Meet the Faculty
Music Academy South is blessed to have some of the most professional and knowledgeable instructors in the Triangle area. Read on to find out more about our faculty!
Woodwind & Brass
Susan Averill is a woodwind and brass instructor. She has 24 years of middle school band experience in Florida and Georgia, and 7 years of general music teaching experience. She has a B.F.A. in Music Education from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Her Symphonic Bands received consistent Superior ratings at District and private Band Festivals.
In 1986, she was selected as the Sixth Grade Honor Band Director for Georgia Music Educators Association, District One. In 2005, she was selected to be the Nature Coast Middle School Honors Band Director (Citrus County, Florida). She has adjudicated middle school bands at pre-festival concerts. She developed an outstanding jazz program for seven years at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill, Florida.
Susan has performed in the orchestras of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida and First Baptist Church of Orlando, Florida. Her primary instrument is oboe.
Voice & Piano
Lindsay Byers attended Westminster College in Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. While in college she performed in a variety of different operatic roles, and won the School of Music’s Concerto and Aria Competition. Ms. Byers will receive her Master of Arts in Music Education in May 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. In both her graduate and undergraduate studies, she focused on vocal performance and vocal pedagogy. During her seven years of teaching elementary music in North Carolina, she has helped students develop their musicality, explore their own musical interests, as well as learn about historically and culturally valuable music from around the world. During voice lessons students are encouraged to share their goals, likes and dislikes, strengths and areas for improvement. Ms. Byers’ works to develop healthy singing habits, basic music reading skills, musicality, stage presence, and artistry in all of her students through songs which suit each student’s ability, goals, personality, and musical tastes. Ms. Byers is thrilled to share her passion for singing with the students of Music Academy South.
Mary Beth Dalton
Piano & Percussion
Mary Beth Dalton was raised in Monett, Missouri, and began taking piano lessons at the age of 6. She recently graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Ms. Dalton spent four years in the Razorback Marching Band and four years in the Wind Symphony at the University of Arkansas. Developing her love for teaching grew through training and performance opportunities throughout her community in Missouri and Arkansas. Ms. Dalton naturally gravitated toward the love of teaching and performing privately as well as within the public school system and has been teaching since 2005. She enjoys introducing the piano and drums to new students and helping them discover a love for music.
Guitar & Bass
Daniel Day has been a resident guitar instructor at Music Academy South since 2005. He has instructed hundreds of students of all ages and abilities. He is the father of four really neat grown children, is married to the lovely Julia Robertson and is stepfather to her son, John.
Daniel's musical journey began during his teenage years in Milwaukee. He studied with Chuck Grazamke and Milwaukee jazz legend Don Momblow, and began performing in local coffee houses, cafes, and college campuses. He started to compose his own material, encompassing many musical genres. While touring with his band in upstate New York, he met sitar player Roop Verma, a distinguished student of the renowned Ravi Shankar. He and his band were invited on a five-month musical tour of India. This deeply meaningful experience led him to return to India for two years to study the fundamentals of Indian raga and rhythms.
On his return to the States Daniel completed a Bachelor’s Degree in classical guitar and composition at Seattle’s Cornish Institute (now known as Cornish College of the Arts). He owned and operated the Rosewood Guitar Music store and performed in the greater Seattle area. He left the music scene for 11 years while he raised his four children in the mountains of Montana and later in Raleigh, but in 2002 he heard music calling to him once more, and he has never looked back. Daniel believes that "though we may teach, it is of vital importance that we shall forever be learning," and continues to hone his skills through his study with local jazz guitarist, Kevin Van Sant.
"Music is a journey of a lifetime in the infinite of the moment," and Daniel encourages his students to take that journey with their talent, their spirit, their instrument and their hearts.
