Nicholas D. Brubaker - voice
A Wyoming native, Nicholas Brubaker is a graduate of Northwestern University where he received his master’s degree in vocal performance and literature. He received his bachelor's degree in vocal performance from the University of Denver in 2005 and recently completed a second master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University. In 2013, Mr. Brubaker, with the assistance of his wife, started Greenlight Vocal Productions, an outreach opera program for children. In addition to his University and community work, Mr. Brubaker is an active church/synagogue musician and recitalist. Recent roles include Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls," Guglielmo in "Cosi fan Tutte," Gardefeu in "La Vie Parisienne," Speaker in "The Magic Flute," Carl Olson in "Street Scene," the English Ambassador in "The Ghosts of Versailles," Dr. Bartolo in "The Marriage of Figaro" and Sam in "Trouble in Tahiti."
"Through building voices and cultivating artistry, I aim to inspire confidence and illuminate a path of personal self-discovery that leads students to discover their most authentic selves. By cultivating vocal technique, stage presence, language proficiency, and musical interpretation, I have found that in addition to becoming competent musicians, students are empowered to connect more deeply with themselves, their music, their audiences and their communities."
Zen Hsu - piano
Zen Hsu is currently the pianist for the Chicago Goodnews Church. He graduated from Wilbur Wright College with an associate degree in fine arts in music performance and graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a master's degree in piano performance, studying under Dr. Susan Tang. At NEIU Zen participated in the NEIU Concerto Competition, performed in master classes for renowned pianists such as Nelita True and Sergio Monteiro, and was a part of the NEIU jazz band and combo.
"Music is wonderful to listen to but to play that music requires a musical foundation cultivated through different aspects such as technique and music theory. I not only want students to play musically but to understand what they are playing, to fully enrich the students' musicianship and growth. I believe that music is a powerful way to express oneself and I am passionate to help my students play from the heart."
MIKAYLA JANG - PIANO
Mikayla Jang is a passionate pianist, violinist and educator who was born in South Korea. She studied both piano and violin with a full scholarship at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). She completed her bachelor's in Piano Performance in 2020 and a Master of Arts in Piano Pedagogy in 2022. A sought-after performer, she was a winner of the 2022 Elyse J. Mach Awards Concerto Competition, is the assistant concertmaster of the NEIU orchestra and performs solo, collaborative and chamber music recitals regularly at Northeastern Illinois University. Passionate about teaching, Mikayla works with students both young and old through the Community Music Program at NEIU where she teaches piano. She finished her teacher training in Suzuki Piano Book 1 and 2, and completed her teacher’s certification in Irina Gorin’s teaching method “Tales of Musical Journey.” She also teaches at Suzuki Music School of Lincoln Park.
The ability to connect with the student, understand their individual personality, and to plan lessons designed for each student is very important. I have taught many students who have very different personalities. Even though they are the same age and have similar levels of piano skill, teaching them with the same curriculum can only go so far. I started studying my students’ personality, strengths and weaknesses. I started planning lessons that were designed for each student as I realized how effective it was. Teaching piano is something very precious to me because rather than just imparting knowledge, I feel as though we are building a relationship together through music. Playing piano was just a hobby of mine earlier in my life, but is now a passion and a dream. If my students can experience a small amount of the joy and passion for music I have felt, it would be an amazing accomplishment for me.
Kathleen Logan - Piano
Kathleen G. Logan is excited to teach piano at The Community Music Program of Northeastern Illinois University! Logan's students have been successful participants in Piano Ensemble Festivals, Illinois AIM Exams, Sonatina Festivals and Student Jazz Festivals as well as studio recitals and musical theme parties.
Logan received her B.A. in Music - Piano Pedagogy at Northeastern Illinois University in 1978. While teaching piano in the Chicago area and continuing her graduate level piano studies at Northeastern, she received a Pace/Steinway Scholarship to attend the International Piano Pedagogy Institute at Teachers College Columbia University, N.Y., N.Y., 1984. During her years of piano teaching and bringing up her three children, Logan was awarded the Eckstein Grant for music education through the Bienen School of Music of Northwestern University. She received an M.M. in Music Education from Northwestern University in 2005 and merits the Professional Educator License - Illinois. Logan has taught classroom music for grades preschool through eighth grade and teaches piano for ages 5 through adult.
Making music through the piano can be more than playing the correct notes at the right time. An emphasis toward comprehensive musicianship is offered. Through a variety of learning activities, a student's musical understanding and skills are extended. This makes for a musically rich and authentic experience during lesson time as well as music-making time. Lessons of reading, music theory, technique and expressive interpretation are offered. Upon practice and advancement, students enjoy playing the music of various styles with classical music serving as the core of studies. Students' individual learning approaches are acknowledged and incorporated into the lesson and learning process.
Daily practice at home is required. Good practice habits enable the smoothest of progress which then leads to musical self-fulfillment. A piano in the home is also very important. Upon readiness, ensemble playing experiences enhance the student's musical growth and proficiency.
Hilary Ortiz - violin and viola
Hilary Ortiz graduated from the University of Windsor with a double major in music and psychology and graduated with a master's degree in violin/viola pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University. She has played in the Sault Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor Community Orchestra and the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, and has worked as a violin teacher for Breath of Music in Windsor, and Access Contemporary Music in Chicago.
Diego Tapia - piano
Diego Tapia is currently a junior at Northeastern Illinois University and is majoring in piano performance. Diego was born in Argentina and showed musical inclination at a very young age. He learned the fundamentals from his beloved childhood piano masters, Horo Ansata and Leandro Di Pasquantonio. After high school, Diego continued his musical journey by diving into the world of Indian Classical music where he developed a deep understanding of percussion and traditional ragas (scales) while initiating full-time spiritual practices. He performed for almost a decade in various Hindu temples in South and North America.
Diego moved permanently to the United States in 2013 and received a position as a music instructor at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, where he founded Vamsi School of Music in an attempt to organize and inspire music education in his community. An active teacher and musician, Diego produced an album for Vamsi School Children’s Choir while developing his performance career through a regular schedule of street performances, special engagements and collaborative efforts with musicians from the most diverse genres. Diego Tapia has taught piano, guitar, and Indian percussion in both private and group settings since 2010 to students at all levels. He also teaches piano at Northeastern Illinois University to a wide variety of pre-college students. In addition to his private piano teaching in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, he is also a group piano instructor at City Colleges of Chicago. Diego has also been a recipient of the McGowan Scholarship Award.
“Every person deserves the opportunity to explore and develop their inner musicianship no matter their background or age. As a piano teacher, I seek to provide a classroom that celebrates diversity, creativity and allows room for active learning. The type of environment that is safe, encouraging, empowering and fun. At the same time, I believe in the importance of student recitals as an opportunity for them to develop artistic and expressive performance skills. I value and support the various learning styles of my students. Since music is a multi-sensory experience, some students are more inclined to learn how to read music faster than others who rely more on aural skills to get through a particular piece of music. In both cases, I support the idea of incorporating diverse piano methods to stimulate students from every aspect of learning to attain a balanced set of skills.”