Southwestern Music Academy Teacher Bios

Quality Music Education in a Christian Setting

Southwestern Music Academy Teacher Bios

Donna Hopson – SMA Director and Piano Instructor

Donna has taught private piano lessons and general music classes for 19 years. Although she works with all ages, she loves the joys that young children have when engaging with music-making. She holds a BA in Piano Pedagogy, a BS in Music Education, and a MM in Church Music and Piano Pedagogy. Her husband and two children moved to Fort Worth in 2009 for her husband to pursue his education at SWBTS. Her family also includes a dog named Reko. The family attends Trinity Baptist Church in Fort Worth where she is the pianist and her husband is the pastor.

Donna’s role as director includes being a liaison between parents, teachers, and students so that the best musical learning can happen. Her goals for the SMA are for students of all levels to enjoy the God-given gift of music making.

Jessica Wang – Homeschool Classes and Piano Instructor

Jessica has a music education bachelor’s degree and is studying piano pedagogy for her Master of Music degree at SWBTS. She was born in Taiwan but was raised in New Jersey. She speaks Mandarin and English. She loves getting to know her students and working with young children in both group classes and private lessons. She has been teaching for over 10 years in both settings, engaging children in a fun and active experience in learning of music.

She likes to listen and play worship music as well as anything by Bach. She participates in leading worship at church using both guitar and keyboard. Jessica just got married this summer to Jon and has a sweet 16-year-old beagle/border collie named Cadet. Her family also includes her parents, older brother and sister-in-law, and Jon’s sister.

Nelly Juarez – Preschool Classes and French Horn Instructor

Nelly holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in French Horn Performance. She is currently working on a MM in Worship Leadership at SWBTS. She is originally from Costa Rica and speaks English, Spanish, and French. Teaching for over 10 years, she loves watching students get excited about music and realizing they can learn a new skill. She believes in teaching beginners by starting with the basics and helping them build a new discipline into their lives.

Additionally, she also likes getting into the musicianship aspect with advanced students, helping them build a vision in their interpretation of different composers. Her favorite pieces are the four horn concertos by Mozart that feature the instrument’s warm but bold versatility. Traveling is one of her favorite hobbies and interest. Nelly attends Lamar Baptist Church where she is the worship leader for their Spanish service. Her parents, brother, sister, and niece and nephew all live in Costa Rica.

Juhee Baek – Choir Director and Voice Instructor

Juhee is originally from South Korea and has been teaching for 6 years. She holds a BM and MM and is currently studying to receive her DMA in vocal performance and pedagogy. She has directed the Southwestern Children’s Choir for many years and is excited to see the children learn to use their voices in a large group setting. She also teaches voice lessons and enjoys seeing students’ confidence grow as they develop as singers.

Juhee and her husband live in Fort Worth. She is an active member of her church where she has served many years with children in the music department.

Caleb Uhl – Chimes Ensemble and Voice Instructor

Caleb studied music education and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas. (GO HOGS!) He is currently working on a MM in worship leadership at SWBTS. He attends First Baptist Church of Keller where he has multiple responsibilities as the music ministry intern. At the church he conducts various ensembles, sings in the choir, plays in the orchestra, and rings bells. With so many avenues of music making, some of his musical favorites include ringing bells for “Now the Green Blade Riseth” (Sing We Now of Christmas), singing spirituals by Moses Hogan and Hall Johnson, or playing his horn for anything by Percy Grainger and Gustav Holst.

Most of his family lives in Arkansas, and Caleb is youngest and proud baby of the extended family. He has a 1 year old Pembroke Welsh corgi dog named Ellie Mae who is like an energetic barking potato!

Luke Hannah – Voice Instructor

Luke received his bachelor’s degree in contemporary worship ministries from William Carey University. He is now pursuing a MM degree in vocal performance and pedagogy at SWBTS. He is originally from Mississippi where he grew up with his mother, father, sister, and dog, Daisy. This year he competed and placed in the NATS collegiate vocal completion. Luke is recently married to Mary Catherine who is also a vocalist and music therapist. They attend First Baptist of Burleson where Luke serves as an Artist in Residence.

