Learn about our University Degreed Music Teachers

We are a team of highly qualified and dedicated professional who excel both in the field of teaching and also in the field of performing.

We are serious about high quality instruction and bringing music to all lives!  All of our teachers hold at least one university degree in music.

Want to schedule a free 15 minute trial lesson with any of our teachers?

Dr. Kathy Rabago

Dr. Kathy Rabago

Director, Velocity Music Academy. Piano Teacher

Dr. Kathy Rabago founded Velocity Music Academy in 2010 as a way to spread her love of teaching to the Cedar Park and Austin area. She has 20 years of teaching experience in both the private area and at the University level. She holds 3 degrees in music, including a doctorate in musical arts from UT-Austin. Along with directing and teaching at Velocity, Kathy also teaches music at St. Edward’s University and is raising two young musicians of her own.

More about Kathy

Dr. Kathy Rabago holds three degrees in piano: BM in Piano Performance from Trinity University, MM in Piano Performance from Southern Methodist University, and DMA in Music Education Piano Pedagogy from the University of Texas at Austin. She also has additional training from the Aspen Music School, and has studied music in Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Rabago has always been an active forerunner in the field of technology and music. Since she already held a minor in German, she was able to take multi-media computer design classes in lieu of her foreign language requirements while working on her doctorate in music. Dr. Rabago was the first pedagogue to write an online database for music selection in 2003, making her dissertation available for anyone through the internet. She has also worked for an internet music company from Dallas, creating and recording instructional DVDs for piano instruction. She has written articles about research in technology for Roland U.S., and had presented lectures on technology and music at the Association for Technology in Music Instruction National Convention, and at Music Teacher’s National Conventions. She utilizes web instruction in her lessons, and creates audio recordings of student performances through various programs for every student. Her iPad is at home on her grand piano, assisting students with music theory and recordings! An active web developer, Dr Rabago is the web designer and developer for this website and several others.

Dr. Rabago has worked at the University level, teaching music theory and piano at Trinity University and St. Edward‘s University. She has also worked in arts administration through the National Symphony Orchestra’s Education Department at the J.F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and in the field of multimedia musical instruction. Currently she is an adjunct professor of music at St. Edward’s University, and teaches piano and administers the music program at Velocity Music Academy. She is also in demand as an organist, an adjudicator, and a lecture/author at national music conventions. Most importantly, she is mother to two beautiful children who share her love of music.

Bradley Emerson

Bradley Emerson

Piano

Brad Emerson is currently studying with Anton Nel as a doctoral candidate in Piano Performance at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a M.M. in Piano Performance from UT, and a B.M. in the same discipline from the University of California Santa Barbara. His prior teachers include Nancy Garrett and Charles Asche, as well as individual and group pedagogy instruction under Sophia Gilmson and Martha Hilley.

More about Brad

As a young child, Brad had initially asked to learn piano while pretending to play sitting on his mother’s lap. At age seven, he first began formal instruction. In his teaching, Brad incorporates sight reading, music theory, improvisation and aural skills into lessons. In addition to his focus on the classical piano repertoire, Brad started as a church accompanist after only four years of study, and has experience in liturgical styles ranging from gospel to chant arrangement.

Brad’s musical interests extend also to theories of musical meaning and interpretive analysis. His current work on the pianist-composer Nikolai Medtner, a contemporary of Sergei Rachmaninoff, concerns narrative design and symbolic meaning found within his piano sonatas. Brad’s research is being presented at the Semiotics Society of America and in a forthcoming lecture recital on the UT campus.

Ashley Cannon

Ashley Cannon

Piano, Voice, and Violin

Ashley Cannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Baylor University. Her private lessons were under the instruction of Julianne Best. She has been teaching piano and voice and violin since 2011.
"The first time I ever knew I had a passion for music was when I was three years old when I sang with my mom on mother’s day. Since then music has been the only thing I have wanted to do. Everyone in my family is musical, so it was easy to follow my musical dreams. I have been playing the piano for twelve years and have been singing with instruction for fourteen years. Prior to attending Baylor, I was chosen for the All-State Choir seven times, was first chair violin in my high school orchestra, and studied piano privately."

Tom Ray

Tom Ray

Guitar and Rock Band Coaching

Tom Ray first picked up the guitar at young age after hearing the band Deep Purple- in his shining career, he has never looked back. His early studies consisted of the jazz, rock, and blues styles: his musical range has been growing by the day.
Tom’s talent on the guitar, spurred by his intense passion, developed at an immense rate. A few years after starting with the guitar, Tom began teaching students of his own and even founded a small studio. His musical interest brought him to the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory (Ohio) where he increased his repertoire under the instruction of Loris Chobanion, attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance.

