Mark Boyce - Piano, Drums, Guitar, Bands
Partner, Music Director - 4S Ranch, Partner - Music Pillars, LLC
Native Philadelphian, Mark Boyce, brings a background of performance and music education to Music Pillars. After studying classical piano at Bryn Mawr Conservatory of Music, Mark went on to attend Temple University for music composition. As a recording artist, Mark has worked for Sony Music, Columbia Records, Geffen Records, and most recently Brushfire / Universal Records. He has currently recorded with G. Love and Special Sauce and Lucinda Williams for an October 30th release of “Love Saves The Day”. Presently, his jazz trio, Krass Bros., has been nominated for a San Diego Music Award for Best Jazz Artist. As an educator, Mark was a founding teacher at School of Rock working at the flagship school in Philadelphia.
April Drury-Sas - Piano, Voice, Bands, Early Childhood, Classroom
Partner, Vice President - Early Childhood Education
Born and raised in Northern California, April was raised singing in choirs from the age of 8 to college graduation. 3rd in the lineage of family pianists, she continued piano lessons from the age of 10 on. She has a B.A. in Piano Performance from Cal State East Bay with a minor in Early Childhood Development. She was licensed with Kindermusik in 2004 and has a passion for Early Childhood Music Education. Her vision is to create programs that meet the developmental needs of the young child while exposing them to the genres of Jazz, Pop, and Rock. April has created and authored our fantastic Early Childhood Curriculum at Music Pillars.
Julie Bassett Morton - Oboe, Piano, Guitar, Early Childhood, Classroom
Vice president - classroom education
Julie Bassett Morton's earliest memories include dramatic interpretations of classical music by her father and sitting in the balcony for Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra concerts. At the age of 12, she started playing the oboe. She earned a Bachelor’s in Music from Eastman School of Music in 1996 and a Masters in Music from AZ State University in 1998. She also plays and teaches piano and guitar.
In the last ten years, Julie has pursued Elementary/Middle School General Music Education and teaching students privately. The challenge of connecting every student to the joy of music, in whatever form it may take, is the best part of her job. She is passionate about every child experiencing music education in a fun, meaningful way!
Outside of teaching, Julie enjoys time with her family, friends and dogs!
Josh Neubarth - Piano, Bands
Josh is truly a "renaissance" man having a Master's Degree in Biostatistics as well as an impressive background on the piano. He is a graduate from San Diego State University and has "experience" (aka suffered) all of our early growth issues including when we used to write down the teaching schedule on a white board for the day! Josh has an ability to connect with young musicians in a almost magical way, and he cares deeply about their progress and their experience during lessons. He was gone from us for a year or so while completing his Graduate Studies, and we are absolutely thrilled to have him back, and parents and student alike that get to have Josh in their rotation absolutely love and adore him!
Kia Portafekas - Piano, Voice
Kia is a musician, composer, teacher and author. She graduated from the famous "Fame School"-Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS of Music and Art in NYC. Kia also studied music theory and composition at Mannes Conservatory and received a BA-Music Major from Aaron Copland School of Music/Queens College/CUNY. She took Graduate courses studying Special Ed/Music Therapy at Lehman College, NY. After in depth research with creating highly motivational music programs for all ages, as well as children that had ADD, Autistic or Asperger’s, Kia was awarded a grant from the music Grammy's to write a book. She traveled to Europe and the Far East teaching creative music workshops.
Kia has been teaching piano and voice-beginner and intermediate levels for over 22 yrs. Teaching music is a way of life and she believes we are all creative individuals. The key is finding how to express ourselves fully through music and enjoy the journey as we learn and grow within our musical expression.
Kia is the author of Making Music With Your Child, funded in part by a grant from National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences,(Music Grammy's) and published by MMB Music.
Her teaching, book, and/or research has been featured/reviewed by The Music Educators Journal, Grammy.com, Symphony Magazine, American Music Teacher Magazine, the Orff Echo, The Arizona Republic, and many others.
Mariia Tarawally - Piano,Voice
Born and raised in Saint-Petersburg Russia, Mariia was introduced to music at the age of 4 by her mother who has been teaching music for ages. She fell in love with playing the piano and singing early in her childhood. She knew early on that music would be the path in her life.
Mariia graduated from Saint-Petersburg School of Art at the age of 13 with a red honors diploma with specialties in voice, piano and Music Theatre. She received her Bachelor's degree in Saint-Petersburg College of Music by M.P. Mussorgsky with an emphasis in voice and piano.
Mariia has participated in numerous competitions and festivals all over the Europe and has a strong background as a performer. She has over 8 years of teaching experience in Europe and the USA. In her own words, "Teaching is something I truly enjoy! It gives me energy and desire to do more. I am happy to be able to share my passion for music with the children here at Music Pillars!
Rachel Hosmer - Piano/Voice
After seeing a string quartet perform in elementary school at the age of five, Rachel knew she wanted to play an instrument. In its own way this one performance changed her life and lead her down the road to discovering her lifelong passion for the piano and music. Because of this, she knows what a difference music can make in a young person's life.
Rachel was fortunate to be the student of Vera Rathje, who was taught by famed concert pianist and Julliard teacher Rosina Lhevinne (1880-1976) and concert pianist Eugene List (1918-1985). It is from her lessons with Mrs. Rathje that Rachel learned the principles of musicality, individuality, technique, and tone for which Rosina Lhevinne and the "Old" Russian School of Piano Playing are known.
Rachel truly enjoys helping her students grow as musicians and find their own unique musical expression.
Scott Spurgiesz - Founder
Scott is committed to giving students and parents a world-class music teaching environment. He constructed and developed the "Pillars" of Music Pillars. This was developed by both experiencing the various schools of thought regarding music pedagogy, and then also working as a paid musician. Pillars is a fusion of Suzuki, Classical, Kodaly, and Jazz. He made a wonderful living as a pianist from the age of 15 until 25. Totaling over 3,000+ actual hours performing live (for all you math-scholars, that is the equivalent of being on stage 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 18 months). He was a Merit-based Buck Family Music Scholar from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music. Because of that dual background in a formal classical conservatory, and also as a paid musician, Scott set out to establish music studios in the U.S. to teach "musicianship" rather than simply technical mastery on the piano (classical training) or cheapening music education by just learning a few "cool rock songs" and having that somehow equate to a musical education.
To read more about our teaching philosophy, please click here.