Great Lakes School of Music Music Teachers and Instructors 

Barbara Watkins

Barbara Watkins - Founder and Director - Beginning to Advanced Piano

Barbara L. Watkins of James Madison University, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. She has studied with Lowell Watkins (JMU, VA), Benjamin Whitten (West Chester State College, PA), and Benjamin Selman (Arkansas State University) while serving in the United States Air Force in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Barbara is the Founder, Director and Teacher of Private Piano at Great Lakes School of Music in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

Ms. Watkins served on the faculty at The Cleveland Music School Settlement from 1989-1999 in the Performing Arts and Early Childhood Departments, as well as the Cleveland Municipal Schools extension program. Aside from teaching, Ms. Watkins is an accomplished musician as a composer, arranger, and performer. In 1995, she was awarded the Lentine’s Music award for outstanding leadership in digital keyboard composition, arrangement, and performance.

Ms. Watkins led the 1995 Ohio Music Teachers Association (OMTA) Fall Seminar in Keyboard Technology and chaired the 1997 Music Festival at Judson Manor and 1998 and 1999 Music Festivals at Cleveland State University. Barbara L. Watkins is an active member of the National Piano Foundation, OMTA, Steinway Educators Partnership, and the National Guild of Piano Teachers, in which Barbara was placed on the National Honor Roll of Guild Teachers for having successfully prepared her piano pupils for entry in the National Piano Playing Auditions. Barbara was selected for the National Registers Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals.

Jacob Bernhardt - Beginning to Advanced Piano

Jacob Bernhardt earned a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Bob Jones University. He has been in love with the piano since he began lessons at age six. Jacob has won numerous competitions and scholarship awards both in college and beyond, and has worked extensively as an accompanist. His teachers have included David Lehman, Emilio del Rosario, and Deborah Gillette. Jacob is currently a graduate assistant in collaborative piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Jacob Bernhardt
Caitlin Luck

Caitlin Luck - Voice & Beginner Piano

Caitlin Luck is a soprano from Wellsburg, WV. She has her bachelors degree in Vocal Music Performance from Slippery Rock University. While attending SRU, she participated in several operas, performing such roles as Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Sister Genevieve in Suor Angelica.

Stephen Klunk - Drums

Stephen Klunk has been playing drums and percussion for sixteen years, and teaching for seven. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in music performance from Bowling Green State University. His saxophone and drum set duo, Patchwork, collaborates with composers to create a body of eclectic new music that draws from popular genres and the avant-garde. Stephen has a deep passion for metal and other rhythmically engaging styles of music. His musical interests include technique, independence, extreme dynamics, and unusual phrasing. Stephen loves to find inventive ways of teaching concepts to students and strives to convey the importance of curiosity and independent learning.

Stephen Klunk
Ann Marie Falcone

Ann Marie Falcone - Piano, Voice, and Clarinet

Ms. Falcone has been teaching private music lessons since 1994. Throughout her childhood and adult life, she took piano, clarinet, and voice lessons. As a young person she was selected to sing in the Children's Bach Choir of Bethlehem and was cast in various musicals. As a professional, she sang as soprano section leader and soloist at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church in Cleveland from 2006-2012 and as a chorister with Opera Circle. On clarinet, she performed with the Catalina Chamber Orchestra and Youngstown Symphonies. Her students' accomplishments include being accepted to the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphonies, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, and the Cleveland Music School Settlement Orchestra. Two have won a Cleveland Heights High School senior solo, their concerto competition. Students also participate in studio recitals and OMEA contests. Voice students have played roles in musicals and plays at Heights Youth Theatre, Beachwood Theater, the Beck Center, and Hathaway Brown's Summer Theatre Institute along with their school productions. She has had students in The Singing Angels of Cleveland, also. She's flattered and proud that many students stick with her for years, many until they graduate from high school and go to college for various careers with some coming back to take lessons with her during college. She earned her B.M. in Clarinet from Northwestern University and her M.M. in Clarinet from The University of Arizona, where she was a teaching assistant. She recently completed an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in nonfiction with accents in fiction and publishing.