More about Tom

Tom proceeded to teach guitar at the Aurora School of Music (Ohio) where as a leading professor for four years, he taught over 50 students of various ages and levels in classical, rock, and jazz guitar. After the tenure at the Aurora School of Music, Tom moved to New York to pursue a career in music. He has performed in several solo recitals in addition to gigs and recordings with many local bands, recording artists, and pit orchestras.
Tom always explores the boundaries of the guitar’s capabilities. To date, Tom has maintained the drive to learn as many styles and techniques as possible. An approachable and energetic virtuoso, Tom cares to inspire a passion for music and the guitar into the hearts of people.

Abigail Hammond

Abigail Hammond

Suzuki Cello

Cellist Abigail Hammond is a recent transplant to Austin and loving it so far! She has a Bachelor of Music degree from NYU and a Master of Music degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, both in cello performance. Abigail became Suzuki registered in books one through five after completing a two-year Suzuki training course with Pamela Devenport at Georgia State. While in Atlanta she served on the cello faculty of several music schools, including the Georgia Academy of Music and the Peggy Still School of Music.

More about Abby

After a move to Dallas, she grew her Plano-based studio from 40 students in her first year to 75 by her third. Several of her students were honored with various accolades, including being selected for the competitive All-Region Orchestra and Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.

In addition to teaching, Abigail has played with a wide variety of orchestras and other ensembles across the country, including the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Rome Symphony Orchestra in Georgia, and as backing band member at Town Hall in New York City.

Abigail is excited to be living in Austin and when not playing or teaching the cello, she enjoys exploring her new city by bike and eating delicious food with her husband James.

Thil Rathnayaka

Thil Rathnayaka

piano, violin, and voice teacher

Thil Rathnayaka received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of North Texas and a teaching certificate for K-12 Music from Sam Houston State University. She studied violin, voice, and piano from a young age and has performed in several operas, playing the roles of Dolcina in "Suor Angelica," the Sandman in "Hansel and Gretel," a fairy in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," and a chorus member in "La Boheme" and "Le Nozze di Figaro." Thil teaches voice, violin, and piano at Velocity Music Academy.

Shane Lamb

Shane Lamb

Piano Teacher

B.M. in Composition, University of Texas at Austin; Piano Performance Certificate, University of Texas at Austin.

Shane is a versatile musician performing and composing all different styles of music. In addition to composing concert music, Shane plays keyboard and writes songs for two different rock bands in Austin.

More about Shane

Shane began his study of piano at age five. His teachers include Dr. Monica Horn, Dr. Kevin Chance, and Professor Nancy Garrett. Shane also began composing at a young age and studied composition under Professor Yevgeniy Sharlat, Dr. Charles Mason, Professor Dan Welcher, and Professor Leslie Fillmer.

Shane Lamb has been teaching piano lessons since 2003. Shane incorporates music theory, improvisation, and ear training into his teaching, and enjoys working with students of all ages and levels. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Shane worked for the Scrollworks program, which provides free music lessons for low-income families in Birmingham, Alabama.

Eric Slavin

Eric Slavin

Guitar

Eric Slavin was born on a United States Marine Base in Hiroshima, Japan. He is a bilingual (English and Spanish) professional guitarist and teacher. He comes from a musical family, and his grandmother, Elena Slavnaia was a celebrated soprano singer who sang at the Steinway Concert Hall in 1931. Eric’s musical aspirations started as a child studying piano under the Hungarian pianist, Agi Rado. He later studied guitar and music most notably in Washington, D.C. under John Marlow, Jerzy Sapieyevski and Haig Mardirosian. In 1988 he was an intern at the Hector Villa-Lobos Library and Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the ensuing years he had the privilege to study with well-known Latin American guitar pedagogues and composers such as Abel Carlevaro and Guido Santorsola. Eric is a founding member of the award-winning Santa Fe Guitar Quartet from Argentina which has toured the world for 25 years including performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center here in the US. Eric is a graduate of The American University, Washington, D.C. and has a Masters Degree in Chamber Music and Pedagogy from New Mexico State University. Eric has two solo CDs, Serenade (2010) and his new CD entitled Dreamscapes which is a collection of songs realized in dreams from composers throughout the world.
*Please note that Eric would like all of his beginning students to have a nylon string guitar (also known as a Spanish guitar or Classical guitar).

