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Musical Notes

Meet Our Faculty

Our talented instructors are excited to provide exciting and personalized musical experiences for your family.

Sophia S. Ahmad


MM in Piano Performance, Arts Leadership Certificate - Eastman School of Music

BM in Piano Performance - Gordon College

Ms. Ahmad holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Literature and an Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., with additional chamber music studies in collaboration with New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass. Her principal teachers have included Edward Ferdinand, Mia Chung-Yee, Anne and Raymond Hanson and Douglas Humpherys.

As a pianist, she collaborates regularly with Simon Estes, she has recorded for Prentice Hall’s Inside the Orchestra DVD and she has performed with artists from the New World Symphony, the National Portuguese Symphony Orchestra and the Des Moines Symphony, among others. In 2013, she presented a lecture recital entitled Schumann’s Romantic Forest: A Musical Journey Through ‘Waldszenen, Op. 82 throughout Central Iowa and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.


An advocate of new music, she has premiered numerous pieces and worked with composers including Libby Larsen, Bright Sheng and Simone Fontanelli. Her solo performances have been broadcast on Iowa Public Radio, and in 2012, she made solo appearances at Iowa State University and Drake University, performing the music of Philip Glass. She appeared as the keyboard soloist in Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 with the OSSIA new music ensemble. In 2018, she was invited by the Des Moines Art Center for a solo performance of Satie's "Relache" in conjunction with the opening of "The Irrational and the Marvelous" exhibition.

Ms. Ahmad is a Presser Scholar and active as a music teacher, performer, critic and writer. At the Eastman School of Music, she taught piano class, and she co-founded and performed in the annual Women in Music Festival. She was invited to make a solo appearance in March 2014 at the tenth anniversary of the Festival, which featured Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon as its composer-in-residence.

Outside of music, she has served as Director of Marketing & PR for the Des Moines Symphony, Vice President of Public Relations at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and  Senior Director of Development at MercyOne Des Moines Foundation. She currently serves as Vice President of Philanthropy at WesleyLife Foundation.

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Arkay Brown

Piano, Clarinet, Voice, Flute, Guitar

BA in Music Education - Iowa State University

Arkay Brown has been a private music educator for over 24 years teaching piano, clarinet, voice, flute, and guitar.  She has resided in Ankeny for the past 19 years with her husband and two children.  Upon graduating from Iowa State University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree (focus in Clarinet and Voice), Arkay accepted a position as director of bands at Dallas Center-Grimes High School from 2003-2010, where she taught concert band, jazz band, marching band, and music theory classes.  After choosing to stay home with her young children, Arkay maintained her private studio and became very active in her church’s music ministry where she became Director of Music from 2019-2022. Arkay now subs primarily for band, choir, and general music in Ankeny Public Schools while continuing to teach privately. 

Since beginning piano lessons as a second grader herself, music has always been Arkay’s strongest passion.  For her, music speaks when words alone cannot.  Her primary goal is to share that gift of expression with her students while instilling the importance of skill development through dedicated practice.

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Gary Goudelock

Piano, Trombone,  Euphonium, Guitar, Bass Guitar

BA in Music  - Oklahoma State University

Gary Goudelock holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and German from Oklahoma State University. While at Oklahoma State, Gary played trombone and euphonium with the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, OSU Symphony, Jazz Band, the Cowboy Marching Band, and Trombone Ensemble, and sang in the
University Singers chorale. Gary was also the President of the Delta Tau chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and through his performance and teaching seeks to further the cause of music in America in accordance with the fraternity’s purposes.

Prior to attending Oklahoma State, Gary began his musical education in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. While attending Broken Arrow, Gary was principal trombone in the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, section leader in the Pride of Broken Arrow marching band, and lead trombone in both jazz bands and
orchestral pits for school and community musical theater productions. Gary was selected for inclusion in many all-district and all-state ensembles, including selection as principal Euphonium in the OkMEA All-State Honor Band.