Teaching brings him joy to see students’ faces light up when they understand something for the first time. He is confident in teaching intermediate and advanced students but also loves training newer students to develop their voice. His favorite song for a tenor is “Ditty” from the song cycle A Young Man’s Exhortation by Gerald Finzi.

Taeyong Lee – Drum Instructor

Taeyong is originally from South Korea and has been teaching for 20 years. He teaches in both English and Korean languages. Taeyong holds a BM in Jazz Studies from UTA and is also studying jazz for his master’s degree at SWBTS. He attends Birchman Baptist Church with his wife and two young daughters. Taeyong enjoys playing worship songs with his church as well as jazz pieces with various ensembles.

He coordinated the SMA’s first Sacred Works Worship Night performance that gathered both SWBTS adult musicians and SMA students to present a concert of all Christian music. He enjoys teaching students to listen to the music as they play, developing the valuable ability to play by ear. He also has many YouTube videos showcasing his skills at drum performance as well as advanced percussion notation.

Matthew Naizer – Guitar Instructor

Matthew Naizer is from Houston, Texas and is studying guitar for his Master of Music at SWBTS. He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from Texas State University. He likes teaching others so that he can pass on the knowledge that was given to him by his own teachers and mentors.

Matthew is happily married to his wife, Gabrielle, and they attend Graceview Baptist Church. They have a delightful female tuxedo cat named Kevin Jonas. One of Matthew’s favorite pieces to play is Sonatina for David Russell by Jorge Morel featuring a fantastic combination of Latin American rhythms and jazz harmonies for the classical guitar.

Dr. Will Douglas – Guitar

Dr. Douglas is a native of Fort Worth and has been teaching for over 18 years. He holds the BM, MM, and DMA degrees in guitar performance from UNT. He and his wife, Courtney, have a four-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who loves soccer and riding horses. They also have two dogs, a Great Pyrenees named Arrow and a lab named Isabelle. The family attends Trinity Hills Baptist Church where Dr. Douglas plays classical guitar and electric guitar with the worship team.

He loves every aspect of teaching, from beginning mechanics to advanced areas of musical interpretation. Helping his students improve spiritually and mentally alongside their musical development are his leading teaching goals. Because he grew up with a mom who was a teacher and a dad who was a radio comedian, he believes humor and education are inseparable. His favorite pieces include Preludio in E Major and Sonata Clasica by Manuel Ponce, Cello Suite No.3 by J.S. Bach and anything by Astor Piazzolla.

Dr. Hyejin Lee – Violin

Dr. Lee holds a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. She is an adjunct professor of violin at SWBTS.

Sophie Kim – Violin

Sophie is studying violin performance for her bachelor of music degree at SWBTS. She is originally from South Korea and teaches in both English and Korean. When teaching, she enjoys experiencing the learning progress together with the students and teaching others the things that she has learned over the years.

Sophie attends First Baptist Church in Arlington where she serves in the orchestra and band playing violin. Her favorite violin piece is the peacefully beautiful and lyrical Cantabile by Paganini. Her parents live in South Korea. Her sister also attends SWBTS, studying to be a missionary. The family loves Jesus, the church, and the life they are living now by God.

Jordan Hickerson – Piano Instructor

Jordan holds an associate’s degree in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in piano performance, and is currently working on a master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy at SWBTS. She is originally from New Mexico but has lived in four different countries where she enjoyed learning different cultures and connecting with people of different backgrounds. She also speaks English and German.

Her teaching specialty is older learners because she believes it’s never too late to learn to play the piano. Jordan’s favorite piano piece is the 3rd Movement in Beethoven’s Les Adieux which displays exciting “vivacissimamente” arpeggios, scalar passages, and endless trills. Her family includes her parents who live in East Texas and her sister who is a tattoo artist.

