The Piano Lab Instructors


Kindermusik Educators


Student Teachers


Kevin Dixon

Kevin DixonKevin started with the Piano Lab in 1992. He earned a BM in theory and performance from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam in 1988. He is the organist and choir director at the Federated Church in West Winfield. He spends much of his time composing music for his church choir as well as small instrumental ensembles.
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Heather Drumm

Heather Drumm Heather began teaching at The Piano Lab in 1989. She has a Bachelors of Music Education, with a piano concentration, from the University of New Mexico. Heather has taught private piano for many years, and is the choir director and organist at Whitesboro Presbyterian Church.
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Caitlin Fenton

Caitlin Fenton Caitlin is very excited to be a member of the Piano Lab staff!  A native of Utica, she has been involved with music from a very young age.   Caitlin graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2001 and went on to study Music Education with a concentration in voice at Providence College, in Rhode Island.   In 2010, Caitlin received her Master’s Degree in Music Education from Syracuse University.   She is currently a part-time K-12 vocal and general music teacher at Remsen Central School.   She lives in Utica with her husband and 2 children.   Caitlin credits her parents for fostering her love of music and she looks forward to helping other children and families find their musicality.   She currently teaches voice and beginning piano in Chadwicks.
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Michael Fenton Jr.

Michael Fenton Jr. Growing up in Deerfield, New York, Michael Fenton Jr. is a proud ‘Central New Yorker.’  For the past 11 years Michael has been an instrumental music teacher with the Ilion Central School District.  Currently at Ilion Michael is the director of the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Ensemble along with teaching various woodwind, brass, and percussion lessons throughout the district.     An honors graduate of the prestigious Crane School of Music, Michael earned M.M. and B.M. in Music Education Degrees from Crane.  At Crane Michael was a trumpet student of Dr. John Ellis and participated in master classes with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Canadian Brass, The American Brass Quintet, and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra.  Michael’s collegiate education also included study at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he was a trumpet student of former Buffalo Philharmonic Principal Trumpet David Kuehn as well as BPO members Gerry Soeffer and Philip Christner. As a member of the UB Wind Ensemble, Michael performed under the batons of Dr. John Paynter, Dr. Sarah L. McKoin and Charles Peltz as well as at the opening concert of the UB Center for the Arts. Michael is an active freelance trumpeter throughout the area and in the summer of 2011 was named Director of the Ilion Civic Band.  Michael regularly performs in a variety of ensembles such as the Stage Music Big Band, The Central New York Chamber Orchestra, The Mohawk Valley Chamber Brass, and The Pyramid Brass Quintet.  Michael has also performed in the Mohawk Valley Choral Society Orchestra, Rome Capitol Theater Summer Stage Pit Orchestras, Players of Utica Pit Orchestras, and Stage Two Pit Orchestras.   In 2003 Michael was chosen by the Utica Observer Dispatch as one of the outstanding “Young Educators of the Mohawk Valley.”  Michael currently lives in South Utica with his wife Caitlin Fenton and his 2 children.
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Pamela Howe – Kindermusik Educator

Pamela Howe Pam has been involved in music, movement and dance since she was a child. For 28 years, she was a student, local instructor and owner of Take A Bow Dance Studio. After the birth of her son Gabriel, she closed her studio to become a full time Mom. But her love for children and her passion for teaching brought her to the Piano Lab for Kindermusik. She has been licensed through Kindermusik International since 2003. Pam has also been a NYS licensed cosmetologist for 17 years & a certified yoga instructor for Universal Yoga Center for the past five years. Her most recent accomplishment is becoming a licensed parent educator for The Happiest Baby Program, developed by world renowned pediatrician, child development specialist and baby calmer, Dr. Harvey Karp. Pam is the first person in central NY to be licensed to teach this extraordinary program to parents and their babies. As well as teaching locally, she travels throughout the state working with doctors, parents and hospitals. Visit her website at Pam is very excited to be teaching at the Piano Lab and looks forward to meeting with you and your children!
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Jeanette Swiderski

Jeanette Swiderski Jeanette is the owner and director of The Piano Lab. She has been a music educator for over 30 years and established The Piano Lab in 1985. She received a performance certificate through The American College of Musicians, sponsored by the National Guild of Piano Teachers. She also studied with the renowned Vivian Harvey Slater, artist in residence at Colgate University. Jeanette is a faculty member  for the National Piano Playing Auditions sponsored by the National Guild of Piano Teachers and is an adjudicator for the Guild Auditions. She is a licensed educator for Kindermusik International, and is also a mentor for Kindermusik, helping teachers from around the world to become licensed educators. Jeanette is constantly striving to teach students and parents the benefits of exposing music at an early age. So much research now shows us that music aids in a child’s development from the very first days of life. She hopes to achieve this goal through structured and entertaining programs designed for all age groups, including newborns!
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Pamela Knopka

Pamela Sypek Pamela is a licensed Kindermusik educator and a mentor for Kindermusik International. She began piano lessons at the age of 5, and studied with Mrs. Jeanette Swiderski. Upon entering high school, she studied under renowned Mrs. Vivien Harvey Slater. She then attended Onondaga Community College for music, with a major in piano. Pamela has participated in the National Piano Playing Auditions, sponsored by the National Guild of Piano Teachers. She also plays the flute and piccolo. Pamela is excited to return to teaching. She has two children, Jacob and Kierra.
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Christine Krumbach


Christine is the newest member of our staff, starting in the Spring of 2015.  Christine is an elementary music teacher for New Hartford Central Schools.  She graduated from Syracuse University with an MS in Music Education.  She will be teaching voice, guitar and piano lessons to all ages.

Sharon Wagner

Sharon Wagner Sharon Wagner graduated from P.V. Moore High School in Central Square, New York. She attended SUNY Oswego and graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Kentucky Wesleyan College. She was a keyboard major with choral emphasis. She started teaching private piano in 1973 while attending college. She has studied piano with Dr. Anthony Crain, Dr. Terry Yount, Dr. Diane Earle and Rami Bar-Niv. She has studied voice with Joseph Line, Dr. Robert McIver, and Ms. Holly Weiss. She is a faculty member of the American College of Musicians and serves as an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers and is the local chairman for the National Piano Playing Auditions sponsored by the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  She has been teaching piano and voice in the Utica area since 1987.
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Mary Wilcox – Substitute Teacher

Mary subs for The Piano Lab, and has been with The Piano Lab since 1988. Mary has studied piano throughout most of her adult life, and has worked extensively with children. She has participated in numerous piano workshops which gives her new insights to current teaching methods, among them being Amanda Vick Lethco, Catherine Rollin, Weekley and Arganbright, Keith Snell and Dan Coates. She is very active in volunteering in her community, and is a past member of the Religious Education Board of her church. Mary has brought her love of music and enthusiasm to The Piano Lab. She enters many of her students in the National Piano Playing Auditions and has received outstanding scores and comments by the adjudicators.
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Katie Corasanti – Student Teacher


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