Colorado. He has performed throughout Colorado with his band, Strange Heavens, and under his own name. He has enjoyed teaching local and online lessons to all ages for over ten years now. In addition, his articles have been featured in Classical Guitar Magazine and other online publications. Instruments he teaches include guitar, piano, voice, songwriting, bass, and ukulele.

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JENNY LELEK

Piano | Voice | Ukulele

DENVER STUDIO & ONLINE

Jenny Lelek is ecstatic about being a voice, piano, and ukulele instructor at Pirisen! She has been teaching lessons for 3 years and enjoys seeing students grow overtime by achieving their goals. Jenny is a graduate of Iowa State University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education (K-12). One of Jenny’s philosophies as a teacher is to meet each student at their level, wherever they start at, and to grow from there. She wants each of her students to enjoy learning and playing music. In her spare time, you can find Jenny hiking in the mountains, playing with her dog, or spending time with friends and family. She’s excited to meet you! 

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EM KIVI

Violin | Viola | Piano

DENVER STUDIO & ONLINE

Em Kivi is fascinated by the effect of music on the body. They believe that everyone should have the chance to experience the joys of playing an instrument, without having to worry about affording it. They grew up in a family surrounded by music, and their parents wanted their children to learn, although neither of them played an instrument. 

 

Em started violin when they were four years old, and piano at five, studying through the Suzuki method with Frances Van Dorn in Bemidji, MN. They participated in orchestra throughout elementary, middle, and high schools, where they learned how to collaborate with others. Their first leadership position came as the concertmaster of the Bemidji High School Orchestra.

 

They attended St. Cloud State University for a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, studying with Dr. Marion Judish. They also participated in the St Cloud Symphony Orchestra and led the university orchestra as concertmaster. Currently they are attending the University of Denver for a Graduate Degree in Violin Performance with an emphasis in the Suzuki Method. They have been teaching for three years, and they hope to continue teaching violin and piano lessons throughout their lifetime, helping children to experience the joys of learning music.

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TIM GIRARD

Drums  | Piano | Guitar

ONLINE & LITTLETON STUDIOS

Tim Girard received a BM in Composition from the University of Rhode Island in 2001, and between 2001 and 2011 he did a variety of teaching, performing, and composing. He taught private lessons on snare drum, drum set, percussion, music theory, and composition as well as beginning piano, guitar, and bass guitar at More Than Music and The Purple Piano, and he was the Classical Percussion Instructor at the Community College of Rhode Island. For two seasons he was the Drumline Instructor for the Franklin High School Marching Band, and for 10 seasons he was the Drumline Instructor for the URI Ram Marching Band. As a percussionist he performed with the Thayer Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Wind Symphony, Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony, The American Band, Milford Concert Band, Symphony Pro Musica, Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra, Brown Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble, and Wheaton College Wind Ensemble. He also played drum set for musicals at the Prout School, Johnson and Wales University, and Franklin High School. He was also commissioned to compose music for the Woonsocket High School Concert Band, the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra, the Ocean State Youth Orchestra, the Ocean State Music Collaborative, and the URI Concert Band.

 

In 2011 Tim moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Music Theory II, Aural Skills II, and Orchestration until he received his M.M. in Composition in 2013. Since graduating he has kept himself busy teaching and composing. He has been tutoring college students in Music Theory, Aural Skills, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Technology, and for one season he was the Drumline Instructor for the Castle View High School Marching Band. For two seasons, he was the Composer for Opera Colorado’s Page to Stage program, and he has had numerous orchestral works performed at the Lamont Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Concerts. He has also collaborated with local directors and has composed the music to various podcasts, video games, and short films, including LEGO stop-motion animated films, and the trailer for a Star Wars fan film.

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HOLLY DIRENZO

Piano | Trumpet

ONLINE & CENTENNIAL STUDIO

Holly DiRenzo began her music endeavors at a young age in El Paso, Texas, beginning with piano lessons. She then began trumpet lessons at the age of ten and played in wind ensembles, jazz bands, symphonic orchestras, and marching bands all through high school. Holly started her college years at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and finished with a degree in Music Education with an Instrumental Emphasis after transferring to California State University Northridge (CSUN). Holly taught both private piano and trumpet lessons for seventeen years in Southern California before relocating to Colorado three years ago. She has since been employed with the Denver Public School District working with special needs students, utilizing music as a form of therapy and a mode of communication with these amazing kids. Holly teaches with passion and patience, emphasizing music theory and notation, ear training, many different styles and techniques, and above all else a long lasting love and appreciation for the arts.

