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Our Staff

Red Leaf instructors provide lessons for Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Bass, Voice, Piano, Drums/Percussion, Violin, Music Theory, and more. Our teachers are seasoned professionals, frequently performing in Texas, around the U.S., and internationally.

Geno Stroia II

Guitar & Bass

       Geno co-founded Red Leaf School of Music in 2007 with fellow Austin musician and producer Daniel Barrett. Geno has toured and played with The Gene Pool, The Damn Torpedoes (a tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Tyrone Vaughan, and also as a solo artist.


       His practical guitar teaching method stands as the cornerstone of his instruction to this day. He describes this approach as "laid back yet ambitious".  In his words: “I never want students, adults or children, to feel like they are at a ‘job’ when they are at Red Leaf…This is a getaway for them to nurture their artistic side away from daily obligations and distractions.”


       Geno is very passionate about Red Leaf School of Music, and is committed to developing a strong relationship with each new Red Leaf student in order to help them realize their potential both in music and in life!

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Ty Hurless


       Ty’s approach to teaching guitar is to share his 40-year passion for the instrument, and for music in general, with the student. This excitement is contagious, helping to foster the student’s new-found interest and serving as the spark that inspires them to progress and realize their goal of becoming the musician that they want to be. Ty focuses on letting the student progress at his or her own pace, without the common tendency to overwhelm or intimidate.   


       Whether it’s young people who are just starting out and are excited about playing music for the first time, or folks later in life that always wished they’d learned an instrument, Ty finds and uses that motivation to get the most out of his students.

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Jeff Botta

Drums, Voice, Electric Bass, & Piano

       Jeff’s approach to musical instruction is informed by both his classical training in vocal performance and his extensive experience as a professional vocalist, drummer, and bassist in rock bands.  Jeff holds a degree in vocal performance from Texas State University.  After graduating, Jeff was chosen to participate in the Austin Lyric Opera’s highly-selective Young Artist Program.


       Jeff then went on to perform and tour (nationally and internationally) with artists such as James McMurtry, Guy Forsyth, Patrice Pike as both a drummer and vocalist.  Jeff has also fronted numerous cover bands (The Motts, The Recliners).  Jeff’s work as a professional musician gives him the opportunity to apply the technical abilities learned through his classical vocal training to a variety of musical styles. 


       Jeff’s unique background enables him to instruct students on critical fundamental skills as well as how to apply those skills in any stylistic context.  Jeff is passionate about helping hobbyists and professionals alike achieve their musical goals while developing technique that will prevent risk of strain or injury.

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Jake Farr

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, & Banjo

       The Farr Guitar Studio's mission is to teach excellent craftsmanship and to inspire creative growth through private guitar lessons in Austin, Texas. 


       Jake Farr’s unique approach allows students to play music they are passionate about, understand musical concepts, and develop healthy technique. The Farr Guitar Studio curriculum encompasses the student’s preferred style of music, studio-original compositions, and opportunities for creative expression.

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Stefano Intelisano

Piano, Keyboards, & Accordion

       Stefano has 20+ years experience working internationally with artists such as The BoDeans, Jason Mraz, Christopher Cross, Patty Griffin, Cristian Castro, David Grissom, Chuck Rainey, and Pat Green.

       Versatile in most genres, from classical to rock, soul, r & b, funk, gospel, etc., Stefano will guide you through the foundations and further development of your skills on piano, electric pianos, organ, synths and accordion.  

       Stefano's lessons are offered online only.

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Vance Hurd

Guitar, Bass, Piano, & Music Theory

       Vance Hurd is an eclectic musician, versed in Metal, Classical, and Jazz. He holds a degree from Schwob conservatory where he studied classical guitar performance and composition. This includes music theory, counterpoint, and voice leading. He teaches guitar (electric and nylon-string/acoustic), bass, and piano.

       His students with interest in Metal learn the skills of palm-muting, tremolo picking, sweep picking, riff construction, and general songwriting/composition as well as soloing. Knowledge of scales and chords is helpful even here. For example, many of the styles of Metal soloing that sound chaotic and dissonant can be explained and broken down so that the student can “take what they like” from them for their own playing.

       Since school he became fascinated with improvisation as a way to learn the art of composition, as well as its potential for accessing the feeling of natural expressiveness in one’s playing. This is a skill that has been totally ignored by most classical guitarists- a vital one that would do wonders for their musicianship. Vance also is skilled in improvising in the classical music tradition from the 17th and 18th centuries, covering areas such as figuration preludes, suites, and imitation or fugue. Unbeknownst to many, improvisation played an important role in the generation of Baroque and Classical music, the former taking an almost Jazz-like approach.

