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  Our Teachers    

Our faculty offer artist level private instruction in almost all areas of music instruction. Each of our instructors are professional music educators and performers. This incredibly talented group of musicians provide quality student oriented instruction that will help each student become the best they can be and help to grow as musicians to the fullest potential.

Lance Allen

AD Business Management and Information Systems Technology, Blue Ridge Community College

Mr. Allen has a deep love for music and feels that every child should have an education in the arts. He has played percussion for over 20 years in many different styles, including rock n roll, jazz, country, and show tunes. He is a highly sought after performer in the Shenandoah Valley and has performed in many local choral productions and musicals. Mr. Allen has taught private percussion lessons at VMA for over 15 years and is also a local drum line instructor.

Lance Allen
Orville Bame.png

Piano, Accordion
B.A. in History, Music, James Madison University

Mr. Bame joined VMA's faculty in 2002 and has been teaching piano and accordion privately for more than 15 years. Currently Mr. Bame is the pianist/organist at Main Street United Methodist Church in Waynesboro. He is an active performer of sacred and secular music throughout the local region and has accompanied such groups as the Waynesboro Choral Society and Schola Cantorum. In addition, he is the accompanist for the “Faithful Men” male vocal ensemble. Mr. Bame has released a CD "My Vow" with the profits to support the capital campaign of Main Street United Methodist Church and a Christmas CD to support Valley Music Academy. His honors include winning the James Bland Young Artist Competition and participation in the National Bartok-Kabalevsky Competition.  In addition to his accomplishments on piano, Mr. Bame has recently become an avid accordionist, performing and teaching locally as well as a regular performer at the National Accordion Festival held each Spring in Pennsylvania.

Orville Bame
John Clark.png
John Clark

Guitar, Ukulele, Piano
Music Theory, University of Massachusetts

Mr. Clark joined the faculty of VMA in 2015 and has been teaching privately since 1972.  He has studied with great guitarists such as Sal Salvador (Stan Kenton’s guitarist), Jazz artist Ted Dunbar and Barry Galbraith of the NBC Orchestra.  Mr. Clark is a highly sought performer locally and has performed with various jazz, rock and R&B groups in New York and throughout New England.  John performs regularly throughout the region with his group "Johnny's Blue Locomotive" which includes several VMA instructors


Violin, Viola, Cello
B.M. in Music, Shenandoah Conservatory;  M.M. in Music, Shenandoah University

Ms. Dillard is an accomplished musician, teacher and performer.  She has taught violin, viola and cello privately, in public schools and at the college level since 1991.   As a performer she has performed with the Shenandoah Symphony, Cumberland Valley Chamber Players, Frederick Symphony, Charlottesville Symphony and more.  In addition to her private studio, Ms. Dillard is a freelance violinist performing regularly throughout the region. 

Sonja Dillard
JP Gladwell.jpg

Guitar, Cello, Ableton Live (DAW), Drums
Bachelors of Music (BM), Belmont University

John Paul Gladwell is an innovative multi-instrumentalist, composer, and musicologist who is also a virtuoso classical performer. He studied cello with Nashville Orchestra principal Julia Tanner and performed with both the orchestra and a string quartet at Belmont.  In early 2002, Gladwell released SOLO, a collection of classical guitar pieces, including a definitive rendering of "Asturius Leyenda" by Isaac Albeniz and a transcendent version of J.S. Bach's "Prelude, Fugue and Allegro."  In 2003, Gladwell placed songs in The Matrix: Special Edition DVD Box set and Roadtrip Nation on PBS.  As a recording artist, he has played on works by pop songwriter Robbie Seidman (Belinda Carlisle, Hillman & McGuinn), and pop vocalist Maria Vidal (Stevie Nicks, Cher, Celine Dion). Gladwell and fellow guitarist Alejandro Lazo were invited to represent  the state of California in the  prestigious " Festival de Mayo" , held in Guadalajara, Mexico where they premiered two original works of Mr. Gladwell and modern works by Lou Harrison and Steve Reich. 

