Private Music Instruction

In addition to classroom music and choral instruction, Nueva students in the Lower and Middle Schools can participate in our outstanding instrumental-music program. Nationally recognized professional musicians from around the Bay Area offer individual instruction on many musical instruments and disciplines, including violin, piano, guitar, flute, drums, voice, and electric bass. (This program will be expanded to the Upper School.)

Student instrumentalists who demonstrate a high degree of musical potential, competency, and talent are eligible for the audition-based Menuhin-Dowling program, in which students can go deeper into the study and practice of classical music performance.

Click on an instrument below to learn more about the teachers and make sure to email them to schedule a lesson.

Music Teacher Profiles


Jim Munzenrider

Percussion Instructor
Jim Munzenrider has been teaching music at Nueva since 2002. Jim created an innovative steel drum program that has become a part of the culture of Nueva from grades 1 to 12. In addition, he teaches ensembles of fifth- and sixth-grade musicians in classes as well as the Roots of Rhythm elective (Cuban/African and Brazilian drumming).

Jim has been teaching private drum and percussion lessons for over 40 years. Prior to Nueva, Jim toured the US with the group Pan Ramajay as an artist in residence working with steelbands at the university level. Jim holds a BA in classical percussion performance from Eastern Washington University and an MA in classical percussion performance from San Jose State University.


Electric Bass

Jason Muscat 

Jason was born in the Bay Area and has lived in San Francisco since he was 11 years old. He started playing bass when he was 14. He saved his pennies from a part-time job to buy his first bass from a JCPenney catalog. It didn't take long for him to develop a passion for the bass and an awareness that he needed a better axe!!! Jason developed his skills in band class where he won the school music award two years in a row. He graduated from Sacred Heart Cathedral College Preparatory and attended SF State University. Excited to explore a career in music, Jason studied for two years with Rick Giovinatso, student of Jeff Berlin. He then studied for six months with Michael Wilcox. Jason has been playing professionally since 1990. During those 28 years, he has performed and recorded with Tim Herb Alexander (Primus), Alex Skolnick (Michael Manring, Testament), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Atma Anur (Journey), Will Bernard (Motherbug, T.J. Kirk), and Roy Thomas Baker (producer for Queen and The Cars).

Jason spends most his time teaching bass in the San Francisco and performing with Tainted Love, the hottest 80's band in the country. He also performs with local greats Diz Dismore, Jeff Massanari, Wally Schanlle, Ray Sayre, Jimmy Sage, Cory Combs, Drew Waters, Lorn Leber, Russ Gold, Julie Homi, Jeff Marrs, Wil Blades, and Adam Shulman. Jason is the bassist for City Church in San Francisco, under the direction of Karl Digerness.



Lynne Herrick

While working in Latin America as a cultural attaché for the US Foreign Service, Lynne Herrick won by international competition the opportunity to study guitar with Andrés Segovia and Carlos Montoya. From this she realized a major career change and her true joy in life, "to teach others a love of music through the guitar." In the 1980s she was asked to initiate a guitar program at the Nueva School, and shortly thereafter she became the first guitar instructor chosen for the Yehudi Menuhin Scholars Program.

In addition to having a full teaching schedule, Lynne finds time to perform and compose for documentary and animated films, television and radio commercials, NPR, and many studio session recordings. She is as interested and adept in classical guitar as in the many other styles of guitar playing. She was mentored in fingerstyle guitar by Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and "Rambling Jack" Elliott of Woody Guthrie fame. She maintains her international connections by serving as a board member of two major music festivals in Great Britain, as well as instructor and curriculum advisor for the government school of music in Mexico, Las Bellas Artes.


Scott Cmiel

Scott Cmiel is well known as a teacher of highly accomplished young people. His students have won many local, regional, and national awards and have been featured on national radio and television. His teaching has been praised by some of the guitar world's most outstanding artists, including Benjamin Verdery, chair of the guitar program at Yale University, who wrote: “I've had the honor and pleasure of teaching students of Scott Cmiel for many years at my annual master class on the island of Maui, and as regular students in the guitar program at Yale. I've been awestruck by the joy, dedication, and high level of musical and technical expertise Scott's students bring to their art. Their performances are consistently imbued with a wonderful sense of confidence and accomplishment beyond their years. Scott Cmiel is one of the world's foremost guitar pedagogues.” Scott is also on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he is chair of the Preparatory Division Guitar Department.



