Voice & Piano Teachers

ERICA SCHULLER
ERICA SCHULLER
Intermediate – Advanced
Voice Lessons

Beginning – Intermediate
Piano Lessons

Erica is the founder of Cantabile School, and has been working as both a professional singer and private teacher since 2006. She has performed throughout the continental US and abroad, and holds degrees from The Eastman School of Music (B.M.- vocal performance and music education) and San Francisco Conservatory (M.M. – vocal performance). As the director of The Cantabile School of Voice And Piano, she has actively built an exceptional team of voice & piano teachers to best train our music students.

Erica’s teaching is deeply rooted in how the body moves naturally. Sound production should be released, coordinated and energized, never forced. By focusing on the intrinsic movements of the body, and shedding excess manipulation, students are able to increase their stamina, vocal range and innate musicality.  Erica approaches each student as a true individual, and works with them holistically to help them achieve their desired goals in music making. Erica also offers lyric diction assistance, audition preparation and coaching as well as weekly lessons.

In addition to her work as a teacher and performer, Erica has held positions as a choral conductor, church music director and stage director. She has 20 years of experience as a pianist, and incorporates theory, ear training, sight reading and writing into all of her piano courses. Erica has been ranked as one of Chicago’s best voice teachers several years in a row by expertise.com. To learn more about Erica’s performance career, visit www.ericaschuller.com

As an educator, Matthew serves as adjunct faculty of Musical Skills for DePaul University and the Chicago School for the Arts and has previously served on faculty as theory instructor at Indiana University and composition faculty at the Luzerne Music Center. As a guest artist and lecturer he has been invited to work at Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland State, Ithaca College and Stony Brook University.

 

Recio recently finished his post as the Vanguard emerging composer with Chicago Opera Theater, developing operas with Royce Vavrek and Stephanie Fleischmann. This past year he was asked to return as an aperture resident artist with West Edge Opera to further develop his new opera, “L’autre Moi: The Other Me”.Current projects include a commission from Chicago Fringe Opera for the Decameron Opera Coalition, a feature on American soprano, Laura Stricking’s CD “40×40”, a commission for LYNX amplify series, and a commission for Ryan Strand’s Letters for Jackie project, and a commission from the Ithaca College Treble Choir. Recent past projects include a commission for Chicago based professional choir, Stare at the Sun’s Fall concert “Returning”, and a commission for Queer In(n) dedicated to Chicago elder trans icon, Mama Gloria, featuring trans singer, Jalissa Spell, Chicago Fringe Opera’s City of Works series, Fourth Coast Ensemble’s SongSlam and wrote an interactive choral cantata “The Hollow” for Stare at the Sun. He was a winner of the IU Georgina Joshi Vocal Composition prize, the American Prize in choral writing and the first selected commissioned artist for the Cincinnati Song Initiative.

Recio has worked with organizations such as BMP, New Voices Opera Company, Cincinnati Camerata, NOTUS and The Crossing. He was a composer fellow at VIPA, IMANI Festival, Atlantic music festival, The Crossing and Norfolk Chamber Series. He studied voice and piano during his academic training, studying voice under Peter Volpe and actively performs as a choral singer today in the Chicago area.

Recio is a G. Schirmer published artist under the Craig Hella Johnson and Dale Warland series. He is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music where he was a Jacobs Fellowship recipient for his D.M.A. and M.M. in composition. www.matthewrecio.com
MATTHEW RECIO
MATTHEW RECIO
Beginning – Advanced
Piano and Voice Lessons

Composition

Theory and Aural Skills

Dr. Ariel Downs is an opera singer and voice teacher new to the Chicago area.  She grew up playing piano and singing in children’s choir and loved it so much she decided to pursue it for life!

Ariel received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Puget Sound and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Italy, China, Austria, and Germany.  Ariel is also passionate about new music and has collaborated with several composers to premiere operas and chamber music.  Ariel believes that music is for everyone, and that lessons should be approached holistically and tailored to each student’s interests, skills, and challenges.  When not teaching or singing, Ariel enjoys reading, cooking, learning French, and playing with her tabby cat Snicklefritz.  More information can be found at www.arieldowns.com

ARIEL DOWNS
ARIEL DOWNS
Beginning – Advanced
Voice Lessons

Beginning – Intermediate
Piano Lessons

Kristin Sponcia
Kristin Sponcia
Beginning – Advanced
Voice Lessons

Beginning – Advanced
Piano Lessons

Jazz specialist

Dr. Kristin Sponcia is a Chicago- based pianist, vocalist, arranger, composer and educator. She specializes in unique arrangements of jazz standards and pop songs. Her career focus has been on teaching and performing American jazz and accompanying vocalists, including herself.

From her appearance with the Phil Mattson Singers at Carnegie Hall, to a five-month jazz duo residency in China, Kristin’s performance career has been rich and varied. In Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Key Largo, Nashville, and Urbana, IL, her freelance work as a pianist has included jazz festivals, background music, a Dixieland band, big bands, small jazz groups, church work, weddings, and an abundance of solo gigs. As a vocalist, Kristin sang with the Phil Mattson Singers for two years, started her own vocal jazz group in the Chicago area, and is called upon to accompany the best vocalists in her place of residence.

Kristin has considerable academic training and teaching experience. Over the last four years she held various teaching positions at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee High School of the Arts (of which she is an alumnus), and Cardinal Stritch University. She graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance (Voice) from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2018, where she held a coveted Teaching Assistantship.

Prior to starting her D.M.A., Kristin was a full-time faculty member for eight years at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN. Her robust skill set allowed her to teach a variety of courses and direct a jazz combo. She earned her Master of Music in Jazz Studies and Studio Music (Piano) from Roosevelt University in 2005, and her Bachelor of Arts (Jazz Studies Emphasis – Piano) in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Presently, Kristin performs and teaches in the Chicago-land and Milwaukee areas. She continues to grow her musicianship with skills in production, songwriting, and music business. To stay current with her most recent performances, projects, and teaching residencies, please visit: https://kristinsponcia.com/

Lani has been a voice and piano teacher to students of all ages since 2015. She hopes to cultivate a relaxed and enjoyable learning environment that keeps students feeling positive and motivated week to week. Lani teaches beginning piano which is a fantastic way to learn the fundamentals of music and a fun hobby. Lani’s vocal instruction is based on classic Italian singing fundamentals of breath support, freedom of tone, and vocal health. These fundamentals easily translate to singing all genres of music, as well as a strong and comfortable speaking voice.

Education: Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Master of Music in vocal performance from University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance; Professional Diploma in Opera Studies from Roosevelt University College of Creative and Performing Arts.

 LANI STAIT
LANI STAIT
Beginning – Advanced
Voice Lessons

Beginning
Piano Lessons