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San Marcos Music Academy

565 North Arizona Avenue

Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 292-7955


565 North Arizona Avenue

Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 292-7955


Meet Our Teachers

Bobby Domings | Drums & Percussion

Heidi Gadd | Violin, Viola & Mandolin

Heidi Gadd is an Arizona native and has been playing the violin for more than 30 years.

From the first moment the violin touched Heidi’s hands, 3+ hours a day of playing commenced. She also plays and teaches viola and mandolin. Playing in seasonal Chamber Orchestras, weddings, special and corporate events, she was the Concert Master for The Pangean Orchestra, a World Orchestra. Heidi integrated the Electric Violin at about age 16. This brought her the opportunity to tour the United States and Canada under the Fader Label, a subsidiary of Sony with Saul Williams, poet/songwriter/actor, as his electric violinist for his sophomore, self-titled album. Heidi has played many styles with bands around Arizona and encourages her students to be able to do the same.

A studio musician and songwriter, Heidi has worked on several artists albums with styles ranging from Pop/Rock to Gospel & Country and has also branched into writing bits for TV and film scoring.

Heidi passionately helps others learn the art of the violin. She holds a teaching studio of more than 50 private students, ranging from age 4-100. Formerly at Brindley’s Music Center in Chandler, Arizona, for more than 15 years, she has now moved on to San Marcos Music Academy.

Having learned the trade of String Repair since 2005, Heidi is also co-owner of Superstition Mountain Music, a musical instrument repair shop located next to San Marcos Music Academy. For more information, visit www.superstitionmountainmusic.com.

Artha studied under Dorinda Nyland of Alameda, California, for ten years, taught privately for a period, and then taught for nearly 10 years at Brindley’s Music in Chandler, Arizona, before joining the San Marcos Music Academy. She teaches traditionally using a variety of piano methods, such as Alfred, Piano Adventures, and the standard A Dozen A Day, Hanon, and numerous others.

Artha encourages new beginners, both young children and adults, to commit to piano lessons for a minimum of two years. Most of her students continue beyond three years and those that continue after that play quite well at a comfortable 4-5+ level. Many of her teen students have received music scholarships to the colleges and universities they attend.

Artha is a very patient and gentle teacher. However, she maintains a standard of high commitment with her students, where they know they must practice daily in order to learn and advance. Practice time is recorded with a 100-hour goal to receive a composer statuette award. She encourages her students to attend at least one concert of their choice per year, where they can view and hear piano music at its finest.

Artha Jackson | Piano

Bobby Domings is the owner/operator of the San Marcos Music Academy and Bobby Domings Drum Studios in Chandler, Arizona. He has been teaching and playing professionally in Arizona since the early 1990s.

Bobby's passion for drums and percussion began early in his youth, spending much of his time studying privately and participating in the many public school music programs available to him such as jazz, concert and marching bands.

Bobby's drumming education is quite diverse. Growing up in the Greater Boston area afforded him the opportunity to study under some of the finest teachers in the country, such as Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani, Alice Cooper, GTR), Gary Chaffee and Alan Dawson (former heads of renowned Berklee School of Music), as well as Mike Mangini (Dream Theater). Even after relocating to Arizona, Bobby's quest for knowledge of drumming has never ended, studying with the likes of Jim Chapin and Dom Moio.

Since turning pro in his easily 20's, Bobby has performed and/or recorded with such artists as The Revenants (Epiphany Records), The Suicide Kings (Rattle Records), Toshi Iseda (Over the Top Records), Shawn Clement (Hollywood Film Composer), Tammy Patrick and The Trophy Husbands (Rustic Records), and Robin Lore. His drumming can also be heard on FX's smash hit Justified, as well as TNT's Dallas and MTV2's Savage Country.

Bobby's experience and diversity make him one of the best drum teachers in the Valley. He is very attentive and patient, always motivating his students to be their best. Many of Bobby's students have been known to start with him as early as elementary school and only leave when they go off to college.

Bobby is a Pearl Drum Artist, and a member of the Vic Firth Education Team.

For more detailed information on lessons with Bobby, please visit www.bddrumstudios.com.

