The best piano lessons in Dallas from the best piano teachers in Dallas at the best music school of its kind.™
Private piano for children features an optional 15-minute self-paced theory lesson using workbooks or computer programs. Festivals are offered twice a year as well as solo recitals in December and in May. Participation is optional. Teachers are specialist in leading the student through creative, engaging, enjoyable lessons that yield pianist that can read and perform well.
All study at the Gray School of Music is done in private or group lesson format. Individual attention is given to each pupil’s learning rate and needs. The amount of time needed for a lesson is determined by the age, ability of the student, practice habits, and number of extra-curricular activities. Periodically, performance classes will be scheduled with children of the same age to practice performing for recitals and festivals. Parents are invited to attend any or all of their child’s music lessons. Children learn faster if music is a family affair.
For younger students ages 4 to 7, we offer Keyboard Kids classes as an introduction to classical music education.
Lesson length for adults is based upon time required to cover necessary material. Both adult beginners and adults who have had previous lessons earlier in life will find lessons a wonderful stress-reliever and very rewarding. Flexible scheduling is offered for busy adults.
Separate from private lessons, Gray School of Music also offers 9-week Adult Group Piano Classes are for beginners in a fun, relaxed, pressure-free experience (no practice required). Policies and tuition for group classes differ from private lessons. See the Adults page for details.
Vicki Gray owns and directs the Gray School of Music. She founded the Gray School of music and has taught piano for 40 years. She has a Masters of Music from Southern Methodist University and has done doctoral studies in piano at the University of North Texas. Mrs. Gray is a distinguished and accomplished composer. Compositions have included five children’s fairy tale operettas; MUSIC FOR MINORS, a method for preschool music; and articles in professional journals and newsletters. Mrs. Gray is an expert on musical technology and motivational techniques. Her students have been winners in competitions at Baylor University, Dallas Piano Solo Competition, Dallas Symphonic, DMTA Jazz Festival, at the state level in the Texas Music Teachers Association Solo Performance Competition, and McKinney Young Artist Competition. Mrs. Gray has been awarded a Permanent Professional Certificate by the National Music Teachers Association and has been listed in Who’s Who of American Women. She is the mother of three children, all of whom attended music conservatories and obtained doctorate degrees in piano performance. Jenni has a Bachelor of Piano Performance from Eastman School of Music, Master of Music from the University of Texas, and Doctorate from the University of Houston. Julie has a Bachelors and Masters of Piano Performance at Eastman School of Music and a doctorate from the University of Texas. Justin earned a Bachelor in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School, a Masters of Music in Piano Performance from Southern Methodist University, and a doctorate of Piano Performance at the University of North Texas. Mrs. Gray enjoys gardening, cooking, and playing with her six grandchildren. She and her family were recently profiled in The Dallas Morning News. Her husband, Haskell, is owner of a consulting and representation firm for advanced computer networking.
Julie Ann Dieltz is a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Julie graduated from Abilene Christian University with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She recently completed the Master of Music program Southern Methodist University as the recipient of the Meadows Artistic Scholarship.
Julie’s musical career began singing in her church with her mom accompanying her. She also has played piano since age 8 and has played percussion throughout middle and high school.
As an undergraduate student, Julie performed roles as the mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and many scene productions. Her most recent role was as Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul while at Abilene Christian University. While at SMU, Julie performed with the Meadows Opera Theater in Le nozze di Figaro as Marcellina and Albert Herring as Lady Billows. She was also a soloist in the Abilene Classical Chorus’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah and in Vivaldi’s Gloria in D at The University of South Dakota. In the Fall of 2013, Julie will also be performing the role of Rebecca the world premier opera A New Nation, a retelling of the story of Jacob and Essau.
Outside of music, Julie enjoys going back to the Midwest to spend time with family and friends. She also loves the Minnesota Twins, traveling, and shopping whenever possible!
Dr. Juliette Gray Flanagin graduated Cum Laude from the Hockaday School and earned Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Applied Piano from the Eastman School of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She first began playing the piano at age 4 and performed her debut solo recital at age 15. Dr. Flanagin has studied with such distinguished performers and teachers as Nancy Garrett, Fernando Laires, Anton Nel, Dr. Donna O’Steen Edwards, and Tong-il Han. She has performed in master classes with Malcolm Bilson, Rebecca Penneys, and Peter Tackas. An active performer, she has played numerous solo, chamber, and collaborative recitals throughout the United States. As a collaborative artist, she has served as staff vocal accompanist at Dallas Baptist University and interim pianist for Grace Presbyterian Church in Plano. She also served as staff accompanist for the Dallas based choral ensemble Sacred Song traveling with the ensemble to Santa Fe and Italy.
