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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

Guitar

       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.

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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

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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 MTV.com 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:    www.grahamwilkinsonmusic.com

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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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Matt Cain

Guitar & Classical

       Matthew Cain is a Classical and Electric Guitar player and luthier born and raised in Austin, Texas who has been playing music for over 15 years and teaching Music since 2018. Focusing on performance art and music studies throughout high school and college, Matt emphasizes building proper technique on guitar and bass for beginners or experts alike.

 

       Matt notably has a broad understanding of music history and genres of guitar and bass playing. Whether you would like to learn how to play Spanish, Classical, Samba, Punk, Rock, Math Rock, RNB, African, Classical, or even Indie. Matt will not only show you how to play your favorite songs but how to write and perform songs in the styles of your favorite musicians. 

 

       Having been classically trained on many instruments such as Vocals, Cello, Steel Drums, Guitar, Bass, Viola, Trumpet, Saxophone, Percussion, and many more through self study, Matthew is able to bring you many different perspectives on how to grow and approach music. Drawing from different places to grow inspiration, if one method of learning isn't promoting growth, Matt will bring out ten more!

 

       Additionally Matt’s goal with his students is not only to build up their independent ability to play the music they like, but to teach how to become a student of music as to experience exponential growth in the future by themselves, with other musicians in a band or even just to jam out with other creatives on a whim!

 

       Matt Cain also works as a luthier or "guitar repairman" for ACG (Austin Classical Guitar) and with his own business Supercharged Guitars, offering lowered rates for Red Leaf Students, high school / college students and low-income families.

 

       Feel free to contact Matt Cain at superchargedguitars@gmail.com or 512.545.1671 with inquiries about guitar repair or setup for yourself or your friends and family.

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Connor Kelly

DJ & Ableton Software

       Austin, Texas artist and teacher Connor Kelly aka Fomentum is a versatile, all-around talent, someone truly passionate about music as an art form. He has been instructing DJ and music writing classes for 3 years and also works in the music industry as a multi-genre producer, instrumentalist, audio engineer, booking agent, and DJ.

 

       As an instructor, Connor is focused on hearing and helping you express your own unique sound within electronic music. Whether it be beginners or experienced producers, he has an array of fundamental and new-standing techniques to show you in a positive and encouraging atmosphere. His skills in teaching span across DJing as well as electronic music production and he takes pride in meeting you wherever you're at in your musical journey--no matter if you need technical skills and/or help with your creative mindset.

 

       His production & DJ project, Fomentum, incorporates art from all across time to educate listeners on the different universes of sound out there by incorporating unexpected and exciting sounds and genres alongside one another in both his compositions and performances. 

 

       Connor primarily performs and produces dubstep, UK Garage, and Drum & Bass music sampled together with hip hop influences such as Trap and Grime. He DJs out of Pioneer/Rekordbox and uses Ableton Live 11 for music production.

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Sarah Lynn

Violin, Flute, & Piano

       Sarah Lynn is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist specializing in Classical, Folk, and Early Music. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baroque Flute Performance, and was the graduating recipient of the Excellence In Early Music Award. Lynn is a Faculty Member of the Mountainside Baroque Academy in Cumberland, Maryland, where she teaches Baroque Flute, Recorder, and Scottish Fiddle.

 

       Sarah is currently (2024) the undefeated, two-time US National Scottish Fiddle Champion and mentee of ten-time Champion, Dr. John Turner. A passionate teacher for beginner musicians, Lynn believes that the best music-making happens in a positive and encouraging environment. 

Find out more about Sarah at her website, www.SarahLynnMusic.com
 

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Ready to start learning?

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