Studio Director, Violin/Viola
Victoria Strochkova studied violin at the R. M. Glier Kiev State Music College under the instruction of L. B. Schuchman from 1984 to 1988. She continued her violin study under the instruction of V.V. Kozin and professor A.N. Gorokhov.”
Victoria started teaching children during her studies and continued her commitment to young musicians throughout her career. After graduation she became a full-time teacher, dedicating herself to exceptional musical instruction in technique, theory, and performance skills. Since emigrating to the United States she has played in local orchestras including the Russian Chamber orchestra under the direction of Aleksandr Verestagin and the Pro-Art Symphony under director James Gardner.
Victoria has been a member of the the Music Teachers Association of California since 1998. Locally she first established her teaching studio in San Ramon in 1997. As part of her curriculum students are successfully prepared for orchestra and college auditions and competitions as well as the MTAC student evaluations. Private instructions allows for a customized approach to attain each student’s goals.
Elizabeth Hunter Ashley is a professional Lyric Coloratura Soprano, Pinnacle Professional Member 2017 from Continental Who's Who, 2016 Professional of the Year from Strathmore's Who's Who, Ms. Hunter Ashley specializes as a Soloist in Oratorio, Opera, Concert, Sacred, Musical, and Cabaret.
Elizabeth is the sole proprietor of The Elizabeth Hunter Ashley Performance Studio in Danville, California. She has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay area for the past 19 years. She works primarily as a Concert soloist, Private Voice Teacher, Adjudicator, and Philanthropist. Elizabeth is in her 18th year as the Soprano Soloist for The Sing A Long Messiah with Conductor Dr. Tim Smith and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra in California.
She Co-Founded a Music Arts Foundation: The Pure Delight Foundation and continues to volunteer as a soloist for charitable organizations. Ms. Hunter Ashley performs with various Orchestras including recent Concerts with The Austin Minnesota Symphony in 2016 and with The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra in California in 2017. She is an active Concert, Recital and Church singer in the East Bay of San Francisco. Elizabeth is an adjudicator for National Teachers of Singing- Northern CA area as well as The California Music Educators Association.
Elizabeth Hunter Ashley
Joel Nelson is a classical guitarist, improviser, and educator. He began playing at an early age with folk and blues musicians in his community in Alabama. He was later accepted at the University of Montevallo’s classical guitar program. While studying at the university he learned how to compose and interpret music from a highly renowned guitarist, Dr. Alan Goldspiel. His studies promoted the discipline of classical guitar technique and musical education.
In 2015 he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in classical guitar. After graduating from college he focused on composing, performing, and teaching in the Birmingham, Alabama area where he learned about improvisation from Davey Williams, Ledonna Smith, and Jess Marie Walker. Later in 2015 he would join the improvising ensemble flusnoix on tours of the southeast and put out two records with them. In the fall of 2016 Joel is pursued a Master’s degree in musical improvisation at Mills College in Oakland California. He is now an active performer in the bay area.
Joel brings over 5 years of teaching experience to the San Ramon Music & Fine Art School. He strives to provide students with the necessary skills they need to be successful in any musical endeavor. He teaches theory, ear training, site reading, improvisation, and prepares students for ABRSM Royal test. Joel teaches a variety of styles including Classical, Blues, Jazz and Rock. He always welcomes his students to be creative and explore their interest in the guitar. Students are also encouraged to participate in recitals, competitions, and festivals. Music making should be a joyful experience, making this part of the education process is a priority.
With more then 30 years of experience in teaching music, Tatiana Heeb provides award-winning instructions to her students. She is motivated by her love of music and the passion to give her knowledge and skills to others so their creativity and talent can shine.
Tatiana Heeb is a member of MATC and Performing Arts Society Contra Costa County. She has served as a Chair of the Scholarship Committee and as vice president of Contra Costa Branch of MTAC. As a composer, Tatiana Heeb, has received numerous awards for her compositions in the Composer’s Countests of MATC, including first and second prizes. Her sonatinas have been included in Sonata Contest repertoire for Contra Costa Branch.
Violin / Cello
Mirah teaches all ages and levels. Mirah cares about the musical success of her students, but also the mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Starting her career at the age of 5, Mirah began her “string fever” with multiple instruments; the violin, piano, cello, and viola. Throughout her elementary to collegiate years, Mirah has had opportunities to train in special masterclasses with renowned artists and professors such as Giora Schmidt, Dr. Peter Slowik, and Dr. Sang Yhee. She has earned recognition for outstanding performances such as in the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society, has won two Young Artist Music Festival awards for both violin and cello in Northern California, and won in the International Music Festival competition in Los Angeles as principle cellist for the NYSO.
