Music Lessons

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ONE-ON-ONE INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS TO EXPLORE OR DEEPEN THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

The Putney School’s music lesson program is open to all students regardless of experience, and scholarship funds are available. Here’s a look at instructors and available lessons.

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Steve Leicach

Hand Drums, Harmonica, Bamboo Flute

Steve (Stevo) Leicach has been drumming for close to 50 years. He is an expert in African and Afro-Caribbean hand drumming, and teaches lessons on a wide variety of ethnic instruments including conga drums, djembe, balafon, shekere, and talking drums; he also offers lessons in blues harmonica and instruction in bamboo flute. Steve has taught at schools, universities, and wellness centers throughout the Northeast.

Steve teaches people of all ages and abilities, from advanced percussionists to beginners, including children, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. As a teacher Steve’s focus is to empower his students in an environment that is supportive and safe, so they can freely express themselves; his emphasis, always, is on kindness. He also utilizes drumming as a vehicle for conflict resolution with people from war torn countries.

Steve apprenticed in traditional Tikar mask and drum carving in Cameroon, West Africa. He has also traveled to Ghana, Senegal, and the Caribbean Islands to research traditional music. Steve graduated from Tufts University’s joint program with The Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, with a major in fine arts and a minor in anthropology. His resonance with evolutionary anthropology and ancient primordial history is an interest that has informed his approach to life.

As a teacher, my highest priority is creating a supportive environment where students feel safe and relaxed, so they can fully be their authentic selves: kindness is everything.” — Steve Leicach

 

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Rebecca Sayles

Flute

Before moving to New Hampshire in 2018, Rebecca performed regularly throughout the New York metropolitan area in community orchestras and chamber music ensembles. A 2022 National Flute Association solo competition winner, she currently plays flute and piccolo with the Windham Philharmonic and TUNDI’s Wagner in Vermont Festival Orchestra in Brattleboro. She was featured as soloist in September 2022 with the Guilford Festival Orchestra (VT), performing Elaine Fine’s “Three Reflections for Flute and Strings.” She is a member of the River Mill Flute Ensemble, performing on flute and alto flute throughout New Hampshire and has been the flute instructor at The Putney School since 2019.

Rebecca holds an AB cum laude in sociology from Harvard and an MA in international and comparative education from Columbia University Teachers College. She is an independent fundraising consultant and writer on the arts. Her article, “From Women’s Clubs to MeetUps: Social Influences on Amateur Music-Making in America,” was published in the Oct/Nov 2019 issue of American Music Teacher.

I love teaching —and learning from—Putney students, who are always curious to try new things and eager to grow as musicians and human beings.” — Rebecca Sayles

 

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Rob Freeberg

Brass

Rob Freeberg, trumpeter, moved to Dummerston, Vermont in 2012, after retiring from his position as Director of Bands at New Rochelle High School, NY, where he taught for 30 years. He has a B.A. in Music from Columbia University, and a M.A. in Jazz Studies from the Manhattan School of Music. Many of his former students have pursued careers in music as performers, conductors and composers. He also directed a community jazz band, the Rob Freeberg Big Band, and the Iona College Pep Band. Rob was selected as guest conductor for several all-county and regional music festivals in NY, and performed and recorded as a free-lance trumpeter in the metropolitan NY area. Since moving to VT, he has become active at the VT Jazz Center, directing the VJC Big Band for its annual Gala Concert and serving on its Board of Directors, and he performs with the Windham Orchestra. Rob directed jazz ensembles at the Putney School from 2013-2015, coaches chamber music ensembles and the jazz workshop at Brattleboro Union High School, and has taught a jazz improvisation class at Bellows Falls Union High School. He directed the Vermont District 6 Middle School Jazz Ensemble in November, 2015.

Although I have a solid background in classical music, and feel comfortable teaching all brass instruments, I have also developed techniques of learning jazz improvisation and music theory that can benefit all music students.” — Rob Freeberg

 

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Jenna Rae

Voice

Jenna Rae was educated at Northwestern University, New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music. Trained first as clarinetist and music educator, she sang major works of the mezzo-soprano repertoire, notably Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Kindertotenlieder. Now she is known and recognized as a Dramatic Soprano who has the large roles of Verdi and Puccini under her belt, also the great song-cycles of Brahms, Mahler and Strauss. She is co-creator with Hugh Keelan of Wolf, a children’s musical based on St Francis, and Boudica, a Grand Opera in which she will sing the title role of the Icene warrior queen from the first century, and the company TUNDI Productions, dedicated to the all-encompassing artworks of Richard Wagner. She is already an experienced Wagnerian with her signature Isolde, and is soon to be a fledged Valkyrie, Brünnhilde with TUNDI in 2022.Wherever Jenna Rae performs, there is beauty, rigor, generosity of emotion and an unusual ability to connect.

