For a list of our faculty members by instrument they teach, please click the links below, or scroll down to see a complete list of our faculty and staff in alphabetical order.
|Bass Guitar||Clarinet||Drums and Percussion
A native of Connecticut, Annie Bryson received her Masters of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College and her Bachelors of Music, magna cum laude, from Western Connecticut State University. Annie’s opera roles include Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief, First Lady in The Magic Flute, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Countess in The Marriage of Figaro and Nursing Sister in Suor Angelica. Her favorite musical theater credits are Thoroughly Modern Millie (Mathilde), Children of Eden (Snake), Into the Woods (Lucinda), High School Musical (Martha), Kismet (Princess of Ababu), Tommy, Cabaret, and The King and I. While at Westminster, Annie performed frequently with the Symphonic Choir at Carnegie Hall and The Kimmel Center with world-class ensembles such as The Berlin Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Simon Bolivar Orchestra, and The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Annie loves sharing her passion for music with her students. She currently sings with the choirs at Trinity Church in Princeton, NJ.
Music Motto: “Ah, music… A magic far beyond all we do here!”- Albus Dumbledore
Violinist/violist Francesco Composto received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from the College of New Jersey and Masters of Music in violin performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. While in Boston, Composto collaborated with groups such as the Boston String Players, Longy Camerata, Rivers Symphony, and the Kammerwerke Orchestra.
Composto studied violin with Mark Lakirovich and also worked with Laura Bossert, Dimitri Murrauth, Julian Pellicano, and Robbie Merfeld. He has also participated in master classes for violinists Yura Lee and Jesse Mills. In 2010 Composto was accepted into Music Connections International’s program Music in Regensburg, Bavaria in Germany. The summer of 2011 Composto participated in Longy in the Berkshires, a chamber music festival in western Massachusetts. In 2012 Composto joined the American Symphony Orchestra in a production of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony under the direction of Leon Botstein.
Composto’s teaching style draws inspiration from the Suzuki and Sussmanhaus methods. Composto also implements his own style where students are conditioned to work on and accomplish one thing at a time. Over time, each student builds a repertoire of abilities and is able to draw on them in a way comfortable for them. Composto believes that anyone is capable of making music and teaches his students to think for themselves and to always be good listeners.
Guitarist Devin Crosby is a graduate of The College of New Jersey where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. While attending TCNJ, Devin studied guitar performance and pedagogy with Dr. James M. Day. He has had the opportunity to perform in several classical guitar concerts while in college as well as rock venues throughout New Jersey and New York with his original band, The Blind Tellers. His teaching methods are a direct reflection of these experiences, as he combines the fundamentals of written music and theory into the ability to play and perform songs in a variety of styles.
Devin strives to provide a comfortable and focused environment in his lessons to help students achieve their musical goals. Not only do lessons provide the opportunity to become a better guitar player, but a confident, well-rounded musician.
Music Motto: “I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can. I will take love wherever I find it and offer it to whoever will take it… seek knowledge from those wiser… and teach those who wish to learn from me.” -Duane Allman
Donata Cucinotta is an active performer of both Opera, and Theater. This seasons notable engagements include a leading role in the World Premiere of a new musical by grammy winning composer Paul Sullivan The Last Ferryman at the Stonington Opera House, The 2nd Lady in Opera Tampa’s Die Zauberflöte, Josephine in Knoxville Opera’s HMS Pinafore as well as performing as a featured singer at the Bristol Riverside Theater’s Winter Musicale.She has performed leading roles at Avery Fisher Hall, Opera Colorado, Opera New Jersey, Shreveport Opera, Amarillo Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Tampa Opera Fort Collins, Ohio Light Opera, Morningside Opera, GLOW Lyric Theater, Dixon Place Theater, Prince Music Theater, The American Music Festival, The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and the Actor’s Studio. Donata’s performance experience allows her to provide a well-rounded learning experience to students of all ages.
Ms. Cucinotta holds a Bachelors of Music from Ithaca College where she first started teaching community members as well as accompanying voice lessons. She continued to earn a Masters of Music from Mannes College of Music, where she was selected to be a teaching artist by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, teaching private voice lessons. She continued her teaching experience as a member of the Shreveport Operaand Opera Colorado’s Young Artist program, in addition to teaching at the Bergen School of Music, Wellsley Academy of Music and Fusion Music School and is thrilled to be joining the faculty of Cornerstone Music Studios.
