Teachers at Young Musicians of Virginia must have degrees in their area of application or have adequate experience and be able to demonstrate a level of excellence in that area. Several have Masters and PhD’s. Check out our mesmerizing music teachers below:
• Laura Bjork
B.A. Theatre, Old Dominion University
Secondary English Endorsement, Old Dominion University
Laura has taught theatre and English for grades 7-12 for fifteen years. A lover of the arts, she is an active playwright, director, and performer as well as theatre instructor. She has homeschooled all six of her children from K-12, and she is excited to start her second year as YMV’s drama teacher.
• Mr. John Boyer
B.S., Music, Johnson University (Knoxville, TN)
Mr. Boyer has taught piano for over 50 years and been a part of the YMV family for many years, teaching since 2013. He has been a full-time pastor since 1980 and has spent 20 years in various roles including church pianist, choir director, and worship leader. Mr. Boyer studied piano with Dr. Vernon Overmyer at the University of Southern California, was a finalist with the Orange Symphony Young Artist Competition, and was a soloist with the Long Beach Community College Orchestra and Palomar Community Orchestra. He and his wife, Tina, have six children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren (if anyone’s counting).
• Dr. Christopher Card
(Advanced Band; Jazz Band Director; Private Instructor for lower brass)
B.A., Music Education, James Madison University; M.S., Music Education, University of Illinois; PhD, Old Dominion University
Dr. Card is a former Professor of Music at Tidewater Community College (directing Jazz Band and teaching Music Appreciation), former Director of Bands for West Virginia State College (Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands), and former Director of Bands at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia (Two Concert Bands, Marching and Jazz Bands). He is especially dedicated to his major instrument, the trombone.
• Mrs. Stephanie Councill
B.A. Art Education with a Minor in Ceramics, Chowan University, North Carolina.
Before homeschooling, Stephanie spent several years as an art teacher in the private and public school system and has taught elementary, middle, and high school students since beginning her teaching career in 1998. Mrs. Councill looks forward to leading YMV Summer Art Camp in addition to her school year YMV classes. She and her husband have been homeschooling for eleven years, and currently have one YMV graduate and one middle schooler.
• Mr. Don Davis
(Private Guitar & Ukulele; Ensembles for Guitar and Ukulele)
B.A. Religious Education & Lay Ministry, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA; MS Education, Hunter College, NY
Mr. Davis has over 25 years as a guitar teacher for private lessons and groups as well as over 10 years experience as a worship leader.
• Mr. Gary Garlic
(Beginning Band; Intermediate Band; World Rhythm Ensemble; Private Percussion)
B.A., Norfolk State University
Mr. Garlic is the percussion specialist in all areas at YMV. He has more than 13 years teaching experience and more than 20 years performing experience with jazz, pop, and classical artists in national venues, including professional performances with acts such as Donna Summer and Stevie Wonder.
• Mrs. Alexandra Marlins
(Suzuki strings group, Private Strings, Piano, & Voice)
B.M.E. in K-12 instrumental music from Lee University.
Certified by the Suzuki Association of the Americas in violin levels 1-3.
Mrs. Marlins has had 14 years of performance experience and currently performs with Symphonicity, the Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach, and serves regularly on the worship team at her church. Her favorite composer is Tchaikovsky, and her favorite chamber music piece is Schubert’s 13th string quartet.
• Ms. Bethany Paulsen
(Middle School and High School Drama)
M.F.A Theatre Arts (2022), University of Idaho
B.A. Theology and Biblical Studies (2018), Moody Bible Institute
Bethany works locally as a director, actress and playwright. She has worked as a performing artist and musician for over 18 years. Bethany is the founder and original artistic director of Shadowbox Productions in Chicago, IL and has directed shows for various schools ranging from 3rd grade through undergrad. She also has worked as a high school teacher and private instructor in piano and acting.
• Mrs. Karla D. Robinson
(High School Concert Choir; Soli Deo Choir; Private Voice)
B.M., Vocal Performance, St. Olaf College
Core Member, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Mrs. Robinson is a local performer, choral director, music director, and private vocal instructor and clinician. She attended St. Olaf College, singing and studying under the direction of Dr. Anton Armstrong. After graduating from St. Olaf with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, she sang with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Virginia Symphony Chorus, and served as a local soloist and vocalist for The Satin Sounds, a big band. She has taught private voice and choir for over 20 years and is a local musical director for many community theaters. She has been at YMV for over 14 years.
• Mr. Steven Thorne
(Private Lessons; Music Theory; Conducting; Popular Music Ensemble) B.M., Music Education, Old Dominion University
Mr. Thorne has over 25 years of experience as a performing saxophonist. He has toured throughout the United States and abroad playing classical, jazz, pop, rock, funk, and R&B styles. Throughout his career, Mr. Thorne has performed/shared the stage with many artists including: John Mayer, Collective Soul, The Whalers, Bob Berg, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Clarence Carter, Delbert McClinton, Edwin McCain, The Coastline Band, Mike Corrado Band, and many others. Mr. Thorne now lives in the Hampton Roads area and performs with many artists and ensembles around the community as a wind instrumentalist, acoustic guitarist, and vocalist. He is a proud endorsing artist for Harry Hartmann’s Fiberreeds. As an educator, Mr. Thorne has over 20 years of experience teaching in the private studio, public school, and as a woodwind instructor for area high school marching bands. Additionally, Mr. Thorne is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA), and the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA).
• Mrs. Sarah Umlauf
(Intermediate & Advanced Strings; Private Strings)
B.A., Music, Bob Jones University; M.A, Music (Violin Performance), Ball State University.
Mrs. Umlauf played in the first violin section of South Bend Symphony (South Bend, Indiana). She currently performs with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Sarah is a home-school mom of three daughters and in her spare time enjoys biking with them and her husband, Matthew.
• Mrs. Marcie Williams
(Private Piano; Beginning Music; Elementary Music)
B.A., Vocal Performance, Virginia Wesleyan University (Honor Graduate), majored in vocal performance and minored in piano.
Mrs. Williams has been a resident of Virginia her entire life. She has 20 years of teaching experience and loves passing on her passion for music to her students.