our team

biographies

Nicole
Payne

Nicole Payne has been passionate about music her entire life. She studied piano and voice since the age of five, and has been playing professionally since she was fourteen. She achieved her B.A. in Classical Piano Performance, with a minor in Piano Pedagogy, from Elon University in 2015. She continued her education at Florida International University, where she obtained her M.M. in Jazz Piano Performance in 2017. 

An award-winning concert pianist, Nicole has performed recitals, accompanied orchestras, chorales, and instrumentalists. She has attended and presented her musical research at several conferences including the North Carolina Music Teacher Association Conference and the National Undergraduate Research Conference. She is currently an active performer in classical, jazz, latin styles, and has performed throughout South Florida, North Carolina, and abroad including Italy. 

 

Nicole's extensive teaching career has led her to develop her own unique teaching style, and facilitated her success with students of all ages and backgrounds. She believes that through patience, passion, and a love for teaching, she can help children achieve their limitless creative potential 

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Aj
lopez-lima

AJ Lopez-Lima is a native of South Florida who has been passionate about music all his life. AJ has over 10 years of professional musical experience as a freelance performer. He has been involved in the local music scene performing at various venues for numerous events across South Florida. He is well versed in various styles of music such as Jazz, Rock, Classical, Contemporary music, Blues, Funk, R&B and many other genres. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Jazz performance from Florida International University.
AJ has over 7 years of teaching experience, working with students of various ages and skill levels. He has developed a passion for teaching the craft of musical performance and believes that the power of music can lift one’s spirit, reveal our individuality and help us forge meaningful relationships.

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JIARUI "SHERRY" YAO

Soprano from Guizhou, China. She studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. Following this, she earned her master’s degree at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston Massachusetts, and is currently pursuing a DMA degree in vocal performance from the University of Miami. She has sung with Harvard University’s “Haccapella”, and Voices 21c, a group she performed with around Massachusetts, Isreal, Palestine, and Mexico. She has held roles in various operas including Der Zwerg, The Finishing School, Orfeo ed Euridice, and others. She is currently teaching piano and voice as well as singing at various venues in Miami Florida. Her primary focus is singing classical, contemporary classical, jazz and pop music, as well as teaching this her students.

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Senegal Apostolo

Senegal Apostolo has been fueled by the power of music his whole life. A graduate of Florida International University, he holds a B.M. in Jazz Performance and has experience playing Latin, Funk, Reggae, Pop, Neo-Soul and various other genres. Senegal is an established player on the South Florida live music scene, playing frequently throughout venues in Miami-dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. His musical abilities have led him to play with many notable artists such as Steven Scott and Josh Evans. He has travelled the country playing in locations such as New York and California, and in 2014 he performed as a headliner in the Suriname Jazz Festival in South America.

Senegal has been teaching private lessons for nine years and currently is involved with the Gold Coast Jazz Society, a federally funded project that provides educational jazz presentations for elementary schools throughout Broward County. He loves to share his passion for music with his students and believes that music is a fun and healthy way to find yourself and know your heart.

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Cristina Suarez

Cristina Suarez has had a passion and love for music since she was a child and feels very strongly about the benefits of incorporating music into any person’s daily routine. Cristina has had a life-long dedication to music, with over 20 years of study, over 10 years experience performing—including solo sets, choir performances, open mics, lead singing for bands, playing percussion, and back-up vocals. Ms. Suarez has a degree in Music Therapy, and through this, has experience using music as a medicinal and educational modality in settings that include behavioral hospitals, schools for the deaf and hard of hearing, well-elderly, unhoused persons with HIV, adults and children with intellectual and developmental exceptionalities, and more. Whether singing or playing, listening or participating, Cristina believes music is an essential part of being human, and essential part of being alive (where would we be without the rhythm of our pulse?!).

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Jonathan Ziegler

Jonathan Ziegler is a professional drummer and educator who is passionate about creating music and sharing it with others. Jonathan has been playing the drums since the age of 3 and has been taking lessons since he was 6. He attended University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and received a bachelor of music in 2020. It is here he developed his craft to a point where he is confident playing in many genres and communicating musically with other musicians of all walks of life.

From an early age, Jonathan began playing in church where he learned that music is more than just a hobby or occupation. This is where he discovered that music is a form of communication and self expression. This notion is at the core of Jonathan’s belief and is the most important thing he wishes to impart to his students.

Jonathan has over 8 years of teaching experience and is always finding new ways to creatively introduce his students to music and help them further themselves in their musical journey. 

Jonathan can be seen performing at a variety of venues in the South Florida region, playing genres such as, Jazz, Pop, Funk, Gospel, Electronic Music, and many more..

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