Gary Siperko - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele, & Beginning Banjo

Gary Siperko is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA (B.Mus.) with over 20 years of experience teaching, performing, recording, and session work. Gary specializes in Contemporary and Classical Guitar with emphasis on Music Theory, Composition and Fretboard Theory. Gary helps students acquire strong compositional and songwriting skills, knowledge of chord construction, the ability to play scales, and skills necessary for improvisation. Other achievements include recording and producing two full-length albums achieving international airplay, distribution and reviews, regular live performances in Northeast Ohio and several European tours (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain), and the Ghent Festival in Belgium.

Gary Siperko
Nicholas Terelle

Nicholas Terelle - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, & Beginning Piano

Nick Terelle has been a dedicated musician for over 16 years.  He specializes in guitar, bass guitar, ukulele and beginning piano.  He graduated from the College of Wooster in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Theory and Composition, 2016.  Nick received his Master of Music Degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Capital Univerity in Columbus, Ohio.  His Master's Thesis focused on teaching adolescent youth and designing an adaptable teaching curriculum that focuses on each student's musical goals, needs and interests.

After teaching and performing in the Columbus area for over six years, Nick has returned to his hometown of Cleveland and is excited for new musical relationships and opportunities.  Nick's music influences include Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Tera Melos, and John Barry.

Gregory Berlin - Violin & Viola

Gregory Berlin is a graduate of Indiana University; he earned a BM in violin performance and BSOF in Business. In addition, he has an MBA in finance from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University. Gregory has performed with many different local orchestras & symphonies. He enjoys performing chamber music as a soloist or with small groups (duo/trio/quartet). Gregory currently serves on the board of the Broadway School of Music (BSMA) in Slavic Village Cleveland, Ohio. He teaches violin and viola at Great Lakes School of Music and Fairmount School for the Arts.

Gregory Berlin
Xirlita Pitsch

Xirlita Pitsch - Violin, Viola, & Cello

My violin-playing career began when I was five years old.  My parents, both violinists, were instrumental in my early education.  My first professional teacher was Dr. Hans Lange, conductor of the Albuquerque Symphony.   I also played in his chamber orchestra in Santa Fe.  Later I studied in Phoenix, Arizona, with Albert Shepherd and played in the Phoenix Symphony. I went on scholarship to Hartt College of Music and studied with Raphael Bronstein. Shortly before my graduation and after marriage to my husband John Oliveira, we both were accepted into the Kansas City Philharmonic.

I played there for four years until my husband became a first violinist with the Houston Symphony. Following the move to Houston, I played with the Houston Ballet.  At the same time I did a lot of free-lance work and began teaching privately. After twenty years in Houston my husband and I moved to Ohio where he died a year later.

I went back to school to study cello with Moshe Amitai at Kent State and earned a masters degree in Violin Performance at the University of Akron.  I created the “Youthful Chamber Orchestra” in Alliance, an intergenerational ensemble, mostly fuelled by my students.   I was also principal cellist of the Alliance Symphony and a violinist in the Youngstown Orchestra. After I remarried in 2002, I moved to Cleveland Heights. I have been a violinist with the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Heights Chamber Orchestra and the Suburban Orchestra. I also have been principal cellist with the Euclid and Lakeland orchestras.

I model my lessons on what I learned from Raphael Bronstein and on the successful techniques used by my late husband in his teaching days. My husband was the first teacher of his younger brother Elmar Oliveira who later became an internationally recognized violinist.   I enjoy especially the beginning student and am convinced of the importance of the early lessons as the foundation for a musician’s success.

