Our Teachers

Our teachers at Blue Ridge Music Together are passionate about music—and more importantly about supporting your child's musical journey. During their classes, they create a fun, informal, and musically rich social setting that supports the varied learning styles of both children and adults. All of our teachers are registered Music Together® teachers, having successfully completed the Music Together® teacher training, developed by the Center for Music and Young Children® in Princeton, New Jersey, and have parallel performing careers that encourage their continual development as artists and group music facilitators.

 

photo Dave B (Co-Director)

Dave is originally from Charlottesville, who returned here to raise a family after living and performing for several years in South America and the San Francisco Bay Area, where he first began teaching the Music Together program. "Music has always been a transformative experience for me and has led me through many life changes. When Estela and I began to talk about having children, Music Together presented itself and has been a wonderful introduction into parenthood for us. To be able to share music with other families as our own family grows has been such a gift. With our two daughters, we have seen first-hand the effects of modeling musical behavior and sharing creative growth with them." Dave is an accomplished bassist, guitarist, and composer currently involved in musical projects with an expanding network of musicians in Virginia and Mexico. He also plays in local groups such as The Olivarez Trio and Lua Project, and is a Performance Art Member of McGuffey Arts Center.  Dave has been awarded Certification Level I from Music Together Worldwide, for demonstrated achievement in musicianship, movement, parent education, and teaching the Music Together program.

     
photo Estela Knott (Co-Director)

Estela has been performing for over 33 years as a vocalist, songwriter, musician and dancer in the United States, Latin America and Europe. As a child and young adult, she studied various forms of music including classical, modern and regional folk music, and dance. As an adult Estela has studied, recorded, and taught various styles of music from her travels in Mexico, Peru, other parts of Latin America, and the United States. 

For the past 19 years, Estela has enjoyed working with families and children of all ages in public schools, summer camps, and community centers throughout Central Virginia, Berkeley, California, and Latin America. You can catch Estela performing throughout the year with her group, Lua, at local venues, private parties, and special events through the Lua Project, her cultural arts based non-profit project and band, housed at the McGuffey Art Center in downtown Charlottesville. She resides in Charlottesville, Virginia with her two daughters and husband, David.  She is a member of McGuffey Arts Center. 

A note from Estela: 
Music is a gift that all of us can share.  Anything that I can do as a mother, teacher, and community member to facilitate making music a form of public expression, I will!  Our mission is to introduce as many families as possible to The Joy of Family Music®-making, as part of their everyday life.  Come join us for a class!

     
photo Lydia Witman

Having grown up in a family of musicians and music lovers, as well as teachers, Lydia is thrilled to bring her experience to other families, as a teacher for Blue Ridge Music Together. She firmly believes there's no such thing as too young—or too old—to begin learning the joy of music, dance, and rhythm. Lydia and her daughter Sylvie enjoy participating in Blue Ridge Music Together classes, being outdoors as much as possible, and going on long walks with their two dogs Juniper and Lily. Lydia is a former librarian and professional musician who sings and plays guitar, ukulele, and piano.

     
photo Jonah Kane-West

Jonah Kane-West grew up in the Charlottesville area, where he began studying piano at the age of 5. Along with his musical studies, Jonah pursued a tennis career that eventually landed him at the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated in 2009. During his time in Austin, Jonah honed his music and teaching skills, performing with a wide variety of musical groups and working as a tennis instructor and part-time college coach. From 2011-2013, Jonah attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he received a scholarship and studied music performance. With his return to Charlottesville in 2013, Jonah began teaching music to students of all ages and performing regularly with a variety of local artists including the Randy Johnston Trio and his own jazz group, the Kane-West Organ Trio. Jonah also worked as an organist and Minister of Music at Piedmont Baptist and Union Mission Baptist churches in Crozet.

NOTE: Jonah got married and as of Spring 2020 moved to Richmond Va. to be with his wife. One of the silver linings during the Covid-19 pandemic has been that he was able to continue teaching with us online for a whole extra year! Now that we will be beginning to transition to Outdoor In-Person classes this Spring, Jonah will be moving on to his new career in counseling. We will miss Jonah and are so thankful for the seven-plus years you have taught with us. We wish Jonah all the best as he builds a family of his own.