I know about voice types and all their glories and quirks, and I want to find and release the authentic voice in you. I love introducing students to methods and repertoire that will give them artistry, expression, and solid technique. I will be teaching from home, so that we all remain safe while learning the superpower of singing!” — Jenna Rae

 

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Hugh Keelan

Piano

Hugh Keelan has conducted throughout the world, from the Residentie Orchestra (conducted by Toscanini) in The Hague, Holland, to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (in pioneering recordings of seminal American symphonies), the Saint Louis Symphony (with a world premier), and the Windham Orchestra (creating excellence and transcendence in community). He has collaborated with the great artists of our times, including Solti, Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Shura Cherkassky, Maurice Sendak, Tom Stoppard. In the future are a Ring Cycle, 2022, with TUNDI Productions, and Boudica, all co-created with Jenna Rae. During Boudica audiences will learn Celtic war cries, and from their seats participate in battle scenes with the Roman occupiers.

For Maestro, ‘Life’ and ‘Art’ are not distinct, just different words for a committed exploration of beauty and transcendence. He has performed piano concertos by Brahms, Beethoven, Janáček, Jacob Mashak, Ravel and Rachmaninoff over the years, and is currently learning ‘the’ Tchaikovsky.

I am interested in students discovering music at a deep and unexpected level; listening, which starts with me listening to you, and what you are interested, and in giving you a particular gift: that immersing in music will illuminate your personal interests and life goals.” — Hugh Keelan

 

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Donna Morse

Saxophone & Clarinet

Growing up in Miami, FL in a musical family, Donna Morse’s music education began nearly 50 years ago with piano lessons. She started
clarinet in 6th grade, playing in Florida festivals, and in the Orange Bowl parade. After graduating from Bucknell University, Donna expanded her woodwind playing to flute and saxophone, studying flute with Shirley Gilpin and Julie Armstrong, saxophone and applied jazz harmony with Scott Mullett, John Mastriani, and Mark Pinto and jazz piano and harmony with Eugene Uman of the Vermont Jazz Center.

Classically, Donna is a clarinet/woodwind player in the Windham Philharmonic and a frequent lyric opera and pit orchestra player. As a jazz player, she has been the lead alto sax in the Keene Jazz Orchestra since 2003 and has performed with Boston’s White Heat Orchestra, East Bay Jazz Band, the Temptations, and the Les DeMerle Big Band, as well as many private gigs in the northern New England area.

Donna teaches regularly in Keene, Putney, and Bellow Falls. Her students have auditioned and have been accepted for NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles, NH All-state, NH Jazz All-State, VT All State, New England Music Festival, NH Honors Band, and the MA Central District Music Festival.

Although I love to perform music, I also love the rewards and challenges of teaching private lessons and tailoring those lessons to each student based on their level of mastery as well as their musical goals and interests.  My approach to teaching is to first get to know my student and then decide how to help them get to where they want to go musically and then teach them how to go even further.”—Donna Morse

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Draa Hobbs

Guitar

Draa Hobbs is a professional performing artist on the guitar, playing in clubs and concerts throughout the Northeast including Boston and New York. He recently returned from a tour of Germany and has also performed in Paris. Draa is a dedicated teacher, familiar with a variety of different styles from Rock to Jazz. He has played Jazz professionally for years, most recently at the Liliy Pad in Boston performing all original material with associates from the Berklee College of Music faculty.

I try to get my students engaged in a creative way with the instrument as they learn the nuts and bolts of music on the guitar. You can be creative and express yourself right from the start. Regardless of the style, at every level of development, what matters is personal expression.”—Draa Hobbs

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Sarah Carlisle

Bass

Sarah Carlisle began her musical studies on the double bass at the age of ten, and in 1998 attended the Peabody Conservatory on full scholarship. Having studied both classical and jazz music in college, she had the opportunity to perform with orchestras throughout Russia, Israel, and Brazil by the age of twenty.  She spent her years after college primarily playing jazz in the Baltimore/DC area with such greats as Gary Thomas, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Byrd, and many others.  In 2009, Sarah was offered a full scholarship to attend a Masters program in Classical Bass at Temple University. During her years in Philadelphia, she toured and recorded with Sacred Chant Artist David Newman. From 2011-2018, she toured extensively and recorded with internationally renowned Kirtan Artist Snatam Kaur, including on her live studio album, Beloved, which received a Grammy nomination for “Best New Age Album” in 2018.  Sarah has taught in various school settings, from the El Sistema-inspired programs Play On, Philly! and the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids to private and public schools at all grade levels.  At The Putney School, Sarah teaches both upright and electric bass in all styles.

I love teaching at The Putney School. My students are all self-directed, enthusiastic and passionate learners, each with unique interests.”—Sarah Carlisle

 

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Rohan Gregory

Violin

Rohan Gregory, violinist, is a native of the Monadnock Region, receiving his early musical inspiration from study with the Apple Hill Chamber Players. He has cultivated a wide-ranging expertise in chamber music, new music and world music. He is a member of the Worcester Chamber Music Society, and of the Pedroia String Quartet, which recently had its first album of new works come out on Parma Records. He spent ten years as a member of QX, a string quartet that has been in residence at Clark University, and has recorded for Albany and Centaur records and he was also a founding member for ten years of the Arden String Quartet, performing new music concerts in New York, Boston, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, Russia.