Gary first came to Iowa from Oklahoma in order to play baritone with the Cedar Rapids-based Nite Express Drum and Bugle Corps. Since moving to Iowa to attend Drake Law School, Gary has played trombone, euphonium, guitar, and bass with many different community and church ensembles, as well as big bands and a Country-Rock cover band. Gary recently played bass in his return to the pit orchestra with the Tallgrass Theater Company’s Cloris-award-nominated production of Pippin (bass) and is looking forward to playing in more pit orchestras for local theater companies.


Outside of music, Gary is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Des Moines and enjoys board games, bowling, and cheering in vain for his (mostly-ill-fated) favorite sports teams.

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Angela Gust

Piano, Voice

BM in Music  - Drake University

MM in Music - Boston Conservatory

Angela attended Drake University and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music, where she completed a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance and a master of music degree in vocal pedagogy, respectively. She has performed in multiple recitals and productions at Drake and the Boston Conservatory, including singing the role of the Secretary in the Boston Conservatory’s 2019 production of Menotti's The Consul.

Outside of her performing ventures, she has also taught voice and piano lessons to young students as well as served as a music director for Catholic masses with the Boston University Catholic
student center. Angela looks forward to sharing her love of music with young musicians and develop her pedagogical skills.

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Julisa Heredia

(Spanish Speaking)
Violin and Viola

BM in Music Education - Drake University

Julisa Heredia studied violin and viola with Sarah Plum and Joyce Beyer at Drake University. Julisa started violin as a fourth grader in the Des Moines Public School District, and she is active as a teacher and performer. Her teaching philosophy is very student-focused. She has a calm demeanor and motivates students to achieve their potential. 


Rebekah Hickok

Piano, Flute

BM in Flute Performance - University of Northern Iowa School of Music


Rebekah Hickok holds a Bachelor of Music in flute performance from the University of Northern Iowa School of Music. Her principal teachers were Mary Schneider, Dr. Claudia Anderson, Dr. Angeleita Floyd, and Goran Marcusson.


Rebekah began her musical journey at the age of five studying the piano. At the age of nine, she began studying flute and piccolo. She grew up playing flute and piano in the church as well as various other venues through out North Central Iowa. In 1993, Rebekah was selected as a member of the Iowa All-State Orchestra as well as a participant of the University of Northern Iowa HS Honor Band. In 1994, she was the recipient of the John B. Phillip Sousa Award.  


While at UNI, Rebekah participated in various chamber ensembles, wind symphony, orchestra, and the UNI flute choir. She studied piano under Dr. Robin Guy and flute performance under Dr. Claudia Anderson and Dr. Angeleita Floyd. Upon graduation, she moved to Princeton, New Jersey, to further her musical career. In 2001, she was selected as a participant in masterclasses with Bradley Gardner, Julius Baker, Trevor Wye, and Jeanne Baxtresser. In 2018, she was accepted as a performer in masterclasses with Wally Kujala and Goran Marcusson of Sweden. While living out east, she regularly performed in the Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra and maintained a robust private student base at both Scranton Music Academy and Endless Music of Tunkhannock, Penn.


Since moving to Des Moines in 2021, Rebekah performs regularly with the Greater Des Moines Community Orchestra as well as an orchestra member of Grace Church in Des Moines. Ms. Hickok is a strong advocate for music education and strives to use standard as well as new techniques to make learning fun. She hopes to instill her love for music into the hearts and minds of each student she works with.   

