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  440 Main Street - Middletown CT 06457
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Piano Lessons

Sophia Prasinos

M.M. in Vocal Performance

Piano & Voice

Sophia Prasinos, mezzo-soprano, is a classically trained vocalist from Woodbury, Connecticut. She has been singing her entire life, but began formal classical vocal training while studying with Meredith Ziegler at the University of Connecticut. Sophia received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance in 2017, as well as a Graduate Performer’s certificate in 2018, both from the University of Connecticut. Sophia then went on to study with John De Haan at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, receiving her Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance in 2020.

While having spent many years singing classically, from professional opera performances to chamber and church choir positions, Sophia has begun to explore her craft beyond the athleticism of opera, delving into the depths of musical expression and curiosity of sound. Sophia has been studying various vocal styles since graduate school, exploring genres like pop, jazz, R&B, indie, folk, funk and soul, as well as writing her own music.

Sophia’s teaching method is rooted in finding connection and curiosity towards music. With a strong focus on healthy vocal technique, Sophia teaches her students not only the technical aspects of how to sing, but how to use their instrument to express their voice to the world. Music is such a sacred form of communication that requires bravery and exploration - all of her students are encouraged to play, in the truest sense of the word!

When Sophia is not performing or teaching music, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, practicing yoga, and running her business Plant Nanny.

Nicholas Serrambana

B.A. in Music

Piano

Nicholas Serrambana is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from East Hartford, Connecticut. Though piano is Nicholas' first love, he also loves voice, drums and strings, working to find the pedagogy underpinning the assortment of them all. Professionally, Nicholas performs primarily as a jazz contrabassist, leading a fusion sextet called Trance Macabre that works to disseminate queer and digital aesthetics in jazz. Aside from Trance Macabre, Nicholas also performs in two local rock bands, Shirese and CityofMeriden. Nicholas holds a degree in African-American Studies with a concentration in jazz history from Yale College.

Brooke Der

B.A. in Music

Piano & Voice

Brooke Der is a violinist, violist, pianist, guitarist, bassist, and ukulele player with over 10 years of experience working with beginners through intermediate level students of all ages. A native to Dallas, Texas, she did her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy at Colorado State University. While there she honed her teaching skills through string pedagogy courses and coaching chamber music groups. She also performed in the university orchestra, opera orchestra, and chamber music program, as well as gigging with local professional ensembles and playing weddings. Brooke is fluent in a wide range of musical styles including (but not limited to!) classical, folk, pop, rock, and blues. She is a bright and friendly teacher suitable for beginner through intermediate musicians of all ages who are looking for lessons without the high stress! Brooke loves to work with her student's preferences and goals they would like to meet throughout their time in lessons in a practical and client driven way.

Brooke is a Music Therapy Intern at Albert J. Solnit Center South in Middletown in preparation for her board examination. She and her husband Ryan (also a teacher at Middlesex!) moved from Fort Collins to Colorado to Cromwell in June of 2022, and have absolutely fallen in love with the area. In addition to music, they enjoy gardening, board games, and exploring Connecticut with their husky, Honey!

Ryan Foley

Masters Degree in Music

Piano

A musician since age 4, Ryan had his Carnegie Hall debut at age 16, performing with the New York Youth Symphony and Carter Brey, Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic. A graduate of SUNY-Purchase Conservatory of Music, Ryan also holds Master of Music Degrees from CU-Boulder and Colorado State University, where he led the Graduate String Quartet and served as the Concertmaster for the University Symphony.

While living in Colorado, he won auditions for the Fort Collins Symphony and Cheyenne Symphonies, and performed with them for three years. He has also performed with ensembles such as the Steamboat Springs Philharmonic, the Arapahoe Philharmonic, Boulder Symphony, Westchester Symphony, Estes Park Chamber Singers, and many others.

A devout educator, Ryan has taught piano for 15 years. He has experience with all ages, and prefers to teach at the beginner to intermediate level.


Ishaar Gupta

B.A. in Vocal Performance

Piano & Voice

Ishaar Gupta, bass-baritone, graduated from the University of Connecticut in May of 2016, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music, emphasis in vocal performance. At UConn, Ish studied private voice with Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone Rod Nelman, and sang in several choirs directed by Dr. Jamie Spillane. He currently sings professionally in various ensembles, including CONCORA, the South Church Chancel Choir, the Hartford Chorale, and Novi Cantori. In the past, he has sung with Connecticut Chamber Choir, Farmington Valley Chorale, CDN, and the Composer’s Choir. A diverse performer, Ish has sung and acted in several musicals, plays, operas, most recently with Madison Lyric Stage and Pearwater Productions. In addition to performing and writing his own music, Ish is currently pursuing a career as an educator as part of Hartford Stage’s education department, which brings innovative theatre education to more than 17,000 students each year. A native of Newtown, Connecticut, and a proud UConn Husky, Ish is excited to be a part of such a great program at Middlesex Music Academy!

Kevin Wyman

B.A. in Music

Piano

Kevin Wyman is a classically-trained pianist, born in Connecticut. Kevin began playing music at an early age, and earned his Bachelor's of Music from the University of Massachusetts. He spent his time there exploring a number of disciplines, including jazz training with world-class musicians such as Walter Platt and Charles Gabriel. Kevin is further developing his classical training, while working closely with the Wesleyan piano faculty.

Kevin lives in Middletown, CT, and is constantly working to better himself as a musician and an educator. He has been teaching privately for almost ten years, and has seen students of all ages develop a love of music. Kevin teaches piano with a traditional focus on sight-reading & music theory, with a modern approach to posture and coordination. Kevin is always striving to incorporate modern music into his teaching method, and welcomes students suggesting their own favorite pieces to work on together.

Zoe Vandermeer

B.A. in Music

Piano & Voice

Zoe Vandermeer has been teaching voice and piano for more than 20 years, and is dedicated to bringing the highest quality of training to her students. She teaches children and adults beginning to advanced levels in both voice and piano, as well as individual and group lessons in songwriting, musicianship, and music theory. In addition, Zoe provides audition preparation, and also works with students in preparation for the ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) program.

Zoe is a member of the New York Singing Teachers Association and teaches singers of pop, R&B, musical theatre and classical styles, focusing on establishing a reliable vocal technique resulting in singing with vocal ease, vocal power, stamina, flexibility, extended range, and improved tone. Vocal health is a top priority. She also has extensive experience working with children's voices. Many of her young vocal students have continued on to careers in the Arts, and have received college scholarships at Berklee School of Music, Carnegie Mellon, University of Connecticut, and elsewhere, and have had lead roles in musical theatre productions, sung in Regionals, All State and Nationals, and solos in school music events. Her adult students range from professional recording artists and soloists, to choral singers, worship leaders, singer-songwriters and band singers.

Zoe Vandermeer is a prize-winning graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a recipient of the Hartt School Faculty Development Fund, and named to the roster of the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism in 2011. Her Carnegie Hall debut took place in 2014 as First Place Winner of the B. Alexander International Vocal Competition and in 2021, she won the Bronze Medal for her singing from Global Music Awards, and was a Semi-Finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition. Zoe performs in the US and internationally in productions, concert series and festivals. She has given masterclasses and presentations at the Hartt School Summer Institute, Dalhousie University Nova Scotia, CMEA Convention, and elsewhere.

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Store Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Friday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday: Closed
About Us!

Your place for music lessons and supplies in Middletown. Middlesex Music Academy is a non-corporate locally owned business. As a member of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce we strive to support local businesses and build the community as a whole.