Flute and Friends Faculty
Flute & Friends Instructors are unique in that we are unified in both our teaching approach and curriculum. We work together to set common student goals and create programming to include every student, even the very youngest and newest members of our studio. Students might have one teacher for private lessons and a different teacher for group class depending on scheduling. Our instructors enjoy sharing students, creative ideas, group classes and recitals! Teachers take continuing education seriously and attend yearly workshops and institutes with the Suzuki Association of the Americas to continuously expand their teaching skills and wealth of knowledge. We set the bar high within a flexible and child-centered framework. Meet our awesome “Teaching Team!”
owner and flute instructor
Jennifer (Janson) Hilaire is passionate flute teacher of 20 years, and specializes in early childhood development & pedagogy. Currently, Jennifer is owner & director of Flute & Friends Suzuki Music Academy in University City and a former Flute Teaching Artist for Play On Philly, El Sistema. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Hahnemann/Drexel University, from which she holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Flute Performance and a Master’s degree in Music Therapy. Jennifer has been a long time student of Kazuo Tokito (Philadelphia Orchestra), Eileen Grycky (Delaware Symphony) and also Jan Boland (Red Cedar Chamber Music), whom have all greatly inspired her career path as both as a performer and teacher. As a board-certified Music Therapist, Jennifer has worked with kids in adoption & foster care, along with children with special needs, including autism & learning disabilities. Jennifer also actively enjoys freelancing and performing chamber music in the Philadelphia area.
“Teaching is a work of the heart.” ~ Anonymous
piano instructor and accompanist
Pianist, May Aihua Ye, from Waterville, Maine, is a 2012 graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, and a 2017 graduate of Western Michigan University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance. Between 2010-2014, May returned as an instrumental collaborative pianist with the Interlochen Ensemble and the Interlochen Symphoney Band. With a deep love for collaborative piano, May has organized and performed with chamber music groups since the age of ten, including touring the state of Maine with guitarist, Antonio De Innocentis from Italy as one of the winners of the Arcady Music Society, Melba Wilson Youth Competition. May has attended many summer chamber music festivals, including the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, the Interlochen Arts Camp, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts Next Generation program and the Portland International Chamber Music Festival. At the closing ceremony of IAC in 2010, she received the Fine Arts Award in Music, “Piano for the High School Division”. In 2011, May’s trio, The Tux Pants Trio, placed as finalists in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
“It is in our power to educate all the children of the world to become a little better as people, a little happier.” ~ S. Suzuki
guitar instructor and accompanist
Guitarist Jacqueline Westerduin has been teaching both group music-making and individual guitar lessons for over ten years. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music (B.M.,2014), she recently received her Masters degree in Musicology from King’s College London (M.M., 2019). In addition to teaching, Jacqueline has been a concert guitarist for nearly a decade in her native New York City area, including performances at NYC’s Steinway Hall, the Baruch Performing Arts Center, The Juilliard School, and Manhattan School of Music. As an instructor, Jacqueline uses her diverse teaching background in the Suzuki method, as well as the Orff-Schulwerk approach, to engage her students in participation, play, and exciting challenges. She hopes to instill a love of music and desire to learn in her students that will last a lifetime.
“I have been teaching at Flute & Friends for over 3 years and have loved every minute of it. Jenni has developed such a wonderful program and an inspiring sense of community. I enjoy being able to work one-on-one with each student catering lessons to their individual needs, learning style, interests, and personality. It has been a dream job for someone who loves music and working with children of many different ages!” ~ S.A.
Elisa Muzzillo is a flutist in the Philadelphia area where she enjoys a career of performing and teaching music alike. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance at Temple University and a Master of Music in Flute Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. During her time at Temple, Elisa was a private flute instructor for the Community Music Scholars program for the Temple University Preparatory Division. She has also taught at the Nelly Berman School of Music in Haverford, PA, and as a private instructor in Boulder, CO. Elisa has performed nationwide in renowned music festivals and orchestras such as the Aspen Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, Pierre Monteux School & Festival, Music Academy International festival in Siena, Italy, the Longmont Symphony Orchestra (CO), and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra (WY). Elisa’s primary teachers include Christina Jennings, Brook Ferguson, Adeline Tomasone, and Ronna Ayscue.
