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
Jenna Hoffman is currently a Junior at the University of Mount Union studying Music Performance with piano as her primary instrument. She has been teaching piano lessons for about 2 and a half years at several different locations and absolutely loves it! Coming from a fresh perspective, she makes learning piano fun using creative techniques, games, and listening activities. Jenna lives in Canton with her little dog, Precious, and fluffy rabbit, Hope. When she’s not teaching, practicing, or working on schoolwork, she enjoys working on updating her new house, sewing, cooking, and playing with her furry pets.
Jenna loves working with students young and old alike and of any level from the first-time beginner to the serious advanced pianist. She will begin lessons with children any time after they have acquired basic reading skills, usually around first grade. She also enjoys teaching adult students, both beginners and those who want to improve their piano skills or get back into piano. Her goals as a piano teacher are: to inspire, encourage, and empower students to learn piano, to help students develop a strong understanding of music in the larger context of the arts, to create an environment where students can grow both musically and personally, and to challenge students to discover and reach their full potential.
Alex Piepenbrink, Piano Instructor
Alex is a graduate from The College of Wooster where she received degrees in both Oboe Performance and Music Education. Ms. Piepenbrink is active as both a performer and educator throughout Northeast Ohio. She is currently playing both Oboe and English Horn in the Wooster Symphony Orchestra, a regular supplemental player with the Akron Youth Symphony, and performing frequently in area churches. Additonally, Ms. Piepenbrink performed regularly with the Wooster Symphonic Scot Band, the Wooster Woodwind Quintet, and many small chamber ensembles throughout her undergraduate studies. Ms. Piepenbrink also enjoys giving solo recitals and has performed in several states.
Ms. Piepenbrink has been teaching both Oboe and Piano privately for seven years. She has had experience teaching students as young as three and as old as eighty – it’s never too late to get started learning about music! Ms. Piepenbrink’s resume also boasts a variety of public school teaching experiences as part of her music education studies including her student teaching placement at Firestone Community Learning Center (Akron, Ohio), Dalton Local Schools (Dalton, Ohio), Cloverleave High School (Lodi, Ohio), Norwayne Elementary School ( Creston, Ohio), and Edgewood Middle School (Wooster, Ohio). Ms Piepenbrink also serves as a junior faculty member for Bocal Majority and Operation O.B.O.E. Camps and has traveled to Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and Shenandoah University (Winchester, Virginia) to teach aspiring oboists the fundamentals of playing and reed making. Ms. Piepenbrink also has experience as a Children’s Music Director at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (Wadsworth, Ohio) and as a Volunteer Piano Instructor at the Wooster Salvation Army. In her free time, Ms. Piepenbrink enjoys attending local concerts, trying new restaurants, and collecting owl items.
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, 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.