Program Directors

Anthony Gualandri: Anthony Gualandri is a cultural entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Music Kids. He has been an instrumental music educator for nearly two decades. Anthony studied violin performance at City Music Center of Duquesne University under Joseph Petron and Jeff Irwin and has taught both privately and in schools across the DMV, New York, and Chicagoland metro areas. Having also studied philosophy as an undergraduate, Anthony is the co-founder and trustee of a non-profit organization dedicated to the translation and publication of European WWII philosophical intellectuals who spoke out against Hitler and National Socialism. In addition to his work in both primary and higher education, Anthony also has a background in technology and holds a master’s degree in data science from DePaul University. Being of both Italian and Greek descent, Anthony has a passion for good food. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and four children.

Amanda Huchla: Amanda Huchla is an Assistant Director at Music Kids. Amanda is excited to work with your students! She has been a violin teacher to young children for many years, and is entering her sixth year as a faculty member at Music Kids, teaching at several schools in the area and serving as an Assistant Director. Amanda holds degrees in violin from Susquehanna University and Miami University (OH). She has also completed Suzuki violin teacher training courses. She is a member of the Columbia Orchestra in Columbia, MD, and enjoys reading, trying out new recipes, and spending time with family.

Brendan Lynch: Brendan Lynch is an Assistant Director at Music Kids. He is also a guitar and piano faculty member at Music Kids. A DC area native, he recently moved back to the area after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a masters degree in performance on the classical guitar. While at the University of South Carolina Brendan held an assistant professor position for a Guitar 101 class. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Guitar College while also performing internationally with the award winning Guilford Guitar ensemble. Since graduating Brendan has found his calling as a teacher and is very excited to be a part of the Music Kids faculty. In his spare time Brendan is a diehard DC sports fan and enjoys watching the Capitals and Nationals!

Teaching Faculty

rootcasino-si.comGabriela Potter: Gabriela Potter is a professional violinist, violist, and registered Suzuki violin instructor. Ms. Potter is registered for Violin Books 1-10 with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and completed intensive long-term teacher training with renowned Suzuki Pedagogue Joanne Bath. She recently completed teaching training with Danette Schuh in Suzuki Early Childhood Education, which is designed for students age 0 through 3. Gabriela received her Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, Magna Cum Laude, from East Carolina University in 2015. Since graduating, she has maintained a private studio in Greenville and Kinston, NC, and has performed with professional ensembles in eastern North Carolina. She is looking forward to exploring her new home city of Durham and is thrilled to be a full-time member of the Music Kids Teaching Faculty!

spilleautomater nettcasino norgeAndrew Knebel: Andrew is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music/University of Hartford where he was a student of Steve Larson. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in viola performance and music education. He has participated in master classes with John Largess (Miro SQ), Chauncey Patterson (Miami SQ), and Heidi Castleman. In addition to teaching violin on the Music Kids Faculty, Andrew is a violist in the Eastern CT Symphony in New London, CT and freelances on viola and violin in Connecticut and New York. He has also taught with the Hartt String Project and Project Music. He is on faculty at Summer trios and has also taught at the Lake Placid Chamber Seminar and the Young People’s Institute for Chamber Music. He is also a member of Quartetto Vivo and has played with The Living Room Players, the Spectrum String Quartet, and the Rocio String Quartet. Andrew has taught on the Music Kids faculty for seven years across the CT area, helping young students of all grades take their first steps in learning to play an instrument. 

Anne Lee: Anne is excited to be on the Music Kids team teaching all three instruments: violin, piano, and guitar! She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland- College Park and a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education from Johns Hopkins University. She loves teaching piano and violin to young children and ensuring that it is taught in a way that is engaging, developmentally-appropriate, kind, and patient. Anne has been teaching piano and violin privately for 10 years and has also taught in the Montgomery County Public School system for 5 years, working with students of different ages. Anne has also been in several orchestras including the Washington Youth Foundation Symphony Orchestra and the Washington Metropolitan Gamers Symphony Orchestra, and she has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and Carnegie Hall in New York.

boonusBrandon Lewis: Brandon is thrilled to be teaching violin, piano, and guitar with Music Kids again this year! Brandon is a graduate of Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Music degree. He has taught instrumental music at Ingenuity Prep Charter School, Garfield Elementary School, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and more. Brandon is highly organized and incredibly joyful music educator who is committed to helping your student thrive on their instrument.

Jennifer Crosby: Currently a freelance musician in Chicagoland, Jennifer is a vibrant face on Chicago’s conducting scene. Creating opportunities for music making and enriching musical artistic experiences for persons in her community is a great passion for Jennifer. Originally from Montana, Jennifer studied both instrumental performance and conducting at a young age, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC during their summer student high school program. She holds a Bachelor of Music from University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Music from Northwestern University. Jennifer was the Music Director for Chicagoland’s Tenuto Orchestra from 2009 through 2017 and also founded the orchestra’s string academy which served student’s 3rd – 8th grade in the Bensenville and Wood Dale areas. She has conducted many groups including at DePaul University, University Of Great Falls, Music Institute of Chicago, Midwest Young Artists, and Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall. Jennifer is excited to be a teacher with Music Kids working with students on all instruments violin, piano, and guitar! Jennifer lives in Evanston with her husband John, their son Little John, and their Landseer Newfoundland, Sparkie. When she is not enjoying teaching or performing music, you can sometimes catch her at the beach enjoying failed attempts at lake surfing, and Sparkie’s failed attempts at rescuing her.