Bass, Guitar, Jam Band
Steve Earnhart is a professional Bassist, Vocalist, Composer, and Producer with over twenty years experience performing, recording, and teaching. He earned his B.A. in Professional Music with an emphasis on performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
As a performer and band leader, Steve has toured and performed in theaters and clubs throughout the Northeast and West Coast on bills with artists such as Lindsay Buckingham, Kenny Loggins, Rick Springfield, and Eddie Money. As a session player, Steve has recorded bass parts for Ice Cube, Pete Yorn, PJ Olsen, and many others. On the composing and producing side, his work has appeared on numerous TV programs airing on ESPN, FOX, NatGeo, MTV, VH1, and Discovery. In addition, throughout his career Steve has taught students ranging from beginner to advanced using an innovate approach that blends proven traditional methods with the latest in software and music applications so students are able to efficiently zero in on their goals and surpass them.
Steve recently relocated from the Los Angeles area where he has lived for the last fifteen years, and is very much looking forward to getting to know the musicians and community in Wake Forest.
Sydney Ferrell is an accomplished soprano and performer of opera, musical theatre, sacred, and contemporary music. Ms. Ferrell is a senior at Meredith College, graduating in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and Theatre. She has been studying voice for twelve years under several instructors including: Sherry Lee Allen, Michael Dixon, and Dr. DeMar Neal. She has performed in master classes with Michael Fabiano, Stella Peruzzi, Mari Palmer, and Andrea Sari. Sydney has six years of piano training with Marlowe Carruth and Sandra Hawkes and has taught beginning to intermediate piano using the Faber curriculum.
While at Meredith College, Ms. Ferrell won at the state level for both Musical Theatre and classical NATS and placed first at the regional level for Musical Theatre. She is also a two time nominee for Best Actress by the Kennedy Center's ACTF. Ms. Ferrell traveled to Italy with the International Young Artist Project performing in Puccini's Suor Angelica. Upon winning the School of Music's Concerto Aria Competition she was a featured soloist with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jim Waddelow. In addition to her formal studies, Ms. Ferrell is a frequent performer with Raleigh Little Theatre and White Iris Light Opera, receiving the lead soprano roles in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, Iolanthe, and the all-female production of Cox and Box.
Sydney is committed to teaching proper technique to ensure healthy singing, general music theory, and musical interpretation which allows students to achieve their personal goals. With an objective of preparing students for performance opportunities, auditions, and competitions such as NATS, she coaches students in professional conduct, characterization, and musicality. Sydney is thrilled to have the opportunity to encourage and collaborate with developing musicians to create beautiful music they can share with others.
Piano, Voice, Blast OFF With Music
Margot Hafner holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Iowa. Prior to moving back to Iowa her senior year, Mrs. Hafner received an outstanding musical education at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Mrs. Hafner teaches at West Oxford Elementary School in Granville County where she is an active teacher, leader and volunteer. Her experience is extensive and spans choral, solo and theatrical endeavors. She has directed both the West Oxford Chorus, a 60-member first grade choir and the Little Theater and Children's Theater musicals in Granville County.
Annually, Mrs. Hafner guides her young elementary students to produce a Showcase of Stars as a fund-raiser for their school with outstanding results. Many of her students audition and perform in the All-County Music Festival led by Sally Albrecht and Andy Beck, clinicians.
Each summer Margot provides leadership as the musical director for Broadway and Beyond Theater Camp in Vance and Granville County for elementary students, as well as musically directs the TeenWorks Theater Camp for middle and high school students for the county.
Though a highly sought after voice and piano instructor at Music Academy South, Mrs. Hafner enjoys being a part of her community and volunteers when possible. Favorite opportunities are singing in the Raleigh-Durham Sacred Chorale, playing in the advanced handbell choir at her church (Wake Forest Baptist Church), as well as singing in the choir, and frequently as a soloist.
Mrs. Hafner is a dedicated member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and her students always achieve the highest scores. Music Academy South students are in good hands in her studio.
