Solon Center for the Arts offers a wide variety of private music lessons for students of all levels. Lessons are available for piano, voice, woodwinds, percussion, guitar, and string instruments. All of SCA’s instructors hold degree-level certification on their instruments and are accomplished performers. Instruction is offered in 30-minute, 45-minute, or 1-hour lessons. For more information about private music lessons, please call SCA at (440) 337-1400.
James Alexander II, percussion, has a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio and a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies from Queens College in New York City.
James is an Independent Jazz Drummer and a Cleveland native that works as a Composer, Producer, and Educator. He released his debut CD Grace & Peace with Wycliffe Gordon as his Executive Producer on Blues Back Records. His recent original composition and arrangement of the single "Toni" offers a distinctive vibrant melody that encompasses his unique style of composition.
As a National Artist, he enjoys all music and has performance experience in Blues, R&B, Gospel, and Rock genres. He has performed sultry soulful R&B with Levert sharing the stage with Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, New Edition, and various other artists. He performed at the MTV New Music Seminar and the historic New York Rock Club CBGB's with adults opening for such acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sun Rock Archestra. He incorporates these popular influences with an improvisational approach to communicate with his audience.
James has led Jazz Ensembles in NYC venues such as Cleopatra's Needle, Showman's, The Lenox Lounge, and Fat Cat Jazz Club. He has shared the stage with the likes of Roy Hargrove, Lou Donaldson, Sean Jones, Russell Malone, and many more.
DR. DANIEL BARBER, Piano, is a native Clevelander and a graduate of University School. He studied with Andrius Kuprevicius at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and Master and Doctor of Music degrees from Indiana University. He has studied with Beryl Ladd, Joseph Schwartz, Jack Radunsky, Gyorgy Sebok, Enrica Cavallo Gulli and Jorge Bolet. Dr. Barber is a pianist of wide-ranging repertory. He has played numerous Carnegie Hall recitals in New York and made his major orchestra debut in 1990 performing Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. He has been active in the Reconnaisance Chamber Ensemble and the Cleveland Composer’s Guild (all new music concerts). He has made promotional recordings for the Steinway Piano Company, and has served on the piano faculty at Illinois State University, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, and he is currently on the piano faculty at Cleveland State University. Dr. Barber has had recent performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor), an all-Liszt solo recital for the Music under the Spire series held at the Lindsay-Crossman Chapel, Baldwin-Wallace College, and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Anthony Addison and the Heights Chamber Orchestra. He plays keyboards for the Akron Symphony Orchestra and serves as organist at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, and St. Sebastian Catholic Church (Extraordinary Form Latin Mass). Dr. Barber is the author of an article published in the Garland Encyclopedia of Keyboard Music entitled World War II and the American Piano Builders and has also written his own method book, Piano Playing: A Comprehensive Course for the Beginning to Intermediate Level Piano Student. In 2012 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for teaching. He and his wife, Svetlana, have three grown children.
JAN BIS, Piano, has spent the last 19 years teaching piano. He received his Master of Music in Piano Performance at Cleveland State University. Prior to receiving his Master of Music, Jan studied at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. During his years at Cleveland State and Baldwin-Wallace, he studied with Margarita Shevchenko and Robert Mayerovitch. Jan is a member of the Ohio Music Teacher Association and Cleveland Piano Teacher Association. Jan works with students of all ages and performance levels. He focuses each lesson on the student’s goals while working on hand position, correct fingering, scales, rhythms and note reading. Jan teaches each student core techniques to allow them to play a broad range of music and is able to prepare them for competitions as well as college auditions. Lessons begin at age 4.
JONATHAN GRIFFIN, Saxophone, Clarinet, Jazz Studies, has performed and soloed at many different venues including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Lakeland Jazz Festival, the Tri-C Jazz Fest, The Brothers Lounge, Case Western Reserve’s Harkness Chapel, and Cleveland State University’s Drinko Music Hall. While a student at Baldwin Wallace, he participated in the Concert and Symphonic Wind Ensembles, the BW Sax Quartet, the BW Jazz Ensemble and Jazztet, in which he was a featured soloist and composer, and the BW Beatles. He has also had the opportunity to play with Cleveland’s own NeoDixie jazz combo and is a founding member of the Lake Erie Saxophone Quartet and BMONK jazz combo, which has performed at several locations throughout Cleveland. Jonathan is also a former member of the renowned Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony. Jonathan received a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Jazz Emphasis from Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music. His teachers have included local woodwind players Tom Lempner and Lou Gangale as well as critically-acclaimed saxophonist Greg Banaszak. As an active music instructor, Jonathan is committed to continuously growing as a musician and imparting what he has learned to his own students.