Chris Holley| Mallet Percussion

Christopher Holley teaches music at Hamilton High School and is the Band Director at the Arizona Preparatory Academy in Chandler, Arizona. Chris holds a B.A. degree in Music Education and Music Performance in Percussion from Fort Lewis College in Colorado, and a Masters of Music Performance degree in Percussion from the University of New Mexico.

Chris has 25 years experience teaching percussion at the high school and junior high levels. He specializes in teaching music reading, 4 mallet marimba, marching percussion, and world percussion. Chris is a frequent educational clinician at the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference specializing in percussion education. His performance experience includes being a member of the Cadets of Bergen County, Star of Indiana, and Arizona Sun Drum and Bugle Corps, 2nd place winner of the Music Teachers National Association National Marimba Concerto Competition, and the principal timpanist for the San Juan Symphony. Chris is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Arizona Music Educators Association, Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association, and the Percussive Arts Society.

Larry Likes | Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet & Trombone

Larry Likes earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa. He taught music and played professionally for more than 20 years before becoming a school counselor, principal and superintendent, where he was always a supporter of music and the arts. Today he continues his passion for music by teaching beginning and intermediate levels of flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.

Larry’s passion for music began as a child learning to play clarinet and saxophone. By high school was teaching private students in the studio where he himself had learned to play. He led his Illinois high school stage band and was drum major in the marching band. He moved on to the music program at the University of Iowa where he studied woodwinds and brass with Himie Voxman and William Gower who were the authors of the Rubank series of music instruction books.  

Upon graduation Larry became a recognized band director in Illinois public schools and has continued to teach privately for many years. He also had his own professional dance band that performed regularly throughout Illinois. Even when he became a school administrator in Arizona, he stepped in to start and direct the band program in his schools.   

Larry specializes in teaching beginning and intermediate level students to play flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.  He emphasizes teaching the fundamentals of an instrument as the basic platform to become an accomplished musician. He develops organized practice routines to maximize learning music and habits that carry over to other facets of life. Larry strongly believes that learning and developing skills and a passion for music can and will improve academic achievement. He also believes that private lessons will provide skills to band students that will raise them to the top performance levels in a band.

Contact Larry at (602) 291-1895 or at llikes@hotmail.com for information regarding lessons in flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.  

Phil Zweig | Guitar

Phillip Zweig is a doctoral student at Arizona State University where he is completing a degree in classical guitar performance under maestro Frank Koonce. He is also a student of jazz and composition, and performs locally in other styles including country, rock, blues, and R&B. As a musician he includes teaching, performing, research and composition as essential activities. Phil began learning guitar at about 14 years old and got his first guitar teaching job at Sedola Music in Tonawanda,New York when he was seventeen. With over thirty years teaching experience he has seen many of his students find success in gigging bands as well high school and college music programs. He has taught all ages, levels, style interests, individual as well class instruction.

Karen Burns | Piano & Voice

Karen has been teaching music for 15 years. She studied piano as the only piano student chosen to work privately under a Julliard professor while growing up. She continued studying music as much as possible in college. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, and has slowly pursued a degree in music performance since moving to Arizona. Karen worked professionally as a dancer, singer, actor in New York and Los Angeles for 10 years.

For piano instruction Karen tailors the method of study based on an individual’s learning style, musical preferences and amount of time available to devote to playing the piano. Included in Karen’s classical approach is an emphasis on “playing” the piano versus “practicing” the piano. This philosophy brings about more joy in the learning process and therefore more time is spent actually sitting at the piano. She is most comfortable teaching beginning to intermediate/advanced levels and loves to work with all ages.

For voice, Karen sang with a rock band and studied musical theatre while in college, then later studied opera while living in New York City from a  singer with the Metropolitan Opera. Musical Theatre is her personal preference for singing and teaching. However, she does love pop and rock music and working with aspiring singers in these genre’s to help learn how to safely expand range and power. In teaching voice, Karen’s focus is on breathing techniques, relaxing and bringing the voice forward. Primarily, she finds teaching an individual to like the voice they’ve been given and how to confidently let it out to be the most rewarding. For actor’s who sing, Karen works on the song as a monologue and approaches the lesson looking for the character and story behind the song. Many of her students have gone on to professional work in Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Disney Worlds in Florida and Japan.

