our teachers make all the difference
OUR TEACHERS create a fun musical experience that spurs engagement and supports each child's musical development. All of them are passionate about music and guiding the growth and development of every child's musical ability. All of our early childhood instructors are Registered or Certified Music Together® instructors. Each and every private lessons instructor will tailor the method to the individual student's learning style, which may include Suzuki or O'Connor methods or a more traditional approach.
Julie De Grandpré
Lead Teacher, Early Childhood Music Instructor
After touring the world with Cirque du Soleil as a general stage manager and back-up singer, Julie decided to settle in Chicago and is dedicated to sharing her passion for music with kids of all ages. Julie holds a BA in Music Performance from Laval University, Québec. She plays piano and guitar in her classes and is now getting acquainted with the accordion. She became a registered Music Together teacher in Spring 2007 and was recently awarded the Certification Level 2 with high praise from Lili M. Levinowitz, the founder of the program. A native French Speaker, Julie is the piano teacher at Lycée Français of Chicago.
Early Childhood Instructor
Jessica’s passion for sharing music, laughs, and love with young children stems from her upbringing in a traditionally large Irish-Italian family. Having settled in Chicago after her Master’s degree in Music Performance from DePaul University, she has been performing on the clarinet and working as a nanny ever since. Finding that her passion lie in sharing positive musical experiences with younger children, Jessica completed her Music Together training in 2018. She is excited to bring both her experience as a performer, and Mary Poppins-level nanny skills to Merry Music Makers.
Early Childhood Music Instructor
Jacque Smith is an actor and singer from Detroit who has been directing and singing in choirs since she was 15. After appearing in an adaptation of The Snow Queen in Detroit, it became clear that working with children was the only route for her. She spent two years in New York working on small projects before settling in Chicago to pursue her two main loves: children's theatre and stage combat. She strives to find a balance in both music and theatre that appeals to children and adults alike. She completed her Music Together training in Spring 2016 and has a BFA in theatre performance from Wayne State University.
Ryan Einfeldt has taught students of all ages and abilities in Chicago and around the world, in both French and English. During school days you’ll find him teaching general music at Jamieson Elementary School. Trained on the piano, with a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Cedarville University, he gives his students a strong knowledge of music theory and piano biomechanics, during their musical adventures at the keyboard. Ryan has been taking or teaching piano lessons continuously since the age of 5, and now has many former students who are musicians and music teachers. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys running, often after his children, who love to be chased by the singing monster.
Voice & Piano Instructor
Bernadette has over 15 years of professional experience teaching and a genuine excitement to develop musical growth at any age through ear training, pitch recognition, rhythmic structure and harmonic expression. She has performed throughout the regional Midwest in the classical, musical theater, and contemporary genres, including Chicago Opera Theater's Nixon in China, American Chamber Opera’s Madame Butterfly, and Porchlight Theater’s Ragtime. Bernadette works with several different groups as lead vocalist, performing for live music venues, jazz series, festivals, and private events. She has a Masters of Voice degree from the Chicago Conservatory of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Early Childhood Instructor
Joelle grew up in Santiago, Chile where she sang in choirs from the age of 6 onwards. She also played the cello, guitar and piano from a young age. Her fondest childhood memories all center around music. After receiving a degree in theater from Middlebury College (VT) she moved to Chicago. She has spent several years performing as an actor and improviser while working in early childhood education at Near North Montessori School.
Executive Director and Early Childhood Instructor
Camille McClain has been teaching and managing the daily operations of Merry Music Makers since 2016. Prior to that, she spent most of her career in arts marketing--most recently at the Chicago Sinfonietta and Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a musician, it was important to her to find the best music class for her children, so shortly after her first child was born she did some research on the available options and enrolled her daughter in Music Together class. She became such an advocate for the curriculum that she quit her job downtown to accept the role of Marketing Director for Merry Music Makers in 2014. She still sings and plays her flute at church for the love of performing and to make sure that her degree in music is put to good use!
Early Childhood Music Instructor
A percussionist, dancer, and singer, Kristen Regester has been teaching and performing around Chicago since 1999. She started her career at Sherwood Community Music School and received her Music Together certification in 2000. She went on to create early childhood curricula and served as Children’s Program Chair at Columbia College. Kristen now spends her time applying the principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a unique kinesthetic approach to music education, to the students at four different music schools. She is very passionate about working with children who are differently-abled, and finds that music is the bridge connecting her to them. Kristen holds a BA in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Michigan.
Sam Sharp is a music teacher, violinist, composer, arranger, and very mediocre juggler. A full-time teacher since 2010, Sam uses his Suzuki training, therapy and healing work, and performance experience to create a unique and highly personalized learning environment. His vision as a teacher is to guide each student in a way that allows them to find their own creatively fulfilling path with music. Sam's performing activities include outreach concerts at hospitals and schools and shows with his Beatles string quartet. He loves playing classical, blues, bluegrass, and Irish music and has been exploring improvisation as important element of learning the violin. He holds violin performance degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University.
William's teaching career began soon after he took up the guitar at age 11, offering instruction to peers and family friends. This passion for teaching continued at Ball State University where he taught fellow students. After graduating in 2013 with his Bachelor of Music Performance degree, William moved to Chicago where he earned his Master of Music degree at DePaul University. William also teaches after-school guitar classes through AES’s Guitar Stars program and assists with Suzuki instruction within DePaul’s Community Music Division. William enjoys performing with various ensembles in the Chicago area, gigs with his bands, composes/arranges works for the guitar.