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Meet Our Teachers

Joe Egan - Guitar, Ukulele


Joe has been teaching at the Music Den since 2003 and is a valued member of our team. He focuses on individual student needs for theoretical development, ear training, sight-reading, chord progressions, lead playing, composition, and songwriting.  Currently, Joe is available Monday through Friday for lessons from early afternoon through the evenings.  He also runs various group lesson programs such as an 8 week guitar class, ukulele class, and a "Rock Band" program to give new and/or experienced students the opportunity to work with other musicians in a band setting and perform a concert in the Theater at The Music Den at the end of the program.  Please check the group lesson page to see new classes Joe may be running as well.


Sara Lindsey - Flute, Brass & Woodwind


Please, meet Sara Lindsay! "I teach all levels from beginners to advanced students and I aim to enhance players' performance and audition abilities on any winds. I do this by focusing on sight-reading, ear training, and practice methodology. I like to add in bits of music theory as well as an understanding of how the instrument works and some history of the piece, composer, and instrument. I work with the student to decide which pieces to play and what skills and genres to focus on. I'm originally from Sussex County and came up through the High Point Regional High School system. I made my way through the honors bands (during middle school as well) and am looking forward to guiding others through audition solos and scales. I went to William Paterson University music program and will guide students through college audition process as well as provide insight into types of majors that musicians may be interested in. I'm currently playing flute/piccolo with the Franklin Community Concert band, trumpet with the Franklin Community Parade Band, flute with the Jefferson Community Band, and trombone with the Jefferson Community Jazz Band.


Mike Spoer - Voice, Guitar, Piano, Ukulele


Mike Spoer studied Music Education and Teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. He is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Mike studied classical vocal technique for nearly 10 years, as well as Music Theory and Composition. Outside of the "classical" world, Mike has been performing on Guitar, Bass, and Drums for 20 years. 

Mike has been teaching at The Music Den for over 10 years. He offers invaluable skills in theory, composition, and performance to his students ranging in age from 8 to 80 and all find successful achievement in Guitar, Voice, and Bass. His approach is friendly and supportive with a focus on reading skills, and diligent practice.

Currently, Mike is available for private lessons Monday, and Tuesday evenings. In addition to voice, guitar, and bass lessons, Mike offers valuable one-on-one lessons for Music Theory Majors and High School students preparing for entrance into college music programs.


Melanie Stanford - Piano


Melanie has been playing the piano since she was 7 years old. She studied music at CCM and then received her BMUS from Montclair State University. She taught at the Landing store from 1986-1996, then taught privately until 2021 and is currently back at The Den after a 25 year hiatus. Melanie has a passion for classical music. She has played in many recitals as a soloist as well as being an accompanist for numerous recitals at The Music Den and many local churches. Melanie has played at more weddings (and funerals) than she can count. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and has a special passion for sharing her knowledge of music theory. Melanie also works as an aide/coordinator at The American Christian School and accompanies their yearly Christmas and spring concerts as well as the ACSI choir fests. One of the highlights of her musical career was receiving a personal letter from Patrick Moraz, keyboard player for the Moody Blues, complimenting her on her performance of his “Children’s Concerto.” She is also the mom of 2 great kids, who just happen to take music lessons at The Music Den! 


Ludmila Keller - Violin


Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ludmilla Keller has been studying music since the age of 6. She attended a private music school, then was musically homeschooled by her parents.  After arriving in the United States she continued her studies at Edward R. Murrow School Screen Program for music majors.  This school was the beginning of her life long orchestra career.

Ludmila received her first "official" student in 2002 after tutoring violin students in two high schools and has been teaching privately ever since.  Her teaching style is a combination of traditional Russian and American schooling which is influenced by being exposed to three different cultures growing up.  Ludmila provides a classical approach to students of all ages and levels.  In addition to her weekly lessons, she involves her students in annual and bi-annual recitals, practice log programs, and completion awards. Many of her students have qualified for region orchestra in North and Central New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Ludmila is an adult mentor at with the Sussex County Youth Orchestra.