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DR. DMITRI POGORELOV

Violin | Viola | Piano

CENTENNIAL STUDIO, LITTLETON STUDIO, & ONLINE

Dmitri joined the Colorado Symphony in 2018 as the Fixed Fourth Chair/First Violin. Previously he performed with the Phoenix Symphony, and Chicago Symphony's Civic Orchestra. 

A passionate educator, Dmitri has been sharing his love for music with students across the United States for nearly 20 years, teaching violin, viola, piano, and coaching orchestras and chamber groups. He has taught college level musicians at Northwestern University (Illinois), Western Michigan University (Michigan), and Lenoir-Rhyne University (North Carolina). He has worked with music lovers of every age and skill level at Kontras Quartet Workshop/Suzuki Institute (Virginia), Pine Crest School (Florida), New Art Center (North Carolina), and Bowdoin International Music Festival (Maine), among other places.

An avid chamber musician, Dmitri was a founding member and first violinist with the Kontras Quartet. He also performed with members of GRAMMY-winning and nominated ensembles such as Vermeer, Avalon, and Spektral string quartets, Eighth Blackbird, the Lincoln Trio, Ibis Camerata, as well as principal players of the leading American and European orchestras. 

As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra concertmaster Dmitri has performed on four continents including prestigious venues such as the Chicago Symphony Center, the Ravinia Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has also been featured on CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, and WFMT Chicago. 

Dmitri has collaborated with renowned jazz and bluegrass artists including Branford Marsalis, the Kruger Brothers, and Steve Martin, performing on main stages of the Telluride, Rocky Grass, MerleFest, and IBMA festivals. Dmitri can be heard on recordings of chamber music by Gunthur Schuller, Yehudi Wyner, Eric Ewazen, Kevin Volans, Dan Visconti, and Jens Krüger.

Dmitri was born in Russia to a family of professional musicians. Dr. Pogorelov holds degrees in Music performance from Northwestern University (DMA), Depaul University (MM), and Lynn University (BM), having studied with Gerardo Ribeiro, Ilya Kaler, Elmar Oliveira, and Sergiu Schwartz.

Dmitri lives in Littleton with his fiancée Emily. When not teaching or playing the violin, he enjoys exploring national parks, hiking, cooking, and watching soccer. 

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DANIEL NEBEL

French Horn | Piano  l  Organ  l  Trumpet

CENTENNIAL, LITTLETON & ONLINE STUDIOS

Dan Nebel is an accomplished French hornist, church organist, music director, and educator whose diverse career has taken him across the United States.  Currently the principal horn of the Monterey Symphony and organist at Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, he served as a bandsman with the United States Air Force.  Mr. Nebel regularly performs with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and recently returned to his hometown to perform Mozart's Second Concerto for Horn with the Los Alamos Community Winds.  Dan has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and held positions with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, North State Symphony, and Fort Collins Symphony.

A lifelong advocate for music education, Dan has performed as a guest artist and presented masterclasses at several universities, including soloist performances of Eric Ewazen's Shadowcatcher and Jeff Tyzik's New York Cityscape with the Whitworth University Wind Symphony, San Francisco State University Wind Ensemble, and Chico State University Symphonic Winds.

 

Dan holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction and a performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s from Wichita State University.  Additionally, he is a NASM-certified personal trainer, a graduate of the National Personal Training Institute of Colorado, a 200-hour Yoga Alliance instructor, and is working on a Doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado specializing in postural studies of horn players.  He enjoys hiking, backpacking, trail running, cycling, and rock climbing with his wife Erin in the beautiful public lands of the Western United States.

 

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NATALIE GALEY*

Voice | Piano | Guitar | Littletunes | Group Piano | Group Voice

ONLINE, LITTLETON STUDIO & CENTENNIAL STUDIO

Natalie Galey is a vocalist, guitarist, pianist and educator based in Denver, Colorado. She has performed and collaborated with numerous top-name performers and ensembles, including New York Voices founding members Peter Eldridge and Darmon Meader, and studied with jazz heavy-weights Theo Bleckmann, Dave Liebman, and Jim McNeely. She has performed in both the Chicago and New York jazz and pop scene, in venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field. She uses her background in jazz, blues, and rock to bring creativity and spontaneity into her classes and believes that music should be fun first and foremost. She carries her love of music into the classroom, and encourages play, growth, and creative exploration with every song, and strives to build community and friendships through song.

 

Natalie has an equal passion for educating and performing. She received her Master of Music in Jazz Performance degree in 2011 and her Master of Music Education at Columbia University in 2013. She has had the opportunity to study under Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, Gretchen Parlato, Rodney Whitaker, and Sunny Wilkinson. Natalie was raised in a rich musical environment, playing guitar, piano, singing, and songwriting from an early age. Her compositions are an eclectic fusion of jazz, blues, rock, and soul. As a singer of wide-ranging styles, she has established a reputation as a flexible and talented soloist, as well as a creative and reflective educator. She relocated to the Denver area and joined the Pirisen Family in July 2019.