Dr. Flanagin has been teaching private, partner, and group lessons for over 20 years. Her pupils range from age 4 to adult and she has had winners in the Dallas Jazz Festival and TMTA Composition Competition. An award winning teacher, she received the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants for her instruction of class piano at the University of Texas at Austin. Active in a variety of organizations, Dr. Flanagin was one of the founding members of the Hockaday School orchestra, and has been active in Mu Phi Epsilon and MTNA. She returned to Hockaday in 2005 as a guest panelist for the Hockaday Alumni in the Arts program. Dr. Flanagin also led a group presentation on the format of studio performance class at the MTNA National Convention in Minneapolis. Currently, Dr. Flanagin maintains a private piano studio at the Gray School of Music and at her home. She is also an active adjudicator, solo performer and collaborative artist. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Lewis, and three children, Brendan, Jeremy and Sarah. She and her family were recently profiled in The Dallas Morning News.
Ana Maria Gomez Ferstl completed a Master of Music degree in piano performance at Southern Methodist University where she received a full scholarship (Meadows Artistic Scholarship) and studied with Dr. Carol Leone and Bachelor of music in piano performance at the University of Miami, where she was awarded the Bertha Foster Scholarship and studied with J.B. Floyd. She has been a member of the “National Society of Collegiate Scholars” since 2005.
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Ms. Gomez Ferstl began the study of piano at age 9. As a student of Maria de Fatima Geraldes, she continued her studies at the National Conservatory of Music where she also studied viola and was a member of the conservatory orchestra. She won top prizes repeatedly at the yearly “Festival de Musica Latinoamericana”, including a special award for the best performance of a work by dominican composer Margarita Luna.
Ms. Gomez Ferstl participated in several festivals in summer programs, such as Chautauqua Institution, Florida State University summer piano program, the Golandsky Institute summer symposium at Princeton University, International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes School of Music, Piano Texas Academy and Festival at Texas Christian University and Accademia Santoro piano masterclasses in Boiano, Italy.
She has received additional training from Anton Nel, Edna Golandsky, Joaquin Achucarro, Alessio Bax, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Kemal Gekic, Alexander Kobrin, Jose Feghali, Arthur Greene, Rebecca Penneys and others. She received chamber music coachings from Paul Posnak, Andres Diaz, Ellen Rose, Wilfred Roberts among others.
Ms. Gomez Ferstl is part of Richard Rejino’s “What Music Means to Me”, a book that celebrates the value of music in education and quality of life. She teaches piano at the Gray School of Music while continuing private studies with Dr. Carol Leone and Dr. Alex Mcdonald.
Dr. Justin Gray is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City where he obtained a Bachelor of Piano Performance and was a student of Gyorgy Sandor, a former pupil of Bela Bartok. He completed a Masters in Piano Performance at SMU where he was granted a full artistic scholarship. Dr. Gray has been a teaching fellow at University of North Texas where he completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance in the summer, 2007. Dr. Gray has has been coached by such esteemed artists as Ian Hobson, Claude Frank, Anton Nel, Jerome Lowenthal, and Jeffrey Swan. He has studied extensively with Tong-il Han, Stephen Nielson, and Dr. Donna Edwards. Dr. Gray was the Kawai Grand Prize winnder in 2005 Palos Verdes Music Festival Competition in Los Angeles, and won the 1994 Kingsville International Competition, the 1995 Music Teacher’s Association Competition for Solo Piano, and 1996 Grace Welsh Prize for Piano,2004 Mid-Texas Symphony Competition, and 2004 Los Angeles Liszt Competition. An active teacher and performer, Dr. Gray has given frequent community performances in greater Dallas and New York City areas.
Lauren K. Harder is originally from Buffalo, New York. She began her undergraduate music studies at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College under Dr. Ray Luck and completed her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at the University of Texas at Austin under Dr. Betty Mallard. She received a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at Miami University where she studied under Dr. Siok Lian Tan.
Ms. Harder pursued pedagogical studies with Sophia Gilmson and Martha Hilley at the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Siok Lian Tan at Miami University. She became a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in December 2008. She has experience teaching students of all ages in many different settings: private lessons, theory and early childhood classes at community music schools, extra-curricular programs at a private school, university pedagogy and class piano programs, as well as in summer arts camps. Most recently, she taught at the Coppell Conservatory where she maintained a studio of 45 private students whom she regularly prepared for competitive piano performances through both Carrollton Music Teachers Association festivals and the Royal Conservatory Achievement Program.