Morris Crayton

Morris Crayton

Voice and Choir

I have sung and performed all my life, and classify myself as a lyric baritone. I earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy degree from Baylor University, Waco Texas and a Master‘s of Music Education from Kent State University. My passion is teaching music to young people, which I’ve been doing for many years. I have been teaching music and working with children and adults in the church setting, theatrical environment, choral experience, public education as well as private lessons since 1983.
I consider teaching music to be more than a passion. I believe it is my calling to instill a love of music in students and guide each of them in the quest for excellence in all of their musical endeavors.

More about Morris

In 1986, I founded a choral organization, the Austin Boys Choir,  where I taught hundreds of students over the next ten years. We toured the nation every summer, performed regularly with the Austin Lyric Opera, and Ballet Austin. In addition we gave a private performance for Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Austin during the early 90’s.

I have studied voice with George Bragg, Dr. Elam Ely, Dr. Lee Thompson, and John McFadden as well as choral conducting with George Bragg, and Dr. Linda Bolding.

Andrew Phan

Andrew Phan

Voice and Guitar

Andrew Phan originally hailing from Down Under (Sydney, Australia), is a consummate storyteller.
Whether it be on a stage performing, composition or through other mediums, Andrew believes passionately in the craft and power of story. “Singing goes beyond just producing sound, in the rhythm and time and the correct pitch but understanding and expressing the true intent of a song is what really moves an audience.

Gaining his Bachelor of Music in 2008 at Australian Institute of Music majoring in Contemporary Performance (Voice). Andrew has been teaching music for over 8 years, including Music Theory, Guitar and especially the voice.

Andrew currently is working with acclaimed “The Voice” - Vocal Coach Richard Fink IV in editing his book outlining a scientific approach to singing that demystifies many of the intricacies of the voice as well as other film and writing projects.

Yuan (Penny) Ping

Yuan (Penny) Ping

Violin

Yuan Ping
Suzuki Certified Violin Teacher
M.M.--University of Texas at Austin
B.M.--East China Normal University

Yuan Ping was born in Shanghai and raised in Wuxi, China. While studying in China, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree from “China Normal University.” Afterwards she earned her Master’s Degree from “The University of Texas-Austin Butler School of Music” where she was under the care of Professor Sandy Yamamoto. Determined to further her education,she completed the necessary training to become Suzuki Certified teacher.

Before devoting much of her time to teaching, she had the privilege of being a performance violinist with many orchestras including the prestigious “Shanghai City Symphony Orchestra” where she completed over 40 performances within a four year period. She also gained additional experience as a member of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra.

Mrs. Ping has over 7 years experience teaching and coaching students ranging from age 3 through adulthood. She has prepared students for orchestra auditions and designed the curriculum for an after school violin program which focused on learning the fundamentals through advanced classes.

Meagan O’Neal

Meagan O’Neal

Piano

Meagan has had a passion for music since she was young and believes music is for everybody, no matter the age. Meagan is a firm believer that music plays an important role in not only connecting to other people, but to ourselves as well. As a music teacher, Meagan enjoys asking questions that inspire critical thinking, and encourage each student to reach their fullest potential. Meagan is currently finishing her Bachelor of Music degree with a specialization in Piano Performance at Concordia University.

Jessica Arnobit

Jessica Arnobit

Piano

Jessica‘s passion for teaching piano is a direct result of a childhood obsession with all things piano. Her parents would often have to tell her to "stop practicing piano and get outside for some fresh air". She continued to pursue piano in college and enjoyed all of her music classes but found the pedagogy classes most inspiring. After a mentor gave her the opportunity to work with some of his students she got bit by the teaching bug and hasn’t looked back. Jessica has enjoyed working with students of all shapes and sizes over the past 15 years. She believes that anyone can become an excellent pianist if they are willing to work hard. She enjoys challenging her students in a fun and positive way and relishes in the creativity it takes to work with individuals.

Luis Morataya

Luis Morataya

Violin

Luis is a Salvadorian violinist and music educator. He has played the violin for 21 years, and his favorite genre is Classical music. He has been a member of El Salvador Symphony and El Salvador Opera Orchestra. Has has also played with Corona Symphony Orchestra, in California. Luis writes: "every time I have the opportunity, I join small groups to play chamber music; it’s such a great way to make beautiful music!" After finishing his Music Education Major at California Baptist University, he moved to the Austin area, where he joined the Austin Civic Orchestra, and the Williamson County Symphony. He loves teaching the violin to students of all levels and to see them grow musically to reach their highest potential. He tailors his lessons to the student’s particular needs and goals, including exercises for sight-reading and ear training. Luis loves being a part of Velocity Music Academy, since we are committed to give the best music-learning experience to our students.

Louie Dell’Italia

Louie Dell’Italia

Guitar and Ukulele

Louie Dell’Italia is an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist who specializes in classical, jazz, bossa nova, and flamenco music.