Eva-Maria Zimmermann

Eva-Maria Zimmermann has appeared as a soloist in Europe and the United States, offering performances that are “breathtakingly intense” and “passionate and deeply expressive.” A graduate with highest honors from the conservatories of Geneva and Bern, Eva-Maria has studied with Dominique Merlet, György Sebök, and Leonard Hokanson among others. Eva-Maria is also half of the Grammy-nominated piano duet ZOFO (

Eva-Maria has had the privilege of teaching at the Nueva School since 2002. She has found a fertile middle ground encompassing both teaching and performing, discovering that they inspire each other greatly. Eva-Maria spent her early childhood in Indonesia, where her parents were Peace Corps workers. Being exposed to different cultures and languages from very early on has greatly enhanced her understanding of diverse styles of music and art. Eva-Maria believes that music builds bridges, broadens horizons, and removes the walls around our souls. For her it is this vulnerability that creates the power of music. Eva-Maria is also a mother of three daughters and lives in San Francisco.


Juliet McComas

Juliet McComas grew up in a musical family and began her piano studies at the age of six. At eight, she had performed on a television program for WBAL Baltimore. She was 13 when she made her professional debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a series of four concerts.

Juliet holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Her principal teacher was Dr. Konrad Wolff. She has also coached with such eminent pianists as Leon Fleisher, Karl Ulrich Schnabel (NY and SF), Lilian Kallir (Aspen Music Festival) and Richard Goode. In addition to a second appearance with the Baltimore Symphony, Juliet has performed with the Oakland Chamber Orchestra, the SF Chamber Players, the Artea Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Northwest, and the Fort Worth Symphony. Awards include the Alexander Sklarevski Award for Outstanding Achievement in Piano, a four-time winner of the Dr. Jess Shenson Artist Grant, winner of the PianoTexas International Academy Concerto Competition, and an alternate finalist in the Seattle International Piano Festival.

Juliet has been teaching the piano since the age of 12. She previously taught at Peabody Conservatory of Music, Towson State University, and the SF Community Music Center. She has been on the faculty of the Nueva School since 2000. Juliet considers the whole student in order to design an effective and thorough course of study to suit their needs.

Juliet will soon be releasing a two-disc set of piano music entitled “A Musical Retrospective.” For more information, please visit her website.


Mandy Chiu 

Mandy holds a Master of Music in piano performance from Boston University and has played for Boston Ballet School, Houston Ballet Company, American Ballet Theater School, and Alvin Ailey in New York. She also collaborates with various artists including Dr. Anthony Doheny and Kevin Yu, performing chamber and duo concerts in major cities such as Manhattan, Boston, Houston, Sydney, and Taipei, and in California.

Mandy serves on the faculties of Nueva, Crowden Music Center in Berkeley, and CSMA in Mountain View. She draws from her 20 years of teaching experience and her diverse musical training to create a teaching style that is supportive yet disciplined, inspiring students with a love of music. She tailors lessons to individual needs and introduces fundamental technique through the classical repertoire. Students especially appreciate her clear instructions, patience, and dedication.

Testimonials for Mandy 

“My daughter Leah began taking piano lessons with Mandy when she just turned 5. The progress she’s made in the 18 months since is, to my mind, amazing. She has even begun to recognize and toy with abstract concepts like harmonization and the structure of musical phrases. The key to my daughter’s success and enthusiasm is Mandy, with her infectious commitment to the piano on the one hand and her playfulness and easy rapport with children on the other. Lessons are always fun, and yet a lot is also accomplished. And when it comes to practicing, my daughter is motivated not only because she adores Mandy but also because she has internalized the respect for music and the piano that Mandy models.”

—Arnold Franklin, Associate Professor of History, Queens College N.Y.

Sally Northcutt 

Sally’s background includes training with Jacob Lateiner and Nadia Boulanger, and specialized studies in movement awareness, ease of technique, and psychology applied to piano pedagogy. She has performed as soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist in the greater Bay Area and has been on the Nueva faculty since 2001. She has a BA in music from San Jose State and an MA in psychology from Antioch University. Sally especially enjoys customizing lessons to each student’s choice of genre and repertoire and challenging them to create effective practice strategies to master their pieces. Find Sally on LinkedIn.

Testimonials for Sally

“Sally Northcutt is an accomplished pianist and an enthusiastic, creative, and compassionate teacher, whose dedication and high standards are evidenced by the performance of her students.” —Jerri Witt, SF Conservatory Faculty.