J.P. Gladwell
Andrew Green

Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar
BA in Psychology in Music Cognition and Evolutionary Musicology; Ethnomusicology; Oberlin College

Mr. Green is an accomplished and highly sought musician, performing professionally across the United States on banjo, guitar and bass with a variety of musical groups including Roosevelt Dime and the New York based Red Rooster. In addition to his extensive performing and recording experience, Mr. Green has taught privately for more than ten years. His studio of students are of all ages, from as young as 8 to 74. His instruction and lesson plans are custom tailored to fit the needs of each student. In addition, Mr. Green is a Lead teacher of early childhood music and arts classes at Kids at Work for children ranging from two months to five years of age. Mr. Green's experience both as a performer and teacher make him the perfect choice when looking for banjo instruction in the valley.

Holly Havis.jpg

Piano, Electric Bass

BA in piano (Berklee School of Music); MA in Ethnomusicology (U of Washington in Seattle); PhD in Music Ed (New York University)

Dr. Havis teaches classical and jazz piano, electric bass, improvisation and composition. She plays piano, synthesizer and electric bass for music theater and other venues, and has written several plays for children with music. She teaches all ages and levels using the Socratic method, critical thinking, and programmed learning with the goal of discovering and applying aesthetic principles.  She's been teaching piano since 1991 and moved to Virginia in 2012.

Holly Havis
Karen Hopley.png

Violin, Viola, Cello
B.A. in Music, State University of New York at Fredonia

Ms. Hopley received her Bachelor’s in Music in 2006 and taught strings in the Florida public school system in Brevard and Pinellas County Schools in from 2006-2013. Ms. Hopley has taught at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. She has taught privately on violin and viola and is also a local performer in the region. After relocating to Virginia, Ms. Hopley joined the faculty at VMA. She is trained in the Suzuki method and teaches both in traditional and Suzuki methodology.

Karen Hopley
Blair Jones.png

Piano, Voice, Guitar, Harp
PhD English Language and Literature, University of Virginia

Dr. Jones is a talented musician, composer, writer, director and educator with over 30 years of experience in working with students of all ages in public and private schools and universities.  In addition to teaching private music lessons at VMA, she has served as a middle school choral director and is currently a Music Specialist with Albemarle County Public Schools in Crozet, VA.  Dr. Jones is an active musician, performing regularly throughout the region with various bands and ensembles as a vocalist, instrumentalist, soloist, arranger and composer.  Dr. Jones is also the Music Director at Unity of Charlottesville.  

Blair Jones
Daniel Kirkland.png

Piano, Voice
BA Music, Emory University; Voice Studies, James Madison University

Mr. Kirkland joined the faculty of VMA in 2012 where he teaches private piano and voice.  In addition to teaching at Valley Music Academy, Daniel serves as Music Minister at Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville, VA.  He is an active musician in the area and serves as an accompanist for various local productions.

Daniel Kirkland
Dawn Lemnasey.png

Musikgarten, Voice, Piano
Master of Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University; BS in Music Education, Messiah College

Ms. Lemasney has provided vocal instruction to children, teens and adults at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ since 1999.  She became an early childhood music instructor at WCC in 2010 where she helped develop the curriculum for the Early Childhood Department.  Ms. Lemasney is an accomplished performer in her own right and is the receipient of the Keith Lance Kuhlmann Award and was selected for the prestigious NATS intern program in 2002.  Dawn plays piano, guitar, recorder, Orff percussion and is a licensed Musikgarten teacher.  She joined the faculty of VMA in the spring of 2016.