She resides in North Dallas with her husband, Sergio Rodriguez, a classical guitarist who also teaches in the DFW area. They enjoy traveling, biking, and cooking together.
Dr. Heejung Kang Jackson was born in Seoul, Korea, and studied at the Seoul Music and Art High School for musically gifted teenagers. She graduated with the highest honors from the College of Music, Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul and later at the same university she earned her Master’s Degree in Piano, receiving the Ewha Graduate Research Fellowship Scholarship. Completing her doctoral dissertation on Rachmaninoff, she received her doctorate in Piano Performance at theCollege of Music at the University of North Texas in 2004. In 2002, She made a recording of “Rediscovered Lieder and Piano Pieces by Kletzki, Oppel, and Schenker,” sponsored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jewish Federation, and College of Music at UNT. In December 2004, she performed music by Paul Kletzki, Reinhard Oppel, Arnold Mendelssohn and other composers live on Israel Radio. In November 2005, she performed solo piano music by Heinrich Schenker at the inaugural meeting of the Korean Society for Music Theory in Seoul and premiered Kletzki’s Sonata for Piano and Violin with Robert Davidovici on Korean National Radio (KBS FM1). Dr. Kang Jackson has recorded Reinhard Oppel’s solo piano music for Toccata Classics in England, which was released in 2011. Currently a Senior Lecturer in Piano at the University of North Texas, she teaches courses in Piano Literature, Sight-reading, Score Reading, and Keyboard Harmony. Not only teaching undergraduate and graduate piano major students, she is also an active teacher of both children and adults. She has been a judge for the Lewisville Lake Symphony Young Artists Competition since 2007. She is a guest member of Lewisville Lake Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband, Dr. Timothy Jackson, a professor of music theory at UNT, have two children, Daniel and Anna Sarah.
Reinhard Oppel: Piano Music, Volume One performed by Dr. Heejung Kang available at Amazon
Lexi Jones is a native Texan, born into a military family that recently moved back to Texas after 16 years of living away from home. Lexi began studying piano at ten years of age after her parents realized her attraction to music through her constant humming, singing and whistling.
While living in Washington State, Lexi won the Washington Music Teachers Association piano competition for her region of Washington State, receiving the honor of representing her region at the state level competition.
Following her time in Washington State, Lexi moved with her family to Wichita, Kansas. She received her bachelor of music degree from Wichita State University in 2011, studying piano pedagogy with Dr. Sylvia Coats and piano with DeeAnn Brown. While at WSU, Lexi received multiple music scholarships as well as placing second at the Kansas Music Teachers Association piano competition. She also won the Wallingford piano competition in Wichita.
At WSU, Lexi began teaching private piano lessons and group piano lessons to precollege students through the fine arts institute. She joined the Music Teachers National Association and the Kansas Music Teachers Association, while studying pedagogy to improve her teaching skills. She also performed regularly as a soloist, as well as with choirs, vocalists and instrumentalists.
Upon completion of her bachelor's degree, Lexi moved to Ohio to begin her master's degree with the award of a full assistantship at Ohio University. For her assistantship, she taught group piano classes with college freshmen and juniors, as well as continuing her group and private lessons with precollege students, thus expanding her teaching. At Ohio University, she continued studying pedagogy with Dr. Christopher Fisher and Gail Berenson, while taking piano lessons with Andre Gribou and Gail Berenson.
While in Ohio, Lexi had the honor of serving as the president of the Ohio University collegiate MTNA chapter. While serving, she presented a pedagogy lecture with the OU MTNA chapter at the second national MTNA Piano Pedagogy Symposium. Lexi also became a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society. She continued to perform regularly with the OU choirs, vocalists and instrumentalists, as well as performing in solo piano studio recitals.
Lexi graduated in 2013 and moved back to Dallas to continue her teaching career closer to home. She attends national music conferences, local seminars and workshops to continue updating her curriculum and learning new techniques and methods. Her favorite part about teaching is her students. Of great importance is the rising issue of playing-related injuries. After battling with hand and wrist injuries, music wellness became a large part of Lexi's life and she works hard to ensure her students have a healthy approach to practice.
Marissa Messina brings more than 25 years’ experience teaching piano and voice for all ages and levels of learning. Her teaching experience started when she was a college student and former founder of Messina Studios, where her students’ recitals incorporated a multi-arts approach with drama, ensemble and musical theatre to build the whole musician. They featured all genres and styles of music from classical to contemporary.