Sin-Tung Chiu (violin)

Sin-Tung won prizes in violin and chamber music in Hong Kong at the age of 12 as a student of Chung-On Chan. He is an alumnus of Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School (where his teachers included Dorothy DeLay, Ivan Galamian, Felix Galimir, Robert Mann, and Claus Adam), Teachers College of Columbia University, Meadowmount Summer School of Music, and the Aspen Music Festival.

As a founding violinist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City, Sin-Tung performed in its concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and participated in its tours nationally and around the world, which included two US State Department sponsorships.

Sin-Tung’s other honors and appearances are numerous and include serving as music consultant to the documentary film of the 1977 Van Cliburn Quadrennial International Piano Competition. Recent performances include collaborations and recitals in Hong Kong and Australia. He frequently performs in local solo and sonata recitals with pianist and Nueva alumnus Dmitriy Cogan, with whom he has performed since 1993.

Sin-Tung teaches privately and is on the violin faculty of Community Music Center (CMC) since 1988 and Nueva since 1991, serving also as director of the Nueva String Ensemble since 2005. He enjoys teaching students of all ages, introducing them to the world of classical music and the performing arts.

Sin-Tung became an American citizen in New York in 1972 and established his home in San Francisco in 1988.



Catherine Doyle

Catherine Doyle (Cathy) received her Bachelor of Music Education from Westminster Choir College and pursued graduate studies at Cambridge University, England, where she specialized in treble-voice music, working with John Rutter, Stephen Cleobury, and Sir George Guest. She has performed with the Syracuse Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic, and sung with Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Robert Shaw. She studied form and analysis with noted San Francisco violinist and composer David Sheinfeld, himself a student of Respighi.

Cathy has prepared choruses and soloists for the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Masterworks Chorale, and Stanford Symphonic Chorus. She has worked with students of all ages in public and private school settings. In 1994, she founded the Peninsula Girls Chorus, serving as artistic director for 18 years, then as director of alumnae for another three, building the organization from 11 singers into a valuable community resource serving over 240 girls and young women. She has worked with Silicon Valley Boychoir since 2012, as the beginning, then intermediate, choir director. She is the founding director of VoiceWorks, a collaborative choir for women of all ages, and currently directs Bella Voce, a choir for mature women. She also maintains a private voice studio.

Cathy is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and Chorus America, which in 2008 awarded her the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, recognizing her long-term commitment to programming new music.


Rebecca Loveless

Rebecca Loveless began studying piano at age six, and music has been a constant companion since. She has an extensive musical theater background, from her days as a young performer continuing into adulthood. She has enjoyed performing with Ray of Light Theatre and Broadway by the Bay, while simultaneously balancing her career as a classroom teacher. Rebecca has been studying classical, musical theater, and popular vocal technique for over ten years with Raeeka Yaghmai in San Francisco (Taneen Vocal Studio). She began teaching music 13 years ago, and has maintained students in voice and beginning piano ever since. Rebecca believes everyone should feel comfortable and confident expressing themselves musically, and she particularly enjoys working with students who want to study voice for the pure joy of singing.

(Rebecca is not accepting new students at this time.)

Sandy Cressman

Sandy Cressman is an adjunct professor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, California, and artist-in-residence at Nueva, and she teaches at JazzCampWest, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Voice Conference Munich, and various workshops and vocal intensives in the US, Europe, and Brazil. Sandy's training includes bel canto and vocal jazz techniques, and she has created her own system of vocal training, “ConnectedVoice.” At Nueva, Sandy focuses on healthy use of the voice for children, working on repertoire that includes musical theater, jazz, pop, and classical songs.

Sandy began her career recording and performing with the vocal jazz group “Pastiche” before she focused on her passion for Brazilian jazz, which led her to form “Homenagem Brasileira” in 1998. She has toured the US, Europe, Japan, and Brazil and has released three critically acclaimed CDs, “Homenagem Brasileira,” “Brasil—Sempre no Coração,” and "Entre Amigos,” collaborating with other Brazilian musicians and Brazilian music specialists.

Sandy has lent her vocals to recordings by such diverse artists as Ray Obiedo, Pete Escovedo, and Eddie Money and she often performs with Ray Obiedo's Mistura Fina and Jai Uttal. Sandy's music has been used in television and films, and she has recorded jingles and soundtracks.