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Teacher Bios

Piano

Will Johnston began playing piano at the age of 6.  He attended the Hartt School of Music at the age of 10 and later began studying classical piano with Edith Petersen who was a Julliard performance graduate.  In 1971, he attended the St. Louis Institute of Music on a full scholarship.  In 1972, he attended B3 organ and piano performance classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston Mass and later graduated from the North B0ennett St. Industrial school for piano technology.  After completing college, he traveled with many blues and rock bands all over the US and parts of Europe.

Will began teaching piano in the 90s and has been teaching at Hoggtowne Music since it's opening in 2006.  Three of his students have received full music scholarships to universities in the state but his passion is teaching music and piano to young students.

 
Peggy Jensen After teaching music in the Gainesville area for over 34 years, I am very pleased to be at Hoggtowne Music Studio.  With my degree in elementary and music education, I began with a music school in Lipman’s music for 12 years as Peggy‘s Music for Kids. After moving to Newberry Square next to Paramore Music, I offered preschool fundamental music classes, piano and voice classes as well as private piano and voice.
I have been blessed with three grown children and seven grandchildren.  Four years ago, I closed my studios but continue to offer piano and voice lessons.  I began teaching piano here at Hoggtowne Music in January 2019.
Patricia Corona has been playing piano since the age of 7.  She has been teaching piano for over 40 years with Corona Piano Studio in New Jersey and Venice, Florida.  She grew up in a musical family and worked at a young age in her father's music store - Ocean County Music in New Jersey.  After graduating from Ocean County College, she worked as a preschool teacher and continued to teach private piano lessons.  Patricia enjoys teaching all levels of piano from age 3 and up.  She is very excited to be part of Hoggtowne Music Studio and looks forward to making each student excel at the piano.

Haley Larsen -  a piano and clarinet instructor who has been with Hoggtowne Music since June 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and has degrees in Music and Business Management. Since beginning piano lessons at the age of 7, she has performed in numerous studio recitals, Florida's Solo & Ensemble festival, and other piano competitions. While in high school, she acted as the accompanist for her school's choir and has since accompanied other students and ensembles for their performances. She loves introducing music to students of all ages and showing them how fun music can be!

Outside of teaching, Ms. Larsen works at a local software company, Infotech, creating training content for customers to learn how to use computer software. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting the beach, and listening to podcasts. 

Guitar/Bass/Ukulele

Richard Simmons is a teacher based in Gainesville, FL and has been playing guitar for over forty years. He has been teaching guitar through Hoggtowne Music for nearly a decade. Aside from teaching acoustic and electric guitar, Richard also teaches ukulele and bass guitar. Richard enjoys playing and teaching all types of music and his students are from all different age groups and skill levels.

Richard has performed with multiple local bands in the Alachua County area including, V6 and The Atypicals, along with several others. Along with playing guitar Richard’s other hobbies include off-roading in his Jeep and carpentry.

 

Nolan Koskela-Staples is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist with over 15 years of experience performing in various ensembles, over 5 years of private teaching experience, and 5 years of leading rehearsals, conducting ensembles, and writing arrangements. Nolan received a B.A. in Music in 2014, and since then he has enjoyed freelance work as a bassist. Nolan has taught private lessons for bass (upright and electric), cello, guitar, piano, theory, and composition. He is a versatile player and a good sight-reader, and he loves connecting with people through music. Nolan moved to Gainesville from Portland, Oregon in August 2018, and he is enjoying plugging into the jazz scene.

 

Larry Newcomb is a jazz guitar performer and educator.  He plays classic & original jazz and blues. Larry’s June 5, 2017 release, LIVING TRIBUTE, is receiving abundant national and international airplay and enthusiastic reviews.