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JEANNE TURNER

Piano | Violin | Cello

ONLINE & CENTENNIAL STUDIO

Jeanne has been a music instructor, private, small group, as well as general music, band, and orchestra, for the past 25+ years.  She holds her BA from the Fort Lewis College of Music, Piano Performance. Additional training and certification in the “Let’s Start Music” program, Ventura, Ca.

Her piano performance history includes solo and collaborative, classical, jazz, pop, Celtic styles. Church organist and pianist, wedding and special occasion pianist. Accompanist for musical theatre productions, choirs, and individual vocalists and instrumentalists. National Guild international winner for piano. She is a member and past adjudicator for National Guild and Certificate of Merit programs.

Styles taught: classical, pop, jazz, music theatre, liturgical music, Celtic music, basic musicianship and theory. She has taught in several prestigious music academies, including Colorado Music Festival and Center for Musical Arts, Lafayette, Co., Bietry Broadmoor Academy of Music, Colorado Springs, Co., and currently Forte Academy, Centennial and Littleton, Co.

Jeanne provides individualized plans for each student, adhering to Forte’s proven and comprehensive curriculum. She has taught all ages- 4 to 80+.  She believes music, as an art form, should be presented in a manner that fosters creativity, while maintaining core structure and appreciation for a composer’s intent.   Jeanne has a very supportive, nurturing and relaxed approach. She believes learning is a two- way street, and open communication is a key component of learning.

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ERIC WEIDMAN

Drums | Piano 

ONLINE, CENTENNIAL & LITTLETON STUDIOS

Eric Weidman is a drummer and pianist who has over 15 years of experience performing rock, pop, blues, jazz and funk. He has graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor’s in Music and Audio Engineering, and a minor in Music Business. Over the years, Eric’s passion for teaching drums, piano and occasional production courses has continued to grow, and this passion is reflected in the success of his students. As a teacher, Eric’s mission is not only to help students develop musical excellence and diverse skills, but also to help them emotionally connect to music and become lifelong music lovers. He aims to inspire positive learning and help students think critically and creatively as they develop the skills and appreciation they need to achieve their goals. 

 

In addition to playing and teaching drums and piano, Eric also has a strong passion for songwriting and electronic production. He has been producing music on the side for over 5 years and has had a number of successful songs signed to illustrious labels including Artist Intelligence Agency, better known as EDM.com and has been featured on OneEDM, the #1 EDM news source.

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DIANE WIELAND*

Piano

ONLINE, LITTLETON STUDIO & CENTENNIAL STUDIO

Diane Wieland is a passionate and dedicated teacher who teaches piano to students of all ages. Diane has been involved with music her entire life, starting when she was just six years old. She is a classically trained pianist, but also loves to play and teach pop and rock music. She worked at Imagine a Better World Recording Studio as a songwriter and producer for six years. After her time there, she began working as a Learning Specialist at Bear Creek K-8 School.

 

Diane is very excited to be a piano teacher at Forté Academy of Music! She believes that learning to play a musical instrument encourages students to excel in life skills such as having fun, problem solving, maintaining focus, developing discipline, and enjoying the results of hard work.

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ALEX NEWTON

Guitar | Bass | Piano

ONLINE & DENVER STUDIO

Alex Newton teaches guitar, bass, and piano. He began studying and playing the guitar at 10 years old. Alex received his Bachelor's of Science with an emphasis in Jazz from the University of Colorado at Denver. Alex has performed all around Colorado with multiple bands, including headlining Denver's Jazz at the park with his band Emma Mayes and the Hip. His teaching goal is to show each student that music is fun and should hold an important part in their lives above all else. When not teaching, Alex enjoys recording music at home, reading, and getting out for a good hike in the beautiful Colorado wilderness!

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ALEX TRUJILLO

Guitar | Piano | Ukulele

ONLINE & DENVER STUDIO

Alex Trujillo teaches acoustic/electric guitar, electric bass, ukulele and beginning piano. He began playing in his teens and has been playing the guitar for 20+ years. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Music from the University of Colorado. With over 12 years of experience as a professional musician, Alex has toured and performed throughout the US. He can teach a variety of musical styles including rock, pop, jazz, country and blues. Whether you're a beginner or advanced, Alex strives to help each student discover the joy in music! When not teaching, Alex keeps a busy performance schedule with a myriad of musicians and bands throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Alex also likes road trips, reading westerns and jogging in the park.

