Private Teacher Information

  • Use of District Facilities - How To Become an Approved Fine Arts Private Lessons Instructor

    Many of our teachers teach in the orchestra room after school. Please feel free to contact them!

    Violin / Viola 

    Shirley Astwood
    (713) 305-8734 

    Shirley Astwood graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Fort Hays State University, Kansas, and holds a Master’s Degree in violin performance from Texas Tech University.  After 28 years of teaching orchestra at the middle school and high school levels in Kansas and Texas, Shirley retired.  She remains an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Music Adjudicators Association.  She serves as an educational consultant/clinician for orchestra programs in the Klein, Conroe, Pasadena, Cy-Fair and Humble school districts. 

    Mrs. Astwood has extensive Suzuki method training, having worked with both Barbara Barber and Judy Offman.  She has taught private lessons for students of all ages from pre-school to the junior college level.  Her experience in the public schools enables her to formulate a study approach for each student that will enable them to be successful in their school orchestra programs, regions auditions, solo contests and enjoy their school orchestra music experiences to the fullest.

    Mrs. Astwood was a principal player with the Lubbock Symphony, and served as Concertmistress of the Pasadena Philharmonic, Kingwood Pops, and Kingwood Camerata orchestras.  She and her husband Michael travelled with the Pops Orchestra on their 2008 European tour.  Shirley currently plays in and manages the Kingwood United Methodist Church Orchestra and is concertmistress of Symphony North of Houston.

    In January of 2008, Fidelity Investments, in its partnership with the Houston Symphony, named Shirley the recipient of its 2008 Fidelity FutureStage  Award for Outstanding Music Educators (Strings).

    Stephanie Bork

    Stephanie Bork, violin, fell in love with the violin at the age of three and has been studying violin ever since.  She studied most recently at the University of Michigan, where she received Masters of Music in violin under the teaching of Aaron Berofsky.  Before that, she received her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Piotr Milewski.  Stephanie has enjoyed extensive orchestral experience, including the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.  She has also been a finalist in an audition for the Toledo Symphony, a semi-finalist for the Houston Grand Opera, and won a position in the Virginia Symphony orchestra.  She currently subs with the Houston Grand Opera.  Stephanie has been teaching both private and group violin lessons for ten years, with students ranging from three years old to adult.  A number of Stephanie’s students have won competitions and auditions.  Her goal in teaching is to give her students the tools they need to be the best violinists and violists they can be, and to instill a love of music into each of them.

    Grace Granata

    Ms. Granata received her high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy and a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Indiana University.  Her teache rs include:  Bernard Goldsmith, Joseph Gingold, Robert Vernon, Paul Biss, Lawrence Shapiro and Henrich Kowalski.  She has been employed not only as an orchestra director but as a professional orchestral violinist with the following organizations: Second Baptist Church of Houston, Opera in the Heights, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Ohio Ballet and Opera Orchestras, Columbus Symphony, Omaha Symphony,  Belling ham Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival.  While a member of the Bellingham Chamber Orchestra, Ms Granata toured extensively throughout Europe with performances in Vienna, Berlin, Salzburg, Prague, Switzerland and France.  In Cleveland, Ohio she performed the Mozart Concertant with the Cleveland Institute Chamber Orchestra.  Her freelance career includes performances with Rod Stewart, Steve and Eydie Gorme, Manheim Steamroller, Ray Charles, Barry White, Moody Blues and Barry Manilow.  Ms. Granata completed Suzuki Teacher Training and pedagogical study with Carol Dalinger, head of Music Education and Suzuki Training at Evansville University and Judy Offman of Houston.   Ms. Granata has held teaching positions at the University of South Dakota and Wintergreen.  Music Festival.  There she coached chamber music and taught violin and viola.  She was an elementary school Suzuki teacher for 10 years.  Ms. Granata has had a private violin and viola studio for over 30 years.

    Jim McLeland

    Mr. McLeland holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD where he studied with Berl Senofsky, the only American Violinist to have ever won the most demanding International Violin Competition, The Queen Elizabeth Competition, in Brussels, Belgium.  Mr. McLeland also holds a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance from Miami University of Ohio and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree (ABD) from the University of Houston, having served as a teaching assistant at both institutions.