Encompassing the worlds of jazz, rock, classical, world music, R&B and hip-hop, Donald Pena has committed the better part of 15 years to being a student of these various styles of

music. With an emphasis on Jazz and Music Production, Donald graduated with a degree in

Contemporary Music from Santa Fe University of Art and Design. In addition to studying

music in school and having been a member of school affiliated groups such as, Big Band,

Latin Jazz Band, Balkan Ensemble, Funk Ensemble, and Jazz Quartets and Quintets, Donald

has been playing professionally for over a decade and has been teaching for nearly as long.

He is currently the guitarist and one of the main producers for the award winning group,

The Maya Spectra.

Donald’s interest in music was sparked when on one Christmas Eve his younger brother was

gifted an electric guitar. That night, despite it being his brothers’ instrument, Donald

learned his first song on the guitar. Luckily for Donald, his brother had already set his heart

on playing the drums. Within a couple years Donald was gigging professionally and studying

jazz formally under Pete Pancrazi. He soon became the pupil of some of the Valley’s

greatest musicians, Dom Moio, Raul Yanez, and Nick Manson.

His teaching style is in part derived from his most influential teachers, wherein lessons are based on the individual desire and musical taste of a student, coupled with a strong instilling

of the fundamentals of music theory, vocabulary, and fretboard harmony. His goal is to

cultivate within the student a sense of authority over their instrument so that they are

eventually able to teach themselves.

Donald Pena | Guitar

Edward is currently a freelance percussionist and educator in the Phoenix, AZ area. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Orchestral Percussion performance in 2014 and has since performed throughout the Midwest. While primarily a marimba player, he is also skilled in snare drum, timpani, and electronic performance. He recently finished writing an open source practice app named PyStopper for musicians.

Edward Cunneen | Percussion

Matt Vandal is a remarkable guitarist. His fusion playing will ignite your ears with his enthralling and melodious guitar solos. You can hear his many influences in his playing, including Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Pat Metheny and John Scofield, among many others. His solo fingerstyle sound will remind you of Leo Kottke and Chet Atkins, both of whom are clear influences.

Matt has been playing guitar since the age of seven. “I grew up in a VERY musical home. My Dad played in bands while attending college and my Mom is a classically trained pianist. Two of my brothers are guitar players and another brother played bass. My family has always been connected in one way or another to that beautiful sonic universe that is music.”

Matt has played as many styles of music as he can get his hands on. He was a member of the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble (a classical guitar quartet), is currently teaching guitar, and gigged extensively in the East Valley with the jazz group Vandal Hancock Duo and with his fusion quartet, The Matt Vandal Group. Matt's teaching repertoire contains classical, jazz, fusion, shred, blues, as well as original compositions. He is also an avid player and teacher of the 8 string extended range guitar.

Matt Vandal | Guitar

Mario Zelaya is a professional bass and guitar player, composer and producer in different styles of music, including Brazilian, Latin, World Music and commercials for local Spanish-speaking radio stations. His bass playing is influenced and inspired by Jaco Pastorius, Richard Bona and Marcus Miller.

Mario has been playing bass since the age of 11. Since then, he has performed with many different bands in Europe (Sweden), Latin America and the United States.

Mario Zelaya | Bass & Guitar (Se Habla Español)

Starting at 10 years old, Rex Torgeson has been playing guitar for nearly 12 years. It was clear early on to his teacher, Matt Vandal of the McKnight Music Academy, that Rex was drawn to complicated technique and speed. The more complex and challenging the material, the better. Starting with a song by his then favorite band, Green Day, Rex would practice for up to five hours a day and quickly advanced to more technically-demanding pieces to match the evolving complexity of his musical taste.

After five years of training, Rex was asked to instruct as the Progressive Metal specialist. After having taught at McKnight for five years, Rex is now instructing at San Marcos while studying as a quintuple major at Arizona State University.

Rex Torgeson | Guitar