DR. ALEXANDER KOSTRITSA, Piano, teaches classical and popular piano to students of all levels starting at age 5. Dr. Kostritsa was born into a musical family in Moscow and started his piano lessons at the age of 6. Dr. Kostritsa received his Master's degree in Piano and Music Education from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He studied with world-renowned pianists Mikhail Petukhov and Antonio Pompa-Baldi. Mr. Kostritsa is a prizewinner of international piano competitions Premio Rovere d’Oro (Italy, 2007), Slavic Music Festival (Ukraine, 2007), and Paul Badura-Skoda (Spain, 2010). He made his international debut when he was 8 years old with a concert tour to Japan and has since performed as a soloist in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea, and the United States. Dr. Kostritsa has been actively teaching since 2006 and is currently employed as a piano instructor at Cuyahoga Community College. Mr. Kostritsa's recordings of classical masterpieces and his original compositions are available on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify.
VANESSA MAJEWSKI, Flute, earned a Bachelor’s of Music Degree from Ball State University. Currently she performs with the Solon Philharmonic Orchestra and subs with the Lakeland Civic Orchestra and the Lake Erie College Flute Choir. Vanessa has also performed with the Cleveland Music School Settlement Flute Choir, in addition to keeping an active schedule as a freelance musician. Ms. Majewski has studied with Cleveland Orchestra flutists Mary Kay Fink and William Hebert, in addition to her collegiate studies with Dr. Julia Mattern. As a performer she was a member of the Muncie, Indiana Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet and has been featured as a soloist at the Ohio Music Educators Association and National Flute Association Conventions. Vanessa has taught students of a wide variety of ages in Ohio and Indiana, and currently resides with her husband and two daughters in Mentor.
TOM POORE, Guitar, with over 30 years teaching experience, has taught at the North Carolina School of the Arts Community Music Center and the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department. His background in teaching children includes Suzuki training, outreach programs through the Broadway School of Music and Passport Program, and the Cleveland Public Schools Arts in Summer Education Program.
Tom and his students have performed for WCPN radio and WVIZ television. Former students of his have gone on to earn scholarships and degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, The Juilliard School of Music, the Aspen Music Festival, and others. Tom earned his bachelor’s degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied with Aaron Shearer, and master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Holmquist. He was also the editor for Aaron Shearer’s three volume “Learning the Classic Guitar,” published by Mel Bay. Currently he teaches in the greater Cleveland area at the Solon Center for the Arts, Western Reserve School of Music, Avon School of Music, and from his home in South Euclid.
ASHLEY PROHASKA is a graduate of Cleveland State University where she received her B.M. in Music Education. Attending the university in the heart of Cleveland has opened many opportunities for performance and teaching in the Cleveland area, including performing with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. She has taught and assisted in 9 different schools in several different areas of Ohio, which include Mentor, North Olmsted, and Medina. Her teaching methods and inspirations reflect off of methodologies such as Orff, Kodaly, and Music Learning Theory. Her goal for the near future is to receive certification in Orff level I. Ashley is a member of AOSA (American Orff Schulwerk Association), and NAfMe (National Association for Music Education). Ashley’s primary instrument is voice, but she also plays piano, ukulele, and autoharp.