Shari L. Armstrong - French Horn, Trumpet, Baritone, Euphonium, & Trombone

Shari Armstrong received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University Mount Union in 1992 and her Masters in Education from Malone University in 1995. While at Mount Union, she was involved in several ensembles, including the Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Brass Choir, and other smaller groups. The Brass Choir gave her the opportunity to perform in churches around the state of Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as performing at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. She has also played in pit orchestras for various musicals at the Carnation City Players in Alliance, Ohio.

Her career path has been a varied one over the years since college, including teaching music, working in child care, as a nanny, and most recently as a freelance writer and editor. She is also an active member at the Bible Baptist Church in Bedford, where she is on the Music Committee, performs special music with various vocal ensembles, and plays the French horn for the offertory. She has also directed the children's Christmas program and Shari is a  member of both the Cuyahoga Community College Orchestra and Solon Community Band.

Shari L. Armstrong
Matthew Salvaggio

Matthew Salvaggio - Oboe, Clarinet, Flute, & Saxophone

Matthew Salvaggio, a native of Huntsburg, Ohio, currently serves as Professor of Wind Ensemble at Hiram College. In addition to his teaching at Hiram, he is also a member of the applied woodwind faculty at Geauga Music Center, and is the music librarian and staff arranger for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

Prior to his serving on the faculty of Hiram, Mr. Salvaggio was the founder and conductor of the Kent Intercollegiate Wind Ensemble – a community/service-based ensemble in Kent, Ohio.  With that group, he conducted several successful world premieres and recorded two film scores.  Matt has also served as Graduate Assistant Director of Orchestras and Graduate Assistant in Bands at Kent State University.  In 2007, he served as a guest conductor in residence with the Medina Community Band.

Mr. Salvaggio is active as a guest clinician and has been invited to conduct local public school bands, community bands and summer music camps. Most recently, he has served as a Guest Conductor/Lecturer with the Lakeland Community College Civic Orchestra. In 2010, Matt was invited to perform a live conducting audition with the United States Army Bands – an honor reserved for a select few each year.

Matt holds memberships in the National Conductors Guild, College Band Directors National Association, Ohio Music Education Association, Music Educators National Conference, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and Tau Beta Sigma (’07).  Mr. Salvaggio earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from The University of Akron in 2008 and a Master of Music degree in instrumental conducting from Kent State University in 2010. At Kent State, Matt was a student of Wayne Gorder, Scott Seaton, Scott Curfman and Marcus Neiman.

Dmitriy Isakov

Dmitriy Isakov earned his Bachelor’s degree with honors in violin performing from Tchaikovsky Music Academy of Ukraine in Kiev. Passionate about piano as well, he studied piano performance at the University as a minor instrument. Dmitriy maintained his studying and earned Specialist degree with honors. Taras Yaropud, Bogdan Krysa, Raisa Rashina were among his teachers. During his career he performed music with many orchestras, participated in numerous festivals. Dmitriy completed master-classes with Mark Lakirovich at International Summer Academy, and received certificates in 2010, 2011. Participant of many international competitions, he won 1st prize at International Music Competition “Francesco Forgione” in Italy and a diploma from International Violin Competition “Remember Enescu” in Romania. Currently he is working on his Master’s degree in violin performance at Youngstown State University with Joseph Kromholz. Dmitriy teaches violin and piano in classical music, jazz, rock, and pop music for many years privately and in schools. He enjoys sharing music experience with students of all ages, and consider that music language helps us to learn life better, than anything else.

Dmitriy Isakov
Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams moved to Ohio from California. There he sang with Contra Costa Children’s Chorus for 11 years while also studying piano, guitar, and trombone. Through the chorus he was able to perform in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Vatican, and Notre Dame. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in music composition from Harvey Mudd College. In 2012 he began tutoring music theory as well as giving private guitar, piano, and ukulele lessons to students of all ages. Jonathan came to Cleveland from Columbus where he was a performing member of the Columbus Symphony. Now he sings in various groups and is a freelance composer/arranger. His most recent musical endeavors include his second Carnegie Hall performance (May '17) and his extended stay at the Dagara Music Center in Ghana, West Africa (May-June '17).

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