Meet Our Instructors

August Bailey (Owner, Piano)

August Bailey began developing his love for music as a young child and has been playing and performing piano for 32 years.  He studied classical piano privately under the instruction of Peggy Fransen in Kenner, Louisiana from a very young age and participated in numerous competitions and festivals.  In 1995, he attended the University of Memphis on scholarship and studied Jazz/Pop performance under the direction of Dr. Larry Edwards.  He was the primary piano/keyboard player for Sound Fuzion, a jazz and pop ensemble endorsed by The University of Memphis music department.  In 2007, he attended Southeastern Louisiana University and studied piano performance under the direction of Dr. David Evenson.  A member of MTNA and LMTA, August has been teaching piano privately in the Mandeville area for 5 years and has instructed students who have participated in talented music programs, as well as NOCCA.

          Kristina Dale (Voice, Piano,                 A Cappella)

Kristina Dale began developing her love for music at a very young age and has been performing ever since.  In 2010, she attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she studied classical voice under the instruction of Dr. Stephen Rushing and received her Bachelor's degree in vocal performance.  During her time at Southeastern. Krisitna participated in numerous musical productions and operas.  She made her debut in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (Ensemble) and has also appeared in the Pirates of Penzance (Mable), The Magic Flute (First Lady), The Light in the Piazza (Ensemble), Cendrillon (Cendrillon), It's Only Life: A Musical Revue, Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy), La Perichole (Anita), and Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett).  In 2013, she was a featured soloist alongside Broadway actor/singer ivan Rutherford in Les miserables concert accompanied by Southeastern LA University's Wind Symphony.  The following year she presented and performed a new English version of Pauline Viardot's Cendrillon at the National Opera Association Convention in Manhattan, NY.  Mrs. Dale has been teaching privately on the Northshore for 2 years and is very excited to be a part of The Music Academy!

Christine Cumming (Piano and Voice)

Christine Cumming has been involved in music since the age of five.  She attended Centenary College of Louisiana and studied piano under the direction of Cathy DeRoussee attaining her bachelor’s degree in music education in May 2011.  As a missionary, Christine taught piano lessons and music classes in Morogoro, Tanzania.  She currently teaches piano and voice locally and is the director of the K – 2nd grade children’s choir at St. Timothy’s.   

Jennifer Aldana (Piano)

Jennifer Aldana attended Southeastern Louisiana University on scholarship and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music (Piano Performance) in 2002. She studied with Dr. David Evenson, Music Department Head of SLU. Awarded a full scholarship and a graduate assistantship, she continued her studies with Dr. Evenson and completed her Master’s degree in Music (Piano Performance) from SLU, in 2005. For two years as a graduate assistant, she taught group piano classes to undergraduate music majors. Jennifer began teaching private piano lessons independently at the age of 17 and went on to teach at SLU's Community Music School when she was working on her Bachelor’s degree. She has served as a piano teacher at the Music Academy from 2005-2007 and again from 2009 to the present. She has taught private, partner and group lessons to children and adults of all levels. In addition to working at the Music Academy, Jennifer also serves as part-time faculty at Delgado community college teaching a Music Appreciation class to undergraduate students, and as a substitute pianist and accompanist for local churches.

Justice Buras (Woodwind, Brass, Percussion)

Justice Buras has been involved with instrumental music for many years involving both performing and teaching.  He received his bachelors of Music Education in Instrumental Music from Loyola University of New Orleans where he performed with the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Band and Symphony.  He attended University of Southern Mississippi where earned a Masters of Education in        Administration.  Justice currently teaches Band and General Music at Abita Springs Middle School and has served as a guest conductor for summer programs like The Premieres.  Many of his current and former students have been    accepted into various honor groups such as        All-State Honor Band and Greater New Orleans  Youth Orchestra, and have received awards and scholarships.  He is currently available to teach any woodwind, brass and percussion              instrument.

Miranda Buras (Music Therapy, Strings)

Miranda Buras received a Bachelor of Music Therapy (violin focus) with a minor in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans. She completed her internship at Austin State Hospital, where she provided daily group music therapy sessions to children, adolescents, geriatric, dual diagnosed, long and short term adult clients. She also has experience working with preschool children, adults with dementia, adults and children with Mental Retardation/Autism, and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Miranda is a Board Certified Music Therapist and is currently practicing in Louisiana.

Maggie Probst (Piano, Voice)

Maggie Probst is a passionate musician from Louisiana devoted to teaching, performing, learning, and creating. She graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music in both Piano and Vocal Performance. She is currently working on her Master of Music in Voice at Loyola University New Orleans, studying with Ellen Frohnmayer. Maggie spent much of her childhood in a small company town in Indonesia and began teaching piano lessons there at the age of thirteen. As an undergraduate student, she began also instructing students invoice. Currently, she teaches about twenty-five students spread throughout the New Orleans area. As the Director of Music at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Metairie, Louisiana, Maggie Probst conducts the choir, band, and bell choir, and plans and directs concerts and musicals. She also performs a few times a year as a member of the New Orleans Opera Association Chorus.