HEIDI RUBY-KUSHIOUS, Flute, received her Bachelor’s Degree from The Curtis Institute of Music as a scholarship student of Julius Baker, John Krell, and Murray Panitz. She continued her studies with Thomas Nyfenger at The Yale Graduate School of Music and Alain Marion at The Mozarteum in Salzburg. She performed her Carnegie Hall Debut to rave reviews by Tim Page of the New York Times, and was the Laureate Prize Winner of the prestigious Munich International Competition. Heidi has been concerto soloist with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, Red and Orchestra, Curtis Symphony, Yale Philharmonia, and in duo with Jean-Pierre Rampal and the Columbus Symphony. In addition to her twelve seasons with the Columbus Symphony, Heidi has held Principal Flute in the Tanglewood, Spoleto, National Repertory, Red, and Cleveland Pops Orchestras. She continues to play extra flute in the Cleveland Orchestra and Detroit Symphony, and is currently in her seventh season as Principal Flute with City Music Cleveland. Heidi’s students have been accepted at prestigious conservatories worldwide.
NATALIYA SHEHLUK, Violin, Viola, was born in Lviv, Ukraine where she began her violin studies at the age of five. In addition to public school, Nataliya attended Lviv School of Music, where she learned to play violin and piano. Her studies also included solfege classes which focused on music theory and ear training.
In 1997, Nataliya continued to develop her skills at Lviv State Musical College. In 2001, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance with multiple honors. The same year she passed entrance exams and was admitted to Lviv State Academy of Music. At the Academy of Music, Nataliya pursued her graduate studies in Violin Performance and continued to develop her violin technique and musicality. She participated in different ensembles including a string quartet and performed at concerts and recitals regularly. Occasionally, she performed with Lviv Opera Theatre Orchestra during Opera performances at Lviv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 2003, Nataliya joined Leopolis Chamber Orchestra and had an opportunity to travel and perform in European countries.
In 2004, Nataliya moved to the United States of America and started working on her Music Education degree at the University of Akron. As a part of Music Education program, she was learning to play several orchestra instruments including viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, tuba, fagot, french horn, flute, and drums. Though playing violin is her passion, Nataliya found conducting, voice, and violin pedagogy among her favorite disciplines. She began her teaching career in 2008 by giving lessons at the Celebrity School of Music in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.
In 2011, Nataliya completed the Master of Music degree with concentration in Violin Performance from Cleveland State University. Among her violin teachers throughout the years were Yulia Onyschenko, Alan Bodman, Cory Smith, and Peter Otto (second principal violinist at Cleveland Orchestra). During her student years at Cleveland State University, Nataliya started working at Strongsville Academy of Music. At the same time, she was actively performing with Northeast Ohio orchestras, including Firelands Symphony Orchestra and Euclid Symphony Orchestra. Nataliya began teaching private violin lessons and Art for Kids group violin classes in 2012 at the Solon Center for the Arts. Also, she continued to perform as a strolling violinist and a singer at Mirage Banquet Hall and Crystal Party Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2015, Nataliya accepted the orchestral music tutor position with the Orange City School District in Ohio. She was helping students to learn their orchestra parts and to correct their postures. From time to time, she was given an opportunity to conduct the orchestra rehearsals and concerts, which provided a valuable experience.
In 2016, Nataliya was appointed as a Concertmaster at Solon Philharmonic Orchestra. The combination of teaching and performing makes Nataliya feel accomplished as a musician, however she is always ready for new endeavors.
MARY KRASON WIKER, Voice, holds a B.A. in Music from Franciscan University of Steubenville and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from Cleveland State University. Mary is active throughout the greater Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Tri-State areas in choral, chamber, and solo vocal music. Mary is currently a part-time member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and has participated in and contributed as a soloist in the university choirs of Franciscan University, Cleveland State University, Saint Vincent College, and various community courses. As a church musician, she has held positions as a cantor for Saint John Fischer Catholic Church (Richmond, OH) and as a visiting choir member and soloist in the Cleveland Diocese. Mary is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and has prepared students for the annual OMEA vocal competitions and evaluations, where her students have received superior ratings.
Mary has performed operatic roles as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, the First Spirit in Die Zauberflöte, Carolina in Il matrimonio segreto, and as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare. She has also been a soprano soloist in various chamber and choral works, including Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Mary has been teaching voice since 2008 and enjoys sharing the challenges and endless joys of studying music with her students. She teaches Classical and Broadway vocal literature as well as healthy vocal technique in her lessons. Her approach to teaching is to help students discover their natural voice in a healthy and supportive way through the practice of solid vocal technique.