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Fei Ma


DMA in Vocal Performance - University of Minnesota

GPD Peabody Conservatory (Johns Hopkins University)
MM Crane music of SUNY (Potsdam)

Dr. Fei Ma is an adjunct voice faculty at Graceland University and an active performer and stage manager for the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre and Opera company. Dr. Ma has received many awards and has sung in various concert halls and opera theaters. Dr. Ma won the third prize in the International Competition of Belcanto Vincenzo Bellini (Hong Kong, 2009) and the second prize in the Canada International Artist competition. As an active recital singer, Dr. Ma held a recital "Duet in Opera" at National Centre for the Performing Arts (China) and as a soloist in Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem" at Carnegie Hall in 2016. As a choir conductor, she led Jinfan Choir of Beijing, performed Song of Yimeng and sang Jasmine (soloist) in the Wiener Musikverein in 2013. In 2023, Dr. Ma will manage the opera production "One-Log Bridge."

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Seth Marshall

Trumpet, Euphonium

MM in Trumpet Performance - Illinois State University
BM in Trumpet Performance - Missouri Southern State University 

Seth Marshall graduated with a masters in trumpet performance at Illinois State University and studied closely with Dr. Anne McNamara. While at Illinois State University, Seth was a graduate assistant in the band area, requiring him to rehearse with Big Red Marching Machine, pep bands, and conduct University Band, Symphonic Winds, and assist with Symphonic Band. Seth was a member of the Illinois State Wind Symphony for two years and also took outside opportunities to teach local marching bands, including the Normal, Illinois Unit 5 Marching Band. He served on staff at Morton High School which regularly attends BOA events and receives high remarks. During his time at Illinois State, Seth was accepted as a fellow for the Mostly Modern Festival (MMF) in Saratoga Springs, New York, as well.

Before arriving at Illinois State, Seth attended Missouri Southern State University (MSSU), studying with Mr. Freddie Green, where he received a bachelor’s in music performance. During his time at MSSU, Seth took as many performance opportunities as possible, performing as principal trumpet for the Heartland Opera Company and playing various operas through the course
of his time spent at MSSU. Seth has also had the opportunity to perform at the National Trumpet Competition as a soloist, joined the Lake Taneycomo festival orchestra for summer of 2020, and
spent two years marching mellophone with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps, gaining knowledge in visual, musical, and rehearsal skills that can be used in all situations of music. In addition to his avid performing, Seth has had various opportunities to conduct the MSSU Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, as well.


Seth is excited to announce that he will be attending Indiana University in the Fall of 2023 for a Doctorate in Music in Literature/Performance and will study with Dr. Jason Bergman. His goals are to become a professor of trumpet at a college university while maintaining status as a performer and recitalist, presenting masterclasses on various subjects and doing research on
various topics related to trumpet performance, pedagogy, and other diverse subjects. 

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Marian Marturello

Saxophone, Clarinet, Oboe, Flute & Piano

BA in Music  – University of Northern Iowa 


Marian Marturello received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa in 2013. She has had numerous years of performing in wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, and currently has the privilege teaching saxophone and piano in the Des Moines area. Marian has a strong passion for music and enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill levels. She has traveled to Ireland, Thailand, China, and Italy performing and teaching both jazz and classical music.


While at the University of Northern Iowa, Marian led the saxophonists in the top Wind Symphony ensemble, she was the lead saxophonist in the Jazz Panther ensemble and an alto saxophonist in the UNI Jazz One ensemble. Marian has also had the opportunity to serve as a saxophone clinician in northern Iowa school competitions. She studied with Dr. Robert Washut, Chris Merz, Dr. David Rachor, Tom Berry and Dr. Ronald Johnson. Currently, Marian is a professional saxophonist and performs in numerous groups in Des Moines. 

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Nick Meyer


BA in Music and Political Science - Drake University

Nick Meyer graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music (focusing on cello) and in Political Science. While at Drake, Nick studied cello under Dr. Ashley Sidon and participated in the Drake Orchestra, Drake Cello Choir and numerous chamber ensembles. Outside of music, Nick works full time at a public relations firm in Des Moines. He is excited to teach and share his joy of music with Mobile Music Lessons students.

