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Private Lessons

The Downing Orchestra has excellent private teachers this year!  All students are strongly encouraged to take private lessons.  Once a week, students are pulled out of orchestra class to work one on one with an experienced teacher.  This is a fantastic way for students to receive extra attention.  Lessons are also available before and after school.  These lessons are incredibly convenient for parents and students, and very affordable!

What are the Benefits?

In private lessons, students are able to address certain things that they may not get in a larger class.  Private teachers work very closely with the Orchestra Director to give the student every advantage possible in the classroom.

Private Lesson Instructors

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Miriam Oddie

Originally a native of New Zealand, Miriam Oddie grew up in Boulder, Colorado. She comes from a very musical family, and began playing violin at the age of 7. While in Colorado, she played in the Colorado All State Orchestra, the Western States Honor Orchestra, and the prestigious Denver Young Artists Orchestra. At the age of 18, she enrolled at the internationally recognized Eastman School of Music on a music performance scholarship. At the Eastman school, she had the distinct privilege to study with the violists John Graham and Carol Rodland. During college, she attended multiple summer programs of very high caliber, such as the Aspen Music Festival, the Manchester Music Festival and the Castleman Quartet Program. She moved to Texas in 2011 to get her Master’s degree from the University of North Texas, where she had the incredible opportunity to study with renowned viola pedagogue Susan Dubois. For both of her two years at UNT, she was co-principal violist of the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra. She is a contracted violist with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of David Itkin. In her free time, she loves reading, running, knitting, and baking.


Ha Dang

Ha Viet Dang has appeared as soloist with University of North Texas’s Baroque Orchestra and has also performed as chamber musician, and orchestra member throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Ha has been heard at music festivals such as American Bach Soloists Academy, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Canada, Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Boston Early Music Festival, Valdres Music Festival in Norway, Vietnam Connection Music Festival, Canton International Summer Music Academy, China, Southeast Asian Youth Orchestra and Wind Ensemble in Thailand. As a member of the Fantasmi Baroque Ensemble and Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, Ha has toured in Germany, Austria and France. She is currently playing with the Dallas Bach Society, Orchestra of New Spain, San Angelo Symphony Orchestra.


In 2019, Ha Dang was the recipient of the “Adams-Nordstrom Early Music Award” at UNT for excellence in scholarship and performance. She was awarded second prize in the chamber music category and third prize in the solo violin category in Vietnam’s Concours Autumn Competition 2007. She also won second prize in the Group A of 2011 Thailand’s Mozart International String Competition.


In additional to her performing career, Ha maintains her own studio at the same time holding the position of string instructor at the Music Institute of North Texas in Frisco, TX. Her students have participated in Texas All-Region orchestras and have received a medal for Best Soloist of the day at the solo ensemble contest. Through her teaching, she hopes to instill the love of music to the younger generations while making an impact on students’ musical success.


She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of music (YSTCM) in Singapore, where she received a full tuition scholarship to study with Mr. Zuo Jun. During her time at YSTCM, Ha organized the Keppel’s scholars’ Appreciation concerts in Singapore and Hanoi, Vietnam. She also coordinated a collaboration workshop between students from the YSTCM and the Royal University of Fine Art in Cambodia. During her Master’s degree at the University of North Texas, Ha was a recipient of Anshel Brusilow Scholarship in Orchestra Studies & Patsy C. and Fred W. Patterson College of Music scholarships from 2012 to 2014. Currently, Ha is a doctoral of musical arts candidate at the University of North Texas. During her graduate studies, He was the orchestra assistant for the Baroque Orchestra at UNT where she studies with professor Julia Bushkova on modern violin and professor Cynthia Roberts on Baroque violin.


Nic Buck

As a cellist, Nic Buck has been teaching and performing in the Denton area since 2013. In high school, he studied the cello with Prudence McDaniel at Blinn College, then continued on with Eugene Osadchy at the University of North Texas, from which he received his Bachelor’s in Performance in 2018. There, he helped premiere new works by composers such as Grant Carrington, Cade Leinbach, and Alex Buehler, and was a member of the Ginastera String Quartet, which won first prize in the 2018 UNT Chamber Music Competition.


He teaches at public schools in the Lewisville ISD and at the New Song School of the Arts in Lantana, TX. His teaching style is straightforward and emphasizes kinesthetic awareness and slow practice, taking the student through one element of playing at a time until it is mastered.


Kelsey Nussbaum

Kelsey Nussbaum is currently pursuing her PhD in Music Education at The University of North Texas in Denton where she is also specializing in bass pedagogy. Prior to attending The University of North Texas, Ms. Nussbaum spent five years teaching orchestra in Austin, TX where she also taught bass lessons and regularly performed with the Austin, Temple, and Round Rock Symphonies. During her teaching in Austin, she also held leadership positions within the Texas Music Educators Association and is a founding member of the Texas Hill Country Bass Collective, an organization offering bass camps and workshops.

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