Our Teachers


ALLA BYCHKOVAYA

Alla graduated from Tashkent State Conservatory in Uzbekistan with a Master of Music in Choral Conductivity. She was the musical director of the Musical Cultural Art Center in Tashkent where she received multiple recognitions for her excellent musical & drama repertoire. She also has extensive experience working with young children. She moved to Atlanta, GA in 1998 where she has been with North Fulton School of Music for over 20 years. Alla has experience in preparing students for the Associate Board of Royal Schools of Music Exam and the National Federation of Music Clubs competitions. One of the main focus for her is to prepare students for ABRSM exams for both theory and practical piano/voice.

Alla is certified teacher of this program. Main focus for her students covers the following: Performance, Theory, Ear Training, Scales & Arpeggios, and sight-reading.

Alla has been constantly encouraged and guided students for Practical Assessments program. She has recently relocated to West Hartford, CT and works in ConnValue Music school and NewOld School of Music. Alla continue teaches her students by using an online-lessons platform to be able to offer music lessons via video chat.

Instruments: Piano, Voice
Locations: Online Lessons
Languages: English, Russian

CALEB HOUCK

Caleb Houck is a recitalist, collaborative artist, and instructor based in Atlanta, Georgia. Recent accomplishments include performances at Steinway Piano Galleries Atlanta, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, City Winery Atlanta, The Atlanta Concert Series, Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, Emory University, Brevard Music Center, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Burgos International Music Festival (Spain), Wiener Musikseminar (Austria), being named prizewinner at the 2008 South Carolina Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition, and adjudicating for the 2012 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Young Jury. A passionate collaborative pianist, Caleb has appeared on stage with many choral conductors, including Grammy Award winning conductor Jerry Blackstone, Murray Sidlin, Steven Darsey, Larry Wyatt and Alicia Walker, the latter two with whom he worked as a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina, during which time he accompanied the Concert Choir, University Chorus and Graduate Vocal Ensemble. Caleb’s principal teachers were Marina Lomazov, Joseph Rackers and Eric Larsen, with additional study or masterclasses under Rebecca Penneys, Norman Krieger, Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff, among others. Caleb holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Bob Jones University, and a Master of Music in piano performance and Performer’s Certificate from USC. Caleb has experience preparing students for exams and competitions, including Associate Board of Royal Schools of Music Exam and the National Federation Music Competition.

Instruments: Piano
Locations: North Fulton Music, Online Lessons
Languages: English, German

CHARLES BAUGH

Charles Baugh is native of Atlanta and a cum laude graduate of Georgia State University with degrees in Music Theory and Commercial Music/Recording. He has performed in and participated in vocal workshops in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Germany. He has taught choral and general music in Atlanta area public schools for 27 years, taught private lessons at Peggy Still School of Music and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and coaches students and professional performers independently. Additional performing credits include Atlanta Opera Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Atlanta Musica Antiqua, Georgia Renaissance Festival, Carolina Renaissance Festival, Michael O’Neal Chamber Singers, London’s Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, and Italy’s Triora Musica.

Instruments: Piano, Voice, and Guitar
Locations: North Fulton Music, Cooper Music, Online Lessons

COURTNEY VARNER

Courtney Varner has been performing and teaching in the Metro Atlanta area for over 10 years and was a Public School Orchestra Director for 6 of those years. She began playing the viola at 11 years old and soon began auditioning and performing in the Cobb County area. Courtney attended Kennesaw State University and was able to perfect her teaching and performing skills while there and was able to travel and play in China as well as the first opening of Tyler Perry Studios. After graduating, Courtney began teaching 7th and 8th grade orchestra at Lindley Middle School in Cobb County while also joining the alternative rock band Sarah and the Safe Word where she plays the viola and sings backing vocals. Courtney loves teaching different styles of music on string instruments and believes the private teaching setting is the best way to becoming a well rounded string player.

Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, Voice
Locations: North Fulton Music, Online Lessons

DOUG EHLEN

Doug Ehlen graduated from Atlanta Institute of Music’s Guitar program in 2012. He has taught guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons since 2010 and has been gigging with corporate/ wedding bands since he was 16. He also produces and records original music using Logic Pro X. His teaching method is to use the music the student loves to learn so the student stays motivated and continues to learn technic and music theory that will apply directly to the genres and goals of the student.

Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Bass Guitar
Locations: Online Lessons

GRACY LEE

She received her music education from Japan and was once an organ demonstrator for Yamaha in Japan. She has over 30 years of experience as not only a performing artist but also as a music teacher. Gracy has taught beginner students as young as 5 through advanced level teens and adults. Gracy emphasizes learning music theory along with sight-reading to ensure a well-rounded music education for her students.

Instruments: Piano
Locations: Cooper Music, Online Lessons
Languages:
English, Chinese (Mandarin)

JOHN JONES

John has a Bachelors of Arts in vocal performance and piano from Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL). In addition to successfully running a studio for 10 years, he is a singer/songwriter/musician/actor in the Atlanta area and performs regionally. He currently has a jazz/blues/pop CD out titled “Evolution” and working on a new release. John also has extensive experience working with special needs children.

Instruments: Piano and Voice
Locations: Cooper Music, Online Lessons

LAUREN VACCARO

Lauren Vaccaro is a Florida-born piano instructor and artist who is currently preparing for auditions into a graduate program for piano pedagogy or music education. She graduated from Florida State University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a minor in Music. For the last three years, Lauren has been delivering a holistic music education to students across Atlanta, Georgia, coaching students of all ages in piano performing and recording, singing, music theory, active listening, and improvising. She also uses her creative skillset to make innovative educational aids for teaching and learning piano. As an artist and educator, Lauren is dedicated to learning about the latest trends in creative technology, which she hopes to utilize for instructional purposes.

Instruments: Piano and Voice
Locations: Cooper Music, Online Lessons

LAURIE SWANN

Ms. Swann received her Bachelor of Music degree from Brenau College, where she studied with David Johnson, and completed her Master’s in voice performance at the University of Georgia with Cecily Beasley. She had the privilege of singing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus under the direction of Robert Shaw, and continued her vocal studies with Irene Callaway Harrower and Walter Huff. Ms. Swann has performed in master classes given by renowned clinicians such as Sherman Lowe, Richard Miller, and Delores Ziegler, and studied acting and interpretation with dramatic coaches Wesley Balk and Paula Homer.

Instruments: Piano and Voice
Locations: North Fulton Music, Cooper Music, Online Lessons

MATTHEW KAMINSKI

Born in Chicago, IL, Matt has been playing the Hammond Organ since he was five years old. Matthew has been a full time piano teacher since 2001 and currently teaches at North Fulton School of Music and has also taught at the college level for Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA. Matthew continues to perform regularly in the Atlanta, GA metro area on three instruments: the Hammond organ, piano, and accordion. On April of 2009, Matthew accepted the position of organist for the Atlanta Braves. He can be heard at every home game at Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves.

Instruments: Piano, Organ, Accordion
Locations: Cooper Music, Grant Park Music, Online Lessons

DR PAULA VAN GOES

Dr. Paula is “a virtuoso saxophonist that possesses excellent technical attributes and a deep understanding of the music [she] performs” (Ovación). Based in Atlanta, Georgia she enjoys a career as a chamber musician, soloist and educator. Her musical studies began on piano at age 8 and continued with the saxophone, flute and clarinet. She holds a B.M. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, M.A. from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a D.M.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park in saxophone performance. As a Selmer-Paris Artist and Clinician she has toured and lectured throughout Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, Ukraine and the United States. Since 1995 she has taught students ranging in age from 4 to 64 in private studio, university and master class settings. Dr. Paula tailors each lesson to the needs of the student based upon their goals such as preparation for competitions, auditions and recitals or simply to play their favorite songs in an environment of curiosity and fun.

Instruments: Piano, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Locations: Grant Park Music, Online Lessons

TIM SPRAGGINS

Mr. Spraggins holds a Masters degree in Choral Music from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA and also holds undergraduate degrees from Troy State University, Troy, AL. He currently teaches voice, piano, and woodwinds at PSSM. He conducts a total of five choirs at Roswell High School consisting of over 120 students. He currently serves as Director of Music and Arts for First Christian Church of Atlanta. As a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus he performed many seasons under the batons of Maestros Robert Shaw and Yoel Levi. He is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, Phi Mu Alpha National Music Fraternity, and numerous honors organizations.

Instruments: Piano, Voice, Woodwinds
Locations: Cooper Music, Online Lessons