His musical education started at the age of 15 where he studied classical guitar from the Birmingham Southern College Conservatory. Later, he went to the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he completed the Flamenco Guitar Program and studied with Michael Chapdelaine, winner of the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Classical Guitar and Fingerstyle Competitions.

After his studies at UNM, Louie finished his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Birmingham Southern College where he studied music with a focus in classical guitar performance. Following the completion of his degree, he earned a Professional Certificate from Berklee School of Music Online in jazz guitar, where he further developed his skills in music theory, improvisation, and jazz performance.

More about Louie

From 2013-2017, Louie taught guitar, ukulele, and beginner piano at Dawson Music Academy and Mason Music in Birmingham, Alabama. Throughout his career as an educator, he has taught genres of music ranging from rock and pop to classical and jazz.

Louie has developed instructional methods proven to work for students of all ages, including those with special needs. Lessons are designed to fit each student’s unique goals, strengths, and abilities. While the lessons are designed to be fun and engaging, it maintains a basis in education. Students learn proper technique and music theory by playing the music they love, whether it is a popular song from the radio, Star Wars, or a Disney movie.

Louie’s goal as an educator is to inspire students to love music and take the benefits of a music education and apply them to all aspects of their lives.

Megan Pauls

Megan Pauls

Voice

Megan started singing when she was very young. She got most of her singing inspiration from all things, Disney! She received her Music Degree from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Her major instrument was voice and her minor instrument was piano. She was in several choirs from elementary to high school and throughout college. She is trained in classical/opera, contemporary, and jazz music. Her teachers were Tom Beard, Heide Menzenberg and Bernadette Bascom. Megan has performed in numerous talent shows, musicals, recitals, and fine arts festivals.
Megan writes, "Teaching music is rewarding to me. I have the opportunity to teach what I love while watching a student grow and develop their love for music."
"The only thing better then singing is more singing." Ella Fitzgerald

Nicole Fig

Nicole Fig

Voice, Piano, Early Childhood Music, and Irish Music

“I have always found teaching to be a beautiful experience. I have been teaching since I was fifteen years old and have become a stronger person and teacher because of it. Music allows children to connect with themselves and to the world around them. Music teaches skills and values which they will be able to carry throughout their lifetime. I wish to continue to help children learn and grow and explore music in their own individual way. I wish that one day, they will become strong individuals with a passion for life, music and growth.”

Nicolle Fig is new to Austin, Cedar Park and Velocity Music Academy! She graduated with first class honours from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She studied a Bachelor of Arts in Irish Music and Dance, specialising in: bodhrán (celtic drum), folk and traditional singing and Irish button accordion. Nicolle also studied classical singing at university level and has appeared in numerous musical theatre performances with Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI). Nicolle has 10 years of teaching experience in a wide range of music genres and ages. She has taught music discovery and voice at a private music academy; rhythm and music at a Waldorf School and early developmental music and movement at a Montessori school. This past fall, Nicolle gave Irish music workshops at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). Nicolle performs regularly in the Austin music scene and has had two radio appearances, album recording invitations, and numerous gigs in Irish, Bluegrass and Folk music.

Elliott Dunlap

Elliott Dunlap

Piano

Elliott Dunlap has a colorful musical background. Although he began studying the piano at an early age,he first gained attention as a cellist. As a teenager, he became a fellow of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., performed within the orchestra at selected concerts and went on to win the H. Stevens Brewster Memorial Award. He first arrived in San Francisco in 1991 and became a cello student of Bonnie Hampton at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After deciding to concentrate on the piano with William Corbett-Jones at San Francisco State University, Mr. Dunlap furthered his studies in London at The Royal Academy of Music and King’s College.

Mr. Dunlap has performed in master classes for such world-renowned artists as Neville Marinner, Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Elizabeth Powell. Mr. Dunlap was selected to perform on April 27th, 2005 at San Francisco’s Noontime Concerts on a special series sponsored by the Helen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists. Aesthetically, Mr. Dunlap identifies with pianists whose recordings date from the early twentieth century (Paderewski, de Pachmann, Cortot) and the degree of artistic freedom in their playing that is largely lost today.

