Buford Faculty

Meet the Buford Music Teachers

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Enter the category for this item: Violin, Viola, Piano
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Anne Anderson, Violin, Viola, Piano
Ms. Anderson has intensely studied to teach the violin and also studied at Gwinnett Technical College for a specialized degree. Ms. Anderson primarily draws from the Suzuki approach and integrates music history, international classical studies, music theory and ear training into her teaching. She also incorporates fiddle and ethnic teaching styles. While Ms. Anderson specializes in young beginners, she accepts students of all ages. Her goal is to teach students strong practice techniques and help them develop a love for music as an art form.
Enter the category for this item: Double Bass, Cello, Guitar
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Bjorn Anderson, Double Bass, Cello, Guitar
Mr. Anderson studied at Texas State University in Double Bass Performance with Dwight Shambley and Roger Fraterna of the Dallas Symphony. He also studied Electric Bass Performance at the Atlanta Institute of Music. He has performed with both Florida and New Mexico All-State Orchestras and with the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood Festival in Lenox, MA. His other professional experience includes hundreds of theatrical performances w/ 14th Street Playhouse Company in Atlanta.
Enter the category for this item: Piano
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Angela Anzai, Piano
Angela began her piano studies at the age of seven in Atlanta, GA. Her passion for performance was evident in those early years and has led her to participate in numerous recitals and to become an experienced competitor of annual in-state competitions receiving top ratings in local and state-wide organizations including the Georgia Music Teachers Association, Georgia Music Educators Association, and the Georgia Bach Competition among others. In 2007, Angela decided to pursue a degree in Piano Performance at Kennesaw State University and was honored with the Emmanuel Ax Piano Scholarship and the Steinway Society Endowed Scholarship and in 2014 completed her Bachelor’s in music performance. She has performed with exclusive groups such as Lisa Kaplan of eighth blackbird, Simone Dinnerstein, Alisa Weilerstein, and The Ying Quartet
Enter the category for this item: Violin, Fiddle, Guitar, Piano, Mandolin
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Rita Atkinson, Violin, Fiddle, Guitar, Piano, Mandolin
Rita began studying classical violin and piano at a young age. She later took up guitar and fiddle and graduated with honors in the Atlanta Institute of Music's guitar program in 2003. In 2013, she returned to the Institute to complete the keyboard program. Rita is trained in many styles including classical, jazz, bluegrass, rock and more. Her lessons focus on music theory in addition to developing good reading skills and technical ability. Through hard work and the reinforcement of good practice habits, students will develop the skills needed to achieve their musical goals.
Enter the category for this item: Piano, Voice
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Yelena Ayzenberg, Piano, Voice
Ms. Ayzenberg graduated from Rimsky-Korsakova College of Music, Mogilev, Belarus and received the “Diploma o Nepolnom Visshem Obrazovanii”. She also received a Specialist Diploma in Culture and Education from Kult-Prosvet College of Music, Mogilev, Belarus. She has over 20 years of teaching and performance experience and she joined our faculty in 2005.
Enter the category for this item: Piano, Banjo, Guitar
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Zane Brock, Piano, Banjo, Guitar
Zane Brock is a retired Gwinnett County elementary school teacher with a BA from Furman University, a MA from Western Carolina University and a EdS. from Lincoln Memorial University. Using a classical approach, Zane mixes his lessons with fun in order to keep kids engaged and make the experience an enjoyable one. In addition to traditional piano teaching, he also instructs students how to play the keyboard in much the same way you would play guitar, by understanding chords, which inversions to use and when, along with playing lead. Zane is also an expert 5-string banjo picker and offers instruction from beginner to advanced.