Music Motto: “Only YOU can teach yourself how to sing. Only YOU can find your voice. I am only a guide, because at the end of the day, it’s all about you finding your own voice.”
Holly Deitz, Studio Manager at Cornerstone Music Studios, is responsible for scheduling, billing and student registration. Holly received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University and law degree from the American University in Washington D.C. Active in community service, Holly currently has served the residents of Millstone as a member of the Millstone Township Board of Education. Prior to joining the BOE, Holly volunteered her time with Millstone Township Foundation For Educational Excellence (MTFEE), a not-for-profit organization of volunteers raising money for the Millstone Township School District to supplement the District’s curriculum.
Greg has taught private piano, saxophone and clarinet lessons for over a decade. Currently, Greg is a music teacher in central New Jersey where he runs an elementary band program. There he teaches students to play flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone and percussion. In addition to teaching piano at Cornerstone Music Studios, Greg has also taught at Westminster Conservatory and “Bach to Rock Music Music School”.
Greg earned his Master’s degree in Piano Performance from The Boston Conservatory and received his undergraduate degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University with a double major in Music Education and Piano Performance.
Sara Elmer is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College with a dual degree in Bachelor of Music in Music Education, summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts in Teaching, with distinction, with a concentration in piano. While at Westminster, she also worked on a piano pedagogy minor. For thirteen years, Sara has been the pianist and organist at Manasquan Reformed Bible Church. She has been teaching piano for the past seven years. Throughout her teaching experience, Sara has taught students of all ages and all levels. She has also had experience teaching music to elementary and middle school students in public and private school settings.
Music Motto: I believe that everyone has musical potential and that he or she can reach that musical potential with guidance.
Meagan Lee Hodson, mezzo-soprano, has been teaching private voice and piano lessons since 2007 while assisting at numerous studios and schools with accompanying and vocal instruction and is thrilled to continue to share her passion for voice and piano instruction at Cornerstone Music Studios! While earning her Master of Music from Westminster Choir College in Voice Pedagogy and Performance, Meagan has gained valuable performing experience in university opera productions and choral works on the prestigious stages of Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and the Kimmel Center. Meagan received her Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance at Western Connecticut State University.
Meagan has also worked as music director for high school and community productions such as High School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Hello Dolly, Romeo+Juliet: The Rock Musical and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Meagan also maintains her private studio at Arts Youniversity in Hamilton, NJ and is staff accompanist at the Chapin School in Princeton, NJ. Additionally, she sings with churches throughout CT, NJ and NY regularly.
Meagan pursued modeling and acting at a young age and obtained membership to the Screen Actors Guild in 1999. Around that same time she started to make the transition from music theater repertoire to Classical training, which led her to numerous concert engagements and opera performances at Westminster. Her other opera credits extend to her undergrad alma mater and the opera choruses with Yale Opera Company, Opera Orchestra of New York.
Music Motto: I teach music to people of all ages because everyone deserves to have a closer connection to music, whether they are 5 or 85. Cornerstone Music Studios is an ideal place, reaching out to all students and giving a chance to become better musicians.
Heather Jones, Story-2-Stage Saturday accompanist and a South Carolina native, is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education with an emphasis in Voice. A member of several choirs at Westminster, Heather performed extensively with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Dresden Staatskapelle, under the batons of Simon Rattle and Daniel Harding, among others. Heather has taught K-12 general music and choir in New Jersey and Pennsylvania schools for two years, and was recently the Assistant Music Director for McCarter Theater’s FirstStage afterschool program. Heather is currently the General Manager for Princeton Girlchoir. Heather also has two years of event planning experience and four years of office experience in the Office of Admissions at Westminster. She is very excited to be a part of the Cornerstone family alongside such great faculty and staff!