       Jazz players, as well as Fingerstyle and Country players have also benefited from Vance’s instruction. The use of ergonomic right hand technique on the guitar (when played with the fingers) is unknown to most musicians of these genres. In Jazz comping this can be quite an advantage, as there is a level of sensitivity and dynamic contrast that is much more difficult to achieve with a pick. The use of arpeggios can allow the jazz guitarist to take an approach more similar to that of a pianist as well.


       He teaches his students with an integrative approach, helping them discover their own voices as artists.


David Swanson

Drums & Percussion

       David Swanson has been playing drums for over 30 years with 20+ years of studio and road experience. He has traveled the country and played in multiple bands, from rock, to hiphop, heavy metal and country. 


       After moving to Austin, Texas with his band in 1999, he quickly realized that there were many talented people to learn from and began to absorb from some of the city’s top players.  In 2009 he decided to start giving back by instructing children and adults on drums. Dave enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others and helping them achieve their drum goals.

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Annabeth Novitzki

Piano & Voice

       Annabeth Novitzki offers one-on-one, fully personalized Vocal Coaching and Music Lessons in Austin and on Zoom. Holding a Masters degree in Vocal Performance and certifications in Relateful Coaching and Circling (interactive meditation), Annabeth brings depth of expertise and breadth of skill to sessions. Calling herself a "midwife for the voice," sessions with Annabeth are rooted in collaboration, mindfulness, and personal development.

       Annabeth graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 with an Honors BFA in Vocal Performance, and received her Masters in Vocal Performance in 2004.

       She was the Director of Music and Art for 7 years at First Congregational Church of Memphis, and on music staff for 5 years at First Unitarian Universalist of Austin.

       Annabeth has taught private music lessons since 2004. She has been learning contemplative practice, meditation, and circling throughout this time, and those practices have steadily infused into her teaching and singing along the way.


                                                  Rate: $100/hr


Graham Wilkinson

Guitar, Piano, & Ukelele

       Born in Texas, the son of a preacher and school teacher, Graham Wilkinson was raised on the importance of family and service to others. Over the last 12 years, Wilkinson has independently booked himself to the sum of nearly 200 shows a year, while also being a dedicated father, husband and family man of three wonderful daughters (one out of college as well as twin ten year olds) and one sweet rescue dog. The line in his song “Laugh Until Life Makes Sense” sums up a message of positivity and love that Wilkinson strives to exemplify and share through his music and home life.


       The single "FOCUS" off of his 2011 release "The Spiritual Accessories EP" made it all the way to and remained the number one most shared, most commented on, and most viewed for over a week; all done as a completely independent, unsigned artist. All of this is on the foundation of his 2009 release "YEARBOOK" which featured Alejandro Escovedo and Hayes Carll. In 2014, Wilkinson was one of the inaugural nominees and recipient of Black Fret’s local artist grant program, allowing him to really go all out with his next work in progress, “#BecauseOfYou.” This album was released in June of 2016, and leans heavily upon his reggae influences while combining them with his love for rock n' roll and hip-hop. It features Adrian Quesada of Groupo Fantasma (and currently the multi GRAMMY-nominated Black Pumas), Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens, the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns of Shinyribs, as well as a rootsy, folk-country duet with Katie Shore; the fiddle player from Asleep At The Wheel. 


       In 2017, Wilkinson was selected to be in a new documentary for PBS about Albert E. Brumley, who wrote "I'll Fly Away." Albert's granddaughter who runs their nonprofit asked artists from across the globe to put into song his notebooks of words that have no music. The documentary was filmed in Austin, Arkansas & Nashville with collaborating artists Jim Lauderdale, Dawn & Hawkes, as well as others from Austin, England, Nashville, Australia and more. Two documentaries were released, one in the US and one in Australia. In between recording, family time, and touring Wilkinson has opened for such national acts as G. Love, Trevor Hall, The Gourds, Johnathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hayes Carll, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Greg Brown, Alejandro Escovedo and dear friend Kimya Dawson. For more information on Graham Wilkinson, see:

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Taylor Schmidt

Voice & Piano

       Taylor has been singing in classical and modern settings for 15 years and has experience coaching both children and adults in technique, theory, and the art of performance. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a minor in Child Development, she is uniquely equipped to provide a well-rounded and holistic approach to music education for students of all ages.

      Taylor discovered her passion for music at a young age and is dedicated to helping today’s young minds start on their own musical journeys. She focuses her lessons on healthy technique, building confidence, and making music fun. Her encouraging and versatile approach is led by her goal to foster a lifelong love of music in her students.

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