The Sullivan Conservatory of Music (named after Sister Helen Jean Sullivan, Director from 1976 to 2007) offers music lessons to pre-school children through adults. Private study with professional music teachers will enrich the lives of students, open their minds to the power and beauty of music and allow them to excel within a specific concentration. Students will take lessons on the Mercyhurst University campus within the D’Angelo Department of Music. Recitals will be held on the Walker Recital Hall stage in the Audrey Hirt Academic Building three times a year. Lessons in voice (traditional and jazz), piano and specific instruments are available. The string program offers traditional lessons, the Suzuki method, or fiddling.
Traditional private lessons are readily available for violin, cello, guitar, clarinet, voice, flute, saxophone, and piano. A request for an instrument not listed is welcome, but not guaranteed. The approach to this style of instruction uses a variety of method books based on the needs and/or desires of the student and is taught by our professional teaching faculty.
Traditional music instruction includes one private lesson a week lasting either 30, 45, or 60 minutes in length. There is no age requirement; however, younger students should be able to demonstrate appropriate maturity and desire to learn in order to start lessons. Student participation in conservatory recitals is strongly encouraged, but not required
Education and Experience: MM Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN;
BM Vocal Performance SUNY@Buffalo, NY; Lake Erie Choral Artists (formerly the Erie Renaissance Singers); Erie Opera Theater; Soloist Erie Chamber Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic; Adjunct Instructor Gannon University, Mercyhurst College D’Angelo School of Music; Asst. Prof. and Choir Director, Pikeville College, KY.
Margaret Andraso has her Masters of Music in classical voice and opera performance from Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN and her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from SUNY@Buffalo, NY. As a performer, Margaret has been a soloist with the Erie Opera Theater, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic, Erie Phil Chorus, and Erie Phil Opera. She is a performing member and Artistic Director of the Lake Erie Choral Artists (formerly the Erie Renaissance Singers), and a member of both St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral Choir and a vocal quartet at Temple Anshe Hesed during high holy days. Her teaching experience includes the Sullivan Conservatory of Music, adjunct instruction at Gannon University and Mercyhurst College D’Angelo School of Music, and Assistant Prof. and Director of Choirs at Pikeville College, KY.
She can be heard regularly in Erie at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and also in surrounding area churches as both a freelance soloist and with small instrumental chamber ensembles.
Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone
Director of Conservatory
Education and Experience: BMA in Clarinet Performance/Piano and Saxophone Minor
Duquesne University; MA in Music Theory and Clarinet Performance Bowling Green
State University; extensive orchestra and private teaching and college teaching
Clarinet and Saxophone
Geoffrey Wands teaches students and performs on the various clarinets and saxophones. He has taught for the Sister Helen Jean Sullivan Conservatory of Music at Mercyhurst University and has been a professional musician for over 25 years. His students have won many honors and awards, including winners of the Erie Junior Philharmonic Concerto Competition. He has earned an Associate’s, a Bachelor’s, and a Master of Music degree.
Since 2012, he has been Principal Clarinet with the Erie Chamber Orchestra, and has performed extensively as a substitute musician with the Erie Philharmonic and the Youngstown Symphony. From the age of 16 to 20, he played Second Clarinet in the Southwest Florida Symphony, and has also played in the Akron, Canton and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s, and the Western New York and Central Illinois Chamber Orchestra’s. He is an award-winning saxophone player in the rock band – The Groove, and has played in numerous jazz bands.
Amanda Sage is the flute instructor at Mercyhurst University. As an educator, she has experience teaching both privately, as well as both instrumental and general classroom music (K-12). In addition to her flute studio, Amanda also teaches at West Virginia Northern Community College as an adjunct instructor.
Past roles include principal flute with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, principal flute and second flute/piccolo with the Undercroft Opera, and performances with the Edgewood, Westmoreland, and Johnstown Symphonies. She currently performs in various solo, large ensemble, and/or chamber music roles, including the woodwind quartet Bel Suono Ensemble of which she is a founding member. Amanda is an advocate for early music, and also performs in various capacities on baroque flute.
Beyond music, Amanda is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She strives to incorporate her knowledge of health and fitness into her teaching. Amanda received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Seton Hill University, and a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from Duquesne University.
Guitar and Voice
More than 50 years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. To learn more about his philosophy, visit suzukiassociation.org.
Mary Moser has her Masters of Music in Violin Pedagogy from Arizona State University and her Bachelors of Music in Performance from University of the Pacific. She is a teacher, freelance musician, and a homeschooler of three laughing children. Ms. Mary has trained with and observed many phenomenal Suzuki teachers. You can view her list of registered courses by clicking here. Dr. Suzuki was a big proponent of self-growth and encouraged teachers to work together. Appreciating this holistic approach, in addition to the Suzuki method, Ms. Mary has studied the pedagogy of Paul Rolland, Mimi Zweig, and Music Learning Theory of Dr Gordon, among others.
Ms. Mary enjoys working with students of all ages. She’s ready to work with anyone ready to try and ready to learn. “If you’re ready to try and learn, then be ready to grow and achieve! And with music... be ready to dream and dance.”
Kellen Degnan is a versatile musician, active as both a performer and educator.
An accomplished orchestral cellist, he is a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and was previously a member of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic.
Kellen is also an avid chamber musician. He is equally comfortable with the sonata repertoire.
One of Kellen’s greatest passions is the performance of contemporary music.
Kellen is also a passionate teacher and educator. He studied pedagogy through the Cleveland Institute of Music's renowned Suzuki pedagogy program, and is certified as a Suzuki cello teacher through Book 4. He recently accepted a teaching appointment at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, as Adjunct Instructor of Cello in the D'Angelo Department of Music and Suzuki Cello Instructor in the Sullivan Conservatory of Music, and will begin teaching there in September 2018. Kellen also offers private cello lessons at his home in Cleveland Heights.
Kellen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Anthony Elliott, and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned Cleveland Orchestra cellist Richard Weiss. He has also performed in masterclasses taught by Alisa Weilerstein, David Geringas, and New York Philharmonic principal cellist Carter Brey.