Music Faculty

Jeri Bannister teaches brass, woodwinds, and drums. She is a founding member of Pioneer Valley Brass and member of Flamingo, an all female swing band. Jeri holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Ithaca College in New York, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Interdisciplinary Studies from Fitchburg State University, as well as additional graduate studies from the Hartt School of Music and Central Connecticut State University.  She has extensive teaching experience in public schools at Northfield, Mt. Hermon and Bement.

Cecilia Berger teaches violin, viola, and cello. Cecilia is the former Executive Director at Artspace, a co-founder of the Strings For Kids program, and a private lesson teacher for violin, viola, and cello students. In addition to her work at Artspace, Cecilia is the Production Manager and Principal Second Violinist of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and has served as Manager of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra.She holds a Bachelor’s of Music for Violin Performance from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and a Master’s in Music for Violin Performance from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Julie Carew is a cello teacher with a Bachelor’s of Music in Cello Performance from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and a Masters of Music in Cello Performance specializing in Suzuki Pedagogy from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, CO. While living in Denver, Julie maintained a private studio of 35+ students and taught through Denver Talent Education, a Suzuki group program for students in the greater Denver area. She also founded City Strings, an outreach string program in a low-income area of Denver in 2001. Since returning to New England in 2007, Julie has been teaching private and group classes at her home and has held teaching positions at the Suzuki School of Newton, Community Music Center of Boston, and the Powers Music School. Julie has been on the Artspace faculty since 2016 and now co-directs the Strings for Kids program.

Nina Gross teaches violin, and viola and has been a private strings instructor, writer, and musician-composer. Nina studied viola and piano performance at Interlochen Arts Academy. She holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University where her focus was social science and education.  She taught elementary music and violin at Atlanta Montessori International School, general music and choral instruction on the elementary level in the Bronx, and Suzuki viola at the Atlanta Conservatory of Music. Nina has played in several symphonies including The Bronx Symphony, The Yale Symphony, and Georgia Philharmonic. She also enjoys chamber music, studio work, and improvisation. Nina believes musical expression should be the right of every child. In her teaching, she seeks to establish a strong musical foundation and joyous relationship with music. She tries to meet each student where they are and takes an organic approach, incorporating ear work, body movement, music theory, and the language of emotion and musical expression. Aside from music she enjoys sharing her poetry, practicing aikido, and singing –oops that’s music. She is currently writing a novel.

Laura Josephs teaches piano, singing, and violin. She grew up playing the piano and developed a love for piano accompaniment over time.  Her training comes from the New England Conservatory and Ithaca College.  She has a laid-back style, and likes to encourage students to direct the trajectory of their musical study according to their evolving interests.

Rafe Wolman teaches violin and fiddle and has a Bachelor of Arts from Mcgill University in Montreal. Rafe grew up in the Boston area, playing the violin in public school, local youth orchestras, and student jazz ensembles. He began playing fiddle music (on the violin) in Montreal at Sunday night Bluegrass Night, as well as backing up many bluegrass, country and rock and roll singers in that city’s fertile music scene. These days, he plays for square dances, weddings, farmers’ markets, and on the street corners of Shelburne Falls during leaf-peeping season. Rafe teaches primarily Southern-style old time fiddle tunes, but is also well-versed in Cajun, bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, jazz and Eastern European musical traditions. He loves to work with students of all ages and is also a certified Suzuki Book One violin teacher. In lessons Rafe likes to emphasize learning tunes by ear, relaxed and effective technique, ensemble playing, and improvisation.