His 2015 album LIVE INTENTIONALLY! earned a four-star review in DOWNBEAT and was voted One of the Best New Albums of 2015. New album release is forthcoming early 2020.
Newcomb enthusiastically teaches and encourages guitar students of all ages, experience levels, and stylistic preferences via the Newcomb Guitar Method in Gainesville, FL. The guitarist also presents an array of jazz education Concert Lectures including the very popular What Makes it Jazz! at libraries, universities, colleges and schools in Florida, New Jersey and New York.
Larry has contributed a wealth of electric & acoustic guitar stylings both as a soloist, and on gigs with Bucky Pizzarelli, Jack Wilkins, his own Larry Newcomb Duo, Trio and Quartet, with Ray Blue and with Joe Vincent Tranchina. Newcomb and performs at Florida venues including Leonardo’s 706, The University of Florida, and Walt Disney World. He honed his craft in New York City from 1999-2019 and performed at venues including Bourbon Street, Kitano, Iridium, Small’s, Garage, 55 Bar, FatCat, Columbia University, Teacher’s College, Flatotel, Cleopatra’s Needle, Our Lady of Pompeii School and Corpus Christi School. Newcomb was lead guitarist in the touring bands of hitmakers including Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits), Leslie Gore, Lou Christie, Billy J. Kramer, Tommy Cash, Darlene Austin, Tom Grant, and Jimmy Payne.
Larry’s many musical influences include: Bucky Pizzarelli, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, Lester Young and Stan Getz, Tom Jobim, Luis Bonfa, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Albert King, B. B. King, Freddie King.
He has studied with jazz guitar masters Bucky Pizzarelli, Pat Martino, Howard Roberts and Mark Elf. Larry studied classical guitar under Bruce Holzmann at Florida State University and composition with Dr. Budd Udell at the University of Florida. Newcomb studied jazz improvisation with saxophonist Bob Mover in New York City.
Larry’s affable performing and teaching styles are informed by Masters and PhD degrees in Music from the University of Florida and a seasoned master’s understanding of the blues and jazz idioms and its history.
 

 


Strings

 

Nolan Koskela-Staples is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist with over 15 years of experience performing in various ensembles, over 5 years of private teaching experience, and 5 years of leading rehearsals, conducting ensembles, and writing arrangements. Nolan received a B.A. in Music in 2014, and since then he has enjoyed freelance work as a bassist. Nolan has taught private lessons for bass (upright and electric), cello, guitar, piano, theory, and composition. He is a versatile player and a good sight-reader, and he loves connecting with people through music. Nolan moved to Gainesville from Portland, Oregon in August 2018, and he is enjoying plugging into the jazz scene.

Woodwinds

Tim Robinson is a woodwind specialist, who teaches saxophone, clarinet, and flute. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Florida, were he studied saxophone with Dr. Michael Bovenzi, clarinet with Dr. Dennis Prime, and flute with Prof. Rhonda Cassano. Mr. Robinson received his Master of Music from the University of Florida, were he studied saxophone with Dr. Johnathan Helton. Throughout his college career Mr. Robinson received scholarships and awards from the University of North Florida and the University of Florida. Mr. Robinson is currently the general music teacher at Glen Spring Elementary School where he teaches everything from singing and dancing to ukulele and guitar. Mr. Robinson has been teaching privately for over 16 years, and has had students go on to successful college and professional careers. Mr. Robinson has played professionally for multiple musical production, and was the saxophonist for Ringling Brother Barnum and Bailey Circus’s Red Unit for two years. Locally Mr. Robinson has played with the Gainesville Big Band and was Principal Alto Saxophone with the Gainesville Pops for two years. Mr. Robinson is competent in many different styles of music from Avant-garde Modern Saxophone Music to Jazz and Rock and Roll.  Mr. Robinson believes his true specialty is teaching his students the skills they need to be highly successful instrumentalist. When not teaching or performing Mr. Robinson enjoys spending time with his two young daughters and lovely wife.   

