Instructors Page – BestinMusic

Meet Our Teachers!

Because we are the “Best” in Music, we only hire the best teachers for our students. Our teachers must meet specific qualifications and certifications in order to be a part of our staff, so students and parents can rest assured that they are learning from the very best! Click on each teacher’s name to read their biography!


Amber Simons

Voice

Amber attended Utah Valley University with a Vocal Music Scholarship, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a minor in Theatre Arts. During her time in college, she participated in UVU and LDS Institute choirs.

Amber has an extensive musical background, and she has been involved in many elite musical organizations including the UVU National Association for Music Education as the club president and the UVU Masterworks as the Soprano Section Leader. She currently serves as the UVU Alumni Music Society as their Vice president.

Amber student taught beginning and intermediate choirs at Lakeridge Junior High School from Fall 2012 to Winter 2013, and has taught private voice lessons since 2012. Her extensive teaching experience allows her to teach students of all learning styles. She specializes in Broadway and classical opera, but encourages her students to be well-rounded and to sing all types of music.


Amy Giullian

percussion

Amy is from Bozeman, Montana. She currently attends Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Amy began playing percussion at age 11 and has played ever since. She took classical percussion lessons through middle and high school, which provided a strong foundation upon which she continues to build. In addition to drum kit, Amy was very involved in her high school concert band, orchestra, and marching band. She played snare in her high school marching band, as well as on the BYU drumline during her freshman year.

Amy has a particular love for jazz drumming. She is currently involved in several of BYU’s jazz ensembles. Prior to that, she and her friends created an all-girl jazz quartet called Basement Jazz. Throughout high school they played many gigs and concerts in her hometown, including opening for the well-known jazz group The Bad Plus Trio. In addition, her group played on the Montana PBS show 11th and Grant with Erik Funk. Over those 4 years, Amy also became familiar with many percussion styles including jazz, Latin, rock, and funk.

Drumming is her passion and she wants to share that with her students and help them learn how music is a form of communication that can change their lives.


Angela Romney

Flute, voice

Angela earned a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice from the University of Utah with honors. She has played the flute since elementary school and was part of the first flute choir at UBU. Angela was awarded a Dean’s grant for a music research project while at UVU. Also, she founded the UVU Opera Club and served in various positions with NAFME (National Associate for Music Education). Angela worked in the music office and music library as well as playing with the UVU Pep Band, all while going to school and raising a family.

Angela has taught for many years helping a variety of students ranging in ages from 6 to adult. She was trained classically but encourages her students to explore a variety of music genres. Her lessons include music theory and learning to read music. Her techniques in voice instruction have proven beneficial in the advance of students with speech impediments. Her students have been chosen for honors ensembles and solos in school bands and choirs. She is excited to join the Best in Music Education Center and looks forward to teaching flute and voice in a dynamic new environment.


Ann Smith

Piano

Ann has taught music for over 30 years. She graduated from California State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She has taught band and orchestra, as well as directed student choirs in Washington, California, and Utah.

As a piano instructor, Ann has developed and trained students on all levels in the fundamentals of theory and performances. She provides her students with a foundation of skills that prepare them to play for fun, in schools, in churches, and for adjudication festivals.

Ann is a member of WMTA and has training in social skills and special education. She loves working with students to help them better their outlook in life by learning and developing great skills as musicians.


Brandon Stephens

Woodwinds

Brandon Stephens is our resident woodwinds teacher, specializing in saxophone. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music, emphasizing on Commercial Music at Utah Valley University.

In college, Brandon has become involved with the UVU Jazz Band as a 1st Tenor and 1st Alto, as well as the UVU Wind Symphony as the lead Alto Saxophone and 2nd Also Saxophone. He has also performed with the UVU Orchestra in the Picture of an Exhibition Mussorgsky, and Romeo and Juliet.

Brandon produces his own jazz combos, and is a member of four Utah and Salt Lake County bands. He studied with Berin Stephens, Jory Woodis, Eugene Rousseau, Dennis DeBlasio, Andrew Neu, and Jeff Coffin.

Brandon has been teaching piano, saxophone, and clarinet for three years, and knows how to cater his teaching to all learning styles.