Mirah has toured and performed locally, domestically, and internationally. These places include Disney Hall and Disney Recording Studios in California, Kennedy Hall in Washington DC, Ireland, England, and Wales. As she pursues to continue getting her master's degree in Music Performance or pedagogy, Mirah hopes to study, tour, and perform in Vienna, Austria.
Mirah currently lives in the Bay Area. She loves going on runs, writing songs, reading, and figuring out ways to help her community.
Farida Isayeva graduated the Music College, Music Conservatory, and State University in Russia. She has a Doctorate Degree and speaks English, Russian, Turkish, and Azeri. She has been teaching piano and music theory for all ages and all levels since 1984. Ms. Isayeva was Principal of a music school in Russia, but moved to the US in 1998. Since then, she has continued to teach piano privately, and has taught at music academies and music conservatories.
Ms. Isayeva's style of teaching is creative and challenging. Her teaching methods are geared according to each student's needs. She builds a lesson plan to create success in each of her students, and her students consistently achieve high scores in assessments. She uses a combination of lesson books and individual plans for each student. Ms. Farida encourages preparing students for a variety of performance opportunities such as recitals, competitions, festivals. Many of her students have won awards.
Every child needs to be very good at something. Carol's philosophy is to help find, support and empower student's musical skills. Piano lessons are ideal because playing piano involves the entire brain – you work your fingers, ears and mind at the same time. School is for teaching social skills, getting general knowledge of many subjects. Piano lessons challenge the child to learn in depth; they learns how to learn.
Carol has been teaching piano full time for over 30 years. Her students learn note-reading, rhythm, scales, theory, and when they have a very basic knowledge of music notation, she encourage them to play jazz, classical and popular styles. They participate in Certificate of Merit, Piano Guild, and public recitals. She has been an active member of the California Music Teachers’ Association for 30 years and an active member of American College of Piano Teachers for 25 years.
Melissa Nering has taught piano in the East Bay for the past fourteen years. She graduated from California State University East Bay with a BA in Liberal Studies and a Minor in music. Melissa had a keen interest in piano from the time she was seven years old. When she finally had the opportunity to begin classical piano lessons, it was a dream come true. She believes one is never too old to learn and enjoys teaching children and adults.
Many of Melissa’s students have participated in studio recitals, community events, and Certificate of Merit testing. Melissa successfully auditioned to become a Cal Plan member with the Music Teachers Association of California (Alameda East Branch) and she is currently working towards Active membership. Melissa believes in a well-rounded piano education and incorporates music theory, technique, repertoire, sight reading, and ear training into lessons at the piano.
When she is not at the piano, Melissa can be found hiking, reading a good book, baking, or spending time with her friends and family.
Violin & Piano
Olha Ralduhina studied violin at Dnipropetrovsk State Music College named after M.I. Glinka under the instruction of V.M. Kolodniy. She continued her violin study with L.S. Brusova. Her teaching method is based on the Moscow Violin School. In addition, she is proficient in teaching the piano. She had completed her piano studies under the instruction of I.S. Karznikva.
Olha has been teaching these instruments and directing string ensembles for over 30 years. During the course of her career she has trained multiple number of students, many of whom became winners of national competitions. Many of her students had orchestra auditions and have went to successful professional careers. Olha is an active member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.
The teaching style of Olha is very personal. She believes that professionalism and inspiration of the teacher play immense role in the success of the students. Her mission is to develop student’s desire to continue to learn these beautiful instruments.
Victor J. Villarreal graduated with his Bachelor's degree in flute performance from San Jose State University in California in 2009 where he studied with principal San Jose Opera Flutist Isabelle Chapuis-Starr and Solo Piccoloist of the San Francisco Symphony Catherine Payne. He went on to pursue his Master's degree and Performance degree in orchestral flute performance from the Jacob's School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana where he studied with Kathryn Lukas.
Victor has played in the San Francisco Youth Symphony, Livermore Opera, Owensboro Symphony of Kentucky, Lexington Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony of Indiana, Metropolitan Wind Symphony of Massachusetts, and the Concord Symphony. He is also an avid flute choir performer on piccolo, alto, bass and contrabass flute with groups that include Flock of Flutes of California, San Jose Youth Symphony Avant Flute Choir, Metropolitan Flute Orchestra in Boston, Precious Metals Flute Ensemble (Burkart's very own ensemble and directed by him), Indy Winds Flute Choir of Indiana, VIFE Flute Choir in Fremont, New England Flute Orchestra, and Camellia Flute Choir in California.
Victor has been instructing flute for over 10 years including private lessons and directing flute choirs. He is also a professional flute and piccolo technician after working as a finisher for the world renowned Burkart Flutes and Piccolos in Massachusetts back in 2014. His hobbies also include gymnastics tumbling as he also teaches at an Acrobatic center in Livermore, California.