Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo, & Piano
Mark Gonzalez has been instructing for 17 years and holds a Masters Degree in classical guitar performance and composition. Now in his fifth year with First Choice, he continues to teach a variety of styles and instruments including guitar, piano, bass, and banjo. Originally from California, Mark moved to Columbus after attending California State University, Chico for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. He was awarded Best Guitarist in 2008 by the Chico News and Review.
Viola, Violin, & Piano
Meagan earned her Bachelor's in Music Performance at Miami University in 2007 and her Masters in Music Performance at University of South Carolina in 2009. She has been teaching privately and freelancing in the Columbus area for about five years. Meagan regularly performs on viola with professional orchestras, including the Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, and the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra. She also plays in small ensembles for weddings, church functions, and other events, and she enjoys playing her 5-string electric violin in a local band. Meagan enjoys sharing her passion for music with her students and helping them master their instruments. She currently teaches violin, viola, and beginner piano at FCMS.
Drums, Percussion, & Piano
Ted grew up in Worthington, OH and started playing drums at age 8. College took him to California State University, Long Beach where he graduated with a BA in Music. His primary instruments are drums, steel drums, vibraphone and piano. His experience in the Cal State Long Beach Steel Drum Orchestra led him to Trinidad in 2000, where he performed with the band "Starlift" during "Panorama," the country's annual steel drum band competition. He plays styles ranging from Jazz, Rock, Blues, Island, Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Brazilian and New Age. He has been a part of great musical groups such as Utter Space, Cliffside Jam Session, Paul Brown's Science Gravy Orchestra, Ken Messer Phoenix Project, The Procastoenators, Superfez and the Mark Goodwin Quartet. He also leads his own band, Tropical Night, a steel drum Island trio. He sits in with other fine Columbus bands and performs solo. He enjoys performing, composing and teaching. His teaching experiences include teaching drum set lessons at Village Music Haus, in German Village, teaching a kids’ steel drum band/ class at the Whetstone Recreation Center in Columbus, OH from 2004-2006 and teaching at First Choice Music Studio.
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Bass Guitar, & Piano
Cole received his bachelors degree in guitar from West Liberty University in Wheeling, WV and then went on to receive his master's degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Graduating in May of 2014, Cole also finished with a Pro Tools certification.
Cole is well versed in performances from ensemble, solo, and orchestral groups, original and cover bands, as well as solo and duet performances for weddings, banquets, and acoustic nights.
Cole’s first love musically is hard rock and metal, but he loves jazz composers such as Barney Kessel, John Pizzarelli, Django Reinhardt, and John Coltrane. In the art music realm he loves composers such as Frederick Chopin, Fernando Sor, Franz Liszt, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Teaching a wide variety of ages, styles, both in public schools and private lessons, Cole continues to practice the craft of teaching music as well as studying music himself.
Voice & Piano
Mariam is from the Republic of Georgia where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Voice (vocal) between 1994-1999 at 1st School of Art in Rustavi. She her Master’s degree in Piano and Voice at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani Tbilisi State Pedagogical University of Georgia between 2000-2005.
Mariam was performing in Tbilisi’s Opera as a soprano and later worked as a piano and voice teacher in Greece and Germany for 6 years. Mariam has a diverse and rich work experience; in Greece, she worked at the famous music school “Orfeas”. While there, she performed in a Jazz Band in the Saloniki and was the maestro of two kid's choirs.
Mariam moved to Ohio in 2014 and continues to work as private piano and voice teacher. She also works as an early learning music teacher at the Arlington Children’s Center to preschooler and school age children.
Brass, Woodwinds, Voice, & Piano
Lisa is a Tubist and Brass teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Lisa begin playing in 6th grade in Lynchburg, Virginia. In high school, she performed at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana with the Jefferson Forest High School Wind Symphony. This experience made her want to pursue a career in Music Education.
Lisa is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University. She has played in a variety of ensembles while at Capital including Wind Symphony, Tuba Quartet, Brass Quintet, Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, and Trombone Choir.
Lisa is also involved in the Women’s Chorus at Capital as well as the Hand Bell Choir and the Chancel Choir at Christ Lutheran Church.
Flute, Picollo, Trumpet, Saxophone, Clarinet, Euphonium, Trombone, & Piano
Lyne received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Susquehanna University in 2016 and her Master of Music degree in Music Performance from Bowling Green State University in 2018. Raised in Northern New Jersey, Ms. Padmore attended performing arts school and performed for the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts as well as alongside the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Although Ms. Padmore is classically-trained, she has extensive experience in other styles, such as jazz, improvisation, and musical theatre. She believes in being a well-rounded musician and encourages musical versatility in all of her students.
Voice, Piano, Guitar, & Ukulele
Bri received her Bachelors degree in Music Therapy and a minor in Psychology from Ohio University in May 2018. Voice was her primary instrument in college, placing an emphasis on musical theatre style. She has been singing and playing piano for 15 years, guitar for 8 years, and ukulele for 4 years. Throughout her high school and college years, Bri was involved in musical theatre, show choir, and dance. She currently volunteers for a non-profit group, The Royals Project, who dress up as superheroes and princesses and visit sick kids in hospitals. In her spare time she enjoys watching crime shows, playing with her cat, spending time with family, and adventuring.
