Meet Our Great Teachers:

Meet the Teachers of Fairfield County!

Our teachers come from all sorts of backgrounds, but they’re united by a common passion: Sharing the joy of music with children and families in Fairfield County!

All teachers have successfully completed the live Music Together® Teacher Training, which is built on research in early childhood and music development. We keep our skills fresh through workshops every semester and advanced trainings offered by Music Together Worldwide. 

photo Jackie Jacobs, Director

Jackie Jacobs teaches and directs Music Together of Fairfield County, which is the largest Music Together program worldwide. She was also a director and partner in Bridge Together and the Total Learning Initiative in Bridgeport, CT, working and developing Music Together programs in preschool and parent child outreach settings throughout the district. . A master teacher and trainer, Jackie has been featured on 18 teacher training videos and participates in numerous editorial projects for the program.  She holds Certification Level 2 for teaching Mastery. Jackie holds a BA in dance education and human movement studies. Her post graduate studies include voice, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, early childhood education, piano, and music theory. Jackie came to the program with her son Daniel in Music Together of Brooklyn in 1992.  Daniel has been featured singing in several of the MT song collections and at 25 is an accomplished singer and musician.  Her 19 year old daughter Lilli is currently making her national tour debut with  the Broadway musical “Cinderella.”  Jackie believes in the value of music making for families and it’s wide ranging benefits for children and parents. She is an advocate for early childhood music and education in the CT community and nationwide.          

     
photo Alexa Holzberger

Alexa has been singing, dancing, and playing the guitar since the age of five. She has had ten years of classical guitar, ballet, and vocal training, and is a member of the Actor's Equity Union. She attended towy years at New York University, training at Tisch's New Studio on Broadway BFA Musical Theatre Program, as well as completing a minor in Child Adolescent Mental Studies. She then took two years off of a school to compose music and work full-time as a toddler and preschool teacher at the Bright Horizon's Daycare Center in Wilton, CT. Currently, she studies at Sacred Heart University in FAirfield, majoring in Social Work as an aspiring child therapist. Alexa's two major passions are music and children, and she could not feel luckier to be part of the magic of Music Together.

     
photo Ali Froman

Ali trained at SUNY Purchase in the theatre arts and studied many different types of dance including ballet at the American Ballet Theatre and jazz and modern at the Alvin Ailey American School of Dance. She brings to Music Together her vast and varied instrumental talents with piano, recorder, guitar and percussion. She looks forward to sharing her talent and enthusiasm with children through Music Together.  Ali is a Registered Music Together® teacher.

 

     
photo Andrea Greenburg

Andrea received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street college of Education in New York City. She came to Music Together as a mom with her son Josh and daughter Sydney and fell in love with the program!  Andrea has been with Music Together in Fairfield County for 6 years.  For the past three years, she has been lucky enough to implement the program in preschool classrooms with children with special needs.  She delights in reaching each child at whatever level they are enjoying the music. Andrea holds Certification Level 1 in Music Together.

     
photo Bizzy Bender

Bizzy is a lifelong, self taught musician. She has been teaching in the Fairfield County and Danbury area for the past several years. She has worked with children teaching karate and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She has worked in the children’s music ministries at a couple area churches and is a professional worship leader. She has recorded 2 CD’s of original music and has performed all over New England and other parts of the country as well. One of her songs, “Isn’t God Great?” is a big hit on the island of Fiji. Her music can be found on iTunes and her website: www.bizzybender.com

Recently Bizzy has been a big part of the groundbreaking outreach work, Jackie Jacobs has been doing in the Bridgeport public school system working with the Total Learning Initiative, bringing this wonderful program to underprivileged children and by doing so enhancing their entire educational process.

 She is the mother of 3 and is thrilled to be teaching because it is a great marriage of her love of children and her love of music!  Bizzy is a registered Music Together teacher.

     
photo Christine Burlingame

Chris Burlingame has been bringing The Joy of Family Music® to parents and children at Music Together of  Fairfield County for the last ten years. Chris also teaches music and movement to the infants, toddlers and pre-school children of Stanwich Congregational Church. Chris has been singing professionally for nearly 50 years, spanning styles from pop to gospel to jazz and currently sings with various jazz groups in Fairfield and Westchester county venues. One of her passions is performing for senior citizen groups, leading them in singing the songs from the 30's, 40's and early 50's, helping them to recapture memories of their younger days.  She also sings at various churches and leads music for women's groups and retreats.  Chris holds Certification Level 1 in Music Together. Visit her site at www.christineburlingame.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
photo CJ Wood

