A strong advocate for inclusion in the arts and a firm believer that all children should have access to a quality music education, Melissa has devoted much of her career to developing programs for underserved youth and children with special needs.  An active clinician, her recent engagements have included workshops at the International Society of Music Education World Conference (ISMEA), the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), the Canadian Federation of Music Educators Biennial Convention (CFMTA), the College Music Society National Conference (CMS), the Music Teachers  National Association National Conference (MTNA), the Australasian Pedagogy Conference (AAPC), and the Gulf South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education. She is a coauthor for Inclusive Piano Teaching, a blog sponsored by the Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and is co-chair of the committee on special needs for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She is published in the Piano Pedagogy ForumAmerican Music Teacher, and the widely read MTNA E-Journal.  

Melissa recently began coursework for the Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University where she is the recipient of the Deans Tuition Scholarship for Achievement.  She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and a Master of Science degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Westfield State University, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Merit Scholarship and Excellence in Music Performance Award. Her principle teachers include Martha Fischer, Cathy Kautsky, Dr. Robert Satterlee, Galina Gertzenson, and Dr. Christina Long.  She studied Piano Pedagogy with Dr. Jessica Johnson and her work in Special Education was done under the direction of Dr. Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell.

She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music (Piano and Music History) at Anna Maria College. She is the Founding Director of OpporTUNEity, a nationally recognized, award winning engagement initiative for underserved youth and children with special needs. Prior to her appointment at Anna Maria College, she served as Program Coordinator of Music at Martin Methodist College.  She has also served on the faculties of Silver Lake College, the University of Wisconsin Fond du Lac, Bluffton University, the Lindeblad School of Music, and as a teaching assistant at Bowling Green State University and Interlochen Arts Camp.


Education

  • Vanderbilt University, Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy (2019)
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance & Pedagogy (2011)
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, Master of Science in Special Education (2009)
  • Bowling Green State University, Master of Music in Piano Performance (2005)
  • Westfield State College (University), Bachelor of Arts in Music, Piano Performance (2003)

Leadership

  • OpporTUNEity Music Program, CEO (2017-Present)
  • Royal Conservatory of Music, Special Needs Consultant (2017-Present)
  • Martin Methodist College, Program Coordinator of Music (2013-2017)
  • Martin Methodist College, Founding Director of Outreach Programs (2013-Present)
  • Martin Methodist College, Service Learning Coordinator (2013-2016)
  • Martin Methodist College, Fine Arts Series Coordinator (2013-Present)
  • Lindeblad School of Music, Director of Adaptive Piano Program (2012-2013)
  • Silver Lake College, Assistant Faculty Chair (2009-2012)
  • Committee Work: Curriculum & Academic Policies Committee; Service-Learning Committee (Chair); Academic Appeals Committee; New Faculty Orientation Committee; Fine Arts Committee (Chair); Liberal Arts Council; Professional Development Committee (Chair)

  • Anna Maria College, Assistant Professor of Music (2017-Present)
  • Martin Methodist College, Assistant Professor of Music (2013-2017)
  • Lindeblad School of Music, Piano Faculty (2012-2013)
  • Silver Lake College, Assistant Professor of Music (2009-2012)
  • University of Wisconsin Fond du Lac, Lecturer of Music (2007-2010)
  • Martiros Piano Studio, Piano Faculty (2005-2012)
  • Bluffton University, Adjunct Instructor of Music (2004-2005)
  • Bowling Green State University, Teaching Assistant (2003-2005)
  • Courses Taught: Music History I,II; Music Theory III,IV; Comprehensive Music V (20th Century); Piano Literature I,II; Piano Pedagogy I,II; Accompanying I,II; Piano for Special Needs; Applied Piano I-VIII; Class Piano I-IV; Performance Lab; Music for Youth; Music Appreciation; Civic Engagement & Social Justice (Traditional, Online, and Accelerated Formats)

Teaching