Voice & Piano
A native of Columbus, OH, Tirzah started singing at a very early age. Tirzah received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Oakwood University in 2014. While in college, she enjoyed singing in with the Aeolians, the premier traveling choir of Oakwood University. Tirzah was able to sing in many different countries with the choir including Wales, England, and Russia. Tirzah developed her love of teaching while at Oakwood and was able to continue training to be an opera singer and voice teacher at Peabody Institute, the School of Music for Johns Hopkins University. Tirzah received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Peabody Institute in 2016. During graduate school, she had the joy of teaching students in the classroom setting and loved her experience.
Tirzah loves to perform and has had the opportunity to sing on several stages in the Columbus area. One of her most recent achievements was receiving the Theatre Roundtable Award for Excellence in a Lead Role in a Musical for her performance as Celie in The Color Purple.
Tirzah is a member of the choir and praise team at Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna. She believes that music has the power to change the world. She is excited to share her talents and to inspire students to sing and play!
Cello, Violin, Viola, & Piano
Emma is currently attending Capital University where she is majoring in Music Performance and a student of Capital’s Conservatory of Music. She has been teaching privately and freelancing in the Columbus area for the past year. Emma is currently a member of the Capital University Orchestra and plays in various ensembles throughout Central Ohio. Emma began playing the cello at 11 years old and was a member of the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra while she was in high school, where she had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. Emma is very passionate about helping students learn instrumental music as well as an overall appreciation for music.
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Classical Guitar, Ukulele, and Piano
Travis Long hails from Northwest Ohio where he attended Terra State College for Jazz Studies and Music Performance. Travis has been playing guitar since the tender age of ten and quickly developed a fascination with extended range instruments. He has a deep appreciation for a wide variety of music with a particular affinity for metal and jazz. Travis enjoys performing live and has done so as part of a wide variety of musical projects over the past eight years. He regularly performs on bass with Columbus soul rock group Carole Walker and the Bittertones. Travis is inspired by the work of Allan Holdsworth, Fredrik Thordendal, Larry Coryell, Julian Lage, Tosin Abasi, and Charlie Hunter.
Sunny Wang, originally from China, graduated from the Capital University in Bachelor of Arts in Music and Business Management. Her background includes 16 years of piano performance skills, and she came to Capital University as a piano performance major. She was granted the Global Ambassador full scholarship for 4-year provided by the Capital University. Also, during her sophomore year, she achieved the Winner, Honorable and Alternative Mention in both senior solo group and senior duet group, hosted by Graves, MTNA competitions. She has 10 years’ experience of developing accompaniment for vocalist and violinist.
Sunny has 2-year of teaching experience with students with different levels of piano skills. Sunny believes fundamental techniques is a necessary key to success in piano performance. Solid techniques in playing piano will help students improve the effectiveness of practicing, performance and the degree of completion of music. Sunny, a patient and talented teacher, is good at detecting the potential weaknesses of students during performance and practice, and meanwhile, providing the students with effective and appropriate solutions correspondently to help them reach their goals.
Strings, Guitar, Percussion, Ukulele, Setar, and Piano
Behzad Namazi (composer, ethnomusicologist, and multi-instrumentalist) received his BM in composition from the Ohio State University in 2013, MM in composition from Ohio University in 2015, and PhD in ethnomusicology & composition from Ohio University in 2019. Professionally trained on the violin, tar, and setar, Namazi has focused on mastering the modal system of Persian traditional music.
His composing works have been premiered at various festivals and symposia, such as the national and regional conferences for the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI). His essays in ethnomusicology have been presented at several national and international venues, including the annual meetings for the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the Canadian Society of Traditional Music, the Association for Iranian Studies’ biennial conference, and the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium.
As a Scholar-Artist in ethnomusicology and music composition, Namazi’s dissertation, on the Radif as Musical Syntax, investigates the ways in which the Radif (the canonic body of repertoire in Persian traditional music) functions as a system of melodic governance for composition and improvisation. His forthcoming chapter in the book So You Want to Sing World Music investigates the art of Persian traditional singing, and is set to be published in Autumn of 2019.
Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, and Piano
Vince Gillotti is a saxophonist, and woodwind instrumentalist based in Columbus, Ohio. Vince began his study of music in his fifth grade elementary school band program. In high school, Vince was a member of the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra and he continues his studies, as he currently received his Bachelor's degree in Music Performance-Jazz Studies at the Ohio State University, studying under Professor Shawn Wallace. Vince has performed in numerous ensembles and musical genres, ranging from jazz, classical, pit orchestra, salsa, blues, funk, gospel, and liturgical. Vince has performed at the Columbus Jazz and Ribs Fest, The Gahanna Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival, The Southern Theatre, The Elmhurst Jazz Festival, and has shared the stage with musicians such as The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Tia Fuller, Lewis Nash and others. Vince currently performs with the OSU Jazz Ensemble as the lead alto saxophonist, the Art Blakey Combo, the top small group jazz combo at OSU that performs for many university functions and outreach programs, and he frequently subs for the Rick Brunetto Big Band. Vince aspires to work as a performer, teacher, composer, arranger and supporter of music and musical education.