Marisela Smith, our studio's founder and director, began playing piano when she was 6 years old under the tutelage of Professor Sidonia Stern. Mrs. Stern was a renowned german instructor who focused heavily on theory and agility, nurturing Marisela's raw talent for music from an early age. She then attended the National Music Conservatory in Caracas, Venezuela where she was classically trained and learned performance, composition, theory, and music history.
Mrs. Smith first began teaching piano in 1982 after moving to the United States to study at the University of Pennsylvania. Her passion was to teach young students, which allowed her to develop the versatile and enjoyable teaching methods used at Brambleton Piano Studio. In her own words "It seems to me that music is a great gift, that it enriches lives, and that it should always be fun!"
In 2008, Marisela Smith founded Brambleton Piano Studio. It has since expanded to include 2 branches with more than 80 students and 4 classically trained, full-time piano instructors. Mrs. Smith is a loving, lively teacher who instills a love for music in each of her students. Her goal is to help each student be the best they can be, for she believes that the skills acquired while learning to play an instrument have a positive impact on the individual's academic and personal life.
Mrs. Anya Muravyova specializes in teaching piano, guitar, and voice lessons. She began her training at a very young age after revealing a rare talent for music which allowed her to join Ukraine's National School of Music for gifted and talented children. She now holds a Master's Degree in Music from the National Music Academy in Ukraine, has performed extensively in both Ukraine and Russia, and has more than 12 years of experience teaching piano.
Anya finds it important for her students to explore the emotional elements of their repertoire while working on performance skills. She believes a good musician should breathe life into the piece they're playing and use it as a form of expression. Her piano lessons focus on technique and dexterity while including elements of jazz improvisation, composition, and accompaniment skills.
Mrs. Anya's musical skills don't stop at solo performances. She has experience managing orchestras, vocal ensembles, and choirs, and performed as a member of a rock band! In addition to teaching piano, Anya is also available to teach classical and electric guitar, rock, flamenco, and jazz. Her lessons can be in English, Russian, and Ukranian. She teaches students of all levels and ages.
Marisa began studying with Karen Christiansen under the Suzuki Method at the age of six and continued for the next eight years. In middle school, she began teaching herself to play guitar and developed songwriting and recording techniques. At the nationally-recognized Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Marisa sang Mozart’s Requiem in choir, performed Sondheim and Bernstein in musical theatre, and in her senior year became musical director and principle arranger for the school’s female a cappella group. Marisa excelled in AP Music Theory and would go on to complete all of her major’s music theory requirements in her first year of college.
Marisa’s passion for the piano was rekindled at the College of William & Mary where her studies with Dr. Maria Yefimova culminated in a senior piano lecture recital on Chopin and Romanticism. She graduated in May 2012 with a B.A. in Music and Psychology having acquired substantial experience working with children ages three to fourteen. Her last two summers have been dedicated to teaching piano, guitar, SAT and TJ exam prep. Marisa delights in helping students discover what they can achieve with her encouraging and fun-loving style. She is thrilled to join Brambleton Studio in guiding and inspiring the next generation of music-makers.
Luis Vasquez is an inspirational pianist, instructor, composer, and arranger with more than 30 years of teaching experience. His passion for music developed at a very young age when he began studying piano, theory, harmony, and counterpoint in Venezuela. Luis' unique talent for music coupled with his extensive conservatory training allowed him to attend the Berklee College of Music. He currently holds degrees in Performance as well as Composition and Arranging.
Since Luis works with the most advanced students in our studio, his lessons are geared towards training, challenging, and motivating, pianists to excel in the Music Development Program. His students are accepted through teacher recommendations or auditions only.
Graciela is a 26 year old pianist with more than 20 years of training. She taught over 50 students of all levels and ages at our studio in Ashburn, VA before relocating to San Francisco for medical school.
Ms. Graci began her piano instruction at age four in Venezuela, where she attended the prestigious Emil Friedman conservatory. While studying piano as her main instrument, Graciela also took violin and voice lessons. She's performed dozens of solo concerts and has played with fellow musicians in orchestras.
After moving to the United States she continued her musical studies at Levine School of Music while double degreeing in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Maryland. There, she was awarded the Academic Excellency Award before graduating in 2010.
Graciela is a Music Development Program certified instructor with outstanding technique and performance skills. While she challenges and pushes students to their limits, she does so by inspiring them with her fun, energetic personality. Her teaching style is a delicate blend of patience, creativity, and an understanding of child psychology.
Graciela is the only traveling instructor affiliated with our studio, which means she will go to her student's homes for lessons. She currently teaches in San Francisco.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-283-1994 to schedule a trial lesson.
Abigail Palmer received her bachelor’s degree from Shenandoah University in 2010 where she majored in music therapy and minored in piano. She is an experienced instructor and performer specializing in the application of Music Therapy, which has made her very aware of the emotional state of the musician.
Abigail began playing the piano when she was 5 years old and enrolled in harp lessons shortly afterwards. While harp and piano are her major instruments, she is also proficient singer, guitarist, and percussionist, and has experience with a wide range or musical styles. Abigail can be seen playing Celtic music with her family every year at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. She was the first harpist in the Shenandoah Conservatory Orchestra for all four years present in college and she currently performs with the Bethesda United Methodist Church Orchestra several times a year.
In addition to her interest in Celtic and Classical music, Abigail enjoys composing her own songs and encourages students to do the same. Her most recent album and production, Sow Hope, reflects her views of music as a form of self-expression and a tool to speak when someone is without words. Given her background in music therapy, she likes to know why people love music and what gives them that inspiration to practice, and work that inspiration into teaching with each individual learner.