Music Instruction

Private Music Instruction

Each week, there are almost two hundred music lessons taught by ten music specialists in the areas of voice, guitar, piano, and orchestral instruments within the school day. Students registered in music instruction receive graded, one-on-one lessons for 0.25 credits. In addition to the convenience of taking lessons during the school day, these lessons are available for a fraction of the cost of private instruction outside of school. Lessons are scheduled during RFT (study hall) or advisory periods.

Begin an Instrument

Many students at Villa Maria are highly successful at beginning a new instrument and then becoming a member of our Orchestra. Stringed and brass instruments can be borrowed for a nominal annual maintenance fee. Students with experience on the piano are especially encouraged to begin a new instrument in order to participate in Orchestra.

Performance opportunities

  • Piano Repertoire Classes
  • Voice Recital
  • Guitar Recital
  • Piano Guild Auditions
  • Constance Murray Piano Festival
  • Student Music Recital (Instrumental)

Instructors

Voice

Dr. Anthony Mosakowski, Ph. D. (Fine Arts Department Chair)

Dr. Anthony Mosakowski is Chair of Villa Maria’s Fine Arts Department. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from Temple University. He later earned a Ph.D. in composition at the University of Durham. Dr. Mosakowski is a music teacher and choral director at Villa Maria Academy where he teaches courses in music theory, composition, music technology, ear training, music appreciation, and applied voice; and directs the Concert Chorus and Madrigal Singers.

Dr. Mosakowski’s numerous compositions include works for a wide variety of media and audiences, and his special interests include choral and electroacoustic music. Dr. Mosakowski has also directed the Early Music Ensemble at Temple University, taught aural theory at West Chester University, and is currently a tenor vocalist with the Renaissance consort, Musica Humana, based in West Chester.

Mrs. Susan Anders Brizick

Mrs. Brizick has a passion for helping others to sing at their best potential and has been teaching voice lessons at Villa Maria Academy since 2007.  She also teaches in her private voice studio in West Chester, PA. Susan runs a summer musical theater series and coaches musical theater audition workshops and glee workshops throughout the year. She is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS), and is assisting with the re-vitalization of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. As a member of the Voice Foundation and the Classical Singer Community, she actively enjoys continuing her education as a teacher.

Susan has completed her first level of certification in teaching Contemporary Commercial  Music. She holds a M.M. in Voice Performance and Voice Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, Music Education Certification from West Chester University and B.A. in Voice Performance and Psychology from the University of Richmond. She also actively writes about all things related to singing on her blog and her website.

Susan’s students have won a variety of local voice competitions, placed first in All Catholic Choir, District Choir, and held multiple leads in area high school, middle school, and local musical theater productions.

Susan Anders Brizick is a wife and mother of two boys. She is an avid exerciser who believes that physical activity balances the body and mind. Susan also enjoys reading, cooking, and gardening.

Guitar

Mr. Dominic Mastrangelo

Mr. Mastrangelo is a graduate of the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, Ca. He plays acoustic guitar, classical guitar, electric guitar and bass. Dominic plays and teaches a multitude of styles including classical, Spanish, blues, jazz, rock and alternative.

He teaches students of all ages from beginner to pro, with an emphasis on sight reading, harmony and theory, improvisation, technique and composition. Dominic is an innovator in creating and developing the band workshops, guitar orchestra and clinic/seminar programs at Beam’s Music. Other classes he has taught in schools include jazz/rock band, harmony and theory and composition.

Dominic has composed, arranged, performed, recorded and produced over 25 albums in many styles. He is the author of six books for the guitar. His book “Blues Bag” has been used both in the USA and internationally.

Violin/Viola

Ms. Leah Kim (Director of Music)

Ms. Leah studied Performance and Pedagogy at Juilliard, Peabody Conservatory, and National Conservatory in France, and began her Doctorate in Music and Arts at Temple University. She was an Associate concertmaster at Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea and a guest concertmaster for Pottstown Symphony and Philadelphia Camerata.

As a violinist she has performed with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Opera, Harrisburg Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Elysian Camerata, and Trio Excelsior. She is the founding member of Bellissimo Ensemble, Tononi Quartet, Sori Duo, and Caritas Trio. Ms. Leah has been on the faculty of Temple University, West Chester University, Valley Forge University, Settlement Music School, Lehigh Valley Performing Arts High School and Peabody Conservatory Prep. She was also  director of music at Rebecca Davis Dance Company.

Currently Ms. Leah is a faculty member at Eastern University, Director of Vivace Orchestra for young musicians, Vivace Petit Ensemble, and Chamberstrings Summer Camp. She also performs as a member of the La Croix Quartet.

Ms. Leah’s music major students have gone onto study at the Curtis Institute, Juilliard, Manhattan, Eastman, Peabody Conservatory, Boston College, Berkeley, Penn State, Swarthmore, University of Hartford, Gettysburg College, Eastern University, New York University, Michigan University, Moravian University and Temple University.

Piano

Mrs. Pavinee Snyder (Piano Coordinator)

Mrs. Snyder was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. She earned a degree in Pharmaceutical Science from prestigious Chulalongkorn University and a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from Trinity College London.  In 1985, she moved to the United States and earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Language from Florida Atlantic University.  Mrs. Snyder has performed professionally and taught piano for over 35 years.  She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association, National Federation of Music Clubs and National Guild of Piano Teachers.  She encourages her students to participate in piano festivals and competitions sponsored by these organizations.  Mrs. Snyder has taught piano at Villa Maria Academy since 2000 and is the piano coordinator for the music department.  She also teaches piano in her home studio.  In addition to teaching, Mrs. Snyder performs at weddings, funerals and special occasions as well as weekly masses at SS. Simon & Jude Catholic Church as part of their music ministry. She also works as a professional accompanist for both instrumental and vocal auditions and competitions.