Jodi Lewis has a Masters degree in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois. She has been teaching voice and performing for over 15 years. Mrs. Lewis is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others to enhance their sense of confidence and pride in their vocal study and performance. Working with each student to uncover and develop his or her unique voice is her objective and one that each student will find compelling and innovative. She naturally works to enhance the student’s musicianship and general musical skills related to note reading, rhythmic and pattern relationships, as well as sight reading and stage presence. Every student's lesson is uniquely designed to the individual needs and desires of each student. Mrs. Lewis does not teach one particular style of music but enjoys helping the students develop their foundation and technique that will enable them to sing any style they choose: Popular, Musical Theater, Cover Charts, Classical, Country, etc. Experienced in Opera, Musical Theater, and church. She will serve her students well at Music Academy South.
Lisa Moxley has over 30 years of piano teaching experience. She earned BM and BME degrees from Ouachita Baptist University and a Master of Church Music degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she studied with esteemed piano pedagogue, Maurice Hinson. She enjoys teaching students of all ages in both studio and academic environments. Mrs. Moxley is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association and is a member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association. Prior to teaching at Music Academy South, she taught piano minors at Bluefield College in Virginia, where she also accompanied faculty, student and choral rehearsals and performances. Mrs. Moxley enjoys accompanying at both Wake Forest Baptist Church and Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Cello, Viola, Violin, String Ensemble
Valerie Montjoy was born and raised in North Carolina. She started playing violin at age 10 and performed often with school functions and for church. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Meredith College and Master of Music Degree from Appalachian State University. While at Appalachian, she was second violinist of the Hayes String Quartet and taught Strings Methods classes to undergraduateds. She is currently the Music Director and Choir Director at her church and performs often in services. Valerie mixes Suzuki and traditional teaching styles and creates a specialized lesson plan based on what the student hopes to achieve during violin study. She has a passion for chamber music and enjoys collaborating with other musicians.
Trombone,Trumpet, Tuba, Euphonium, French Horn
Yoshi Nakamura has been the band director at Raleigh Christian Academy and orchestra director at Beacon Baptist Church since 1996. His advanced band has won the North Carolina Association of Christian Schools annual band competition numerous times over the past twenty years. His bands have also competed at the American Association of Christian Schools annual competitions in Greenville, SC several times over the years with a third place finish this past year. Yoshi is also one of the clinic chairmen for the annual North Carolina Association of Christian Schools All-State Band Clinic. In addition to his school responsibilities, Yoshi has also performed as a trombonist in the Triangle Wind Ensemble, Wake Community Christian Band, and Cary Town Band where he also serves as assistant director.
Yoshi began playing the trombone in fourth grade in Shimizu, Japan. Upon graduation from high school, Yoshi came to the United States to study at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL. While in college, Yoshi won the commencement brass competition three times. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pensacola Christian College in trombone performance in 1996; he later earned his masters in secondary education from PCC in 2007.
Over the past twenty years, Yoshi has taught private instrumental lessons on the violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, French horn, baritone, tuba, and percussion. His students have consistently received superior ratings in various competitions and earned top seats in all-state bands.
Lafrida Preston, pianist, comes to Music Academy South with a myriad of musical experiences and training both domestically and internationally. Trained by her mom (a student of the Leipzig Music School in Germany) in her formative years, Mrs. Preston earned her BA in Piano Performance at Newberry College, Newberry, SC and studied in Vienna, Austria her junior year. Later in life, she earned an MBA at Georgia Southern University.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Preston has accompanied numerous violinists, singers, and choral ensembles in each community to which she belonged. She taught and played collaboratively in Heidelberg, Germany. One of her true joys was accompanying flutist, Susanne Krumstroh Kalb and cellist, Holgar Kampffmeyer while in Germany.
Mrs. Preston and her family, three daughters and husband, moved to Raleigh in 2002 where she is very involved with her local church. In addition to accompanying, teaching, and being a mom, she performs with not only two sopranos, but also violinist, Dr. Susan Wallace. Their duo is named “The Recitalists” and performs frequently in the Triangle area.
