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Music Instructors

Each of our instructors hold advanced music degrees, or decades of performance experience, and are carefully selected for their teaching abilities. 


Simon Buckner 


Simon's vision for Avalon Music is a friendly and welcoming environment where learning is fun and where students develop a lifelong love for music. 


Michele Piper

School Administrator
Substitute Drum Teacher

Michele has a background in finance and insurance, as well as the medical and music industry. She had been married to our senior drum instructor for 30+ years and enjoys traveling and spending time with her three dogs.

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Justin Smith

Piano, Drums, Guitar & Ukulele

Justin Smith is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with a wide variety of genre experience and a love of all music, whether it be playing or teaching! Justin has worked in the music industry for around 7 years, creating music
for companies like Adidas, Animation, Short films, and video games. With experience and passion for music, Justin is ready to turn students into rockstars!

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Steve Gottlieb

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Mandolin

Steve is currently earning his Ph.d in Guitar Performance from U.N.T.  He specializes in classical guitar and teaches beginners, intermediate and advanced players. He excels at sight reading, music theory and physical technique.


David Saborio

Guitar and Piano

David is a graduate of Berklee School of Music with a degree in Guitar Performance.  He specializes in Jazz and Shred guitar, and enjoys teaching all ages of students.  He enjoys teaching piano to beginner and intermediate students.

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Friederike Lehrbass


Friederike Lehrbass is a Suzuki certified violin instructor who taught at the University of Redlands for 4 years.  She has studied with many notable violin instructors including Ed Persie, Nona Pyron and Noemy Wheeler when she lived in California.

Isiak Holiday Jr.

Isiak Holiday Jr.

Voice and Piano

Isiak was previously the Choral Director at Royce City High School. During that time he constantly improved both the men's and women's UIL competition rankings, finally attaining a 1 ranking.  Isiak teaches both voice and piano for beginning, intermediate and advanced students

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Dennis Fratti

Bass & Cello

Dennis has recently moved to Wylie from the North East, and brings with him over 20 years of Double Bass, Orchestral Bass and Cello experience.

Dennis' experience spans over 20 years including teaching at the university, high school and private level.


Maria Sousalima

Voice and Vocal Coaching

Maria enjoys teaching young students who are just starting to find their voice; middle and high school students who wish to develop their vocal capabilities for choir, plays and musicals; and mature students who have always wanted to sing but just never had the time.


James Alers

Violin, Viola and Piano

James has 23 years experience playing violin and 10 years teaching. He has experience teaching all ages and enjoys motivating his students by incorporating music they like, while making technique fun. James recently moved to Dallas from Massachusetts.


Siyu Yang


Siyu Yang (pronounced See You) has been playing piano for over 17 years, and teaching piano for 3 years. He has a deep knowledge in classical performance and sight reading, and enjoys teaching all ages of students.  He is currently pursuing his BA in Music at the University of Dallas.  Siyu shares his time between Avalon, and his private studio.  Fun fact, Siyu is fluent in both Mandarin and French.


Kaden Cornelison


Kaden has been playing piano for 8 years, and is the younger brother of former instructor Kyle Cornelison.  Kaden his expanding upon is own private studio practice, and enjoys teaching all grades of students.  He enjoys sharing his advanced knowledge of music theory with everyone, and developing correct technical abilities from an early age.

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Paul Piper

Drums & Percussion

Paul is a professional touring musician, studio session drummer, currently performing with Michael Martin Murphey.  He's been teaching for the past 20 years and brings a vast amount of experience to our school.


Rachel Thompson

Piano, Saxophone

Rachel holds undergraduate degrees in Music and Physics, and a Masters in Education from UNT.  She has been teaching piano and voice in Garland, Richardson and Killeen ISDs.  She specializes in teaching Piano & Saxophone.



Shona Richardson


Shona holds an honors degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman's University, and has been teaching piano for over 15 years.  She has a deep interest in traditional Irish music and often volunteers in the "Harp for Healing" program.

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Jason Riley

Piano, Voice, Saxophone, Clarinet

A native of Garland, Jason holds a B.A. in Music Education & Performance from California State University, and has been teaching for the past 4 years.  He brings an enthusiastic love of music and performance to his lessons, and enjoys teaching students of all ages.  He is also a talented woodwind and brass instructor.

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