Bridget Jackson

Harp

Bridget Ence Jackson is a professional harpist from Las Vegas, Nevada, and has been playing the harp for over twelve years. She is a senior at Utah Valley University, graduating December 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Harp Performance. While attending UVU she has earned a music scholarship every semester, including the prestigious Rebecca Marriott Champion Music Scholarship, and was a winner of the 2017 UVU Concerto Competition. In addition to playing with the UVU Symphony, Bridget also plays with local orchestras, including the Utah Chapter of Witness Music. As a freelance harpist she is hired for special events of all kinds, and has played for several prestigious figures such as UVU President Matthew Holland and Governor Mitt Romney. She also works with hospices and rest homes to provide therapeutic music to patients in need.

Bridget loves to teach the harp, and has experience teaching students of all ages. In her teaching she emphasizes musicality, achieved by proper technique, and keeping the body relaxed and in line with the instrument to prevent tension. Along with learning pieces, her students become well-rounded musicians by also working on music theory, scales and arpeggios, technical exercises, orchestral excerpts, music history relevant to their current pieces, and confidence with performing.


Dale Mecham

Cello, Violin

Dale Mecham is a certified public school teacher for the State of Utah with endorsements in music and all of the sciences. He completed his career in public schools teaching in Alpine School district at Oak Canyon Jr. and Lehi Jr. as an orchestra and science teacher. He has been very involved with his students in assisting them with solos, ensembles, and many other individual projects.

Dale is excited to be with the Best in Music Education Center because of his continued craving to teach young people the skill of being passionate for their chosen string instrument.

He has taught privately, as well as directed, instructed, and performed with many orchestra, oratorio, and ensemble groups in the Salt Lake, Utah, and Wasatch Counties.

Dale has performed for 38 years with the Utah Valley Symphony under the direction of many prominent conductors. Dale’s major instruments of performance are the cello and violin. As a member of the Symphony, he has helped in accompanying many young people who have performed as soloists.


Gary Argyle

Guitar, Ukulele

Gary has been teaching guitar for ten years and has taught all ages, levels and styles. He received his education from Utah Valley University, where he received the Exceptional Performance Scholarship  for guitar and played for the UVU Jazz Band and Classical Guitar Ensemble. He has played for numerous bands, including Rumor Records artist Alex Melecio, Katie Ainge, and his own band Dinosaur Kisses. His favorite thing, however, is to play live music accompanying productions for The Grassroots Shakespeare Company, for which he is also on the board of directors. He has also written his own book for beginning guitar with more to come.

Gary can teach you all you need to know to reach your goals musically, whether they be broad or specific, such as: 

• Fundamentals of harmony and rhythm with chords and chordal embellishments

• Fundamentals of melody, including scales and improvising/solos

• Music theory and the useful application thereof onto the fretboard

• Duet pieces and skills needed to play with other musicians

• Sight-reading, chart reading

• Development of performance abilities

• Songwriting


George Wilkes

Guitar

While George is an accountant by profession, he is a musician by choice. He brings over 40 years of playing and teaching experience, including being the lead guitarist in local bands for more than 35 years. His teaching proficiency includes both electric and acoustic guitar, and Rock and Roll, Country, Blues, Folk, and Jazz music.

George loves the guitar and loves teaching folk of all ages. He teaches his students the basics of guitar, including tuning, chording, reading music, and even singing. He believes that singing and learning through songs is a natural progression and the most entertaining method of learning the technical aspects of music and technique.

George encourages his students to grow within their musical interest and areas by teaching them to develop musical skill through both reading and listening to selected pieces of music.

George is a dynamic instructor. His favorite aspect of teaching is the relationship he builds with his students. He has the innate ability to put anyone at east and to help all students tap into their hidden talents and potential.


Julia Bearce

Violin, Viola

Julia is a registered Suzuki violin and viola teacher. She began her teaching career in 2005 and has taught students as young as two. In addition to a Bachelor’s in psychology and certification training in the Suzuki teaching method, she has studied performance skills, music theory, and orchestral skills. She teaches traditional Suzuki repertoires and techniques as well as ear training, note reading, and music theory.

