Hall Piano Academy Director
Emily C. Fransen is a Master Teacher at Hall Piano Company, where she has been teaching since 2005. In addition, she acts as an Adjunct Professor of Music at both the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College. In May of 2013, she graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Master of Piano Performance degree, having studied privately with Jac McCracken. She also received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Industry Studies degree from Loyola University in 2008, studying voice with Mona Bond and piano with Jac McCracken. She has performed recitals at Loyola University, St. Charles Presbyterian Church, and Lakeview Presbyterian Church and performed in an LPO-sponsored master class with world-renowned composer and performer, Stephen Hough. In addition, she received the 2003-2004 annual Irving Carr award for Musical Excellence awarded by the Junior Philharmonic Society of New Orleans, a competition that she won in voice both and piano.
Prior to her college career, Emily studied classical piano with local New Orleans teachers, Lynn Celestin and Peggy Fransen. She began her private teaching career in her mother’s piano studio teaching young beginners when she was in high school. She is a member of several professional music organizations including the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs, the New Orleans Music Club (President) and the Junior Philharmonic Society of New Orleans. Her students participate annually in the LFMC Festival, the Romantic and Contemporary Auditions, and the Junior Philharmonic Competition. She maintains a full studio of private piano and vocal students, and she supervises a student teacher that she has trained within her own studio.
Her private lessons focus on teaching students of all ages to become well-rounded musicians, giving them the tools to develop their skills independently. In each lesson, she focuses on technique, sight-reading, and memorization, and all students receive extensive training in reading music, ear training, and theory. By concentrating on developing each student’s skills to their fullest potential, she is able to provide her students with the type of training that fits their individual learning style.
Peggy Esneault Fransen
Peggy Fransen is a Master Teacher at Hall Piano Academy and has been teaching privately in the New Orleans area for more than 30 years She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano and Pedagogy from Loyola University. In addition, she has taught elementary music and been the Handbell Director at St. Martin’s Episcopal School for 25 years. She has also been Music Director and Handbell Director at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Metairie, church pianist at St. Francis of Assisi and substitute organist/pianist at various churches in the area.
Mrs. Fransen has played numerous musical theater productions in the area including Oklahoma, Tommy, West Side Story, Cinderella, Chess, Steel Pier, Singing In the Rain, Copa Cabana, Miss Saigon, School House Rock, to name few. Her concertizing at various venues includes Trinity Episcopal Church, Holy Cross College, Baptist Theological Seminary, St. Martin’s Episcopal School, Trinity Episcopal in Houston and University of Kansas in Wichita.
She enjoys musical collaborations such as instrumental and vocal accompanying and includes those skill techniques in her teaching. Her primary passion is as a private teacher, and she has many award winning students to her credit. Her teaching philosophy is one in which a strong technique and theory background is included as well as excellent reading skills and a knowledge of diverse musical repertoire. Her goal with her private students is to develop a love of music, piano specifically, and a strong foundation of musical knowledge which will serve her students with a skill set to enable the life-long ability to enjoy and participate in making music.
She is also the proud mother of Hall Piano Academy Director, Miss Emily Fransen.
Claudia D’Aquin holds the Master of Music in Piano Performance as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Piano Performance from the University of New Orleans, and is certified in piano and vocal music instruction by the State of Louisiana. In addition to her work as a private piano teacher, she has also served as chair of the Music Department of Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, where she taught piano and vocal/choral music, as Director of the University of New Orleans’ Piano Program for Young People, and as Director of Music for St. Raphael Church in New Orleans until the parish closed following Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, she has served as an instructor for the Orleans Parish Schools, working in the Talented in Music program and as choral director at Benjamin Franklin High School.
In addition to teaching, she maintains an active schedule as a singer, pianist, and choral director. Her choirs have toured in Italy and France, including invitational performances at Montecassino, the University for Foreigners in Perugia, and at the Vatican.
Leah Mulholland holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Loyola University New Orleans, where she studied on a piano scholarship. Leah began teaching in her home in high school, instructing students of all ages and skill levels on both piano and flute. From 2013-2015, she served as the band director at St. Martin’s Episcopal School. She has also taught several of our piano 101 classes for ages 7-18. Along with teaching, she frequently accompanies vocal and instrumental students in lessons, recitals, weddings, other special events, and has served as an on-staff church accompanist for several churches in the New Orleans area.