Enter the category for this item: Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Ukulele
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Eric Denton, Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Ukulele
Eric Denton has been a musician all his life. He has been in the Atlanta music scene since 1994 and graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music in 2002. Mr. Denton has been teaching with New School of Music since 2005. He teaches acoustic and electric guitar; both flatpicking and finger-picking styles, as well as slide guitar. He also teaches Ukelele, Electric Bass, Mandolin, Dobro and Lap-steel style guitar. Eric is experienced in teaching all ages and all genres.
Enter the category for this item: Violin, Piano
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Marina Dmitriyev, Violin, Piano
Ms. Dmitriyev has over 30 years of teaching experience with Traditional and Suzuki methods. Her philosophy is that the gift of music is for everyone and strives to bring out the best in her students. She started playing violin and piano at age 5 and received her Violin Performance and Teaching degree at St. Petersburg (Russia). Some of the groups she has performed with include the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Opera Company, and Fredonia Chamber Player in addition to other professional and community orchestra.
Enter the category for this item: Clarinet, Bassoon
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Debra Fulton, Clarinet, Bassoon
Mrs. Fulton received a Bachelor of Music Ministry from Ozark Christian College. She studied clarinet at Pittsburg State University and minored on the piano and bassoon in addition to other woodwinds. She is the associate musician at her church and she plays in other community groups. She involves her students in recitals and other opportunities to play.
Enter the category for this item: Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Trumpet
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Don Gardo, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Trumpet
Don Gardo graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone performance from GA State Univ. and was privileged to study with retired Atlanta Symphony principal trombonist, Harry Maddox, and tubist, Michael Moore. Don has also performed with ASO, Savannah Symphony, Colorado Philharmonic, and Spoleto Festival Orchestra, to mention a few. He was principal trombonist with the Virginia Symphony and Opera Orchestra. Don has almost 30 years of teaching experience and believes that making music is an art form.
Enter the category for this item: Drums
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Adam Goodhue, Drums
Adam studied diverse music genres and performance at UC Berkeley and CA Jazz Conservatory and is a national and international touring and recording artist. For the past twenty years Adam has performed, toured and recorded in a dizzying array of musical genres ranging from Rock to Jazz, Hip Hop, Country, West African, Brazilian, Reggae, Musical Theater, etc.. Adam has performed with Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, Peking Opera, Atlanta Pops, Col Bruce Hampton to name a few. While keeping a busy gigging schedule, Adam has always had a flourishing teaching practice that has seen many students off to top music schools. Adam likes to share his love of all music while nurturing the music that draws the student to the instrument. Adam had found that a focus on listing, mastery of the fundamentals and playing along with music the student is passionate about is a key to any musician’s success. Adam also bring in a lot of supportive technology into his lessons that allowing students to experience the music from multiple learning angles to support different learning styles.
Enter the category for this item: French Horn, Dulcimer
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Stephen Hanner, French Horn, Dulcimer
Stephen Hanner graduated with bachelor’s degree in music from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL. A busy multi-instrumentalist who lives by the phrase, “play more things, get more gigs,” he has performed around the country and the world with a variety of concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, chamber music groups, rock bands, and church groups.
Enter the category for this item: Drums, Percussion
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Nico Lembo, Drums, Percussion
Nico Lembo has been playing and teaching drums professionally for the past 15 years, holding a degree in jazz studies from the University of North Florida. He has played in some of the most prestigious concert halls and venues in the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York. He has toured the country over as a member of Atlanta bands such as Larkin Poe and The Whiskey Gentry. These days, Nico spends his time playing with local Atlanta band The Emerald Empire Band and Christopher Alan Yates (a member of Ed Roland and the sweet tea project) among many others. As a teacher, his students have gone on to play in the drum line at the University of South Florida and with the touring ensemble of School of Rock. Nico likes to teach students their favorite songs and impart on them his experiences as both a hired gun and a band member.
