A native of North Carolina, Russell Lacy started playing percussion when he was nine. In high school, Russell studied classical percussion under the noted percussionist and composer Christopher Deane; he completed high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he majored in classical percussion but developed his long-standing interest in jazz. Russell continued his training in Durham at North Carolina Central University, graduating with a concentration in jazz studies.
In 2006, Russell relocated to New York City to pursue a master’s degree at Queens College, dedicated himself to the study of Afro-Latin music with Vince Cherico, and composition and arranging with Michael Mossman, completing his MFA in Spring 2008. Russell has also studied privately with Joe Morrello, Billy Hart, John Riley, and Jeff “Tain” Watts and was selected to participated in the Lake Placid Institute Jazz Improvisation Workshop and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program.
In his performing career, Russell has shared the stage with John Hart, John Bailey, Frank Kimbrough, Steve Cardenas, Bobby Porcelli, David Berkman, Michael Blake Band, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Eric Reed, Delfayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Pete McCann, and Gregory Tardy. Since 2008, Russell has concentrated his efforts on developing the Trachy/Lacy Collective, which released Lanky (2009) and performed in venues in the United States including Duke University, College of Charleston, Virginia Tech University and most notably the Kennedy Center.
While continuing to perform in New York City, North Carolina and around the United States, Russell has dedicated himself to music education for the past decade. Before moving to New York, he taught private lessons at Carrboro Music Studios. In New York, Russell served on the faculty of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Mark Murphy’s Music. In 2011, Russell returned to Durham to focus on teaching and opening Russell Lacy Music.
Nick earned a full music-performance scholarship to study drums at the University of Miami, where he began his professional career playing with many notable musicians and garnering four DownBeat Magazine student music awards.
After graduating with his BA in Music Performance, Nick returned to New York to follow his dreams with the alternative rock band Morissonpoe. The band signed a deal with guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers and Sumthing Else Music Works. The band had videos on MTV and Xbox360's Perfect Dark Zero.
Since moving to North Carolina, Nick has become a first call for touring Broadway shows, studio sessions, touring and teaching. He proudly endorses Tama Drums, Silver Fox Sticks, Saluda Cymbals, and Remo Heads.
Nick has a passion for instilling in each of his students the core drumming fundamentals of good technique and good time while also exploring the creative side all along the way.
Growing up in Greensboro, Ben Lassiter started playing clarinet in elementary school, switching to guitar at age fifteen. Just a few years after picking up the guitar Ben received the 'Outstanding Soloist' award from his high school Jazz Ensemble.
At Appalachian State University Ben studied music, working with saxophonist Todd Wright and guitarists Andy Page and Dr. Douglas James as well as performing with the ASU big band.
Ben is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University's Masters in Jazz Studies program where he studied with Baron Tymas, Joey Calderazzo, and Dr. Ira Wiggins. He was also a part of the numerous award winning large and small ensembles at NCCU.
An in demand guitarist Ben performs around the Triangle and Triad areas of North Carolina constantly. While being well known as a jazz guitarist Ben's versatility means he can often be heard on gigs of almost any musical genre.
Teaching privately since 2005, Ben has experience working with students of all ages and levels and enjoys broadening students' musical horizons through the study of the guitar's many capabilities.
Tom was raised Holland, Michigan, where music was omnipresent in his childhood. He started on violin as a young child, switched to percussion in grade school, and finally settled on guitar in high school. Directly after high school, Tom served in the U.S. Army on active duty for four years and was a member of the 108th Division Army Band for six years. Tom holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from UNC-Greensboro with an emphasis on jazz.
Tom’s primary teachers have been Mark Mazzatenta, Steven Haines and John Salmon. He has also studied with Bill Hanna, Scott Sawyer, Howard Morgan, Geoff Guthrie, Jonathan Kreisberg, and Tom Quayle.
Tom teaches all levels and all styles of acoustic and electric guitar, developing individualized lesson plans for each student. This approach allows the students to learn the music that most interests them while providing Tom with an opportunity to teach theory, technique, and composition. Tom’s passion for music and teaching is evident in the care he takes with each student’s music education.
Hailing from Hollywood, Florida, James Suter began playing bass when he was thirteen years old. Throughout middle and high school he studied jazz, classical and various pop styles on acoustic and electric bass. He was regularly selected to participate in regional and state-wide honors groups for both classical and jazz acoustic bass and by the time he graduated high school was already performing professional gigs on a regular basis. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in jazz performance at the University of Miami, where he received a full scholarship, James was selected to take part in the first Stamps Jazz Quintet.
