Johnson Ferry Conservatory for the Arts


Providing music lessons in East Cobb where Christ is honored and students develop their God-given talents

  • Private music lessons offered Monday-Friday including piano, voice, guitar, band, and orchestra instruments.
  • Recitals are scheduled per semester by individual instructors.

Conservatory for the Arts


All faculty members have extensive teaching, playing and performing/exhibiting experience.

Bassoon, Oboe - Shelly Unger
Founding director of Summer Bassoon Extravaganza, is a freelance bassoon and contrabassoon player as well as an artist affiliate bassoon instructor at Emory University. She earned a bachelor of music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied with Sidney Rosenberg. After completing her master’s degree in bassoon performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as a student of Benjamin Kamins, she pursued post-graduate study with Bernard Garfield, former principal bassoonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

She earned her DMA in bassoon performance from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Dr. Unger plays in metro Atlanta, in regional orchestras throughout the Southeast and on occasion performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She is the second bassoonist with Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

Cello - Rachel Smith
Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Reinhardt College. Former instructor at the Master’s Academy of Woodstock, and has maintained a private studio of students. Special events professional musician, plays with the Rome Symphony and is an experienced freelance player in the metro Atlanta area.

Guitar - Reid Stevens
Reid Stevens is an American record producer, singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist, based out of Atlanta, GA. With a degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina, Stevens founded the music production & promotion label, 33 1/3 Records, in 1999, to serve as a platform for releasing his work as a producer and songwriter.

Stevens has performed with Grammy winners and recently produced the Contemporary Christian album, Shine for 33 1/3 Records. He has also been featured in the "At Home for Christmas" series, a global charity relief project assisting St. Jude's and Project Half Way, Reid has participated in various television series and has performed alongside #1 multi-hit songwriters.

Stevens is a recurring guest speaker in the Music Industry, a regular contributor for Sirius XM, Listeners Connect, Westwood One, TeachRock, music panel judge for National PTA Reflections music competitions, multi Instrumentalist/instructor, vocal coach and has produced audition recordings that have granted students acceptance to top music college programs & assisted in the development of multiple music students landing them roles in television series for ABC, Disney and national commercials.

Percussion, Drumset - Christian Kilgore
Christian is a current Performance Major at Kennesaw State University and has been playing percussion for 9 years. He often performs with the KSU Wind Ensemble as well as multiple local orchestras. He has had the opportunity to teach at West Jackson Middle School, Whitefield Academy, Jackson County Comprehensive High School, Lost Mountain Middle School, Encore Band Camp, Wheeler High School, and more. He is currently studying under John Lawless and hopes to perform and teach percussion professionally for the rest of his career.

Piano - Rebekah Cottingham
Received her Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from University of Miami, Fl. and her Masters of Music in Organ Performance from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has served as a church organist and pianist for the last 43 years. She currently is one of the Organist/Pianists at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, where she has played for over 30 years.

Piano - Laurel H. Harrell
Laurel H. Harrell earned her Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano performance from Georgia State University and has over 35 years of experience teaching private piano lessons. She also has extensive experience as a collaborative pianist with area school choral programs. She has served as staff accompanist for Walton High School choruses since 2014. Mrs. Harrell is a member of JFBC, but she has also served as church pianist/music associate locally for 30+ years. Her students have regularly taken part in National Piano Guild Auditions and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Graded Exams.

Piano - Lenard Martin Jr.
Lenard Martin Jr. earned a Bachelor's degree in performance with a double concentration in Piano and Percussion from Georgia Southwestern State University and a Master's degree in Piano Pedagogy from Georgia State University. He has served as accompanist for various choral groups, theatre companies, and as a staff accompanist at the university level. Lenard currently serves as the Director of Music and service pianist for Norcross Presbyterian Church. Along with private piano instruction, Lenard also enjoys teaching Music Theory and Music History.

Piano - Ariel Montero
Earned a Bachelor's of Music in Music Education with a Concentration in Piano from Kennesaw State University in 2013. While at KSU, she also earned a Global Learning Certification as a result of her student teaching experience at Colegio Menor de San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. She currently teaches music theory and piano at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, a magnet school for the arts housed at Pebblebrook High School, where she is also a staff accompanist. Her philosophy of private piano lessons is focused on a strong understanding of music theory, a healthy physical technique, and exposure to a variety of musical styles with the goal of building an ongoing love of music.

Piano - Keith Phillips
Bachelor of Music from University of Georgia with piano and composing emphasis. Also studied Piano Performance at Furman University. Solo CD’s include many original piano compositions.

Piano - Lois Seeger
Music Education degree, BS in Elementary Education, and MA in Human Development with thesis topic: Children, Music and Spirituality. She loves to teach young kids the joy of music and has developed some wonderful curriculum for 4-6 year olds.

Piano - Cynthia Weisbrod
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Masters of Music in Church Music. Extensive teaching experience from grade school to collegiate level. She has also been on staff as a Choir Director and staff pianist.