Carol, (as we more fondly know her, CJ) wrote her first song at the age of ten and has been writing music ever since. She co-owns a small recording studio in Fairfield, CT and spends time writing and developing her own music. She studied voice while attending Alfred University for a Fine Arts Degree. While in college she performed in coffee houses and on the radio station. She plays guitar, drums, and a little piano. With many years of experience working with children as a music counselor, CJ enjoys teaching music to young children and helping them to expand their life experiences through music and movement. CJ  holds Certification Level 1 in Music Together®.

     
photo Emily Trotman

Emily Trotman experienced the joy of singing at home early on, as both her parents were trained acapella singers. One of her earliest memories was driving in the car listening to Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" on an 8-track, no less! Her love of singing in groups has led her to various types of performance, from gospel choirs, to Irish wakes, to Acabella, an all-women's acapella group based in Fairfield County. Emily holds an M.ED in Early Childhood Education from Loyola University, a Primary (ages 3-6) Certificate from the Association Montessori Internationale, and the Level One Certification in Music Together. Most recently she was the Director of Music Together de Guaynabo, the first Music Together center in Puerto Rico. For Emily, teaching Music Together is the perfect marriage of her two loves: music and children. Not only does making music together strengthen the bond between parents and children, it can ease the daily parenting struggles that we all face. As mother to two strong willed-girls, Emily knows well the power of music to encourage cooperation on  matters of importance. Convincing a child to eat their vegetables, or to "hold still' while a seatbelt is strapped on does not have to be a harrowing experience when we simply sing a song or ask in a grumpy frog voice. All the while, music is enhancing the neural pathways of the brain during the child's most important years of the brain development: birth to five. Shhh, they'll never even know it's good for them!

     
photo Jeanne Whiting

Jeanne has brought her enthusiasm and love for music and children to our program for more than a decade and a half. She received her BS with a minor in music and Juris Doctor degrees from BYU, and studied composition and conducting at Westminster Choir College. As a soloist she has sung opera, oratorio and musical theater. Also a church music director, Jeanne conducts adult, youth and children's choirs and has conducted major productions with chorus and orchestra. Jeanne, a mother of five, loves teaching above all and loves to bring the joys of Music Together to children and their families. She holds a Certification Level 1 in Music Together.

 

 

     
photo Jessica McNamara

Jessica McNamara holds bachelors and masters degrees in music education and comes to Music Together with over 10 years of experience teaching music. Jessica first started playing violin at the age of six in a Suzuki program in Queens, NY. Her love of music continued to grow as she played violin, sang and danced throughout her childhood. Jessica received her music ed bachelors degree from Providence College and masters in music education degree from the Hartt School of Music. After 11 fantastic years of teaching orchestra in the Westport Public Schools, Jessica decided to step away from public school teaching in order to be home with her two children and pursue a lifelong dream of starting a Suzuki School in Ridgefield, CT. Jessica feel in love with the Music Together program when she first attended classes wither her 18 month old daughter ad realized that Music Together was a well thought out program grounded in music education research. The core philosophies of Music Together are in complete alignment with Jessica's beliefs that every child has the right and ability to learn music, music making is a family and community activity, and making music is joyful and fun! Jessica is proud to be offering Music Together classes as part of the Early Childhood program at the Ridgefield Suzuki School!

     
photo Jodi Stevens-Bryce

Jodi graduated from Penn State University's main campus with BFA in theatre arts and spent the last 15 years performing on Broadway, Off Broadway, in Television and Film. Jodi is happily married to her husband Scott and is a very proud mother of her beautiful son, Jackson.  This Weston resident continues to perform both in New York and around the country, but is excited to be extending her career into the education arena.  Jodi is thrilled to be associated with The Music Together program.  She is a registered Music Together teacher.

     
photo Kathy Knapp

Kathy has taught Music Together in West Hartford and Simsbury for several years and was the founder of Music Together of Farmington Valley. She fell in love with the Music Together program while participating in classes for years with her own daughters in Fairfield County and has made it her mission to share her love of music through her teaching ever since! Kathy has a B.A. from Middlebury College where she studies music and theatre, and an M.A. in educational theatre from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU. She has taught and performed  in many different venues but feels musically complete nowt hat she has found a home with Music Together! Kathy enjoys playing her instruments in class from time to time, including the piano, violin and doumbek, a Middle Eastern drum. Kathy lives with her husband, Geoff, and two daughters, Emily and Katie.