Enter the category for this item: Flute, Piccolo, Oboe
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Brittany Miller, Flute, Piccolo, Oboe
Brittany is a 2009 graduate of the University of West Georgia, holding a BM in Music Education in Flute. Brittany became Piccolo Section Leader with the UWG Marching Band in 2008. Brittany has been a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association since 2005 and has participated in the Music Educator's National Conference ever since. She is certified to teach P-12 in all music areas and enjoys watching students grow in music and come to love it as she did.
Enter the category for this item: Bassoon, Oboe, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone
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Brad Nelsen, Bassoon, Oboe, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone
Brad Nelsen is a professional woodwinds teacher and performer native to the Atlanta area. He received his Bachelor's of Music Education from Columbus State University and his Masters in Wind Conducting from the University of Nebraska. He has performed on bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, flute, and oboe in several orchestras, symphonies, wind bands, and musical theatre productions for over a decade. He has taught public school band in Alabama and Arkansas for four years. Brad continues to conduct and perform regularly around Atlanta. He looks forward to working with you to improve your musical skill and your love of all things woodwinds
Enter the category for this item: Guitar
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Fausto Ojito, Guitar
Fausto has been a guitar and percussion teacher since 2002. He is a seasoned performer in many styles including Latin, Rock, Blues and World Music among others. Fausto studied Music and Musical Education at Universidad Del Atlantico (Barranquilla, Colombia) and has a Technical Degree in Music performance from Escuela Distrital de Artes E.D.A. (Barranquilla, Colombia). Mr. Ojito has worked as producer, session musician and band member for artists such as: Lizandro Meza, Joe Arroyo, Checo Acosta, Joe Quijano, Juan Carlos Coronel, Juventino Ojito, Francisco Zumaque, Altafulla, Chane Meza, Karen Lizarazo, among others. Two times Latin Grammy Awards nominee.
Enter the category for this item: Drums, Guitar, Bass Guitar
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John Pagano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums
John Pagano is an international touring musician fronting his own John Pagano Band. He has been touring since the age of 11 winning 3 Independent Blues Awards as well as hitting #1 in the U.S. for Blues Rock airplay. John has been voted, “100 guitarists you should know” by TrueFire.com and endorsed by EPIPHONE. John is a voting member for the GRAMMYs. He has received his Bachelors’ degree in Music from Five Towns College in New York. John has taught over 200 students and for over 13 years. Many of his students have excelled in the music industry as professional musicians as well as on an academic level. John specializes in improvisation, music theory, and musicianship. He is well known for his Blues and Rock roots.
Enter the category for this item: Saxophone, Piano, Jazz Improvisation, Arrangement & Composition
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Jeff Simmons, Saxophone, Piano, Jazz Improvisation, Arrangement and Composition
A native of Gainesville, GA, Jeff earned his Bachelor’s in Music at the University of Georgia, and received his Master’s in Music Performance at the University of South Carolina. Jeff has performed with such diverse artists as Ray Charles, Mary Wilson, The Temptations, Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, The Savannah Jazz Orchestra, The Carolina Philharmonic, and The North Carolina Symphony. As a teacher he has been an adjunct professor of music at Cape Fear Community College and has been staff arranger for UNC Marching Tar Heels, and the NC State Marching Wolfpack. He has been a featured musician at the Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach, SC as well as a production assistant featured as both a saxophonist and as a pianist. Jeff enjoys sharing his music talents with children of all ages both young and “aged”.
Enter the category for this item: Piano, Voice
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Jonathan Smith, Piano, Voice
Mr. Smith has a Bachelor of Music in Piano/Theory degree from Georgia State University and a Master of Music Theory degree from Southwestern Seminary. He began piano lessons at age five and has been teaching piano for 25 years, during which time he has been a church pianist and also employed in business. Jonathan is honored and proud to be a member of the Grammy award-winning Atlanta Symphony Chorus, where he has been a member since 1997. He has sung in various choruses at church and throughout high school, college and graduate school. He and his wife Kim live in Snellville GA and have six grown children.