 

Haley Larsen  - a clarinet and piano instructor who has been with Hoggtowne Music since June 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and has degrees in Music and Business Management. Since picking up the clarinet at the age of 10, she has performed at numerous recitals and festivals, participated in her county's All-County bands and Florida's All-State bands, and numerous pit orchestras. In college, she was a member of the University of Florida Gator Marching Band, Volleyball and Basketball pep bands, Wind Symphony, Clarinet Ensemble, and Clarinet Studio where she studied with Prof. Mitchell Estrin. In the summer of 2019, she traveled with the University of Florida Wind Symphony to perform at the Anches d'Azur festival in La Croix-Valmer, France. Ms. Laren enjoys teaching students of all levels from the basics to helping them prepare for upcoming performances and auditions.

Outside of teaching, Ms. Larsen works at a local software company, Infotech, creating training content for customers to learn how to use computer software. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting the beach, and performing with the Gainesville Clarinet Choir.  


Brass

Marco Thomas is from Ellenwood, GA which a suburb of Atlanta. He is a bass trombone player that studied music education at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. His principal teacher there was Brian Brink. He earned his Bachelors of Music Education in 1999. Mr. Thomas began teaching middle school band in Hardee County in January of 2000. He entered the University of Florida in the summer of 2002 where he earned his Masters of Music Performance in trombone. His principal teacher there was Arthur Jennings. After graduation, he took a position at Hawthorne Middle/High School as Director of Bands. He was at Hawthorne from 2004-2007. He began his current position as the music teacher at Williams Elementary in Gainesville during the 2007-2008 school year.  

He has been a presenter at the International Arts and Humanities Conference in Hawaii and has published an article in the Instrumentalist magazine in the fall of 2008. He has also presented at the Florida Music Educators Association conference in January 2014. He has been the director of the Gainesville Big Band since 2007. In addition, he is an active performer with various groups in the Gainesville area, ranging from classical to jazz.

 

Benjamin Kimutis is an instructor of brass instruments at the Hoggtowne Music Studio. His principal instrument is trombone, but he has recieved training on all other brass instruments as well. He studied trombone with Dr. Erik Shinn at the University of Florida.  Aside from teaching at our studio, Mr. Kimutis has been teaching for seven years, including teaching marching band at East Ridge High School, and volunteering at other schools in the Gainesville area.  Mr. Kimutis has also performed with numerous ensembles, including the Symphonic Band, the Trombone Ensemble, the Gator Marching Band and numerous other ensembles at the University of Florida, performing nationwide. He also has experience playing in pit orchestras for musicals, featuring in Hairspray and Pippin.
In his spare time, Mr. Kimutis enjoys spending time with his friends and family, traveling, and has recently taken up barbequing, but he won't be teaching lessons on that anytime soon!


Drums/Percussion

Masatoshi Enomoto started playing at the age of 15, where he spent most of his time learning about rudimental and orchestral percussion.  While at the University of Miami studying to be a band director, he played in many ensembles and began to teach privately and in schools.  In 1998, he was part of the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps front ensemble.  After finishing school, he briefly taught middle school band and orchestra and worked as a percussion instructor/arranger at many award-winning middle and high school band programs throughout the state of Florida including Glades MS, Howard Bishop MS, Miami Killian HS, Flanagan HS, and Santa Fe HS.  He has also taught private percussion lessons at the College of Central Florida (Ocala) and Santa Fe College (Gainesville).  Masa has played with various world music groups including, Trio de Janeiro (Miami), Klezmiamians, and Opia Gua Ciboney.  He has played with local rock and pop groups and also played with the Central Florida Philharmonic, Southwest Florida Symphony, Florida Grand Opera, and the Miami City Ballet.  Currently, he is Principal Percussion/Tympani with the Gainesville Orchestra, section percussion with the Ocala Symphony, and drum set with Swing Theory and the Gainesville Big Band.  Masa teaches percussion including- snare drum (rudimental/concert), drum set, mallets, auxiliary percussion, rhythm reading to students from beginning to late intermediate and beginning hand drums. 

 

 

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