“In reference to his violin students, Shinichi Suzuki said, ‘Beautiful tone, beautiful heart.’ I like to think he meant that those who create something beautiful will become more beautiful, from the inside out. And that is why I teach.”


Mike Ross

Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele, Mandolin

Mike has inspired and taught students for over 15 years. He is proficient in seven instruments! Mike has experience teaching beginner through advanced levels in banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, bass guitar, violin, and piano. Mike teaches youth and adults in a theory based methodology and pedagogy with string instruments.

Mike has performed in numerous venues and played professional in several bands and orchestras, including Battle Creek, Blue Grass Thunder, The Founding Father’s Blue Grass Band, and a variety of theatrical performances.

Mike is not only a talented musician, but he also performed in 8 tours (11 European countries each) as a member of the Cloggers West Folk Dance Team.


Rachel Gordon

Cello

Rachel Gordon has been teaching private cello lessons for twelve years. She grew up in a musical family and has always said that music is her second language. She graduated in Music Education with an emphasis in cello from BYU-Idaho 6 years ago. She taught orchestra in five elementary schools in Provo School District for two years, then decided she preferred teaching one on one.

Rachel is currently studying to become a luthier and hopes to one day have her own shop, but never feels quite as happy as when she is teaching.

Rachel strongly believes that learning how to play a musical instrument will help any child cope with whatever may come their way in life.


Tracy Owens

Violin, Viola

Tracy grew up in Bountiful, Utah and attended Viewmont High School. She studied violin with Jack Ashton, a member of the Utah Symphony. She was chosen to be in the high school Utah All-State Orchestra for three years. She also played in the Utah Youth Symphony and Mormon Youth Symphony.

Tracy attended Brigham Young University, majoring in Music Education. There, she studied viola with David Dalton. She was in the Honors Quartet for two years, and was the principal violist of the BYU Philharmonic. She went on BYU Study Abroad to Vienna for six months and toured China and Taiwan with the BYU Chamber orchestra.

After graduating, she taught high school orchestra for 4 years in American Fork. She played in the Utah Valley Symphony for 22 years and currently plays in the Timpanogos Symphony.

She also enjoys fiddling and played in a fiddle band for five years. Tracy does recording jobs for LA East and other local recording studios. She has taught violin, viola, and cello for 30 years and studied Suzuki training with several teachers. She has seven children who all play a stringed instrument

Tracy loves teaching and is a welcome addition to the Best in Music Education Center.


Vanessa South

Violin, Viola

... Bio coming soon


Whitney Haddock

Piano, Violin

Whitney began playing her first instrument, the piano, at age 8 where she amazed her parents and teacher with rapid progress.  With an obvious gift for music, she expressed interest in playing the violin and began studying the Suzuki method. Sometime later she also discovered a love for the sound of the guitar. Whitney now enjoys teaching, performing, and accompanying others in gatherings and events.

Whitney has taught piano, violin, music theory, and fiddle since 2012. This includes private and group instruction in her personal studio, at community events, and in various places abroad.  One of her favorite projects involved organizing music classes in Cambodia where she served as a missionary for the LDS Church. With a desire to help the Cambodian people find relief and hope through music, Whitney created and translated a music program to teach the Khmer people the fundamentals of music despite of the developing country’s lack of resources, education, and funding. Whitney hopes to continue this project and implement it in various developing countries around the world. 

Whitney is currently studying business management and music at Brigham Young University and enjoys teaching here in the local valley.  Over the years, Whitney has been a large part in BYU Bluegrass, Utah Youth Symphony, Wasatch Strings, and various other performing groups in Utah.  In her spare time, she plays at weddings and banquets in the valley with her original formal event group, 3 Girls Strings. Just a few of her favorite memories include her performances as Outstanding Musician and scholarship recipient at the Heber Valley Piano Festival and Utah State Federation.


Come work for Best in Music Education Center!

BIMEC is always accepting resumes for music teachers of all kinds! We are also looking for substitutes, so if you are interested in teaching for us, please send your resume to the Director of Education, Emma, at schedule.bim@gmail.com, or you can contact her at 801-802-0625 for more information.