     
photo Kristy Jefferson

Kristy Jefferson has been performing in one way or another her whole life. Her early years were spent playing various instruments and dancing with a local ballet company in upstate New York. After graduating from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Television, Radio, and Film and Russian, she went on to study and perform long-form improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City as well as The Magnet Theatre, the Peoples Improv Theater, and various independent art houses. A writer by trade, Kristy came to the Music Together program as a parent, and after five years, two children, and many worn-out Music Together CDs, she decided she had to be a part of bringing this experience to other people. Along with a passion for all types of music, Kristy brings with her a love of being as silly as humanly possible, which small humans seem to really like.

     
photo Leanna O'Brien

Leanna O'Brien is excited to begin her teaching career at Music Together! She has brought her youthful enthusiasm and love for young children to her work during the past three summers as a music teacher in the Dominican Republic, and has performed in college operas including the Merry Widow and Amalh and the Night Visitors as well as at the Warner Theater in CT. Leanna is currently a junior at Western Connecticut State University, majoring in music education with the hopes of working with children of all ages of the public schools in inner cities. Her focus is vocal training and piano studies. She is looking forward to the prospect of seeing the progress in both student and parents alike as well as in herself while teaching Music Together! As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quoted, "Music is the universal language of mankind." What better way to begin a lifetime of learning than starting off by speaking in the same tongue.

     
photo Natasha Fenster

Natasha came to Music Together as a mom, and couldn't wait to become more active. After receiving her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Oregon, she headed east to see what New York had to offer.  What she found was a gratifying career as a nursery school teacher and nanny.  The call of the stage was too strong so Natasha became involved in local community theater where she met her husband at an audition.  Now this busy mom of two loves to balance her "day job" as a Realtor with the joy she shares with the families in her classes.  She holds Certification Level 1 in Music Together.

     
photo Rosanna Padilla Lopez

Rosanna Padilla Lopez is from Mexico and is the mother of  2 year old Sebastian! She is a psychologist and dance educator who has taught and performed throughout Latin America. She is the founder of the Psychomotor Development Technique known as Danza Ludica, or playful dance, which helps to integrate typical children as well as those with special needs in learning to acquire physiological and intellectural maturity. Rosana is an expert in traditonal songs and dances from the Hispanic Culture, and is excited to share her knowledge with students attending her Canta y Baila Conmigo® classes. She will also be conducting classes and workshops in Playful Dance. Her warm inviting presence and expertise with working with young children is evident from the way she teaches. Rosana is also a certified Music Together teacher. 

     
photo Sarah Hartigan

Sarah has been teaching Music Together since the spring of 2000, and was the founder and director of Music Together of the Berkshires, MA from 2002-2009. She studied voice and music education at the Berklee College of Music, and has certifications in Dalcroze Eurythmics from the Manhattan School of Music and Early Childhood Music from the Gordon Institute. Sarah also loves group harmony singing, and recently completed the Community Choir Leadership Training in Victoria, Canada. She has performed extensively with vocal ensembles in New England, including the Berklee College Singers, the Borovcani Balkan Vocal Trio and the Back Bay Chorale. As an enthusiastic advocate for family and community music-making, Sarah enjoys inspiring both children and adults to raise their voices in song.  Sarah is a registered Music Together teacher.

 

     
photo Steve Epstein

Steve has been teaching for MTFC since Fall of 2000.

He is a recording engineer of classical music and has contributed to over 250 recordings including the 1999 Grammy winning HornSmoke. Steve was a classical guitar major, who also played in several rock bands in the late 80's and early 90's.

In 2008 Steve and The Enablers debuted their cd of original songs called Something For Everyone and  is currently available on Itunes! 

Steve resides in Fairfield and is the proud father of two beautiful children Leah and Kyle.  He holds Certification Level 1 in Music Together.

 

     
photo Tina Manus

Tina has been teaching Music Together since 2000. She is a classically trained, professional vocalist with a background in theatre and dance. Tina is the choir director and leader of song at St. Margaret Mary Church in Shelton, CT. She has earned a MA in Learning from Sacred Heart University and a MS in Elementary Education from SCSU with a specialty in urban education. She is currently working on her PhD at St. Martin's College, Lancaster University in the U.K. Tina credits Music Together, the families she has encountered through teaching the program and especially her fellow Music Together colleagues as her primary sources of creative inspiration and the catalysts for her own professional growth and continued research in the field of music education.  She holds Certification Level 2 in Music Together.

     
  Staff

     
  Cj/Jackie