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
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.
Doris Weir began her musical training at age 7 on piano. She began organ training at age 15, followed by earning her Bachelors of Music at Duquesne University. At Duquesne, she studied with Beverly Nero on piano and Ann Labounsky on organ. Currently, she is organist at Unity Presbyterian Church in Greentree. She plays piano and organ for weddings, funerals, and various other celebrations including accompanied recitals at PMA. Every summer, she is a member of the piano faculty at the Greater Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute. Doris is a trained Suzuki teacher and has taught at Pittsburgh Music Academy for more than 20 years.
“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
Stephanie Ashman is a passionate flute teacher specializing in early childhood music and play-based learning. After graduating from West Chester University with a degree in Flute Performance, Stephanie taught at Flute & Friends for over three years before moving to Florida. She is absolutely thrilled to be back teaching virtually this year! Stephanie now has a Suzuki studio in Florida called Tutti Flutes. She is also a certified Music Together® teacher and currently teaches family classes and music in preschools. Stephanie prioritizes teaching important life skills through music like resiliency, collaboration, and creative problem solving.
” The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” ~ M. Van Doren
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 3 year old Vincent, who loves 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