Patrick Kerber (Guitar)

Patrick Kerber holds performance degrees from Loyola University and the University of New Orleans. His studies also include two years of study as a private scholarship student with Pepe Romero in San Diego. Guitarist Patrick Kerber has been performing as a solo recitalist on stage, radio, and television for over twenty years. He has performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and has been a repeat soloist with the Louisiana Sinfonietta and the New Orleans Civic Symphony. Mr. Kerber is also sought after as a recital accompanist, having performed with such artists as John Tyson, Michelle Kemp, and Emily Truckenbrod. He has taught at the University of New Orleans, Xavier University, the internationally recognized New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and currently is on the faculty of Southeastern Louisiana University. Though most of his students come from the southeastern United States, Mr. Kerber has attracted students from South America and Europe, and competition prizes are numerous.

Cara Williams (Piano, Voice)

Cara Williams began studying piano at the age of ten.  She holds a Bachelor of Music with Honors in Vocal Performance from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Arizona State University.   She also attended NOCCA and OperaWorks, a professional development program based in Los Angeles. She has studied voice with Martha Thigpen Denison, Alissa Mercurio Rowe, Maryann Kyle, and Judy May. She has taken first place in numerous competitions throughout the region and frequently appears as a soprano soloist.  An active performer, Cara was most recently seen as Anna in Covington Playmakers production of The King and I. Previous roles include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marian in The Music Man, and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  She is scheduled to perform with the New Orleans Opera Association in their 2014-2015 season.  Cara most recently taught at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts, where she was named Teacher of the Year. She loves sharing her experience and knowledge and takes great joy in fostering a love of music and performance in her students. She offers additional coaching in acting and audition training.

Benjamin Smith (Brass, Woodwinds, Music Theory, Composition)

Benjamin Smith has been a professional musician and vocalist for over 50 years. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Loyola University in New Orleans, LA and did      graduate work at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the first Loyola University Jazz Band, winner of the 1967 Mobile Jazz Festival and the 1963 Louisiana Allstate Band. Ben has         performed with a huge array of professionals    including, Doc Severinsen, Bob Hope, Lou Rawls, The Letterman, James Brown, Dukes of Dixieland,  Lawerence Welk Orchestra and The Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockheart. He was a staff musician for Walt Disney World, Florida from 1977 to 1986. He received a 1999 Grammy nomination for his work on the Dukes of Dixieland's "Gloryland" recording. Ben has taught Music Theory, Composition and Arranging along with Instrumental Music privately for many years.


Matthew Spears (Guitar)

Matt has been playing guitar for 17 years.  As an accomplished classical guitarist, Matt has spent his time performing as a soloist in numerous guitar concertos. Matt attended Southeastern Louisiana University and focused on two disciplines, classical guitar under the instruction of Patrick Kerber, and jazz guitar under the instruction of Hank Mackie.  During his time spent at Southeastern Louisiana University, he was a member of a well-established guitar quartet which was invited to play at USC, ULL, and McNeese.  The quartet was also invited to play for Pepe Romero, a world-renowned classical and flamenco guitarist. 

Dana Arthur (Vocal, Piano)

Dana Arthur has studied classical piano for twelve years, competing in competitions at Loyola University, Southeastern Louisiana University, and in various areas in southern Louisiana, medaling in the first three places in several events including L.M.T.A. Rally, sonata, and romantic/contemporary programs. After receiving a vocal scholarship, Dana attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she studied classical voice and piano, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance in May 2015. She competed and placed in both the Southern Regional N.A.T.S. and Louisiana State N.A.T.S. as a finalist. Dana has sung in church choirs as a professional and scholarship vocalist along with currently serving as a cantor for masses, services, weddings, funerals, and vocalist/pianist for private events. She has performed onstage in opera/musical theatre productions including It’s Only Life – A New Musical Revue, La Perichole  (Frasquinella), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Beggar Woman/Lucy), and Southeastern’s: Opera by the Slice (soloist). Having performed in many musical forums, Dana's appearances have included full length solo concerts, recitals, and featured performances, one notably serving as a featured soloist performing Giuseppe Verdi's, "O don fatale," with members of the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Dana is a singer/songwriter with years of previous and current experience that started in her teen years with working in the studio on original material and session keyboard work for other musicians. To date, she has recorded and produced two full length albums of original material and has had her work aired on U.S. and European radio.