Magnolia Music Studio offers highly-trained, experienced artist faculty who teach a variety of instruments. All faculty have music degrees or university music study and are active professional performers. Master Teachers have advanced degrees and 15+ years experience.

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Cynthia Vaughn

Instruments: Master Teacher Voice & Studio Owner

Master Teacher Cynthia Vaughn has more than 30 years private studio and university teaching experience. Cynthia helps singers gain technical skill, vocal expression,  style, and confidence. She has compassion and a joy for teaching that encompasses singers at all levels and ages.

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Grant Bierschbach

Instruments: Cello & Piano      

Grant Bierschbach, a Tri-Cities native, has been playing cello for 20 years. He performs regularly with regional ensembles, including the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Walla Walla Symphony and Oregon East Symphony.                            


Emily Brown

Instruments: Voice & Piano

Emily Smith Brown, soprano, earned her Bachelor of Music Degree at Eastern Oregon University in 2015 with an emphasis in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance and a Minor in Theatre Arts. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Emily has been teaching private voice and piano lessons to students of all ages since 2011.


 Athena Fritz

Instruments: Violin, Viola, & Piano

Athena has been playing viola for 18 years, after starting as a violinist. She plays viola with Mic-Columbia Symphony. Athena studied music at Washington State University and Columbia Basin College, including orchestral, choral, winds, percussion, jazz and theory. She is a member of Tri-Cities Music Teachers Association and her strings students play in school orchestras and MC Youth Symphony.






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Instruments: Master Teacher Piano, Traveling Teacher only

 Master Teacher Carissa Pitkin is a Richland native, who recently returned to Tri-Cities and is very active in local arts. Ms. Pitkin is accepting a limited number of beginning to advanced students for in-home lessons beginning Winter Semester 2018. She has taught piano and music history since 2004 and has held teaching positions at the University of Cincinnati-College-Conservatory of Music and The International School of Music (ISM) in Bethesda, Maryland. 

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Heather Hull Hart

Instruments: Master Teacher Voice, Violin, & Piano

Master Teacher Heather Hull Hart is an accomplished music instructor, choral director, pianist, violinist, vocalist, and musical director, with over 25 years of professional music experience. She earned a Master of Music (MM) degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, and a BA in Music (Violin and Piano) from Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho, and was accepted into the doctoral program at U.W.'s School of Music.


skyler Mendell

Instruments: Trumpet

Skyler Mendell is a dedicated music educator and trumpet player. He has been playing the trumpet for 13 years. He holds Music Education and Music Performance degrees from the University of Idaho, where he graduated in 2015. Currently, he teaches full time at Kiona-Benton City High School in Benton City, Washington. 





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Instruments: Voice (individual), Guitar Class (small group)

Mr. Wagnon is a music educator, conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and vocal soloist. He is a choral director and guitar class teacher in the Kennewick School District.  Scott Wagnon is available for individual voice lessons (all levels) and beginning guitar lessons.

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Instruments: Piano/Jazz Piano

Washington State musician, Joshua Lindberg, is both an educator and avid performer.  He graduated with his Master of Music degree from Eastern Washington University in 2017.  Lindberg also has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Eastern Washington University.  While attending EWU, his teachers included Dr. Jody Graves, piano; and Dr. Don Goodwin, conducting.  Lindberg’s previous teachers include Patti Robertson and Steve Haberman.

As a classical pianist, Lindberg has competed in and won several music completions.  At the MusicFest Northwest Festival in 2011, Lindberg was awarded the Gold metal for his performance of Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 in the collegiate concerto division.  Additionally, Lindberg played clarinet in the EWU Wind Ensemble, jazz piano in the Repertory Jazz Ensemble, sang Tenor in the Symphonic Choir, and served as the Drum Major of the Eagle Marching band.  He was the Co-President of the EWU Collegiate MTNA Chapter (2013-2015).  Recently he has been the rehearsal and performance pianist for the Spokane Civic Theater, Mid-Columbia Musical Theater, and Columbia Basin College Summer Showcase.

Lindberg has maintained an active piano studio in Kennewick, Washington and served as head piano teacher of the Columbia Music School from 2007-2009.  Currently, Lindberg is the Director of Choir and Piano Lab Teacher at Kennewick High School.


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Instruments: Flute

Emily James holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from Ithaca College, where she studied flute with Kelly Covert, Kristin Bacciocchi-Stewart, and Dr. Wendy Mehne. Locally, she has played with the Walla Walla Symphony, Walla Walla Valley Bands, and The Little Theater. Her performances are often improvisatory jams with local musicians spanning genres such as classical, jazz, rock, and world music. She played flute, keyboards, and backup vocals in the folk-rock bank Galloway until 2011. In addition to teaching students to read music and play beautifully, Emily's teaching style encourages improvisation, playing by ear, and learning to trust one’s own musical creativity. She is currently studying with Registered Piano Technician David Tarnowski to learn the art of tuning, repairing and regulating pianos. Emily works as a stage manager for the Walla Walla Symphony and a youth choir administrator for the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers.

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Instruments: Voice

Magnolia Music Studio-RiverWalk is delighted to welcome Abigail Bennett Carterby (Mezzo Soprano) to our voice faculty beginning FALL 2018! Mrs. Bennett Carterby has been performing and studying classical voice for 9 years, Including extensive study with tenor Karl E. Hedlund. Abigail is an active performer in classical and contemporary pop/rock styles. In the Tri-Cities, Abigail's performances include Desert Tones, Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, and Mid Columbia Musical Theatre. Her favorite theatre credits include Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family/MCMT), Liesl Von Trapp (The Sound of Music/MCMT), and Jemima (Cats/MCMT). Abigail attended Columbia Basin College in 2014, studying vocal performance and music theory. She is currently pursuing a degree in Education with an Emphasis in Special Education. She also has worked locally with both Pasco and Kennewick School districts, specializing in the Special Services department. 

In vocal lessons, Abigail Carterby focuses on technique, posture, vocal health, building confidence, and creating good vocal habits. Abigail teaches all ages Youth-Teen-Adult and classical to contemporary styles. Abigail also enjoys helping students to prepare for auditions and competitions such as Solo & Ensemble Festival. When she is not performing or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their fur babies.

"Every student is full of wonderful potential. I believe in setting individualized goals for each of my students and helping them to build confidence." -Abigail Bennett Carterby