James maintains a very active performing career, playing all over the southeast as well as appearing at jazz festivals domestically and internationally. He has recorded two albums with the Stamps Jazz Quintet and has performed with Gary Burton, Chris Potter, Matt Wilson, Dave Holland, Gilad Hekselman, and Buddy Guy.
James has won international recognition for his talents as a bass player. In 2012, he was a finalist in the International Society of Bassists Jazz Solo Competition, and in 2014 he was awarded third prize in the International Bass Convention Jazz Competition.
Since 2011, James has been teaching and mentoring young players on both acoustic and electric bass, placing a strong emphasis on the development of time, feel and sound production.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pianist, composer, teacher, and scholar Michael Trinastic has studied piano since he was five years old with private instruction under Kathleen Murray, Ellen Swan Dixon, and Dolores Lenore.
Michael holds a Ph.D. in composition from Duke University and a Bachelor of Music from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, where he studied piano and composition. His primary composition teachers have been Scott Lindroth, Stephen Jaffe, Syd Hodkinson, Joanne Metcalf, Philippe Bodin, and M. Lee Suitor. Michael's compositions have been played by the Ciompi Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, pianist Tomoko Nakayama, and violinist Jose Bastardes. His first opera, The Yellow Wallpaper, premiered at Duke in March 2012 sung by soprano Aimee Marcoux, to whom it is dedicated.
His recent scholarly work analyzes the piano music of Dane Rudhyar in light of the French-American composer's theories of tone. He currently serves as pianist at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, where his pianistic palette has further expanded from his classical upbringing into the Gospel tradition.
Michael has taught piano for 17 years, including a stint at the Waukesha County Conservatory of Music, where he taught a studio of up to forty students, and classes in music theory and history at Duke.
A native of Florida, Scott Lee started playing piano when he was five. Scott began composing in middle school and in high school began playing jazz and improvising. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University, where he studied with Michael Rose, Michael Slayton, Stan Link, and Michael Kurek. He earned a Master of Music degree at the Peabody institute, where a Philip D. Glass Endowed Scholarship in Composition supported his studies with Michael Hersch. Scott is currently a James B. Duke Fellow at Duke University where he is pursuing his PhD in Composition, mentored by Scott Lindroth and Steve Jaffe.
Scott’s compositions have been performed by the Loadbang Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, Occasional Symphony, yMusic, Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, Oscar Somersalo, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.
Scott’s notable achievements include winning the Vanderbilt University School of Music Composition Competition, receiving the Gustav Klemm Award in composition from the Peabody Institute, and having twice been a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.
Scott adopts a student-centered approach to teaching — allowing students to lead themselves to their own goals while providing the needed guidance to achieve those goals. Whether a student wants to be concert pianist, play in a indy rock band, or accompany themselves on show tunes, students thrive when they are self-motivated.
Ariel Pocock grew up in Seattle literally surrounded by pianos, as both of her parents are professional pianists. She began studying classical piano at age six and then began her jazz studies by age eight. While still in high school she gained recognition from DownBeat magazine, the Kobe-Seattle International Jazz Vocal Competition, and the Essentially Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center. Ariel received her undergraduate degree from University of Miami's Frost School of Music with a concentration in jazz piano. At University of Miami her primary teachers were Shelly Berg and Martin Bejerano.
Pocock has headlined at many notable venues and music festivals, including Ronnie Scott’s London Club, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Stanford Jazz Festival, the Bellevue Jazz Festival and, in July 2015, had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. The Seattle Times has lauded Ariel’s versatility, describing her “true facility for sinewy jazz piano [and] breezy, achingly plain-spoken vocal chops.” Her debut album, Touchstone on Justin Time Records and features Larry Grenadier, Seamus Blake, Eric Harland, and Julian Lage.
Ariel enjoys teaching piano students of all ages and skill levels. Regardless of genre, she works hard to make sure that each lesson includes a balance of strong fundamental piano skills and the development of artistic creativity.
Upon completing her schooling, Jolly moved to Los Angeles, where her career quickly took off. In addition to working with Botti, she began to explore different styles of music, recording with acclaimed songwriters Lowen & Navarro and country artist Bob Woodruff. Jeanne soon found herself being pulled back to her Southern roots, and she started a band in Los Angeles and co-wrote, co-produced, and recorded her first country/Americana EP in 2008.
In 2009, Jeanne moved back to North Carolina where she began to focus on developing her guitar skills, sharpening her solo performance, and writing more of her own songs. In 2010, Jeanne released her new EP, Falling In Carolina. Jeanne has recently joined the Grammy-nominated NC-based group, The Foreign Exchange. She is featured on their live DVD, Dear Friends: An Evening with The Foreign Exchange and contributes vocals to their Authenticity Tour.