Enter the category for this item: Piano, Voice, Conducting
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Rick Smith, Piano, Voice, Conducting
Rick received Bachelor of Music degrees in both Music Education and Church Music from Shorter College. He co-founded New School of Music in 1997 and continues to own and operate 3 locations in NE Atlanta. Rick is a music minister at his church and is the Director of Choral Activities for Gwinnett Symphony.
Enter the category for this item: Flute, Piccolo, Piano
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Teodora Stoyanova, Flute, Piccolo, Piano
Ms. Stoyanova received Bachelor and Master degrees from the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. As a soloist and chamber musician she has toured Europe. After moving to the USA, she performed with the Atlanta Flute Ensemble, ‘Aulos Winds’ & DaSalo Solisti Chamber Orchestra. She is principal flutist of Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra. Teddy believes that music is an integral part of life. Her goal is to make learning/playing engaging, fulfilling, and to help each student reach his or her own potential.
Enter the category for this item: Violin, Viola
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Valentina Svidenyuk, Violin, Viola
Ms.Valentina, a native of Moscow, Russia, graduated as a violist from the Moscow Gnessin Music College and Moscow Gnessin Academy of Music.For more than thirty years she has served in prestigious and leading orchestras such as the State Academic Symphony Capella of Russia, the Arco Chamber Orchestra and some others as a principle violist, and has performed on multiple stages in Russia as well as on many concert venues abroad, including Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, Greece, Austria, the UK, Israel and a number of others.
At the same time Valentina continued to teach music in private studios. Her rich live musical and stage experience, direct communication with the audience through musical performance, the feeling of music as a live and exciting process were transferred to her everyday pedagogical methods. She believes that musicians with active stage practice can give young musicians a direct sense of rhythm, phrasing, musical form, ensemble communication, artistic feeling and performing courage.

Enter the category for this item: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Conducting
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Robert Trocina, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Conducting
Mr. Trocina received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Kennesaw State University and completed further studies at Georgia State University. He studied orchestral conducting under Thomas Wubbenhorst, Patricio Cobos, William Fred Scott and Steven Byess, and trumpet/brass performance under Mark Hughes, Jim Thompson and Stephen Winnick. Mr. Trocina is co-founder of New School of Music (1997), Music Director and Conductor of Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra (1997), and Music Director and Conductor for Northeast Atlanta Ballet (2008).
Enter the category for this item: Voice, Piano
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Billy Valentine, Voice, Piano
Billy received a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Shorter University in 2011. He is an accomplished pianist and vocalist, having performed in many different settings including symphonies, jazz bands, theater, and his church.
Enter the category for this item: Violin, Viola, Voice
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Cortney Whiting, Violin, Viola, Voice
Cortney studied music at Berry College and has been playing the violin for over 25 years. She began her music career in musical theatre. Cortney has performed in both orchestral and contemporary band settings. In teaching, she uses a custom blend of classical methods catered to what best suits each student. Many of Cortney’s orchestra students have been principal chairs in their school orchestras and perform in honor orchestras as well. She is also well versed in teaching vocal lessons, implementing classical technique.
Enter the category for this item: Percussion
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Thomas Wubbenhorst, Percussion
Thomas Martin Wubbenhorst was an Adjunct Professor of Music at The University of Maine where he was director of percussion studies, conducted the Percussion Ensemble, and taught applied percussion and conducting. Previously, he was a tenured Associate Professor of Music at Georgia State University where he was chair of orchestral studies, director of university bands, and coordinator of instrumental conducting studies. Dr. Wubbenhorst returned to Georgia in June, 2015, and joined the faculty of the New School of Music; was the founding music director and conductor of the Gwinnett Symphony Wind Orchestra (Conductor Emeritus, 2017); and returned to Georgia State University’s School of Music as a part-time instructor of conducting for the 2015-16 academic year. Wubbenhorst is known in the United States, Canada, and South Africa as a conductor, clinician, composer, adjudicator, and percussion educator.