Mike Malinowski

 

Guitar & Bass


John Hvasta - Drum & Percussion


John Hvasta has 40 years of experience playing the drums; 27 years teaching drums and 30 years playing professionally.
Genres in which John has playing experience are jazz, rock, R&B, funk, rockabilly, country, fusion, and avante guard. John has studied privately with the likes of Jim Chapin, Joe Morello, Dom Famularo, Al Miller, Gary Chaffee, David Garibaldi, and Sam Ulano.

In addition to playing drums, John is also a writer. He is the author of "New Age Drum Set Movements" and co-author of the Rhythm Section Column for Sky lands Blues Music Publication. John is also an occasional contributing author in the bang section of Electronic Musician.


Mariyetta Sarvan - Violin, Viola, Piano


Mariyetta is a seasoned teacher! Originally from Moscow, Russia Mariyetta has been studying, playing, and teaching Violin and Piano since 1981. 

She trained at Sukhumsky State Music College and began teaching at the Gagra Music School in 1981 and moved to the Moscow Music School in 1991. After moving to the United States in 1994, she became a private music teacher in Livingston. Outside of private lessons and the Music Den, Mariyetta also works with the Long Valley Music Center. We are proud to have Mariyetta as a member of our teaching team.


Elizabeth Rutan - Low Brass, Brass & Woodwind


Coming from a musical family, Elizabeth Rutan has always been surrounded by music. Her first introductions to musical instruments were piano and flute. In high school, Elizabeth chose the euphonium as her primary instrument. Elizabeth graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. She performs professionally on both euphonium and trombone. Currently, Elizabeth is a low brass mentor with the Sussex County Youth Orchestra. In addition to music, Elizabeth enjoys creative writing and all kinds of board games. 


Ronda Oosterhoff - Piano


Ronda began her teaching career young, musically tutoring neighborhood kids as a teenager.  This opened the opportunity for her to become an accompanist for soloists, small ensembles, as well as large groups at school, church, and community events.  “The constant learning and improvising keep it fun.”

Initially, Ronda accompanied to make extra money, but her love for music drew her to minor in Music at Hope College during her junior year while studying abroad in Durham, England.  Ronda has taught and/or performed music is some capacity ever since. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hope College, a Master of Arts degree in Communications from Wheaton College, and a PhD in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.

Ronda currently plays regularly at Sparta Evangelical Free Church where she uses her classical note-reading skills as well as modern improvisation.  Ronda has performed for weddings, funerals, and coffee houses. Her teaching style incorporates fundamentals as well as tailoring to the individual needs of the student. “Dynamic music moments require versatility in as many styles as the student is willing to invest and practice.  All ages can learn music: from 4 to 104”. Ronda can attest that the brain processes music differently throughout a lifetime - and everyone is “gifted” with different levels of innate ability - but music instruction can always be rewarding for all involved.


Ming Shiao - Piano


Ming is a graduate of Akron University, Ohio with a Bachelor in Music Education. She has been playing piano since the age of 4. She has maintained her private studio for over 15 years, and extends her talent and skills to the students of the Music Den for 17 years.

She is a member of NJMTA preparing students for state and region auditions and for competitions. Many of her high school students prepare for college music auditions. She has been recognized, on many occasions by International Music Competition and Festival, with a certificate of teaching excellence. Ming is also affiliated with the internationally based Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Ming’s gentle approach enables her students to confidently pursue their interests in music and to become excellent well-trained musicians. Building technical and theoretical skills, students learn through a classical approach. Ming also enjoys other diverse styles such as jazz, ragtime, and popular music. Ming has encouraged many of her students to work on original compositions.


