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.

VMA Faculty

Ross Ahlhorn
Trumpet, Horn
Doctor of Musical Arts, James Madison University

Ross Ahlhorn joined the staff of the Valley Music Academy in the fall of 2017 where he teaches private trumpet lessons. In addition to his responsibilities at VMA, Ross serves as Adjunct Instructor of High Brass at Washington and Lee University, where he teaches applied trumpet and horn lessons. Prior to joining VMA and W&L, Ross completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from James Madison University where he taught applied trumpet lessons to undergraduate music majors, music appreciation, and performed with the faculty brass quintet. In addition to his D.M.A. at James Madison University, Ross’s educational background includes a Masters of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from Arizona State University, and a Bachelors of Music degree from Baylor University.  Before moving to the Shenandoah Valley, Ross maintained a successful performing and teaching career in the Greater-Houston, TX area where he taught private lessons to 45 students a week with ages ranging from beginning 5th and 6th graders to seniors in high school. Ross’s students routinely earned superior ratings in solo and ensemble competitions and the highest achievements in the Texas Music Educators Association All-State program.  Ross is an active freelance musician in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia region where he holds the Principal Trumpet position with the Waynesboro Symphony along other recent performances with the Charlottesville Symphony, Staunton Music Festival, and the Massanutten Brass Band. Ross’s past large ensemble experience includes principal and section roles with the Musica Nova Orchestra of Scottsdale, AZ, The Salt River Brass (Mesa, AZ), the Cypress Symphony (Cypress, TX), and the Waco Symphony Orchestra (Waco, TX). As a soloist, Ross has appeared a finalist in the 2014 National Trumpet Competition’s Graduate Solo Division, a featured soloist at the 2015 Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, and a three-time brass area winner and finalist of the JMU Concerto Competition.


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 10 years and is also a local drum line instructor.


Orville Bame
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.


John B. Clark
Guitar, 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 guitarist 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.


Karin Constant
Suzuki Certified Piano Instructor;   B.S. Psychology, Liberty University

Karin joined the faculty of VMA in 2017 after completing the Suzuki Certification process for piano and has a growing studio of aspiring young piano students.  Suzuki trained as a young child, Karin is an avid believer in the Suzuki method of instruction for all children.  She believes that all children have the ability to learn music and succeed.  Prior to coming to VMA, Karin taught private piano in Lynchburg, VA and worked as a Counselor for Centra Health at the Lynchburg School of Autism.


Sonja Dillard
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. 


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.


Karen Hopley
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.


Blair Jones
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.  


Daniel Kirkland
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.


Dawn Lemasney
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.


Austin McClenahan

Mr. McClenahan joined VMA faculty in August 2018. He is an active freelance musician, teacher and clinician throughout the region.  He regularly performs with the Crozet Orchestra, several community and college theater groups, and numerouslocal bands performing all styles of music.  Mr. McClenahan serves as a drum line clinician and instructor for local marching bands.


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.


Spencer Moore
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, VS.


Mary Smith
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.


Luke Sackett
Trombone, Baritone/Euphonium, Tuba
Bachelors of Music (BM), James Madison University; Master of Education (M.Ed.) Averett University

Mr. Sackett is an accomplished Trombonist and low brass instructor. He has taught high school and middle school band in the public school systems in Pittsylvania and August Counties since 2007 as well as teaching privately on trombone, euphonium and tuba. He performs locally with UVa Drama, Heritage Repertory Theater, Live Arts and New Lyric Theater. His performing ensembles consistently receive superior ratings in state assessments.


All faculty complete a thorough background check process prior to teaching for Valley Music Academy.