Private lessons are the single greatest investment that a parent can make in their child’s musical career, especially in band! Private Lessons allow for students an uninterrupted, individualized instructed lesson from a master teacher and player of their instrument. Students who are in lessons progress through the band curriculum much faster, and with more comprehension and understanding than other students. The best thing about private lessons is that they are completely focused on each student's learning and growth. If your student wants to learn above and beyond what their band class is doing, private lessons are the perfect way to encourage that extra growth. Private lessons are the #1 way for students to "get ahead" in learning and excelling on their instrument.
Invest in your child’s education from the beginning in order for them to have the greatest opportunity for music success in band! Below is a list of private lessons teachers that are hired and recommended by the JJ Pearce Cluster Band Staff to teach our students. Please contact them directly to schedule and setup lessons.
HOW DO LESSONS WORK?
Lessons occur once a week and cost only $22 per lesson. Lessons can either occur before school or after school at either Parkhill JH, JJ Pearce, North JH, or at the private teacher’s home.
Your weekly lesson time and location is figured out with the lesson teacher. While the band directors may be able to assist, most of the lesson process is handled directly with the lesson staff!
** If you ever have trouble getting in contact with a lesson staff member, please contact the directors immediately to let us know. We can help!**
Below you will find the contact information for our private lesson staff. These teachers have advanced music degrees and have been thoroughly interviewed and vetted by the Parkhill and JJ Pearce band staff as well as Richardson ISD. If you would like to schedule private lessons for your child, please reach out to the teacher listed for the instrument that your child plays! If you have questions about the private lesson program or about lesson scholarships, please contact Ms. Vandergriff at email@example.com.
Meet the Lesson Teachers
Ms. Hannah Peterson was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, just shy of the Appalachian mountains. She began flute at age 11 with no musical experience. Due to a shoulder injury, she struggled in the beginning. But after a while, Ms. Peterson fell in love with the flute and knew she would spend the rest of her life playing it! Ms. Peterson earned her Bachelor's in Flute Performance and Music Theory from the University of Georgia under the tutelage of Angela Jones-Reus. She moved to Dallas in 2020 and graduated from Southern Methodist University with a double Master's in Flute Performance and Music Theory Pedagogy. There she studied with Jean Larson Garver and Deborah Baron, both of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This is her 2nd year teaching for Richardson ISD, but has been teaching privately for 9 years. Ms. Peterson is so excited to work with your students and can't wait to see how much they grow!
Martha Kleiner Stephenson has performed oboe and english horn throughout the United States and abroad. She has held positions as an acting section member of the National Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and the Auckland Philharmonia. Martha is a regular guest musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and joined the orchestra on their 2019 international tour. Ms. Kleiner has been a guest principal with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony, and has had other performances with the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Utah Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and Charleston Symphony.
Martha is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Colburn School. She was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and spent other summers at the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and Music Academy of the West. Her teachers have included John Ferrillo, Anne Marie Gabriel, and Alan Vogel.
Clarinetist Joshua Partridge has performed throughout the United States and Europe. Often a featured soloist, Joshua had the pleasure of playing multiple concerti at summer concert series with the American Guild of Organists (USA) and Ely Cathedral (England). He was also a performer at the University of Oslo’s International Cultural Evening, where he was selected to represent the United States. As one of the founding members of the 4CRNRS clarinet quartet, Joshua promotes new music for the quartet medium and actively sought to premiere works throughout the metroplex. The quartet recently won the George Papich Chamber Music Competition and had an active outreach and public performance schedule throughout the past year. He has also collaborated with Grammy winners and nominees such as Hila Plitman, Kurt Eiling, Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marseilles, and Joe Gradsen. His main teachers have been Kimberly Cole-Luevano, Lisa Oberlander, and Gregory Raden.