On the world music scene Rohan has toured extensively. His travels have taken him to Europe with the Klezmatics, to Thailand with multi-ethnic flute player Abbie Rabinowitz, to India with the Indo-jazz group Natraj to the U.S. west coast with the Sophia Bilides Greek Folk Ensemble. Recently he spent ten years performing nationally and internationally with the flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual, and around the US with the Greek Folk band Revma. Locally, Rohan is a member of the Boston Lyric Opera Company. He has also performed with the Boston Pops, the Boston Ballet, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the New England String Ensemble, the Portland Symphony, the Springfield Symphony, and numerous other groups

Rohan coached chamber music at the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts for eighteen years, and presently teaches at the St. Paul’s School in Concord NH, and with the Neighborhood Strings program in Worcester. He has an extensive private studio, and spends his summers coaching at Music at Port Milford in Ontario, Canada, at the WCMS Summer Chamberfest, and at the High School Composer’s Intensive at Boston Conservatory/Berklee.

“Music touches our identity. Teaching it is like tending a plant, whose roots will finally hold up a glorious tree, full of riot and color.
In every student, something beautiful happens when they play.
A unique expression of personality through the violin.
It always feels like an honor to be part of this.”

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Stefan Amidon

Drums

Stefan Amidon is a versatile drummer and a committed and engaged teacher. He has played the drums in contradance, jazz, rock, honky tonk, classical and blues bands.  After attending Oberlin Conservatory he toured the country and the UK with The Sweetback Sisters, and more recently has been the touring drummer for The Devil Makes Three.  Currently he is a member of Zara Bode’s Little Big Band, The David Ross Trio, T.U.B.A. Fletcher and the Pretty Likelies, and the Barn Raisers.
“I aim to tailor my teaching to help the student on their own musical path, combining methods for good technique with ideas for how to play musically and appropriately within any given style.”

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Jennifer Morsches

Cello

Jennifer Morsches enjoys an international career as a versatile cellist, acclaimed for playing with “intelligence and pathos” (The Strad) and a “fine mixture of elegance and gutsiness” (Gramaphone). Especially inclined towards historical performance, she is the principal cellist of Florilegium (UK) since 2000, with whom she performs around the globe and has recorded numerous award-winning discs for Channel Classics Records. She is Co-Artistic Director of Sarasa Ensemble, based in Cambridge, MA, highly acknowledged for its outreach in youth detention centers in the Boston Metropolitan Area. World premieres of chamber music include works by David Matthews, Julian Grant, Michael Wolpe and Ben Zion Orgad. She is a founding member of Richter Ensemble (UK), tracing and focussing on the interdependence of today’s music with the past, focussing especially on the Second Viennese School. A longtime member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Les Siècles and Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, she has regularly toured and recorded with eminent artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir András Schiff, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Roger Norrington, Dame Emma Kirkby, Sir Michael Chance, David Zinman, François-Xavier Roth and Philippe Herreweghe. Jennifer graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, First Group Scholar from Smith College with degrees in Music History and German Literature, and was awarded the Ernst Wallfisch Prize in Music. She received her Master’s and Doctorate in Cello Performance as a scholarship student of Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music and SUNY at Stony Brook in New York. Recipient of the CD Jackson Prize for outstanding merit and contribution at Tanglewood Music Festival she was featured on Wynton Marsalis’s educational music videos with Yo-Yo Ma. Awarded a Finzi Travel Scholarship and residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Jennifer has focussed research on the ambiguous history of the five-string piccolo cello. She teaches Baroque chamber music at the Royal College of Music in London since 2006.

“Coaching chamber music and giving cello lessons are an incredible form of communication on so many levels. It proves to me time and again that learning and pushing our comfort zones is time well spent, no matter our age group.”

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Rachel Clemente

Harp

New England based pedal and traditional Scottish harpist, Rachel Clemente, has had a passion for music from the early age of five. She began her harp training as a student of the Suzuki method and is now a certified teacher and avid supporter of the methodology of nurturing the whole child/student.
She is a graduate of renowned arts boarding high school Interlochen Arts Academy and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow where she obtained a bachelors degree in traditional Scottish music. Her accolades include winner of U.S National Scottish Harp Championship in 2016 and winner of Princess Margaret of the Isles Clàrsach Competition (USA) in 2021.
Since moving to Vermont in 2019, Rachel has focused on establishing herself in the New England folk scene as a soloist as well as performing in her duo, If You Must Know, with bagpiper Dan Houghton. She is an advocate for both the lever harp and traditional/contemporary Scottish music and works to spread awareness and access to the lever harp through her harp building program, Hands on Harps.
Currently, Rachel is recording her debut solo album which features unique instrumentation and much of her compositional work.

“In my teaching, I focus on the importance of listening not only to the music being created, but to the student and their specific goals. I aim to nurture creativity and musical growth through the exploration of composition, the foundational importance of technique and by highlighting different genres of music.”

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