Elliott writes this about his teaching: "It is a small miracle that I became a piano teacher. Working with an instructor in my youth who shouted and hit the piano caused me to quit altogether. Since 2002, I have devoted most of my time to teaching children in the opposite way.
There is an old saying..."Give a man a fish and he‘ll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime." Hence, showing the student how to practice is an important part of every lesson. It’s a special delight when they grasp that practicing is a soothing, meditative experience when done slowly and methodically. "

More about Elliott

TEACHING
Every student must be respected as an individual, each with different tastes, learning styles, and demeanor. Any methodology that does not account for this detracts from their experience.
Knowledge of musical fundamentals, practice techniques and a healthy physical attitude toward the instrument are of primary importance, forming a foundation that the student can build upon.
The instructor must present these basic materials to the student while instilling confidence. The process should become an experience that is governed more and more by the student with the teacher acting only as an informed guide. As Thomas Mann famously said, “The teacher is the personified conscience of the pupil.”
There are as many philosophies of music as there are people in the world. Uncover your own by learning to play the piano, read music and understand music theory. The music of the masters is a portal for self-discovery.

PERFORMANCE
The limpid tone and delicate variety of color in Mr. Dunlap‘s rendition of Chopin’s Berceuse impressed me profoundly. It was a performance which cherished the coloristic capabilities of the piano in a very special way.
Richard Troeger – Harpsichordist, clavichordist, fortepianist, author
Mr. Elliott Dunlap is one of the most gifted pianists I have ever met. His interpretations are based on sound instinct and deep musical thought.
William Corbett-Jones – Professor of Music, San Francisco State University
Both exquisite colors and passionate heroics are abundant in Mr. Dunlap’s music-making – a true romantic!
Dr. Paul Floyd – Assistant Conductor, Los Angeles Opera

EDUCATION
Bachelors with Honours in Music, King’s College, London, 1998-2001
concentrations in Music History and Analysis
dissertation on John Cage’s Norton Lectures
Piano Performance, The Royal Academy of Music, London, 1997-1998

San Francisco State University, 1994-1997
liberal arts coursework, with emphasis in Piano Performance; cello scholarship
Cello Performance (scholarship), San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, 1991-1992

AWARDS & AFFILIATIONS
Youth Fellow, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington D.C., 1989-1991
orchestral training program
Recipient, H. Stevens Brewster Award, National Symphony Orchestra, 1991
given annually to most outstanding Fellowship Student

Sam Graf

Sam Graf

Drums

Samuel Graf is a recent graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, OH where he earned a BFA with a major in Music. While his primary instrumental focus is drumset Sam has spent a number of years studying guitar and has been a singer all his life, participating in a small, all male a-cappella group during his four years at Kenyon and acting as music director for two of those four.

More about Sam

Sam believes that the study of a single instrument (or group of instruments) can catalyze the growth and maturation of the whole musician and that the teacher should always put the student’s overall musical growth before the achievement of “technical mastery” (inasmuch as such a thing is even possible). In college Sam played in a multitude of cover bands, one-off ensembles, and committed, long-term projects, focusing much of his efforts in the practice room on the development of a solid jazz technique and vocabulary. Since moving to Austin four months ago, Sam has had the good fortune to secure positions as drummer and backup singer for the local bands Mount Pressmore, and The Dirty Good. Sam also performs on a more sporadic and infrequent basis in a jazz trio with Austin pianist Peter Pope and bassist Phil Spencer. He’s excited to begin teaching as a part of the Velocity community!

Alan Le

Alan Le

Piano and Violin

Alan studied piano with Dr. Tim Hester at the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance.
Although he taught violin in his teens (under the tutelage of Mrs. Danette Schuh), he did not officially begin teaching piano until after he began his degree in music. Since then, however, Alan has taught to a variety of piano students (ages 4 to 70). His specialty as a teacher is his ability to communicate and collaborate with young students, finding ways to inspire them and open them to a love for music. Watching a child learn and grow is, for him, a compelling and inspirational experience. Overall, he is a laid-back and observant teacher who stresses good posture and technique, a strong understanding of musical theory, and developing a unique sense of musicality.

More about Alan

Alan’s first experience with an instrument was when he joined his middle school orchestra as a violinist in the 6th grade, and began private lessons with a local violin teacher. Shortly after, he began to take piano lessons. As he learned both instruments side-by-side, he gradually became more fascinated by the piano’s ability to play multiple lines of music with ease. He learned at an early age that the piano could become its own orchestra, and from that concept enjoyed the piano’s possibilities as a solo instrument. Playing both the piano and the violin allowed him to develop dual experience playing with a group and alone. In his late teens until college, he played the violin for various Vietnamese churches (his experience with the churches also allowed him the opportunity to play in a rock band!).

He became interested in Vietnamese traditional music during his university degree and began lessons to learn how to play the dan bu (Vietnamese monochord) and dan tranh (Vietnamese zither). This manifested into an interest in ethnomusicology, which led him to minor in Global and International Studies, facilitating his involvement in the recording and interviewing of a local Cao Dai temple.