Marissa received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Southern Methodist University with a merit scholarship under the tutelage of DSO artist-in-residence Alfred Mouledous. She competed and was awarded one of two full stipend/scholarships to study with acclaimed international pianist and recording artist Mme. Lili Kraus, founding board member and judge of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and artist-in-residence at TCU, where Marissa completed a Master of Music in Piano Performance.
At a young age, Marissa was awarded study with artist Elaine de Kooning. From childhood, Marissa studied extensively with esteemed Fulbright scholar and winner Dr. Donna O’Steen Edwards. While at TCU on stipend, she became co-teacher with Dr. Edwards, both for campus TCU students and for Dr. Edwards’ private studio. Marissa studied voice with Dr. Joan Wall at Texas Women’s University with focus on opera, cabaret, musical theatre and contemporary styles. She has been coached by vocalist Adrianna Hardy and drama and vocal coach Arthur Lessac.
Marissa takes pleasure and pride in molding the “total musician” for any age, musical interest or endeavor and in imparting a well-rounded awareness and joy of music as a lifelong lifestyle. In fact, over the years, she often hears from and loves to keep up with former students who have continued to report on their love of music or professional careers in the field. Examples include a jazz/pop vocalist award recipient of the Muhammed Ali Award, a cabaret NYC circuit vocalist, and a community college piano instructor.
Marissa comes from a family of music enthusiasts. Her grandfather from Italy was first chair clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her father was a vocal student of renowned Baron Curci and held first chair clarinet with the Los Angeles Community Student Orchestra at a time when John Philip Sousa was commissioned a commemorative composition for the group.
In addition to teaching, Marissa works as a professional artist and also enjoys freelance writing and composing.
Amy Mitani is originally from Sendai Japan. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. While there, she studied pedagogy with Dr. Ann Gipson and was an alternate winner of OMTA Collegiate Piano Competition. After teaching for several years, she decided to go back to school for her graduate studies. While pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching Music from Portland State University, she studied piano performance with Dr. Carol Rich, received intensive pedagogy trainings from Professor Mary Kogen, and taught several college courses for music majors.
Ms. Mitani has been giving group and private instructions for 18 years. Most recently, she taught piano and theory classes at music schools in California, and also served as a board member and a certified evaluator for MTAC. Her students performed exceptionally for recitals, auditions, and specialized exam evaluations.
A while ago, she discovered a joy of collaboration with other musicians; she has performed in an orchestra for musicals and has been performing two-piano ensembles for six years. Because of her passion and love for Latin music and dance, she studied Latin-Jazz/Salsa piano from a well-known salsa pianist, Christian Tumalan. After a tremendous discovery of Latin music, she started to perform as a salsa pianist with several bands in San Francisco bay area.
Ms. Mitani and her husband Jason recently relocated to Dallas because of his job transfer. They reside in North Dallas and are exploring the area. She joined a local Latin band “Orchesta Cervantes” and gave her first performance in Dallas in October 2012. While she has some free time, she enjoys taking Zumba and Yoga classes.
Leah Peña discovered a love for teaching music while working with children’s choirs at her church. She attended Baylor University and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy. While there she was the recipient of the Elizabeth Brient Smith Piano Pedagogy scholarhip and award in 2007. She continued her studies and received a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Texas Christian University where she studied pedagogy with Dr. Ann Gipson and piano with Mr. Harold Martina.
Mrs. Peña has been on faculty at music schools in Waco and in the DFW area where she has maintained a private studio of all ages. She has experience in preparing students for festivals, competitions, and recitals. Mrs. Peña has also taught all types of group classes, such as undergraduate music majors, elementary theory, and childrens piano group classes. She has recently discovered a joy in teaching adult group classes as well. Mrs. Peña is a certified early childhood music teacher and has taught piano readiness classes for preschoolers. Her passion is helping each student find their own joy in music and is inspired by each student’s development as a musician and as a person.
Mrs. Peña was a presenter at the Music Teachers National Association Conference in 2010 with three of her colleagues. She is a member of MTNA, Texas Music Teachers Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda music society. This spring, she performed on a faculty recital and has accompanied various instrumentalists, vocalists and church choirs in previous years.
During her free time, Mrs. Peña loves spending time with her husband, seeing friends, reading, visiting family, and staying involved in her church.