Saxophone, Clarinet - Bill Van Dyke
Bill holds a Bachelor's Degree in music in Jazz Studies from Auburn University and also a Masters in Music Education from Auburn University . Bill has been a performing musician as well as a much sought after woodwind clinician with many different schools in the Atlanta metro area. Bill has taught many young musicians their first notes many of which have gone on to be local band directors and musicians.

Trombone - George Blevins
Graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, emphasis in Trombone Performance. George has played the trombone for over 30 years and has had the opportunity to perform in numerous concerts around the world as well playing with the Atlanta Passion Play. He currently plays in multiple groups including The Johnson Ferry Orchestra, Gospel Jazz Band, and the premier community band, "Tara Winds." George has also enjoyed playing on mission trips to Quito, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Romania, Cuba and Moscow.

Trumpet - David Klausman
Graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, emphasis in Trumpet Performance; toured the 25th Anniversary Tour with the contemporary Christian group TRUTH and played with artists Ron Kenoly, “Annointed,” Pat Boone, Sheila E., Dave Boyer, and Babbie Mason. David has also played for Aretha Franklin, Brian Wilson(Beach Boys) and Johnny Mathis. David founded the Victory Jazz Orchestra, an 18 piece big band, and is a free-lance artist in the Metro Atlanta area. David also conducts Trumpet Master Classes for area middle schools and high schools.

Trumpet - Jonathan Klausman
Jonathan Klausman is a trumpeter and educator. Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, he comes from a long line of musicians that include his father, mother and grandfather, all of whom are professional musicians in the metro-Atlanta area. Mr. Klausman earned a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Viola/Violin - Felix Farrar
Attended the Manhattan School of Music and Brooklyn College School of Performing Arts. He is founding and executive director of the Harlem Festival Orchestra based in New York. He has been a string instructor for the Dekalb School of the Arts, The Atlanta Girl’s School and the Atlanta University Center. He is a core member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and performs with the Greenville Symphony. Felix tours the US and contracts musicians for many famous artists and acts. He can be heard on many recordings from radio to TV.

Viola/Violin - Cheree Mitchem
For the past 17 years, Cheree Mitchem has taught private violin and viola lessons in the Marietta area. As a private music instructor, she uses a traditional method of teaching to incorporate technical and musical skills during the lesson instruction. Ms. Mitchem graduated from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has performed in several orchestras in the Southeast, which includes Alabama Symphony, Atlanta Opera, Charleston Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Georgia Symphony, Greenville Symphony, and Macon Symphony. She brings her orchestra experience and knowledge to her lesson teaching to better help students learn orchestral skills during their lesson.

Viola/Violin - Christopher Thurstone
Christopher received a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently studying a Master's Degree in orchestral performance at Georgia State University and serves as a teaching assistant and concertmaster. He has performed in numerous summer music festivals including Interlochen, Hot Springs Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, International Violin Symposium at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the International Music Institute and Festival in Maryland. Christopher has also acted as a counselor and soloist at IMIF, DUSS Summer Camp, and more recently at the ACT Music Performance Program in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2010, Christopher was offered positions in the Durham and Fayetteville Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the China National Orchestra, North Carolina International Orchestra, and Georgia Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed around the NC Triad and Atlanta areas in musicals, operas, church performances, and other symphonic concerts with Atlanta Sinfonietta. In 2020 Christopher was a preliminary string finalist for the Brumby concerto competition at GSU performing Ravel's "Tzigane," however the final competition was cancelled due to the outbreak of covid-19. His principal teachers and influences include Christos Galileas, Fabian Lopez, Richard Luby, David Updegraff, and Dorothy Kitchen.

Violin and Suzuki Strings - Colleen Lively
Bachelor of Music Education from Tennessee Temple University, certifed Suzuki Strings Instructor, former middle school orchestra director, performed with Minot Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and more. Extensive private teaching experience and active free-lance performer. She has been teaching violin since 1984.

Voice - Hayley Deonna' Reed
Bachelor of Music from Fisk University and Master's Degree in Business Administration. Hayley Deonna' is a professional background singer who has made appearances on: The Johnny Cash Memorial Celebration Telecast, Compilation CD for Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton, The Live 8 (with Neal Young), Hurricane Katrina Telethon (with Neal Young), Movie "Heart of Gold" (with Neal Young), The Conan O'Brian Show (with Neal Young), Shirley Caesar's "I Know the Truth" Recording Project, Kirk Franklin, (Stellar Awards 2010 and 2014 house band as a background vocalist), She's had the privilege of singing background for Carrie Underwood, Angela Winbush, Darlene Love, Candi Staton, Lyle Lovett, and many others. Hayley Deonna's appears weekly on Bobby Jones Presents, as a lead vocalist for the Nashville Super Choir. Hayley Deonna' is a songwriter, a vocal arranger, a clinician, a vocal coach, a clothing stylist, and a producer. She is also Founder and CEO of Pnuma Music Group, LLC., which is an independent record label that focuses on artist development from all aspects. (Business, Branding, Marketing, Production, etc.) Hayley Deonna' Released her debut solo project, "Hayley Deonna', Live in Nashville," in August of 2019. The album is available on all music outlets. A hard copy can be purchased on Amazon. Hayley Deonna' now resides with her family in Atlanta, GA.