Kaitlyn Harris is a graduate of Texas Tech University where she received her Bachelor of Music Education degree and studied clarinet with Dr. David Shea. While at Texas Tech, Mrs. Harris was a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Goin' Band, and TTU Clarinet Choir where she performed at TMEA in a featured Clarinet Clinic. Mrs. Harris was also an active member of Tau Beta Sigma and held multiple leadership roles in the organization including Vice president of Membership. After completing her degree, Mrs. Harris began building her studio and now teaches students across three districts in the area. She currently resides in Carrollton with her husband Tyler, their dog, Scout, and cat, Nova, where she spends her free time reading and trying new recipes on her family.
Leslie Massenburg is one of the most sought-after bassoonists and contrabassoonists in the DFW area. She has frequently played and toured with Dallas and Ft. Worth Symphonies and most recently played much of the season with the Dallas Opera Orchestra. She is principal bassoon of the Dallas Chamber Symphony, Plano Symphony, and Irving Symphonies. She is second bassoon with the Richardson Symphony, and contrabassoonist with the Dallas Winds and East Texas Symphony. She can be heard on several recording projects, including several of the Dallas Winds’ Grammy-nominated albums, live Dallas Symphony and Ft. Worth Symphony recordings, a video game soundtrack, and a recording of Appalachian Spring by the Dallas Chamber Symphony not yet released.
In addition to a full orchestral schedule, she performs outreach concerts with the Texas Winds, is frequently requested for presentations to school children ahead of their field trips to see the symphony, and enjoys accompanying her students on the piano for their solos contests and recitals. She carries a large private studio of bassoon students in the metroplex and beyond, and has enjoyed watching the successes of current and former students, including many full scholarship awards to prestigious music schools around the country.
Mr. Epler has appeared with notable ensembles across the nation as a soloist and performer, including the Dallas Winds, Crosswinds Jazz Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and Michigan State University Wind Symphony. Most notably, he is a founding member of the Group 2 saxophone quartet, who has gone on to advance and place in numerous international competitions, such as the MTNA Chamber Music Competition, NOLA Chamberfest, and NASA Quartet Competition, and maintains a performing, competing, and touring schedule throughout the year.
Comfortable in both jazz and classical styles, Mr. Epler has performed with some of the world’s leading jazz musicians, including Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Lynn Seaton, Wayne Bergeron, and Dallas big band Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble. In addition to being a performer, Mr. Epler is an active teacher and clinician in the Michigan and Dallas/Ft. Worth areas. He graduated from Michigan State University, with a BM in Music Performance, where he studied saxophone, piano, and voice.
Mr. Epler’s primary saxophone teachers include Mark Lara, Roy Allen, Jr., Matt Sawyer, and Joe Lulloff.
Tyler Moore is a native to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He received his undergraduate degree at Baylor University with Wiff Rudd, Mark Schubert, and Alex Parker. He also earned a Master's of Music from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music under the tutelage of former Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony and renowned solo artist, Craig Morris. Mr. Moore was a member of the trumpet ensembles from Baylor that competed at the National Trumpet Competition and won 1st prize in 2017, 2nd prize in 2018, then 1st prize again in 2019. Also at Baylor he had the joyous experience of being the trumpet soloist for Bach’s virtuoustic “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2”. Additionally, he was named 'honorable mention' for the 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artist competition, trumpet apprentice for the 2019 Hot Springs Music Festival (under the guidance of Memphis Symphony Principal Trumpet Scott Moore), and a finalist for the 2019 International Trumpet Guild's Mock Wind Band and Solo Competitions. In 2018 and 2019, he attended the Chosen Vale Seminars for Advanced Music and was a 2020 finalist for the Ictus International Trumpet Competition. Professionally, Mr. Moore has had the fortune of working with groups such as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Grand Opera, New World Symphony, and the Waco, Irving, Plano, and Richardson Symphonies.
Jackson Ward was born and raised in Plano, Texas, where he began playing French Horn in the Murphy Middle School Band at the age of 11. At Plano East High School, he found a love of marching band and orchestral music. He continued his musical path as a member of the Lone Star Youth Winds and later the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Throughout his schooling he took lessons from Stuart Womble of the Irving and Richardson Symphonies. Jackson is currently enrolled at Southern Methodist University to receive a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Horn Performance in 2025. There, he has studied with Haley Hoops, David Heyde, and Gregory Hustis of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He performs with the Mustang Marching Band, the Meadows Wind Ensemble, the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, and the contemporary ensemble “SYZYGY”. He has also played in professional recordings for the soundtracks of two video games! He has taught at middle school band camps in Plano and given private lessons at the Townview School in Dallas. Jackson is excited to share his love of music and constantly improve at what he does.
