Hall Piano Academy Director
Emily C. Fransen is a Master Teacher and Academy Director at Hall Piano Company, where she has been teaching since 2005. In addition, she acts as an Instructor of Music in music history and music theory at the University of New Orleans. She has also served on the faculty at Loyola University New Orleans and Delgado Community College. She holds a Master of Piano Performance degree from Loyola University New Orleans, where she also received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Industry Studies. She has performed a faculty recital at the University of New Orleans and additional recitals at Loyola University, St. Charles Presbyterian Church, and Lakeview Presbyterian Church. She regularly performs both piano solo and piano duo music and has performed vocal solos with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans and the LPO.
Emily 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 (board member). 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 has trained several students as private piano teachers.
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 New Orleans. 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.
Jason M. Percle is a working pianist and educator in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana. Jason began his musical career at the age of 4, and now holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the University of New Orleans. Specializing in modern jazz composition and improvisation, as well as Baroque Era contrapuntal repertoire, Jason stresses the importance of versatility in musicianship. Being a former All-State percussionist of three consecutive years, rhythmic precision and quality of sound hold a very strong place in his curriculum. Students are taught to take pride in their sound by focusing not only on learning repertoire but developing artistry and quality of performance.
Jason can also be found around the city of New Orleans playing in several types of club bands ranging from rock and roll, blues/funk, experimental progressive music as well as traditional New Orleans Festival music. Bringing forth years of experience playing these styles, Jason’s students are enriched in an environment that promotes creativity as well as versatility. They are provided with good fundamentals to understand the basics of harmony and rhythm in order to more freely express themselves musically. Jason also has extensive experience in choral accompaniment as well as choral directing/vocal coaching.
Dr. Dale Norris
Dr. Norman Dale Norris brings to the Hall Piano Academy nearly four decades of experience as a teacher, teacher educator, music educator, arts advocate and university professor. His background includes undergraduate and master’s degrees in music education/ piano performance and a doctorate in Research and Instructional Leadership.
Dr. Norris’s teaching background spans from pre-kindergarten through the university doctoral level. He has been a successful school and church choral director for many years and stays current as an advocate for arts education and performer. He is a passionate supporter of research linking children’s musical experiences and general childhood literacy
As a performer Dr. Norris has very diverse background as a pianist, singer, actor, and conductor. He has performed in more than 25 stage productions and has conducted numerous major choral works with orchestra. He remains active as a local church choral director, accompanist for the Voices of New Orleans Choir (VONO) and plays violin with the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra. He is much in demand as an accompanist and vocal/ piano coach.
Dr. Norris is the author of several books and numerous professional peer reviewed publications on teaching and teacher education. His books and writing have been very favorably reviewed by many, including Teacher’s College Record of Columbia University. His greatest joy is seeing children advance musically.