Guitarist and Baritone Jacob Kinderman obtained a M.M. in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in 2012 and a B.M. in Voice Performance and Guitar Performance from Saint Martin’s University in 2010. Jacob has taught guitar and voice throughout Washington State and in New Jersey at both the college level and with young musicians. His teaching curriculum includes guitar technique, facility, music theory and group ensembles. During his time at Saint Martin’s University, Jacob had the honor of performing in a master class with internationally renowned classical guitar Christopher Parkening. His operatic performance credits include the title role of Don Giovanni, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, the title role of Eugene Onegin, Schaunard in La Bohème, Melisso in Alcina and many others. He has received such accolades as the first annual Dalton Baldwin Artsong Prize for his performance of selections from Before and After Summer by Gerald Finzi, The Encouragement award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Vancouver, B.C. and was a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the NATS Artist Award Competition. He has apprenticed with opera companies all over the country including an Apprentice Artist position at Des Moines Metro Opera in Des Moines, Iowa and an Apprentice Singer position with Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia, two summers as a Fellow in Westminster Choir College’s CoOPERAtive program, the young artist training program at the University of Miami in Salzburg and the Florence Voice Seminar. Jacob’s performance experience in various musical arenas allows him to provide a well-rounded musical experience to students of all ages.
Daniel Kochersberger, originally from Canandaigua, New York, is active in the New York contemporary music scene. In addition to orchestral appearances with the New World Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, Daniel has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber player with Contemporaneous, the Contemporary Music Ensemble of Oberlin, the Chamber Winds Ensemble of Manhattan, and the Manhattan Wind Symphony. He is one of the founding members and the tenor saxophonist of Manhattan Saxophone Quartet, which has performed at Yale University, The Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, and Symphony Space. Daniel received his B.M. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his M.M. at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Paul Cohen.
Willene Lagrimanta has been teaching private piano lessons for many years. A former elementary school teacher in Denver, Colorado, Willene has two daughters and four grandchildren with whom she enjoys sharing music.
Willene received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education, with a major in piano and a minor in organ, from Texas Lutheran University. She began playing the organ for church services at the age of 11. Now, she accompanies singing for various groups in her community and plays in the Bell Choir at her church. She is happy and thankful to be a piano teacher at Cornerstone Music Studios where her music values are embraced. Willene has been a teacher here at Cornerstone since its beginning!
Music Motto: Children must be encouraged to be able to play piano music fluently for their enjoyment, and for the enjoyment of others, and to nurture their own creative musical talents with a lasting appreciation of music.
Dylan Lloyd has been teaching private guitar lessons since high school. He currently studies classical guitar with Dr. James M. Day, and is completing his Bachelor of Music Education degree from The College of New Jersey. Dylan has performed in the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Festival and the Wall Guitar Festival. He has also performed in Master Classes with guitarists Kevin Gallagher (winner of the 2003 GFA competition) and Scott Tennant (author of guitar technique book Pumping Nylon). Singing has also been a passion for Dylan. He has been singing in various choirs since the age of 7, and has studied voice with Rob Guarino at TCNJ. Last spring Dylan had the honor of singing in a performance of Mahler’s second symphony in Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre with the TCNJ Chorale and three choirs from Japan to promote the rebuilding of Japan. Currently, he is the music director of The Trentones a cappella group at TCNJ.
Dylan’s goal at Cornerstone Music Studios is to shape students into well-rounded musicians by creating a comfortable, enjoyable environment that is conducive to developing and sharing musical skills and ideas. Ultimately, these skills will promote confidence, self-esteem, and measurable achievement.
Colleen McDonald, Senior Faculty Advisor at Cornerstone Music and accomplished soprano, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College with a Masters of Music in Voice Pedagogy and Performance. A New Jersey native, Colleen received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Muhlenberg College, graduating magna cum laude with emphases in Music History, Theory and Performance. There she received such distinctions as the Dorothy and Dexter Baker Foundation Award in the Performing Arts as well as the Muhlenberg College Summer Research Grant for her work on the female Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová. Her operatic experience ranges from roles and performances with such programs as Opera Slavica, Westminster Opera Theater, Opera MODO, New Jersey Opera Theater and the Ameropa International Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. Colleen’s performance and teaching experience in such genres as opera, art song, music theater and jazz improvisation, allow her to provide a well- rounded musical experience for her students.
Colleen currently teaches private voice and piano lessons at Cornerstone Music Studios and is a section leader at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Freehold, NJ.
George Massina Jr.
George Massina has been a drum instructor for many years at Cornerstone Music studios and is definitely our closest brush with rock-n-roll fame! In addition to completing a Bachelors of Music Education at The College of New Jersey, George was taught by Tony DeNicola (of Harry James), Rod Morgenstein (of Dixie Dregs and Winger), Sandy Genaro (of The Monkees and Cyndie Lauper), and studied for two years with the New York Drummer’s Collective. Also proficient in teaching brass, woodwinds, and strings, George has over 25 years’ experience as a music teacher in public high schools in instrumental music and marching band.
