Knoxville Academy of Music Office Staff

Knoxville Academy of Music Instructors

Amanda F.

Voice & Beginning Piano

Amanda graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee Knoxville with her B.M. Music Education-Voice in May 2023.  Along with graduating with honors, she received the Outstanding Senior Music Education award from the UT College of Music. Amanda is the Assistant Director of the Knoxville Opera Children's Choir and is the director of the 3rd-5th grade choir at First Baptist Church Knoxville.  She has completed internships in K-12 settings in Knox County Schools. Amanda has sung with the Knoxville Opera in their production of the Merry Widow, played the role of Brianna in the premier of The Horned and Hidden Child with the VolOpera organization, and was the alto soloist for Handel's Messiah with the UT Chamber Singers.  She values the art of music education for all students and hopes to promote healthy singing as well as an overall love of music!

Hali M.

Voice, Ukulele, & Music Theory

Hali is currently studying education at Pellissippi State Community College and plans to continue her studies in education and music at Maryville College for a degree in elementary education. She has years of experience in voice performance as part of the award-winning Seymour High School Choir, and performed at East Tennessee's own Johnson University, our Titanic Museum, and Sevier County Courthouse. During this time, she had the privilege to assist with directing her high school's Women's Choir, which gave her the opportunity to direct young singers and learn effective teaching methods. Over the years, Hali has gained knowledge and insight from many well-respected choir directors and performing vocalists. Hali is highly experienced in working with children and works as a substitute teacher for Sevier County Schools outside of KAM. Growing up in a musical family, music has always been central in her life. Hali has been playing ukulele for over 7 years, and she's a lifelong voice and piano student. She has taught with KAM for over a year now, and her students appreciate her encouraging teaching style, knowledge, and personality.

Lesli M.

Violin & Piano

Lesli has a B.A. in violin performance from Mannes College of Music in New York City and her Suzuki Violin Certification from The School for Strings in NYC. She was Director of Frank and Camille’s School of Music in Huntington, NY for several years before running her own studio on Long Island. Lesli moved to the Knoxville area in 2020 and thoroughly enjoys all the outdoor amenities of East TN!

Mike C.

Drums, Percussion & Beginning Piano

Mike has been playing music for 30 years, and teaching for 18 years. He has played numerous sub-genres, funk, blues, hip-hop, break-beats, drum and bass, and a little country, pop, Latin, and jazz. Mike studied music for 2 years at Broward College, over which time he studied piano, percussion(consisting of concert snare drum, marimba, timpani, and drum set), music theory, ear training, computer music; and played in the percussion ensemble and jazz band. He also has many years of experience using midi-hardware to write, produce, and perform numerous forms of electronic music, as well as hip-hop and some pop. Mike founded, composed, arranged, and conducted a percussion ensemble at ASM.

Marek R.

Guitar & Piano

Marek has had a lifelong passion for understanding music and sound and the way people have related to it throughout different cultures and eras. He holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Jazz Performance with a concentration on guitar. His secondary instrument is the piano which has become a primary focus in his compositions. For more than 30 years, his own musical journey has led him to play live music in genres ranging from classic rock, classical, metal, blues, jazz, soul, and folk with such bands as the Jaystorm Project, Color of Fate, Knox Vegas Ramblers, Infinite Dominion, as well as fill in for the Souls of Motown dinner show. He also has a love of electronic music and collaborates with DJs and electronic musicians. These days his interests lie in electronic synthesis and melding classical and jazz techniques with the open canvas of programming synthesizers. He retains a love for all styles of music he has studied on his journey and is passionate about teaching and sharing music with others.

Kiran S.


Kiran is originally from New York, where she enjoyed teaching piano for the past thirteen years. As a private piano instructor, she found joy in having her students excel, whether it was playing piano for fun or preparing them for recitals and competitions. With a positive attitude and encouraging manner, her students were able to reach their highest potential. Her training is in classical music, with a Bachelors and Masters in Piano Performance from State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied with Stephanie Brown. She graduated with Cum Laude. She also trained at Julliard in the Dalcroze method. The Dalcroze method trains younger students in rhythm through movement. The method incorporates ear training and singing. Even though her background is in classical music, she likes to share different genres with her students, whether it be Modern, Popular, Jazz, or Rock.

Jim C.

Guitar & Piano

Jim learned guitar to be closer to his father. He always wanted to be a teacher, so he went to Pellissippi to learn music. He then went on to the University of Tennessee and studied Jazz and Studio Music to master his skills. Jim played guitar for local band Kitty Wampus for 10 years and currently plays with Southern Steel. He loves teaching all genres of music. He has been an instructor at Knoxville Academy of Music for 10 years.

Haley R.

Violin, Viola & Piano

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Haley has a M.M. in violin pedagogy and a graduate performance certificate in violin. While at UofSC Haley was a member of the Graduate String Quartet and won the UofSC Concerto Competition in 2017. Haley has been teaching since 2010 and focused on the art of teaching privately during grad school, additionally completing Suzuki training in violin books 1-3.

Judy Y.


Judy spent 28 years at University School of Nashville, teaching choirs in grades five through twelve, music history and music theory, She also worked with students in both high school and middle school musicals, and her choirs performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney World's Candlelight Processional. Professional memberships have included Tennessee Music Educators Association, Middle Tennessee Vocal Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Presbyterian Association of Musicians. Judy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with keyboard emphasis from Peabody College and a Master of Education from Tennessee State University. She currently serves as Music Director at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Kingston, Tennessee, where she plays piano and organ for worship and directs choir and handbells. Sharing her love of music with others is one of her greatest joys in life!

Natalie L.


Natalie teaches voice, beginner piano, and music appreciation lessons here at Knoxville Academy of Music. She is a 2023 graduate, earning her Associate of fine Arts, majoring in music, and will continue her schooling to become a music therapist. In the meantime, she has gained very valuable experience earning 12 certifications in child care as a preschool teacher, directing full cover band groups, and teaching vocal lessons. She has been teaching (public and private) lessons for six years. Natalie started performing when she was in elementary school, and has played gigs around east Tennessee for the last 7 years. She is currently lead singer of two bands, “Second Wind” and ‘The Rocket Science Band’. She often sits in or collaborates with different musicians, like ‘The Nick Horner Family Band’, and has solo shows where she accompanies herself on guitar or piano. She loves getting to work in a musical environment, and especially enjoys working with kids. Her goal is to help her students find confidence in their individuality, and enhance their talent and creativity.

Ryan B.

Guitar, Piano, Drums, Voice, Mandolin, Banjo, Ukulele, Bass, Dulcimer, Theory, Comp., Violin, Saxophone
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