Mrs. Snyder is married and has two grown children – a son who is a 2010 Malvern Preparatory School alumnus and a daughter who is a 2013 Villa Maria Academy alumna. In addition to music, she enjoys gardening, cooking, jogging and family activities.

Mrs. Ieva Carucci

Mrs. Carucci has distinguished herself as a highly insightful and artistic piano instructor whose students consistently achieve excellent results at variety International, national competitions, festivals and exams.

Mrs. Carucci began her music education at the age of 5 under an intensive system of training that was prominent throughout the Soviet Union.  She graduated with honors from the Jazeps Medins Music College and Latvian Music Conservatory in Latvia where she received instruction from Constantine Blumenthal and Ventis Zilberts.

Piano and Flute

Mrs. Wendy Tarnoff

Mrs. Tarnoff has devoted most of the past 30 years  teaching in independent schools, managing a private studio and freelancing in the Philadelphia area. She has performed in groups featuring repertoire ranging from classical to jazz and blues.

A graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio, Wendy did post graduate flute studies with  the legendary John Krell, in Philadelphia.

In addition to teaching at Villa Maria Academy since September, 1999, she has taught flute at Friends Central in Wynnewood, Settlement School in Philadelphia and The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, where she also directed concert band and other wind ensembles in all divisions.

Winds, Brass, & Percussion

Mrs. Jennifer Dillon

Jennifer Dillon is an exceptionally high caliber jazz musician, who’s been studying music for over half of her life.

Professionally trained in both instrumental music (saxophone) and voice, Jennifer studied under Kira Baklanova (a former Italian opera star) for three years before attending college. She then studied at West Chester University, achieving high marks in the vocal and instrumental programs, and most notably becoming a star performer in the West Chester Criterions Jazz Ensemble for three years. Her playing has been praised by national leading jazz artists, including Denis DiBlasio and Matt Gallagher.

After graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (and having earned the Mike Falcone Scholarship), Jennifer became the director of the Jazz 4 Nothin’ Big Band and currently arranges therapeutic music programming for patients in long-term rehabilitative care. Jennifer was the instrumental music teacher and band director at Bonner and Prendie High School for 2 years.

In the future, Jennifer plans on continuing her jazz studies, and anticipates a return to the academic world to study musicology and/or music therapy. Jen has experience teaching saxophone and voice privately, and is currently working as a Music adjunct at Villa Maria Academy teaching winds.

Aside from advocating music, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband Shawn and 3 year old son John. They enjoy road trip vacationing to various states. Jennifer also enjoys visiting her family who reside near the Jersey shore.

Mr. Aaron Trumbore

Aaron Trumbore is a percussionist, educator, composer, and percussion small business owner from Harleysville, PA. He earned his Bachelor of Music Performance degree from West Chester University where he studied with Mr. Ralph Sorrentino, principal percussionist of Opera Philadelphia. Aaron continued his graduate studies at Temple University where he was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship and earned his Masters of Music Performance degree while studying with Alan Abel and Chris Deviney of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Through performance and education, Aaron shares his passion for the arts with students and audiences throughout the mid-Atlantic area and the country. He has performed with Symphony in C, Opera Philadelphia, The Curtis Institute Symphony Orchestra, as well as at The McCormick Marimba Festival in Florida and the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention in Austin, TX and Indianapolis, IN. Aaron also serves as a staff member with the Shippensburg University Red Raider marching band and teaches private percussion lessons at Villa Maria Academy in Malvern, PA.

As the co-owner of Artifact Percussion, Aaron focuses on providing students and professionals with handmade sticks, mallets, and drums, while challenging the longstanding misconception that high-quality cottage gear must be unaffordable.   More about Artifact can be found at www.artifactpercussion.com

Cello/Bass

Ms. Kathryn (Kitty) Bobnak

Kathryn Leonard Bobnak is an active chamber and orchestral musician in the Philadelphia area.  She holds a cum laude degree in cello performance from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and pursued graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.  Her principal teachers have included Deborah Reeder and Christopher Rex (in Philadelphia), and Mihaly Virizlay (in Baltimore).  She attended the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine for five summers and for four of those summers served as orchestral assistant to Maestro Charles Bruck and performance manager of the weekly chamber music concerts.  An interest in early music led her to study baroque cello and viola da gamba at the Baroque Performance Institute (Oberlin Conservatory), where she also learned to dance the Minuet!

Ms. Bobnak has performed for many years as assistant principal cellist with the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra and as a substitute with the Delaware and Allentown Symphonies.  She founded two successful wind and string chamber ensembles, tre voci and the Sebastian Trio, and frequently collaborates with guest instrumentalists and vocalists.  In the early music realm, she has performed with the Penn Baroque Ensemble and in recitals and concerts in Philadelphia and New York.

In addition to her performance commitments, Ms. Bobnak is a dedicated and sought after teacher, chamber music coach, competition judge, clinician, and writer of program notes.  She has amplified her traditional conservatory training with coursework from two of the great twentieth century teaching masters:  Zoltan Kodaly and Shinichi Suzuki, including formal Suzuki Teacher training at the Hartt School of Music (Univ. of Hartford, CT).  She encourages her students by developing an individualized lesson plan tailored to each student’s abilities and learning style; creating not just performers but informed listeners.

Ms. Bobnak currently teaches cello at Friends’ Central School and co-directs the Lower School string ensemble.  She also teaches cello and bass at Villa Maria Academy High School, is an adjunct instructor of cello at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, and maintains a lively private studio for students of all ages.