Courtney Hall, Owner/Director and Piano Instructor
Courtney Hall has been playing piano since 1994 and teaching since 2008. She holds her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree from Baldwin Wallace University's Conservatory of Music. She completed a 9 month music therapy internship at Community Action Wayne/Medina working with at-risk children. Courtney is a substitute pianist/organist at a small church in Waynesburg, Ohio and has also performed as a soloist at the Christkindl Markt and other church venues. She currently holds offices in the community as the President of the Stark County Music Teacher's Association and the Treasurer of the Westbrook Veteran's Memorial Park Neighborhood Association and has been a foster parent since 2016.
Courtney specializes in working with children with special needs but also loves teaching adult piano students because of their desire to learn and pursue a new hobby. Courtney enjoys being outdoors on hikes or gardening in her free time and also enjoys learning new instruments such as the hammer dulcimer and mountain dulcimer.
Janelle Phinney, NCTM, Founder, Assistant Director, Piano Instructor, and Theory Instructor
The founder of the studio, Janelle Phinney, is an active performer and leader in Canton, Ohio area music organizations. Her commitments to collaboration and to the growth of piano study in Stark County are key elements of the vision of developing excellent pianists and well-rounded musicians. Janelle began piano study at the age of 9 under celebrated Columbus, Ohio music teacher, Ruth Powell. She continued her piano studies at the collegiate level at Bowling Green State University under Virginia Marks. She learned more than just piano skills at Bowling Green, earning her Bachelor of Music History degree and gaining a love of the history of western art music and world musics, especially Javanese gamelan. She was a singing member and accompanist for every major choral group on campus. She is an award-winning accompanist earning first prize in the Marjorie Conrad Peatee Art Song Competition and receiving a personal invitation to join the Ameropa Festival in Prague, Czech Republic where she performed chamber music to standing ovation. She went on to work as a governess on the east coast gaining valuable life experience and making connections in the opera world, accompanying for the Studio of Pasquale Pappano and also, West Point's Glee Club Director, Constance Chase. While on the East coast, she was accepted to the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and received her Master of Religion and the Arts degree from Yale Divinity School merging her loves of theology, religious literature and music. She served as paid member of the Divinity School Choir and traveling member of the elite performing group, Pro musica. She is now married to Dr. D. Nathan Phinney, Dean of Malone University's Colleges of Theology, Arts and Sciences. She has served as adjunct faculty at both Malone University and the University of Mount Union. She has accompanied for many soloists in the local community, including acclaimed flutist, Dianne Williams, and participated with her piano partner, Dr. Maira Liliestedt, in their successful piano duo, Appassionata, in performances in Ohio, including a recent performance for the Canton Symphony's Prime Time series. She is now focusing her attention on bringing the love of music to Stark County through her school, Sempre Piano School, and raising her three children, William, Victoria and Claire.
Jenna Hoffman, Piano Instructor
Sadie Fellows, Piano Instructor
Sadie has been teaching private and group piano lessons to students of all ages for nearly eleven years. Adapting to each student's unique needs, she strives to create a fun, stress-free environment by using positive reinforcement that fosters both confidence and artistry in even the youngest of minds. Sadie encourages students to explore their own musical interests while providing them with a solid foundation in technique, thorough understanding of music theory, and skills for competency in sight-reading that will help to establish a lifelong appreciation of music.
Having earned both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Piano Performance, Sadie is an active member of the Ohio Music Teachers Association (OMTA) and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and teaches private lessons and group classes at several music schools in Northeast Ohio. With over thirteen years of accompanying experience and extensive work as a choral pianist, she frequently collaborates with other artists and theatre groups. Prior to her current residency as pianist of Tallmadge Lutheran Church, she was the Director of Music for Faith United Methodist Church of Brimfield for two years.
In 2015, Sadie won first place in the Kent State University Graduate Concerto Competition and performed as the featured soloist with the KSU Orchestra. She has won prizes in prestigious state and national competitions, including two Honorable Mentions in the OhioMTA Middle East District Buckeye Competition, two Honorable Mentions in the OhioMTA Central East District/Graves Competition, and third prize in the MTNA National Performance Competition. Sadie was also the recipient of the Creative Artist Award for academic and musical excellence from Kent State University and won first prize in Canton’s MacDowell Music Club scholarship competition.
Betsy Singer, Voice Instructor and Flute Instructor
Betsy Singer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance with a focus on flute performance from Capital University. She also is currently finishing a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in opera at the University of Akron. Betsy also has a music educator’s license from the Ohio Department of Education. She has been playing flute since 1997 and actively performing since 1998. 2001 is when she began singing and performing that same year. Betsy is an experienced flute and vocal coach for any level of experience and loves to focus on bringing music into a full body experience with eurythmics. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys playing games with her husband, Nicholas, and spending time with her two children, Xavier and Bethany.
Dr. Maira Liliestedt, Piano Instructor and College Prep Instructor
Maira Liliestedt was a prizewinner in numerous student competitions in her native Romania before moving to the United States in 1992. Liliestedt received a Bachelor of Music in piano from Bowling Green State University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff.
Currently professor of music at the University of Mount Union, Liliestedt previously taught at Northern Kentucky University, the College of Mount Saint Joseph, and in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s evening program. She has been published in Clavier magazine and has served as panelist and presenter for the Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy conference. Her professional experience includes masterclasses and chamber music coachings with James Tocco and Emanuel Ax. In addition to numerous academic awards, Liliestedt has twice been the recipient of the prestigious Presser Music Award. Liliestedt is current Co-Chair of the Middle East District of the Ohio Music Teachers’ Association, and immediate past Co-President of the Stark County Music Teachers’ Association.
Jenna Beacon, Hammered Dulcimer & Piano Instructor
Jenna Beacon began playing piano in 1998 and flute in 2003. She started playing the hammered dulcimer in 2004 and studied with Joanne Fox for 6 years. She graduated magna cum laude from Malone University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in flute performance, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Business. She took classes in pedagogy and received a certificate in piano pedagogy. Jenna performs flute and dulcimer as well as directs the children’s bell choir at her church. Additionally, she plays the dulcimer for various seasonal open houses for businesses. Jenna is currently residing in Smithville.