Ivan Rustandi – Piano Instructor

Ivan completed his Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance at SWBTS and will continue with the Master of Music degree. He is originally from Indonesia and speaks both English and Bahasa Indonesian. He attends First Baptist Burleson where he serves as their Artist in Residence for piano and keyboard in the contemporary service. He enjoys getting to see his students understand what he’s teaching and work hard with practice to advance in their playing skills each week.

Although he teaches reading notation, he also enjoys teaching others to play by ear. His favorite piece to play is Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, a piano piece mimicking the trickling and splashing of water in a fountain or brook. Ivan’s parents live in Indonesia, serving as Sunday school teachers at First Baptist Bandung. His younger sister attends an Indonesian university studying visual and verbal designs.

Anna Kim – Piano Instructor

Anna holds a Master’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy from TCU and is in process of completing a second MM degree at SWBTS. She has been teaching for over 13 years and loves encouraging young beginners in their piano pursuits. Because of her diligent teaching, her students often win awards in various competitions.

She is originally from South Korea and teaches in both English and Korean. She enjoys playing the highly intricate and technically challenging Partita No. 2 by J.S. Bach. Anna and her husband have three children: Immanuel, Irene, and Isaac. The family attends New Song Church.

Lois Ling – Piano Instructor

Lois is originally from China and speaks both English and Chinese. She has been teaching for over nine years. Having already graduated with a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from SWBTS, Lois is currently working on a Master of Theology in Worship. She attends Glory Chinese Baptist Church where she serves as an accompanist and children’s Sunday school teacher.

She is blessed to come from a large, musical family where everyone sings, plays instruments, and worships together. Her favorite pieces to play are the contrasting pieces of Bach’s English Suits and Chopin’s Nocturnes as each show the musical essence of the baroque and classical time periods.

Ying Miao – Piano Instructor

Ying holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Purdue University and a Master of Music degree from Southern Seminary. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy from SWBTS. She is originally from China and speaks both English and Mandarin. Teaching allows her to get to know different individuals and different genres of music.

She enjoys not only classical piano, but also music from movies, musicals, games, and animation. She actually has a collection of hundreds of CDs, vinyls, and sheet music including everything from jazz, soul, electronic, and ambient music. She grew up in China with her music-loving parents and the family dog, Jackie, who they got after watching the show Lassie. Ying is a member at Birchman Baptist Church where she participates in the worship music program.

Somang Choi – Piano Instructor

Somang received her bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Korea Baptist Theological University. She is currently working on her Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at SWBTS. She attends Happy Fellowship Korean Church where she serves as the accompanist. Her love is teaching young beginners to have fun playing the piano.

She teaches in both English and Korean. The Chopin Ballad No. 2 with its fiery and dramatic middle section is her favorite piece to perform. Her family includes her dad who has a wonderful 30 year career in the military, her mom who studied theology and loves the Lord, and her brother who is a fashion model in South Korea.

Alfred Situmorang – Piano Instructor

Alfred holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from SWBTS and is currently working on his DMA. He is originally from Jakarta, Indonesia where he was a piano professor. He speaks both English and Indonesian. Alfred has a lovely wife, Ervina, and two sons. Fifteen-year-old Frederic is also an avid pianist and eleven-year-old Franz is a vocalist and enthusiastic soccer player. Alfred and the boys play soccer together daily as well as present wonderful musical performances for special events.

The family attends First Baptist of Burleson where Alfred is the pianist Artist in Residence for the traditional worship service. His favorite piece is the technically demanding and stamina challenging Etude in a minor, Op 25, No. 11 by Chopin titled “Winterwind” due to its extremely fierce musical representation of a winter storm.

Jennifer Kim – Piano Instructor

Jennifer is a native of South Korea. She is studying for her DMA in composition and theory at SWBTS. She has taught piano and theory for over 15 years and her students regularly win local and state competitions. She also had a student win the national rankings for the Royal Conservatory of Music practical assessments.

Her family includes her husband and daughter, who is also an accomplished pianist.