Dr. Rinna Saun is nationally certified as a teacher of piano by the Music Teachers National Association. She has earned the doctorate in piano performance from the University of North Texas, where she was awarded a teaching fellowship in class piano and accompanying. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and her master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York City. Her teachers have include Dr. Nelita True, Richard Goode, Edward Aldwell, Robert Helps, Timothy Schumacher, and Dr. Pamela Paul. Her performances have been heard in halls from New York to Oregon. She has been described as a “gifted” pianist, and her playing filled with “technical assurance and spunk.” She is the recipient of the First Prize from the New-York Korea Times Competition and the International American Music Scholarship Association Competition. Her playing has been featured on NPR and she was a guest performer at the Gracie Mansion in New York. A longtime observer and diligent practitioner of a natural piano technique, Dr. Saun has training in the Dorothy Taubman technique as well as the Abby Whiteside technique as described in her book, the Indispensables of Piano Playing. She loves to travel and visit museums, and is interested in art and architecture. Recent performances in Dallas include Mozart’s Piano Concerto # 20 in D minor, the J.S. Bach Keyboard Concerto in D minor, and the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto #1 in G minor. In the spring of 2013, she will perform Beethoven’s Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra. She and her son, Brendan, a violinist, enjoy performing together at area retirement homes.
Paula Schear has been teaching piano since 1987 and has been teaching at the Gray School of Music since 1995. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with an emphasis in piano from California State University, Fresno, Mrs. Schear earned a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Andreas Werz, Alfred Mouledous, and Sheila Paige have been her piano instructors at the universities and beyond. Schear has attended and performed in master classes in California, Texas and Austria. She also enjoys incorporating her conducting and vocal experiences into teaching piano. Mrs. Schear has attended many seminars and conventions to enrich her teaching expertise. Hearing students perform in festivals gives her the joy of encouraging students and their teachers in their piano study. A few of her performance achievements include overall winner of the Fresno Women’s Symphony League Concerto Competition and recipient of the Meadows School of the Arts Artistic Scholarship. Mrs. Schear is listed in Who’s Who of American Women. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, Nobel and Isaac.
Branda Tan was born in Malaysia. Starting at the age of 7, she entered for the music exams offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and completed all 8 levels of graded exams in piano, violin, and music theory. She then studied at The Malaysian Institute of Arts (MIA) with a major in piano and a minor in violin. In 2001, Branda earned an Associate in Recital in Solo Piano through the Trinity International Examination Board under the Trinity College London. She was also awarded an Achievement Award by the Music Department at MIA, and graduated with distinction. In December 2004, Branda graduated cum laude from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Music in Music History and Music Literature. While studying at UNT, she was a student of internationally renowned pianist Mr. Adam Wodnicki. She was also the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including the Multicultural Scholastic Award, the Academic Achievement Award, and the Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Musicology Honor. Branda was later offered a teaching assistantship by the UNT department of Music History. She completed the Master of Music degree at UNT in May 2008 with a Master Thesis on Franz Liszt’s “Swiss” volume of Anneé de Pelèrinage. Branda has many years of experience as a piano and violin instructor to students of all ages and levels. She also accompanies many vocalists and solo instrumentalists at recitals.
Dr. Eri Yoshimura, born in Osaka, Japan, earned a music education degree from Shinshu University before moving to Denton, Texas. There, she obtained Master’s and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance from the University of North Texas under Dr. Pamela Mia Paul with a related field in Music and Medicine under Dr. Kris Chesky.
Dr. Yoshimura’s scholarly research has focused on understanding and preventing piano-related medical problems. Her research papers were published in the Medical Problems of Performing Artists journal 2006 and 2008 and in the MTNA E-journal 2009. Her dissertation focused on the possible application of an ergonomically modified keyboard (a narrower-sized keyboard) for reducing piano-related pain among small-handed pianists. In April 2006, she performed on the 15/16-sized keyboard in one of her doctoral degree recitals; this performance marked this keyboard’s concert premiere. She has presented her research in conferences at Aspen (PAMA), Chicago (NCKP), Serbia (EPTA) and England (RNCM). She won the research scholarship in 2008 and was featured in the university homepage/magazine and regional TV news reports and radio. She is currently using the 7/8-sized keyboard to teach her students at this school.
Dr. Yoshimura has performed solo, chamber and four-hands recitals in USA (including Hawaii), Japan, Mexico, and Hungary (Franz Liszt International Festival). She and Hungarian pianist, Emöke Ujj, released their first album together, “Contemporary Piano Music for Four Hands”, which contains the works by four living composers. All compositions in this album were specifically composed for Emöke and Eri.
Dr. Yoshimura's Web site is www.dolcedolcemusic.com