    James McLeland has appeared as soloist with several orchestras throughout the United States, performing works by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Wieniawski, Kachaturian, Barber, Saint Saens, Bach, Vivaldi, and Sarasate.   In addition to serving for four years as Violin Soloist with the United States Marine Band Chamber Orchestra (The White House Orchestra) during the Reagan administration, he has served as Concertmaster of the Arkansas and Lake Charles Symphony Orchestras, served as Assistant Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, and Principal Second Violin of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.  Mr. McLeland has also performed with the Bedford Springs, Brevard, Great Music West, and Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestras, having doubled viola at the latter.

    As a teacher, Mr. McLeland has held Artist Teacher positions at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, McNeese State University, and the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC.  He has also been a chamber music coach for the Texas Music Festival in Houston, TX.

    Currently, Mr. McLeland remains active as a performer, teacher, and orchestra clinician throughout the Greater Houston Region and beyond.  He serves as Concertmaster for Choral and Opera productions at Houston Baptist University, as well as the St. Laurence Chamber Singers in Sugar Land, TX.  Additionally, he is the First Violinist with the Dave Zeger String Quartet and Chamber Orchestra, to include work as a conductor and arranger.

    Mr. McLeland has maintained a private teaching studio at his home in Kingwood, TX for the past fifteen years.  He has produced the highest ranking Texas All-State Orchestra participant on violin from Humble ISD to date (third).  Three of his students have won Outstanding Soloist Awards at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Festival.  Both his violin and viola students regularly win auditions to include the concertmaster or principal chairs for their region orchestras as well as positions with the local Houston Youth Orchestras.  It is not uncommon that his entire studio receives First Division Ratings at the Region Solo and Ensemble Festival.  Additionally, Mr. McLeland’s students have won scholarship offers to schools throughout the United States including the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.


    Scott Card*

    Scott Card is Principal Cellist with The Opera in the Heights and is starting his 29th year of private studio teaching. In addition to active freelancing, he maintains a private cello studio in the Conroe, Klein and Humble school districts. Mr. Card has been on the faculty of Lamar University in Texas, Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma and Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina. He has been principal cellist of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra and assistant principal of The Victoria Symphony. Prior to moving to the Houston area, he was a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic cello section.Mr. Card has been the recipient of an Aspen Music Center Fellowship, in addition to being a part of the American-Russian Youth Orchestra and Chautauqua music festivals. He was a Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas for three years.Mr. Card received a Masters of Music from the University of North Texas and a Bachelors of Music with emphasis on Music Education from Ohio State University. His major teachers include Carter Enyeart, Alan Harris, William Conable, Jeffrey Solow and Neal Cary.

    Dede Rogers*

    Attended North Texas State University now known as the University of North Texas. Received a BS in Music Education. Studied cello at North Texas with Dr Odolfo Odnoposoff. Was a member of the North Texas Symphony orchestra. Also a member of the North Texas cello choir and toured internationally with the group. Taught public school music for 13 years and private lessons for over 20 years. Former principal cellist for the Kingwood Pops orchestra for over 10 years. Former principal cellist for the Kingwood Camerata orchestra for 2 years. Current cellist for the Camerata String Quartet. 


    Carlos Gavira*

    Carlos Gaviria currently serves on the faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University where he teaches Double Bass and Music Theory. He previously taught at the University of Houston and the University of North Texas. A native of Cali, Colombia, Carlos began his musical education at the Conservatorio Antonio Maria Valencia. While in Cali, Mr. Gaviria was a member of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle.

    Gaviria came to the United States on a scholarship to study at the University of North Texas, where he completed the B.M. and M.M. While at UNT, he worked as a teaching assistant to the world-renowned bass teacher Jeff Bradetich. He is currently a doctoral candidate in double bass performance at the University of Houston, where he studies with Dennis Whittaker.

    Gaviria is currently a member of Symphony of South East Texas and has performed regularly with many ensembles, including the symphony orchestras of Abilene, Irving, and Plano. He also has been a member of festival orchestras, including the AIMS orchestra in Graz, Austria, Cali de Camara in Colombia, and the Texas Music Festival Orchestra.

    Gaviria is a dedicated pedagogue and was active as a bass instructor in the Dallas and Houston areas for several years; many of his students have been placed in All-State orchestras and have gone on to be accepted into music programs at major American universities. He has taught at the Abilene Summer Music Festival and at the Bradetich Annual Summer Bass Camps since 2009, and he has presented master classes at UT Panamerican and Universidad del Valle in Colombia. He currently resides in Kingwood, where he maintains a full private teaching studio.