Clint Morris - Guitar, Ukulele, Bas Guitar


Clint Morris has been studying guitar, bass, music theory, and performance for over 25 years. Clint has a bachelor’s degree from William Paterson University and has been teaching music professionally since 2003. He has a wide range of musical interests and influences and appreciates all styles, making him a good choice for students with musical interests outside the realm of “pop” music. Clint’s teaching style is casual, but serious, with a focus on the fundamentals of scales, chord structure, and tone. He works to promote the development of good technique early on, benefiting both youth and adult students. Clint enjoys teaching beginners as well as helping accomplished players work toward more challenging goals.


Camille Olivier - Drums


Camille graduated at the top of his class from Musicians Institute in Los Angeles with a Major in Percussion Performance and a Minor in Music Business. He also attended Manhattan School of Music pre-college for Jazz Performance. Camille studied privately with Travis Barker - Blink 182, Chris Pewe - Dillinger Escape Plan/Coheed and Cambria, and  Chuck Silverman - Latin guru and clinician.

He has performed with NCY Pop-Rock Band, TV/TV, played all of Warped Tour 2009, South by Southwest '09, and is signed to Mom & Pop records.

Camille has been teaching for more than 6 years previously at Original Music School and at Scratch DS Academy. We are proud to have him here at The Music Den. 

His philosophy is dedicated to theory and technique for drum set application. He helps his students set goals and work on songs in the contemporary music landscape. Ensuring that the students have knowledge of all genres and an awareness of the business of music.

Camille has won awards from the Governors School of the Arts, NJ 2001, and from Morristown High School - Jazz Award 2002. He is also a professional DJ in NYC playing top clubs and festivals.


Matthew Moretta - Voice, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Piano


Matt has been around music for as long as he can remember. He started taking private voice lessons at the age of 10, and then started taking private guitar & piano lessons at the age of 12. He also has taken a keen interest in the world of music theory and always makes a concerted effort to infuse theory into every lesson he teaches, regardless of the instrument. At an early age, Matt discovered that he has perfect pitch; since then has always attempted to better his ear every day and also heavily focuses on teaching ear training when in private lessons. In May of 2018, Matt graduated from William Paterson's Music Program with a degree in Classical Voice with an emphasis in Sound Engineering. When not on the job Matt plays the role of songwriter, composer, producer, recording & mixing engineer for his own creative work; and has also played the role of producer for other artists as well while in pursuit of his passion of being a full time songwriter/composer. Matt is very much looking forward to all of the opportunities that may come from teaching at Music Den, but most importantly he is looking forward to having the chance to make his students' days a little better. 


Kathleen Burke - Piano, Guitar, Violin


Kathleen comes from a family who often played and sang music together. Arrangements of a few jazz standards by her father and brother were most memorable. She has played organ, piano, and violin since elementary school. In Middle School, she added the viola to her repertoire and played with the New Jersey Symphony Preparatory Orchestra. As an accomplished accompanist, she has helped launch careers for vocalists, played for students in competitions at Carnegie Hall, and accompanied junior and senior high musical theater productions.

A graduate of Moravian College (now a University) (B.A.), Kathleen toured seven countries in Europe with a college-community choir and played viola with the Moravian College-Community Orchestra. At the University of Notre Dame (M.A.), she led liturgical music for Sacred Heart Parish and the graduate student community. Her nine years in the Midwest were spent as a teacher, campus minister, and liturgical musician. 

Upon returning to New Jersey, Kathleen worked in educational publishing in NJ and NY for Silver Burdett Ginn and Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, once earning a Corporate Achievement Award (shared by the marketing and editorial teams) for Innovation in Music Publishing. She then taught private music lessons at Gill St. Bernard’s School for seventeen years. Kathleen aims to foster a lifelong love of music, recognizing that students take lessons for a wide variety of reasons. She loves keeping up to date with the innumerable benefits, academically and otherwise, of studying music. She balances music literacy goals with the interests and abilities of her students, always aiming to have fun along the way.

Kathleen has also directed and accompanied church music for as long as she can remember, currently serving as Music Minister at St. Matthew the Apostle Parish in Randolph. She is excited to join the amazing team at The Music Den this summer.