Mrs. Preston is currently the new Second Vice-President of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and past Treasurer for 3 years. She is also a member of NCMTA and MTNA.
Anne Scoggin holds a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee/Chattanooga and a Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Meredith College. She has been a long-time independent teacher in Louisburg, taught at Campbell University for five years, and at Raleigh Conservatory of Music for twenty years. Her teaching experience includes working with students of all ages and levels of piano study. Fulfilling the standards of the Music Teachers National Association Professional Certification Program, Mrs. Scoggin holds the designation of a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. She is a member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, which she presently serves as the State Independent Music Teachers Forum Chair. She has presented programs to area piano teachers organizations, judged in piano competitions, directed master classes, performed in duo recitals, and accompanied vocalists and instrumentalists. Mrs. Scoggin is also the organist/choir director at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg.
Dr. Jeanine Skinner is a teacher, performer, collaborative musician, and church musician. Her degrees from Anderson University, Furman University, Florida State University and the University of South Carolina are in Piano Performance with her final degree focused on Performance and Pedagogy. She has served on the faculties of Southern Wesleyan University (Central, SC), Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC), Lander University (Greenwood, SC), the State University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA), Berry College (Rome, GA) and Judson College (Marion, AL).
As a collaborative musician, Dr. Skinner has accompanied numerous college and professional choruses, vocalists and instrumentalists, performing in Carnegie Hall, various countries in Europe and the United Kingdom. As a soloist, she enjoys performing for concerts, community service events, and church services in the local area. Dr. Skinner is an active member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and is their current president.
Dr. Skinner has served as a church musician for 44 years. She has served as organist, pianist and choir director in a number of denominations. For the past 10 years, Dr. Skinner has served as organist and accompanist for Wake Forest Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC.
In addition, Dr. Skinner owns Music Academy South in Wake Forest, NC where 247 students study numerous traditional musical instruments. Her studio is currently expanding to accommodate the increasing requests and growth in her community. She continues to be active in local, state and national Music Teachers Associations, adjudicate and offer piano workshops. Her love for life in Wake Forest is amplified with the opportunity to live near her sister’s family and to raise her fur-child, Allie.
Piano, Guitar, and Voice
Jill Taylor is a life-long musician who has been teaching music for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a specialization in choral conducting from the University of South Florida. She teaches voice, piano, and guitar.
In addition to teaching private lessons for many years, she also has experience as a preschool and elementary school music teacher, middle school, adult, and children’s choir director, church soloist, singer and performer in the local music scene, songwriter and recording artist.
Jill’s debut album, Song of My Heart is available on iTunes, and one of her songs was placed in the feature film, A Long Way Off. Some of Jill’s former students have landed leading roles in musicals, auditioned into choirs and colleges of their choice, toured nationally with singing groups, and become music teachers and church worship leaders. She is dedicated to helping her students find their niche and making their musical dreams become reality!
Piano, Composition, Music Theory
Stacey teaches piano, composition, and music theory. She began taking piano lessons at the age of nine and continued her keyboard studies throughout college and graduate school. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music at the College of Staten Island, a Master of music Composition at Temple University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree at Coastal Carolina University. Stacey has been teaching music professionally for 10 years in both classroom and private settings. Stacey's goal for her private students is to nurture music-learning as a fun, joyful experience and to encourage students to make music their own through composition. Stacey weaves composition into her piano curriculum so that students can express themselves creatively and gain a more thorough understanding of the inner workings of music.
Cello, Violin, Viola, & M.A.S. String Ensemble
Kevin Yen holds his Bachelor's degree of Music in Violin Performance from Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a Master's degree of Music in Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy emphasis from East Carolina University. Mr. Yen taught in Greenville, NC while completing his studies at East Carolina University gaining broad experience through group and private instruction. He was a member of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra and currently performs with the Beyond String Quartet. In addition to private lessons, he is also the instructor of the M.A.S. String Ensemble. Mr. Yen is in great demand as a teacher and performer throughout the triangle area.