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Adam Pandian

Piano, Cello

BA in Music Education (in progress) - Colorado College

Adam Pandian has been playing piano for eight years, and is studying Music Education at Colorado College. He also plays the cello and sings. He enjoys composing, songwriting, and production. Adam's teaching experience spans music, and also sports, as a snow sports instructor and coach. He also taught improvisation and organized a club for it, as it is a skill he values highly in music. He is excited to share his passion through music instruction.

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Maggie Parker

Piano, Voice

BM in Music Education - Drake University 

Maggie Parker studied with Dr. Ann Cravero while at Drake and participated in a variety of ensembles, including Drake Opera Theater, Drake Chamber Choir, and Drake Choir. She is originally from St. Louis, MO, where she discovered her love of music through community choir, playing in the school band, and performing in various settings. Maggie is also involved with professional organizations for music educators, participating in Drake’s chapters of ACDA and NAfME, serving as president of NAfME for two years, and routinely attending conferences like IMEA, ICDA, and more. She began her work with students more than eight years ago, serving as a teacher's assistant for beginning band classes, and has continued to develop and refine her teaching skills through continued private lessons and large group lessons. 


Sarah Reeves


MM in Piano Performance & Pedagogy - University of Oklahoma

BS in Sacred Music & Piano - Faith Baptist College


Sarah Reeves has a long-standing passion for teaching, especially the piano. After completing her Bachelor's from Faith Baptist Bible College, where she studied sacred music and piano, she began teaching full time in Ankeny, Iowa. Five years later, deciding she would benefit from formal pedagogy training, Sarah moved with her husband Matt to attend The University of Oklahoma where she earned her master of music in piano performance and pedagogy. Sarah is excited to be back in the Des Moines area and return to teaching full time.


In addition to teaching, Sarah is an active collaborative pianist. She has accompanied choirs, vocal and instrumental soloists and musical theatre productions. As a teacher, she incorporates collaborative playing into lessons as she firmly believes that making music together with others is necessary for musicians of any age and skill level.

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Matthew Soeghay


BM in Piano Performance - Iowa State University

MM in Piano Performance - Bowling Green State University

Matthew Soeghay is an accomplished pianist and Des Moines-based piano teacher. He earned his bachelor of music degree in piano performance at Iowa State University and his master of music degree in piano performance at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Matthew has taught piano and accompanied other musicians since his undergraduate years, and he enjoys seeing them grow. Matthew believes in hard work, discipline and passion, and he is excited to be a part of the Mobile Music Lessons faculty. 

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Elaina Steenson

Piano, Violin, Viola, Ukulele

BM in Viola Performance - Drake University

Elaina Steenson graduated in 2017 from Drake University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance and Music Business. She studied piano as a secondary instrument and has minors in Business Studies and French Language & Culture. She has been teaching violin and viola for the past seven years.


Her honors thesis focused on music therapy in the correctional setting as a means for prisoner reform, which led her to pursue a law degree from Drake University Law School. In her free time, she enjoys playing for weddings, churches and other events with her band and musical collaboration ClearJoy Music (

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Natalie Steenson

Piano, Ukulele

BA in Music & Religion - Coe College

Natalie has taught private lessons for 15 years. She is a trained early childhood educator and has taught early childhood music classes for over 20 years, and currently is teaching at the Montessori Children’s House in West Des Moines. She is the Director of Music and Arts Ministry at Windsor Presbyterian Church and director of a community arts initiative called ArtHouse Des Moines at Windsor Presbyterian Church. Through ArtHouse she hosts a free monthly ukulele choir and oversees other art programming.


She is active in the community, regularly teaching ukulele classes at the North Side Library, singing with the Des Moines Choral Society, and offering music, movement and musical storytelling workshops for children and adults through Cultureall and ASAP (After School Arts Programming). Natalie was also a children’s choir director with Iowa Youth Chorus for eight years. Natalie currently serves on the Board for the Des Moines Choral Society and Zenith Chamber Music Festival. Natalie is married and has 2 grown musical daughters, and often performs together with her family.

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