MEET THE STAFF
The Music Room boasts an impressive roster of talented musicians, each classically trained and passionate about sharing their love of music with our students.
OWNER, VOICE, & PIANO
(not currently taking new students)
Amanda Elizabeth Testa-Oerth is a graduate from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music program located at the Catholic University of America. There she studied voice, piano, and music education. After receiving her BM in 2013, Amanda performed and started teaching at private studios. Some of her favorite performince credits include Ado Annie in Oklahoma, Gertrude in Seussical, Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, Second Spirit in Die Zauberflöte, and Chérubin in Chérubin. Despite loving to perform, Amanda’s true calling has been teaching. Opening the Music Room when she moved to MA in 2015, Amanda has worked for years to share her love of music, to build relationships, and to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to work on their skills. Amanda has continued to enhance her teaching and performance skills by attending pedagogy and musical style workshops and intensives through schools such as Boston Conservatory and Shenandoah Conservatory to better understand her instruments and serve her studio families.
DRUMS & PERCUSSION
Dan Hoffman is a drummer, mallet player, and hand percussionist originally from the greater Philadelphia area. During and after receiving his Batchelor's of Music in total percussion performance at Berklee College of Music, he became a very active performer around the New England area, and has toured across the United States and Canada multiple times. While very passionate about the underground arts, Dan is incredibly proficient at all styles of music and drumming, and very knowledgeable about music history. Dan has also performed with and opened up for many notable artists, including Ray Green of Tower of Power, Lucinda Williams, Victor Wooten, Children of Bodom, and many more. He also has an extensive work history in production. He has worked on shows for Warped Tour 2018, Taylor Swift, Megadeath, Pearl Jam, James Taylor, Zack Brown Band, and many more. Dan’s number one goal when teaching is to make the learning experience fun and enjoyable. He believes that the best way to learn something new is to understand the meaning of the culture and humanity behind the music. And once you have that, the sky's the limit. So if you're looking for a teacher with real “music world” experience, then Dan’s your man!
MUSICAL STYLES & VOICE
Soprano Amy Suznovich has been teaching voice and piano since 2009. As a performer she's sung the National Anthem/God Bless America for over a dozen professional sports teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Cannons, Brooklyn Cyclones, and Venus Williams. She was the Soloist/Cantor at the King's Theater in Brooklyn, televised live on EWTN in October 2018, for the Silver Jubilee of the Magnificat with the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and Magnificat Foundation. Amy is a magna cum laude graduate of Ithaca College School of Music with a Bachelor's of Music in Vocal Performance & Pedagogy and has completed additional training at the Contemporary Commercial Music Institute at Shenandoah University on Musical Theatre Styles, Working with Injured Singers, Vocal Health and Bridging Classical Singing to Contemporary Singing. She believes that singing is a full-body, sensation-based athletic endeavor and that the voice functions best when trained that way.
Amy is currently available for remote lessons only.
COMPOSITION & SONGWRITING
Jared Burrell holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Composition from New England Conservatory. He has worked as a trumpeter, composer, and orchestrator. His notable releases include the original soundtracks for NBA Life by Kentucky-based video game publisher Hit Cents and Shock Jocks by Boston-based independent video game designer Michael Andryauskas. His original composition for trumpet ensemble, Music for Friends, garnered significant interest from the Alabama Trumpet Guild before Covid-19 canceled public performance in 2020. As an orchestrator, Jared collaborated with composer Vincent Diamonte and That Game Company on the sound track for the video game Sky, which was briefly the #1 top-selling album in Japan in August 2020.
Jared takes his eclectic experiences with him as a teacher and enjoys sharing his knowledge of jazz, classical, and commercial composition. He believes in guiding students towards their aspirations, delving into their influences, and broadening their foundations to help them have
long and fruitful creative lives. Jared strives to find the right balance of technique, concept, structure, freedom, theory, and ear training for each student’s learning style. He aspires to teach in questions whenever possible to spark the student’s imagination.
PIANO, VOICE, & GUITAR
Spencer Winell is a Boston-based composer and educator. A magna cum laude graduate with a Bachelor’s of Music in Composition from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, he has written for multiple ensembles, including grand operas, with performances by Vimbayi Kaziboni, Felix Fan, BEO String Quartet, among many others. As a performer, Spencer’s experience dates back over a decade in classical, jazz, rock, musical theater, and heavy metal styles with venues including Lollapalooza, Summerfest, Webster Hall, The Stone Pony, & The Metropolitan Opera. Spencer’s approach to teaching is focused on tailoring lessons to help students achieve their individual musical goals while incorporating fundamental reading and theory skills. He is passionate about helping students develop their technique, navigate new ways of thinking and talking about music, and finding their own unique voices while having fun with the process.
VIOLIN, VIOLA, & CELLO
Travis Laughlin earned his BA in music from the University of Virginia, where he studied violin performance and chamber music. He has taught violin and viola for more than ten years in the Los Angeles area and is an experienced ensemble coach. Travis has performed with the New Hampshire Philharmonic, the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, and has organized ensemble activity at the Neighborhood Music School in Los Angeles for many years. As a teacher, Travis emphasizes note reading, musicality, self-reliance, and performance skills. Lessons prepare students to participate in a wide variety of musical activity: from solo performance, to chamber groups, to symphony orchestra. With long-term study, students can expect to internalize the habits and responsibilities of a professional musician.
