Thanks to a Girl Scout Gold Project by Catherine Delaney of Troop 4-1029, our music rooms have been restored and upgraded! Consider taking lessons in voice, drums, piano, or guitar from our esteemed faculty in our newly renovated classrooms.

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We offer private music instruction in: Piano, Percussion, Violin (including Suzuki method for very young children), Voice, Guitar, Dulcimer, Fiddle and Banjo.  See below for our music faculty bios.

Please call 607-387-5939 or email for more information.


Music Faculty

Caryn Christianson
Percussion, Piano

christiansonCaryn Christianson has a bachelor of music education degree from Syracuse University with a major in percussion and minor in piano. After graduating from college, Caryn went on to graduate work at Carnegie-Melon University and Ithaca College. She has studied with such renowned artists as Gordon Stout, John Soroka, Leigh Howard Stevens, Ernest Muzquiz and Michael Bull on percussion, and Tadeus Kerner on piano.

In addition to her work at TCFA, she is on the faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) and a volunteer at the Salvation Army. She has performed at CSMA, the Foundation of Light, the Ithaca Festival, the Apple Harvest Festival, Greenstar Coop, the Cornell museum, and numerous other venues.

Caryn has taught music since 1985, using traditional teaching methods combined with an emphasis on theory to give her students a solid foundation for many different playing styles, including classical, jazz, rock, and Latin. Some of her students’ accomplishments include playing drums in a Coca-Cola commercial; graduating from Eastman School of Music; scoring 95 and above on NYSSMA Level 6 snare drum solos; and scoring 100 or 28 on marimba solos.

Bill Gregg 
Guitar, Autoharp, 5 string Banjo, Tenor Banjo, Country Fiddle, Dulcimer, Ukulele

WGregg smaller
William Gregg began playing piano when he was five years old. He went on to study organ, accordion, guitar, violin/fiddle, mandolin, banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, ukulele and autoharp.  He also performs traditional American folk music. Bill regularly presents workshops at festivals such as the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) and the Cranberry Dulcimer & Autoharp Gathering. He received the annual Leonard Reid Award for 2012 at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Newport, PA. In recent years he has taught several public group classes focusing on acoustic blues guitar.

Bill started composing for classical guitar in the early 1980’s when he first taught at TCFA. Since then he has continued to write for classical guitar including 24 studies in all major and minor keys as well as many duets and trios for guitar and other instruments. In the mid 1980s, he began composing for digital synthesizers, alone and in combination with acoustic instruments. In 1989, he appeared on a compilation CD, Visionaries: Selected New Music, Volume II. In 1990 he presented an electronic “symphony” at Cornell University and issued a solo album of electronic compositions, Voyage of the Heart. He has released three more CD’s of electro-acoustic music that have received worldwide airplay. He is now concentrating on writing and performing finger style guitar works, many in alternate tunings. Bill returned to the faculty at TCFA in 2003 and continues to enjoy teaching stringed instruments to young and old.

Shelby Dems

Shelby Dems, from North Syracuse, has been playing violin for 15 years, and just started her master’s degree program at Ithaca College as a Suzuki Pedagogy/Violin Performance major and graduate violin studio teaching assistant in Fall 2016. She made her second solo appearance as the winner of the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition in April 2015, playing the first movement from Haydn’s C Major Concerto. Shelby also made her debut as a solo violinist at this event, winning the SUSO Concerto Competition in 2013, playing the first movement from Mozart’s 5th Concerto. She has also played as a soloist with Cazenovia Counterpoint, and Masterful Musicians LLC. Shelby has performed in a variety of ensembles and concerts—with Mark Doyle at the Syracuse Jazz Festival and Guitar Noir Concerts; with the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra; with Chamber ensembles, Baroque ensembles, and at the Syracuse Summer Festival, as well as with the Strasbourg Conservatory Orchestra in Strasbourg, France where she studied in 2012. She has been the recipient of the Marion Armstrong Award and Irene L. Crooker Music Award in 2014, as well as the Civic Morning Musicals Performance Award in 2013, and was a finalist in the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2010. She has had her own private studio for the last six years and has been working at Music and Arts, teaching violin and viola for the last three years. Shelby has studied with teachers including Jim Krehbiel, Peter Rovit, Haik Davtian, Harumi Rhodes, and is now studying with Calvin Wiersma at Ithaca College.

Elizabeth Dawson

EDawson 7.15Elizabeth Dawson is a senior at Trumansburg High School. She has studied piano for eleven years and achieved high scores in performances at NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) events, receiving scores of 97/100,98/100 and 99/100. She is also a percussionist in the high school concert band, and plays piano in the Jazz band, and sings in the vocal jazz ensemble. She currently accompanies the Trumansburg choir ensembles (grades 3-12). Elizabeth has been teaching for 4 years and loves sharing her passion for music with others!

Venissa Santí

VenissaSantiBorn in Ithaca NY, trained in jazz in Philadelphia, PA and schooled in sacred/secular music in her ancestral homeland of Cuba, vocalist Venissa Santí traveled a long road to develop her signature musical style. Venissa has a BA in jazz vocal performance from
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA and studied music dance and percussion extensively in Havana and Matanzas Cuba. She is a 2008 PEW Fellow, signed to Sunnyside Records. Venissa has taught voice lessons since 2001 and works with beginners, intermediate and professional singers to develop their sound and explore diverse and exciting repertoire and vocal technique.