Voice - Lori Williams
Acclaimed international Jazz vocalist Lori Williams is turning a corner. In possession of a most impressive resume as a performing artist, music educator, songwriter, producer, vocalist and musical theater actress, her reputation and level of respect are top shelf and unimpeachable. Her annual summer vocal jazz symposium and tour have taken her to Europe (Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Ukraine), Japan and across the USA, performing in festivals and conducting vocal jazz workshops. As an educator for over 25 years, Lori has received many honors including Outstanding Music Teacher in the October 2000 issue of Teaching Music, the 2007 Superintendent's Arts Teacher of the Year Award, and the 2010 Vincent E. Reed Teacher of the Year. As a performing artist, Lori was nominated for a 2014 Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical for her role as Ella Fitzgerald in "Ladies Swing the Blues: A Jazz Fable” (directed by Thomas W. Jones). Lori has received letters of recognition for her performances by President Joseph Biden, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Maryland Senator C. Anthony Muse. She has currently produced and released six CDs under her name. Her music can be found on, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Apple Music, YouTube, Soundcloud, and her website Ms. Williams is the proud mother of two amazing, talented children - Lauren Vanessa Highsmith (LAVAHI) and Yusef Khalil Chisholm.

Voice - Sherri Seiden
Bachelor of Music from Boston Conservatory, Opera diploma from University of Toronto and Mozarteum Salzburg. Over 20 years teaching experience including master classes at Applause For Kids and Atlanta School of Performing Arts. Current and past students have won auditions/major roles in Broadway and Disney productions. Sherri is currently the Adjunct Voice Professor at Shorter College in Rome, Ga. Sherri has helped students get into the following schools, programs, and Broadway shows: Boston Conservatory, Tanglewood, Cincinnati Conservatory/College of Music, UCLA, NYU, Belmont, Auburn Univ. Mary Poppins, Cinderella National Tour, and Les Miserables.

Private Music Instruction

Music instruction is adapted to the development and progress of each student. Lessons are offered for 30, 45 and 60 minutes. An annual non-refundable registration fee ($30) must accompany the application/enrollment form or online registration and is good for three semesters of lessons. Tuition is payable by semester. Half hour - $480, 45 minutes - $720 and one hour - $960 per semester. Half is due prior to the first lesson, with the balance due in thirty days. A late fee of $10 is assessed each 30 day period until the balance is paid in full.

Students may start mid-semester if there are openings. Tuition will be pro-rated at $30.00 per half hour, $45.00 per 45 minutes, and $60 per hour. The faculty list represents instruments currently offered for private lessons.


Lessons are scheduled Monday - Friday, from 2-9 p.m. Summer schedule times are flexible. Students are assigned to instructors and classes based on 1) paid registration date 2) new or returning student 3) time preference, instructor availability, etc.

  • Fall Semester – Open Registration begins mid-July. During Priority Registration, current summer students, then past spring students have preference for their same lesson time/day. Semester is 16 weeks. Breaks are Labor Day, Cobb County Schools' Fall Break, and Thanksgiving week.
  • Winter/Spring Semester – Online registration begins in early December. Semester is 16 weeks, from mid-January through early May. No lessons during Cobb County Winter Break and Spring Break.
  • Summer Semester – Registration opens in early May. Instruction starts the day after Memorial Day for 10 weeks. Begin anytime and enjoy flexible scheduling of lessons by communicating directly with instructors for days off. Students must commit to a total of 4, 6, or 8 hours of lesson time during the semester. Summer semester is $240 for eight (8) 30-minute lessons, $360 for eight 45-minute lessons, and $480 for eight 60-minute lessons. Pro-rated tuition is available for late starts.

Recitals are scheduled by the instructors, and an accompanist fee of $40 is paid to the pianist only if piano accompaniment is required for the piece being performed at the recital.

Make-Up Lessons

Students are responsible for contacting the instructor if a lesson will be missed. Instructors' numbers are posted outside the office door. Instructors must be notified a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the lesson time for make-up eligibility. Please notify the Conservatory office if you are unable to contact him/her. Lessons missed due to the instructor are his/her responsibility. Excused absences are: a)student illness b) extreme emergency c) death in the family. One make-up per semester is permitted. No lessons can be made up if missed due to late payments. The full semester fee will stand.

Withdrawal Policy

A 30-day, written notice is required for termination, which means the cost of 4 lessons. Students are financially responsible for lessons that occur within the 30 days. Refunds will be given for the balance of the semester.



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