Jeanne has maintained a private voice studio since finishing graduate school and has trained singers in all genres to much success.
Saxophone, Clarinet & Flute
Matt Douglas is a jazz saxophone and woodwinds player who floats back and forth between the jazz pack and the world of singer/songwriters. After graduating from New York University’s jazz program, Matt wandered off to Central Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship to study Hungarian folk music and began writing his own indie-pop songs.
After two years of escapism, Matt headed to Raleigh, where he formed The Proclivities. The group released its first album Predispositions (2006) to rave reviews. In 2007, The Proclivities recorded a soundtrack for an independent film called Coney Island (Blackwater Films), and in 2008 they released their masterpiece, Handguns & Dancing Shoes.
In 2009, Matt joined up with country legend Caitlin Cary to form The Small Ponds; they released their first album on Last Chance Records in 2010. Matt has shared the stage with Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, Ani Difranco, Bobby Bare Jr., The Old Ceremony, American Aquarium, Hammer No More The Fingers, Anton Sword, Laura Cortese, Stephen Kellogg, and many more. Matt can be heard as a guest artist on Josh Ritter’s The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Sony), Mark Erelli’s Delivered (Signature Sounds), and on Erin McKeown’s most recent release Hundreds of Lions (Righteous Babe).
When Matt is not on the road touring, he can be found teaching at Russell Lacy Music where he brings 10 years of private instruction experience and inspiration.
Learning to perform before an audience is an important component of music education. We strongly encourage all students to develop two contrasting pieces to perform at the annual recital in late May — a technical etude and a piece they select from their own repertoires.
Our ensemble program matches up students of similar age and ability, allowing them to create music in a group setting. Adult students are welcome to participate in our adult band program. Instructors guide the bands as they choose songs and rehearse material while learning to listen and work cooperatively. The semester-long program culminates with one of the highlights of the semester — a performance by all the bands at a local venue!
We offer this program in the fall and spring for the entire semester. In the summer, we offer intensive band camps, including include a full week of band rehearsals to prepare for a final performance.
Fall 2014 Group Classes
Group classes offer a unique opportunity to expand on topics covered in private lessons.
Faculty teach in their areas of expertise, exploring topics such as:
Like the ensemble program, group classes are semester long in the fall and spring.
Russell Lacy Music is pleased to offer the services of a certified, experienced music therapist, Bonnie Kirk. Music therapy addresses the developmental, emotional, psychological and social needs of children and adults through active music-making. In addition to activating, inspiring, and stimulating emotional expression, music relaxes, calms the nervous system and is helpful in restoring internal balance, allowing students to connect to themselves and to others.
Private music therapy classes, like all private lessons at RLM, are structured to best suit the student's needs. Most importantly, music therapy at RLM is fun with a caring teacher who wants to share the joys of making music. Private music therapy classes are at the same rates and terms as all other private music lessons at RLM.
Russell Lacy Music holds a singular and unwavering focus on helping our students become the best musicians they can be. We don't sell instruments or offer dance classes: we are passionate about teaching music — it's what we do.
We also know that music is made of two distinct parts: Craft & Art.
Craft is the way you hold your instrument and move your hands; it's the scale you use to improvise over a particular chord. Mastering craft allows you to to sight-read a piece of music and to listen to a recording and play it right away by ear. The Russell Lacy Music faculty has the rigorous training and commitment to craft to ensure that every student obtains a strong foundation.
Art is something else: it is the intangible feeling that made you want to play music in the first place. At Russell Lacy Music, none of us has ever forgotten what initially drew us to music, and we want to make sure that you never forget what inspires you.
$42 per 45 minute lesson
$56 per 60 minute lesson
If stopping lessons please give notice by the 15th of the month and you will be removed the schedule and auto-pay plan for the upcoming month.
Gift certificates are available to purchase in any monetary amount to be used towards private, ensemble or group classes.
To purchase a gift certificate please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we do not offer refunds for missed lessons, one missed lesson per month can be made up if
All students regardless of age or level should bring an assignment book to every lesson. A spiral-bound notebook will suffice, but a book of music manuscript paper is preferred.
All students should also have a metronome. There are many good metronome apps available for the iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch and Android devices. If you don't have one of these devices this Korg MA-30 is a good choice
For beginner students, please consult the following Amazon lists to purchase everything you will need (except for the instrument) for starting lessons.