Janet MarquardtJanet Marquardt: In addition to directing the Music Kids violin program at Coventry Christian School, Janet Marquardt is a private string teacher in Pottstown, PA and the Music and Arts Center in Exton, PA and has a studio of approximately 50 students. A number of her students have been selected to perform with the Reading Symphony Junior String Orchestra, Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Chester County Youth Orchestra. As a violinist Janet has performed with the Dave Stahl Sacred Orchestra, Allentown Symphony Orchestra, and Pottstown Symphony Orchestra. She has also been involved with a string quintet who performs for Berks County school students as part of the Reading Musical Foundation’s Music in the Schools Program. Janet received a Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona in May 2006 and a Bachelor of Music degree from Duquesne University in May 2004.

Leslie SmileLeslie Smile: Leslie received her B.M. in Violin Performance with Michael Davis and Charles Wetherbee at the Ohio State University in 2005. She received her M.M. in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy with Ronda Cole at the University of Maryland in 2007, also serving as the University of Maryland Suzuki Violin Program Administrator in 2007 and 2008. She is the longest serving Music Kids Faculty Member, teaching many dozens of Music Kids students over the past thirteen years. Ms. Smile served as Suzuki Instructor and Co-Administrator of the Animato Suzuki Violin Program from 2008-2012. Ms. Smile has served as a professional sectionals coach for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Orchestra and as a volunteer sectionals coach for the College Park Youth Symphony. In addition to Suzuki training, Ms. Smile currently serves as Music Mind Games Instructor and Suzuki Violin Instructor / Program Administrator for the Adacemy of Fine Arts Suzuki Violin Program in Gaithersburg, MD.

Saralilian Ravantabe: Lily graduated from the Conservatory of Vienna in Austria with degrees in Violin Performance. During that time she was involved in many orchestra and solo performances, with multiple ensembles performing many different types of music. She’s also collaborated with the Vienna Orchestra Association. Most recently, though, Lily taught music lessons to children in Greece with UNICEF international, which provided many different teaching and growing experiences. She is excited to be in the DC area now and working as a full-time faculty member of Music Kids! Lily believes learning an instrument is an amazing experience for children, and she strives to bring a positive, constructive, and unique experience to all students. She looks forward to working with students on all of the Music Kids instruments: violin, piano, and guitar!

Marta Samuel: Marta is a viola, violin, and piano teacher. She graduated from Addis Ababa University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music specializing in Viola performance in 2006. After her graduation, she was directly assigned as a teacher for 10 years where she also has worked as a director of the school for 2 years. Throughout her teaching years, she accumulated her music performance experience by participating in different solo concerts, chamber groups, and symphony orchestras. Marta also acquired her M.A. degree in Multicultural and Multilingual Education from Addis Ababa University in 2012. In order to advance her music-teaching career at higher education institutions, she completed the Higher Diploma Program from the College of Performing and Visual Arts/ AAU. All of these experiences have enhanced her skills as a music teacher in individual and group instrumental teaching techniques. Marta is excited to be a teacher with Music Kids, and is dedicated to helping her students find a love and appreciation for music!

Meghan Faw: Meghan is an avid performer and teacher based in the Chicago area. Originally from Texas, Meghan attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and studied with the now concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Frank Huang. Meghan completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 where she studied with Sandy Yamamoto (a founding member of the Miro quartet) and was involved in the University of Texas String Project. Meghan moved to Chicago in 2017 to pursue her Master of Music degree at DePaul University under Janet Sung. Since moving to Chicago, Meghan has taught outreach group lessons at various Chicago Public Schools and held her own private studio. She has also been trained in Suzuki violin books 1-3, with plans to continue her training. Meghan is excited to be joining the Music Kids faculty full time, and is looking forward to teaching your students violin, piano, and guitar.

Susannah Steele: Dr. Susannah Steele received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in piano performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and her Bachelor of Music from Furman University. As an active freelance artist, Susannah regularly performs solo and collaborative works throughout the Southeast, and she has performed with the UNC Greensboro, Winston Salem, and Furman University Symphony Orchestras, and Greensboro Opera. She has also won several piano performance competitions and studied at international piano institutes. As a teacher Susannah is has taught private piano lessons, group classes, and summer camps to all ages and abilities. For ten years she was taught at The Music Academy of North Carolina as an Associate Master Teacher of piano and early childhood music. She is Musikgarten licensed and certified, and has taught early childhood music classes for ESL, autism, and hearing impaired pre-K students in the schools, and for children from birth – age 6 with their parents. Susannah has taught courses and lessons at UNC Greensboro, NC A&T, Guilford College, Salem College, and Furman University, and continues to teach in various summer programs in North and South Carolina. In 2008 Susannah was the awarded the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award. Currently, Susannah teaches private piano lessons and early childhood music classes in Lincoln Park. She is also looking forward to woring with your students as a Music Kids teacher!

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