During his incredible career George has recorded and toured in New York, California and Jamaica and opened for The Police, the Eurhythmics, The Ramones, The Smithureens, Three Dog Night and Brian Setzer (Stray Cats). He has played with members of such diverse groups as Styx, The Doors, Bon Jovi, the Partridge Family, Toto, The Supremes, David Bowie, The Crystals, Richie Cole, 4 Seasons, and The Animals. He still regularly plays with The Monkees for local shows. George’s former students have moved on to play with The Fray and Tonic, and two are currently touring with Dancing With the Stars. Once, George and the Lawrence H.S.Band were selected to play before the President of the United States at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
Brandon Motz, tenor, is thrilled to serve on faculty at Cornerstone Music Studios after spending the last two years working towards earning his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. He brings with him a love a teaching and a personal goal of creating lifelong music lovers. As a performer he is frequently praised for his “significant stage presence” and his clear and vibrant tone.
Growing up in Grand Junction, CO Brandon began performing in children’s theatre productions when he was five years old and quickly developed a love of all things music and theatre. Before graduating high school Brandon had built a resume of over 20 leading rolls in plays and musicals in both amateur and professional productions. Favorite musical rolls include Marius in Les Miserable, Tony in West Side Story, Jack in Into the Woods, Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Artful Dodger in Oliver! While attending Otterbein College in Ohio he turned his attention to classical singing. His operatic roles include Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Beppe in I Pagliacci, and Fredrick in The Pirates of Penzance. This past summer Brandon made his professional debut as a last minute replacement in The Magic Flute at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC.
Ed O’Connor has been teaching guitar and saxophone at Cornerstone since 2007. He has been playing professionally since 1983, spending ten plus years with Trenton-based oldies groups such as Stormy Weather and the Cop-Shoo Bops. In 1987, he joined the Mahoney Brothers Band and their Jukebox Heroes and Long Live the Beatles shows, doing over 200 performances per year.
During the eight years with the Mahoney Brothers, Ed did seven national television appearances including Dick Clark’s Summer Safari (CBS), Charlie Daniel’s Talent Roundup (TNN), and several spots on the Disney Channel during one of their several stints at the famous park in Orlando, Florida. Ed has performed in 35 of the 50 states and played for President Clinton in Washington, D.C. He currently performs all over the tri-state area with Kindred Spirit along with a few other Cornerstone faculty members.
His “real” job is as a Regional Supervisor for the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, overseeing all traffic safety programs in the seven Southern Counties. Ed is considered a national expert in the field of vehicle occupant protection and speaks at safety conferences all across the country. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The College of New Jersey.
Daniel Santos is a drum set player and hand percussion specialist from New Jersey. Daniel graduated Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in Professional Music. Known as a “musician of many hats,” his stylistic versatility allows for musical options as well as a holistic approach to education, paying homage to tradition while innovating for the future.
Prior to teaching at Cornerstone, Daniel taught at Berklee College of Music through the Berklee City Music program, where he lead an ensemble of high school students in addition to teaching private lessons. Through extensive performance and diligent study, Daniel has developed a teaching method that not only facilitates learning, but promotes both creative and positive thinking.
Amanda Lee Schneider, a Florida native, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She has performed with a variety of internationally acclaimed orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Dresden Philharmonic under the baton of Joseph Flummerfelt and Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos, respectively. Among her operatic experience are performances in Der fliegende Holländer, Carmen, Sweeney Todd, Falstaff, Il Trovatore, Beatrice et Benedict, and Tosca with such companies as Princeton Festival, New Jersey Opera, Westminster Opera Theatre, and the Lyric Orchestra. She most recently appeared as Princess Eboli in Don Carlo for the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Mrs. Schneider comes to Cornerstone Music with six years of private music instruction, including a thriving studio in Fort Lauderdale, FL before her return to New Jersey. She currently enjoys a busy schedule of teaching voice, violin, and piano, and has recently founded an opera company, Opera Forza.
Music Motto: Music opens the door to a greater form of self-expression. With musical study, children and adults will develop a new way of looking at themselves, and at the world around them.