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BRAD FURLOW

Piano  l  Violin  l  Viola | Voice | Saxophone | Flute | Clarinet | French Horn | Trumpet | Oboe | Bassoon

ONLINE & DENVER STUDIO

Brad Furlow teaches piano, voice and all band and orchestral instruments. He began studying music at the age of 5 on the piano. He began his study of instrumental music at 8 years of old on the saxophone in 3rd grade, eventually expanding to include all instruments of the woodwind and brass families in his hometown of Mulkeytown, Illinois. Brad continued his study of music at the university level at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2002. He also pursued advanced study at the university level in instrumental conducting, brass pedagogy and music theory/composition. Brad continues to perform professionally as the Principal Tubist with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra and Denver Concert Band, as well as being involved with the Denver University Pioneer Pep Band and other regional bands and orchestra on a freelance basis. Brad’s philosophy of music is that every person can be musical, it’s just finding the right instrument to bring it out. He enjoys working with students of all ages. When not teaching, performing or composing, Brad enjoys traveling with his partner, and spending time with their three Siberian Husky “kids”.

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BRANT WILLIAMS

Guitar | Piano | Ukulele

ONLINE & DENVER STUDIO

Guitarist, pianist and composer Brant Williams (b. 1988, Webster City, IA) graduated from Iowa State University in spring 2011, earning a B.A. in psychology. Williams has studied jazz and composition with John Albaugh (Guitar Institute in Hollywood), Dan Schwindt (Denver University) and Fareed Haque (University of Chicago) as well as taken private lessons with Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa), Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy) and Chris McQueen (Snarky Puppy). Since 2009, Brant has been teaching Jazz and Rock to students of all ages throughout multiple states, and has played many styles -- including Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Punk, Classical -- professionally for almost 10 years, touring nationally and also taking the stage at local Colorado venues such as The Ogden Theatre, The Gothic Theatre, The Fox Theatre as well as performing in several festivals like Wakarusa (AK), 80/35 (IA) and the Bella concert series (MN). Brant is currently crafting new music in several groups: notably all star funk group Judo Chop and the nationally touring rock/fusion group The Workshy.

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JESSE MACLAINE

Piano | Voice | Ukulele

ONLINE

Jesse Maclaine Holt is a renowned mezzo soprano, pianist, composer, songwriter, producer, and instructor. In her youth, she studied classical voice, piano, musical theatre, pop, jazz, blues and world music with professionals from the Julliard School, NYU, FSU, UNO, Tulane University, Oxford University, CU Boulder and many others. She began writing songs at age 17, fell in love with jazz while studying at FSU, moved to New Orleans at age 20 to study jazz immersively and begin working full time in the music business. By age 24, she had assembled a stellar quintet, written two dozen original songs and begun recording and producing her first full length CD in collaboration with friends at RCA studios in Nashville. Jesse has dedicated her life to performing, creating music, and sharing the gift of music with students of all ages.

Decades of experience as a working musician combined with her extensive background in music, dance and theatre allow Jesse to craft every lesson to suit the unique interests, strengths and weaknesses of each student. Her personal experience with TMJ, anxiety, and disability issues provide unique insight for assisting students facing similar challenges. Her teaching method focuses on music fundamentals, proper form and technique as well as expanding creativity to support a healthy practice and encourage a lifelong relationship with music. She believes constructive criticism and positive reinforcement are crucial to making learning fun and ensuring music education is enjoyable for everyone!

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TREVOR JARGON

Guitar | Bass | Piano | Ukulele

ONLINE & DENVER STUDIO

Shaped and sculpted by the arts, Trevor, AKA Beom graduated from CU Boulder’s Thompson Jazz Studies program in May of 2018. Since then, he has been playing freelance jazz gigs on the upright bass, and is currently active in 8 Denver bands playing a multitude of instruments.

These projects include: BEOM, Eleanor Nash and the Ramblers, Escotet, VCO, Gio Bard Zero, Paradiso, Love Beom, and The Dead and the Daylily.

Beom is a lucky soul who has had the unbelievable opportunity to perform pop, synth-pop, classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, funk, rock, hip-hop, reggae, latin styles, African styles, Korean folk music, world music, R&B, singer-songwriter, and folk among other styles.

When Trevor isn’t teaching or performing bass (upright, 6string, fretless), guitar, piano, synth, music theory and composition, he is often found in his recording studio producing local projects with his team of artists and engineers, training martial arts, or painting pretty pictures.

Although Beom speaks and reads Korean about the level of 5th grader (or worse), performing internationally and having music professors and teachers from all over the world has led him to believe that music itself is a beautiful language that transcends nationality and dialect. He is more than happy to share and do what he can to help your musical journey blossom.

*Denotes teachers that donate lessons for our Scholarship Program.