As a teacher, Leah strives to maintain a combination of discipline and commitment to helping students discover the joy of music. She treats each student with individual attention to needs, learning styles and abilities, ultimately creating a positive atmosphere for all. She is dedicated to helping young students succeed in a fun environment that also fosters a love of music, and helping adult students learn at a pace that is comfortable for them.
Ainsley Matich is a local musician and graduate of Loyola University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. Ainsley has been teaching piano, along with various other instruments, since 2010. Her teaching style is based in classical music, although she is also well versed in pop and jazz piano, having played in a variety of New Orleans based bands. Along with lessons, Ainsley fronts her own local band, “Ainsley Matich and the Broken Blues”, and she also music directs various productions in town. Her musical directing credits include: “Sweeney Todd,” “A New Brain,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and “Into the Woods.” Ainsley is set to music direct “Urinetown” and “Lizzie” in the summer of 2016. She is also the resident music director for Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap, a local rhythm tap dancing company.
Since graduating from Loyola with a Bachelor of Music Education in 2010, Ainsley has taught band at St. Martin’s Episcopal School (2010-2012), maintained a private lesson studio teaching everything from piano to guitar to french horn, co-taught musical theater classes at Encore Dance Studio and The Dance Project, accompanied for various vocal recitals and solo and ensemble competitions around the Greater New Orleans area, played piano, tuba, bass and trombone with New Orleans bands of all genres, and participated in both amateur and professional musical theater productions as a musician, band leader, conductor or musical director.
Having taught students of all ages and ability levels, Ainsley believes in working with a student’s strengths while still providing them with a strong theory and technical background. This allows students to start making their own well-educated musical choices and become a well-rounded musician, no matter what style of music they love. Ainsley also places a strong emphasis on improvisation and composition, as this pushes students to be creative while putting their theoretical training to practical use.
Kaitlyn Tholen recently graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican High School in the Spring of 2015. She is now attending Tulane University on the Dean’s Honor Scholarship, where she studies piano privately with Mr. Daniel Weilbacher. She is a former piano student of Ms. Emily Fransen, with whom she took lessons for almost 10 years. She has been teaching private piano lessons for almost 4 years, and her studio is quickly growing. While studying with Emily, Kaitlyn competed each year in the LMFC Festival and received 9 consecutive superiors and three gold cups. She also participated several times in the Junior Philharmonic competition and the Romantic/Contemporary auditions, and recently performed a Senior Recital at Hall Piano Company in the summer of 2015.
As a student at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, she participated in a myriad of extracurricular activities and clubs, participated in the spring musical Honk! during her freshman year, and was very active in the Drama Club and the arts and music department. At Tulane, she is on the Dean’s List and plans to incorporate music into her studies and research for medical school.
Kaitlyn’s private lessons focus on helping students develop their skills both in the lessons and at home. She assists each student with sight-reading, ear training, theory, and memorization. She has also taught several of our Piano 101 classes for ages 7-9.
Helen Honoree Myers
Helen Honoree Myers, N.C.T.M. is proud to be a member of the Hall Piano family. Helen Myers’ Musikgarten, a ‘Mommy and Me’ program established in 2004, holds classes at Hall Piano Company on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. Mrs. Myers is a certified and licensed Musikgarten instructor. For the past nine years, she has been the music teacher at Parkway Presbyterian Preschool. Mrs. Myers conducts an after-school music program at Ursuline Academy. She taught early childhood music and body movement classes at St. Augustine’s Episcopal for five years and has also taught music classes at St. Martin’s Episcopal School and Neri Nursery.
Mrs. Myers attended Loyola on a music scholarship and holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy with a secondary concentration in performance. Helen studied piano under Mrs. Elaine Poche and the late Dr. Janet Swanzy. Mrs. Myers has taught both private and group piano lessons in her private studio for thirty years. She was an instructor in the Loyola Preparatory Program from 1984 until the birth of her daughter in 2000. She is a certified piano teacher on both state and national levels through Louisiana Music Teachers Association and Music Teachers National Association. Mrs. Myers is frequently called upon to be an adjudicator for New Orleans Music Teachers Association and Louisiana Music Teachers Association competitions, both of which she holds an active membership.
Helen is the accompanist for the Children’s Church Choir at St. Ann under the direction of Mrs. Olga Ann Frank. Mrs. Myers was the accompanist for Parkway Presbyterian Chancel Choir from 2005-2009 and at Kenner Presbyterian for two years, both under the direction of Ms. Kate Arthurs-Goldberg. She is also the accompanist for Komenka Ethnic Dance and Music Ensemble.