BRASS, PIANO, & GUITAR
Justin Taveras is a Boston-based composer, performer, and educator. As a composer of acoustic and electronic music, he has worked with ensembles such as the Boston Conservatory Graduate Chorus, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the prestigious Ensemble Intercontemporain. As a performer, he has played in a wide variety of styles, including classical, jazz, rock, folk, pop, and experimental. He has played in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Kresge Auditorium, Sanders Theatre, and the Tilles Center. As an educator, he has worked with musicians in areas of performance, music theory, music history, and composition. Justin holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Composition from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
VOICE, PIANO, GUITAR, UKULELE
CATIANA ROSARIO BICALHO
Catiana Rosario Bicalho is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a B.M. in Music Studies. There, she studied voice and music education. She is currently completing her M.M. in Music Education at UMass Lowell. Catiana teaches all levels of voice, beginner to intermediate piano, and beginner guitar and ukulele. She has experience across multiple musical styles including classical, musical theatre, jazz, rock, and pop. Some of her favorite performance credits include Éponine in Les Misérables and alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah.
Patrick Tanguay is a multi-woodwind specialist and audio engineer from Billerica, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of UMass Lowell where he studied the saxophone under Ken Reid. Patrick got his start in teaching as a marching band staff member at North Andover High School, Salem High School, Mansfield High School, and is currently an audio engineer and sound designer for the Boston University athletic bands. He was an avid participant in the marching arts himself, having performed and toured extensively in Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International. More recently you may see him performing in the pit orchestras of local musical theater productions, his favorite of which so far has been Newsies. He has extensive experience with wind ensemble/concert band literature, chamber music, and modern woodwind compositions. Patrick likes to include music theory, singing, listening examples, and music history in his lessons to achieve a more complete understanding of music in general. In his spare time he also has a hobby of collecting and restoring antique instruments, and playing disc golf.
GUITAR, ELECTRIC BASS, CUBAN TRES, UKULELE, & BEGINNER PIANO
CHRIS RUBEN WINTERS
(not currently taking new students)
Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Rubén Winters possesses years of experience both performing professionally and teaching private lessons. Chris has had success helping students of all ages, stylistic preferences, and ability levels to find their musical voice. As a teacher, his guiding pedagogical principle is to identify student goals and to find actionable steps to reach those goals. Chris teaches using a mixture of teacher-selected and student-selected repertoire. In his lessons, he emphasizes skills such as reading of standard notation and tablature, effective use of practice time, stylistic and cultural awareness, and understanding of basic compositional principles. Prior to teaching private lessons at The Music Room, Chris spent many years working with children at his hometown YMCA, where he frequently performed for his students and helped to develop curriculum for music activities. As a performer, Chris has appeared in diverse ensemble formats including jazz big band, salsa band, chamber choir, and pit orchestra. As a member of these ensembles, he has played at many venues throughout New England, among them the Massachusetts State House, the Hatch Memorial Shell, and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Chris has shared the stage with such renowned musicians as Eguie Castrillo (Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval), Cristian Ramos (The Hyannis Sound), and Jordan Jones (Tanglewood Festival Chorus). His pit orchestra work includes musicals at Seacoast Repertory Theatre (Portsmouth, NH) and Firehouse Center for the Arts (Newburyport, MA). His favorite performances are with his partner, vocalist Ámbar Marte, in their acoustic duo Chris + Ámbar. Chris graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from UMass Lowell in Spring of 2020. When he does not have a guitar or a book in his hands, he can be found spending time with his cats, Luna and Sol.
GUITAR, ELECTRIC BASS, & UPRIGHT BASS
(not currently taking new students)
Filippo graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a degree in Music Business and one in Music Performance. He has kept his range of music wide, performing with many university groups including the Orchestra, Concert Band, Latin Band, Studio Orchestra, as well as small jazz, classical, and contemporary ensembles. Filippo teaches guitar and electric bass to an advanced level, as well as upright bass and ukulele to an intermediate level. He includes music theory, technique, musicality, improvisation, and formal music elements such as reading music in his lessons, as well as including student’s favorite songs or pieces in lessons. One of his favorite parts about teaching lessons is learning what engages the student and intensifies their interest in studying their craft. Most of all, Filippo loves watching his pupils improve, and it is always his first and foremost goal.
COMPOSITION & SONGWRITING
Jason (Jayce) Mulligan is an award winning composer and collaborative pianist/music director whose music has been performed at various institutions including Idyllwild Arts Academy, the MacPhail Center for Music, Florida International University, and the International Clarinet Association Clarinetfest. In 2020 he received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is currently collaborating on an animated short film and will be the music director for a production of Rent at Duke University that opens in April 2023. Jayce received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and two master’s degrees one each from Peabody Conservatory and Duke University where he studied with Scott Stinson, Kevin Puts, and Stephen Jaffe respectively.