Beginning from childhood holidays going to Lincoln Center to see The Nutcracker to listening to Beatles albums in the living room, Julia Henderson (née Walenciak) has always had a love of music! In 2003, Julia took that passion and earned her Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College. While studying there she was a flutist in the orchestra, symphonic band and flute choir. She spent a semester abroad studying at Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, England where she also sang in the College Choir.
Currently, Julia works as a vocal/general music teacher at Errickson Elementary School in the Freehold Township School District. There she sings, plays, dances and integrates technology into music class. In addition, Julia is a director for the Performing Arts Club, a group of fifth graders which desire more time on the stage, eager to be in front of an audience! Since then Julia has continued her love for the flute by being an active member of the Colts Neck Community Band. With the CNCB, she has also pursued conducting and helped form a Flute Ensemble.
Music Motto: Music is the key that can open the hearts of all.
Percussionist Charlie Winkler comes to Cornerstone Music Studios bringing an array of musical styles and influences to share with his students. Trained side by side as both a classical percussionist and drum set player, Charlie’s repertoire includes rock, pop, jazz, latin, and funk, as well as classical and rudimental snare drum styles.
Charlie has used the fusion of these styles combined with creative talent to bolster his performance opportunities, playing in various venues across New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Additionally he has been performing for years with The College of New Jersey’s concert band, wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, and jazz ensemble.
With a degree in Music Education, Charlie is eager to use his knowledge of teaching combined with his performing talent and experience to share his love of music with his students. His lessons focus on the fundamentals of notated music, and learning to play tastefully with a strong command of the groove. His students will explore any style of drumming they wish.
Neil Winkler teaches trumpet at Cornerstone Music Studios. Neil earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from The College of New Jersey. While at the College, Neil played with a variety of ensembles, including the Orchestra as principal trumpet, the Wind Ensemble as assistant principal trumpet, and the Brass Ensemble. He also played principal trumpet in the TCNJ Chorale’s performance of “Gloria” by John Rutter. Prior to college Neil was a member of the NJMEA Region II Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.
In addition to teaching in private music studios Neil has also spent time teaching in several New Jersey public schools. Neil has also been performing in brass, wind and concert ensembles throughout New Jersey.
Isabel, Administrative Staff, is a lifelong New Jersey resident. A contralto, she has been studying voice for 6 years, piano for 13 years, and viola for 8 years. A recent graduate of the Peddie School of Excellence, she currently lives in Memphis, TN and attends Rhodes College, where she is double majoring in Vocal Performance and Biology. Her recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Our Town, Metamorphoses, Into the Woods, and Madama Butterfly. Isabel has also worked at various theaters in New Jersey including The Count Basie and The Kelsey Theater. Isabel also is the Assistant Director for the MPAC Musical Theatre and Arts Camp and co-facilitates the Youth Music and Theatre Arts “Storybook Series” Camp.
Growing up on a steady diet of classical music of such composers as Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Debussy and Chopin hardly prepared Laura for her current repertoire of music of Sara Barreilles, Cold Play, The Eagles, Brandi Carlile or Gavin DeGraw. Laura grew up in a musical family, beginning her classical piano studies at a typically young age. Laura’s fondest memories include those of playful, intricate duets which she performed with her sister, Dianne. Fortunately, her parents always believed in the value of learning a musical instrument. Gratefully, she didn’t have a choice!
As a resident of Millstone Township, NJ for over twenty years, Laura has enjoyed her share of volunteer appointments to various committees, boards and foundations within the community and Monmouth County. Several years ago while (as a mother and homemaker raising daughters, Olivia and Isabel) Laura began teaching piano lessons in her private studio. It was a modest arrangement, yet served an important purpose. As the years progressed, she began to feel inspired to create a space in the community that would welcome and nurture music students of a wide range of instruments. The opportunity presented itself and Cornerstone Music Studios at Millstone became a reality.
Laura holds her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from the University of South Florida, where, during a part-time assistantship, spent semesters in a dance rehearsal hall, accompanying USF ballet students during their demanding advanced performance classes. She currently assists with the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Freehold, NJ, “Wiggle-n-Worship” music program.
Music Motto: Every being is musical and has the unique ability to foster and express creativity through melody! “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Psalm 104:33
Questions or comments? Please email us or call our studios (732) 446-1919. We look forward to speaking with you!