“Working here as a piano teacher has been the utmost blessing! Jenni knows how to create a wonderful community where we you can connect with families to help their children on their musical journey. It gave me the chance to work with youth and share my passion of teaching piano with them. Flute and Friends treats music lessons as a community based journey, and I’ve always felt support from my colleagues to be the best music teacher I could be. Jenni supports you professionally and I was able to develop my teaching skills tremendously under her mentorship. The school treats music education seriously, and adopts a model where the child, family, and teacher share an equal investment in a child’s artistic development. It has been my upmost pleasure working here and recommend the environment, whether learning or teaching, to anyone interested.” ~DL
Right around age six, teacher/creator/multi-instrumentalist Asher Wolf discovered that his hands were finally big enough to fret a guitar! Piano soon slipped into his repertoire, and after a dozen years of avid but DIY music education he flew off to Swarthmore College for a BA in music. Asher effectively cannonballed into the world of western classical, harnessing his self-taught musicality with the theoretical and technical rigor of this formal tradition. All of his remaining free time went toward feverishly creating, performing, teaching, and organizing music groups and events. Since high school, his priority as teacher has been to foster creativity, joy, musicality, versatility, originality, and collaboration skills – to help students express and develop their own musical identity through their instrument.
” The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” ~ M. Van Doren
Rebecca Silverstein is a flutist originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, having just received her Masters degree in Flute Performance in June 2019. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree in Flute Performance from the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College, IL, where she played co-principal flute in the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra for four years. Rebecca has also frequented multiple summer orchestra festivals such as the Masterworks Festival and Credo Flute. In summer 2014, she performed as a member of the National Collegiate Flute Choir at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago. Rebecca has studied with Alberto Almarza, Wendy Kumer, Jennie Brown, Susan Saylor, and Eileen Grycky. Rebecca has enjoyed touring internationally with multiple music ensembles, and has performed throughout Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and China. Rebecca has coached at many student music camps over the years, as she enjoys passing on her love for music to her students. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys arranging music and playing other woodwind instruments, such as bassoon and baritone saxophone. Additionally, she loves freelancing and performing chamber music.
“As a teacher at Flute and Friends, I feel wonderfully supported in my teaching style and have the opportunity to use my skills as a board-certified music therapist to help serve the people who attend class. The studio is very inspiring and fosters such creativity! As a mother of an infant, having my baby attend baby music class has been the highlight of our week! Every child is given such amazing one on one attention and the community that has sprung up out of this class feels like family! I highly recommend Flute and Friends!” ~ML
early childhood and music therapy
Meryl Lammers is a board-certified Music Therapist, multi-instrumentalist (flute, piano, voice, percussion & guitar) and owner of Sound Sanctuary Healing Arts, a successful private practice that serves the Greater Philadelphia area. Meryl has over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages and abilities, and specializes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition to practicing Music Therapy, Meryl had used her broad experience to create a unique curriculum & rich environment for early childhood music learning. Meryl is also a mom to 12 month old Vincent, who loves music!
Pianist, Gene Pak, is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Communications and Urban Education. Having studied piano for over 13 years, Gene has performed in various venues across the country. Gene has also competed in many competitions on the national and international level, having been a semifinalist and a finalist at competitions such as the Kaufman Music Center International Piano Competition, the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Piano Competition, and the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition. Additionally, Gene has performed in numerous masterclasses with renowned pianists including Emanuel Ax, Ilana Vered, and Dan Zhaoyi. Besides piano, Gene is a student teacher and a candidate for the Education Policy Masters at the Penn Graduate School of Education.