As its fall semester begins, Desert Hills Community School of Music welcomes six new instructors: Gregory Hamilton (cello and bass), Allie Nasr (guitar, mandolin, ukulele and voice), Shane Vance (guitar, ukulele and electric bass), Andre Womack (saxophone and clarinet), Isidora Jovanović Driscoll (piano) and Susan Constance (organ and piano).
These new faculty members will provide private lessons and lead a variety of group classes throughout the 2023-24 school year. Classes will be held in eight- or nine-week sessions on the campus of Desert Hills Presbyterian Church, 34605 N. Tom Darlington Road.
Hamilton was formerly the associate professor of cello and bass at Concordia College, and throughout his career has taught lower strings around the world. Hamilton will lead the group cello and bass class for children age 8-17 and will offer one-on-one instruction for adults. The children’s group class is geared toward beginners and those with minimal strings experience who are seeking a supportive and fun way to advance their knowledge. Students will learn proper technique and important skills and will have the opportunity to learn simple songs while growing a greater appreciation of their instruments.
Nasr holds a degree in music education with an emphasis on vocal performance, has led worship for many Valley churches and regularly performs with several folk/bluegrass bands. This school year, Nasr will teach group mandolin for adults, where students will learn common chords and popular tunes in a supportive and relaxed environment. Nasr will also provide private guitar, ukelele, mandolin and voice lessons for learners of all ages.
Vance is a local guitar player known for his fusion of jazz and R&B. Vance has independently released two albums and is working on a comprehensive “functional guitar” methodology. Vance will bring his talents to DHCSM to teach group guitar for children age 8-17. This class will equip students with knowledge of basic chords and the ability to play some of their favorite songs. Depending on level and interest, Vance can help students craft their own songs and covers and even assist them in preparation if they ever want to perform live. For learners of all ages, Vance will also offer private lessons in guitar and electric bass.
Womack studied saxophone at the University of Kansas and previously served as the director of middle and high school bands for Cave Creek Unified School District. While at KU, Womack performed at the Kennedy Center and toured with the KU saxophone quartet. Womack will bring his musical expertise to provide students of all ages with private instruction in saxophone and clarinet.
A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Driscoll enjoys an active career as a pianist and a pedagogue. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States, winning second prize at the International piano competition Nikolai Rubinstein. Driscoll’s 15-year teaching career includes positions in her native Serbia, head of piano for Florida Atlantic University’s Teaching Outstanding Performers program, a Faculty Associate position at Arizona State University and a piano instructor at ASU’S Community Music School. Believing strongly in the unique musical potential of every student, Driscoll cultivates students’ love for music and adjusts to their individual learning styles.
Constance holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from McKendree University, Illinois, with pipe organ as her primary instrument. She also earned her teaching certification in Elementary Education (grades K-9) and went on to teach kindergarten and general elementary music in several school districts, and has taught private piano and organ lessons for more than 30 years. Throughout all of her adult life, Constance has played in churches and theaters as an organist, accompanist for choirs and pit orchestra pianist. In addition to teaching some of DHCSM’s youngest piano students, she is serving as an interim organist at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church.
To learn more about DHCSM and upcoming group classes, ensembles and private lesson availability, visit deserthillsmusic.org.