Dawn Lemasney
Greg Moody.png
Greg Moody

Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Beginning Piano, Recorder, Theory, Arranging and Composition, Director - VMA SuperSax Big Band
B.M. in Jazz Studies, Shenandoah University

Mr. Moody joined VMA's faculty in January 2004. He is a highly skilled performer on both the saxophone and flute as well as an accomplished performer on many other instruments. In recent years, he has used his talents as a theater orchestra performer and soloist aboard several cruise ships. He has taught private woodwind lessons for more than 13 years and is an active member of the Stonewall Brigade Band of Staunton, Virginia and performs with the Vosbein Magee Big Band. Mr. Moody is the director and composer/arranger for the VMA SuperSax Big Band.  Mr. Moody is a published composer and arranger.

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Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone
B.A. in Music, Bridgewater College

Mr. Moore earned his degree from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA. He has been a member of many different performing ensembles, performing on flute, oboe, and saxophone, as well as voice. He has performed as a soloist for many occasions including weddings, contests, concerts and more, and even performed as a member of the Bridgewater College Chorale in their 2008 international tour in Austria, Hungary, and Germany. Mr. Moore is also an active member of the Stonewall Brigade Band and the Stonewall Flutes of the Shenandoah of Staunton, VA.

Spencer Moore 

Trumpet, Trombone, Horn, Euphonium, Tuba

BFA & MFA in Music Pedagogy, State University of New York at Buffalo,

Mr. Schessl has thirty-six years of experience in public education as an instrumental music teacher and has served as president, vice-president and secretary of Niagara County Music Educators' Association in upstate NY. He has performed professionally with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Artpark Orchestra, and a variety of concert bands, brass quintets, and solo performances

Keith Schessl 
Best_Mary_M1 _Smith (2).jpg

Voice, Piano
B.A. Music, Emory and Henry College

Mrs. Smith has been a teacher for more than 25 years in the Wise County, Albemarle County and Waynesboro City Schools. She taught voice at Clinch Valley College in Wise, VA and has taught at VMA for five years. Mrs. Smith was Teacher of the Year in 2000 and 2004, and a Dawbarn Award Winner in 2005. She is a charter member of the Schola Cantorum.

Mary Smith
David Tuinenga


Professional Musician and Instructor

David has studied with great drummers such as Dave Weckl.  He has been teaching professionally for 18 years offering lessons on all styles of drumset performance. (Rock, Jazz, Latin, R&B, Pop, Country, Progressive, etc...)  Teaching traditional and matched-grip hand techniques (French & German) along with various heel-up and heel-down pedal strategies.   David also offers lessons on Bongo, Cajon, Baoule/Dondo, Djembe, Bodhran, and Asalato/Kashaka.

His curriculum ranges from music theory fundamentals in the time-honored classic "Progressive Steps to Syncopation" to such groundbreaking advanced works as; Rick Latham's "Advanced Funk Studies", Gary Chester's "A New Breed" and John Riley's "The Art of Bop Drumming"

David Heim

Program Director

BME, James Madison University

Mr. Heim was the band director at Jefferson Forest HS and Forest Middle School in Forest, VA from 1988-98 where he directed the Symphonic, Concert, Jazz Band, Marching Cavaliers and 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade bands.  During his time at JFHS, the band program grew from 40 students to over 400 band members.  The marching band consistently received high honors in local competition as well as competing in the Bands of America regional competitions.  The concert band program excelled to perform grade VI music at the annual band assessments.  The Jefferson Forest band program was named a Virginia Honor Band under Mr. Heim's direction in 1996-97 and 1997-98.  

In 1998 Mr. Heim entered the private sector full time serving as CEO of REA Publishing, Inc.  In 2000 he joined Jubilee World Missions as Executive Director, and then joined the Client Services department at InService America, Inc. where he eventually served in the role of VP of Client Services.   In 2010, Mr. Heim brought his years of successful experience as a musician, teacher, entrepreneur and business leader to the staff of Valley Music Academy as Program Director.  Mr. Heim manages and oversees all aspects of Valley Music Academy with oversight from the Board of Directors.  

A complete background check is required of all faculty and staff prior to working or teaching at Valley Music Academy.

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