Music Faculty

Jeri Bannister
Brass, Woodwinds, and Drums. B.S., Mus. Ed., and M.S., Mus. Ed., Ithaca College, NY; C.A.G.S., Interdisciplinary Studies, Fitchburg State University, MA; additional graduate studies at Hartt School of Music and Central Connecticut State University. Founding member of Pioneer Valley Brass and member of Flamingo, an all female swing band. Extensive teaching experience in public schools, at Northfield Mt. Hermon and Bement.

Cecilia Berger
Violin, Viola, and Cello. B.M., Violin Performance, Lawrence University, WI; M.M., Violin Performance, Bowling Green State University, OH. Cecilia is the 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 the Manager of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Julie Carew
Cello. B.M., Cello Performance, Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, CT; M.M., Cello Performance- Suzuki Pedagogy Emphasis, 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
Violin, Viola. Nina studied viola and piano performance at Interlochen Arts Academy. She holds her BA and MA degrees from Yale University where her focus was social science and education.  She has been a private strings instructor, writer, and musician-composer. 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.

Kit Johnson
Piano. B.A., English Ed., University of Northern Colorado at Greeley; M.A., Choral Conducting and Piano Lab Pedagogy, University of Washington; Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wyoming.

Kit is a performer as well as a teacher and is adept at playing and teaching most any style of music and hones his instruction to the goals of the student. It is his belief that seasoned professional teachers can save beginning students a lot of struggle by getting them started with the right habits both playing and practicing. Kit’s students enjoy his sense of humor and his capacity to help them create their own music as well as playing what is already written.

Laura Josephs
Piano, Voice, Violin. Laura 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.

Eric Lemm
Guitar. A.A., Madison Media Institute, WI. Eric has been teaching guitar for 15 years and has taught and performed in Wisconsin, Texas, and Massachusetts. He is a firm believer in building a strong foundation through chord memorization and enjoys working with students on songs that they feel passionate about.

Maria Ramsey
Violin, Piano, and Voice. B.A., Music, Vassar College, NY. At Vassar, Maria was concertmaster of the Vassar College Orchestra, Music Department Theory Intern, and co-director of Camerata Choir, a student-led early music choir. She also played in a string quartet and was a member of the Vassar College Women’s Chorus.

Heather Sommerlad
Violin. B.A., Music, Bennington College, VT. Heather was born and raised in El Paso, TX, where at age 16, she began playing with the El Paso Symphony under the direction of Gurer Aykal, an opportunity which prompted the beginning of her professional career. During her time at Bennington, Heather worked closely with emerging composers, performing a number of new works.

As Co-Director of the Strings For Kids program and a private lesson teacher, Heather is dedicated to nurturing passion, dedication, and enthusiasm in all her students to maintain a healthy balance of technical proficiency and musical integrity.

Phil Teahen
Hand Drumming. Phil grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where around age 15 he first listened to Latin percussion music that was being performed in a local neighborhood park. This music helped to fuel his passion for hand drumming. Phil teaches Afro-Cuban hand percussion on conga drums, cowbells, clave, guiro, bongos, shekere, maracas, palitos, and gua-gua.