Jerrick Cendejas recently graduated with a Master's in Music from Baylor University in 2022. He is currently teaching in the Richardson area. He has performed with the Houston Symphony, the Waco Symphony, and the Temple Symphony. Cendejas enjoys performing as a soloist and in chamber settings. He has performed as a horn soloist with the Baylor University Women’s Choir, Calvary Baptist Choir, and Lake Shore Baptist Choir. He was also a previous member of several groups, including the Kumago Brass Quintet, Baylor Graduate Brass Quintet, Berraco Winds, and the Czech for 5 Quintet (containing Violin, Clarinet, Horn, Cello, and Piano). As an advocate for music accessibility, he travels to nursing homes and local schools to offer outreach performances. He has experience in playing a variety of musical styles, including Gershwin and Sondheim. Additionally, Mr. Cendejas is strongly connected to his Hispanic and Latino heritage, and enjoys arranging and performing Hispanic/Latino music. When he is not teaching or performing, Cendejas enjoys working at Starbucks, reading, and knitting!
Mr. Ward is originally from Rockwall Texas, where he first began to love the trombone in his middle school bands. He then continued playing into High school where he performed for the All State bands and orchestras from 2015-2018. After high school, Mr. Ward went to school at Baylor University, where he studied under professor Brent Phillips. At Baylor, Mr. Ward was involved in the Baylor Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and many different chamber groups. This is also where Mr. Ward began teaching several high school and middle school students. Now he is here in the Dallas area, trying to spread his passion for music and education while he works on professional auditions for various orchestras and wind ensembles.
Dr. Shaffer is the Tuba and Euphonium Instructor for the J.J. Pearce and Lake Highlands band clusters in Richardson ISD. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University (BME), University of California Los Angeles (MM), and Texas Tech University (DMA) and has taught private lessons since 2014. Dr. Shaffer performs with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. His students have won numerous accolades, including placement into TMEA All-State Bands and Orchestras, All-Region Bands, and World Class drum corps.
Cameron Zawadzki is a recent graduate from Texas A&M in Commerce where he earned his Bachelor of Music Performance. At TAMUC he studied under Dr. Brian Zator, Sandi Rennick, Kent Hillman, and Cory Doran. During his time at the university he was able to perform with the Pride Marching Band, Percussion Ensembles, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Panamation Steel Drum Ensemble.
Mr. Zawadzki participated in numerous extracurriculars and competitions throughout his time at Texas A&M in Commerce. In 2017, he placed first in the P.A.S.I.C. Collegiate marimba competition. In 2018, he marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard and won the DCI World Championship as well as the Fred Sanford high percussion award. In 2019, he won the TAMUC Concerto Competition and got to play Gillingham’s Concerto No.2 for Marimba and Wind Ensemble with the TAMUC Wind Ensemble.
Michael Ptacin, DMA, is a percussionist and educator living in Dallas, Texas. In addition to their private lesson studio, Michael teaches applied percussion at Collin College - Spring Creek and has been a percussion consultant for several schools over the years. Michael maintains an active performance schedule as a drum set player and percussionist for musical theater throughout DFW including theaters such as Dallas Theater Center, Uptown Players, Lyric Stage, and WaterTower Theatre. In addition to performing, their work with theaters includes programming synthesizers and MainStage, as well as setting up and instructing others in the use of MainStage, Logic, and Ableton Live. They have performed as a soloist with the UNCG Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Concert Band, at Lawrence University and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. As an ensemble member, Michael performed with the North Carolina Brass Band, Gate City Percussion Ensemble, Salisbury Symphony, and the world-renowned Dallas Winds. They are a woodworker and craftsperson, specializing in building and repairing musical instruments and accessories, and their work can be found in schools, colleges, churches, and the inventory of professional musicians and performance ensembles.