The faculty of the Center for Musical Excellence are comprised of some of the most sought-after and experienced instructors in the area. Most teachers have achieved advanced degrees in music and all of them share a love for teaching others the joy of making music. Many of the instructors also teach at the collegiate level at Salem College and other local institutions. They have been involved in numerous recordings, significant educational projects, and performances around the world. Many are members of local, state, and national organizations, which allow them to keep abreast of the newest pedagogies and involve their students in music festivals and competitions.
Dr. Thomas Swenson
Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Musical Excellence at Salem College, has distinguished himself as a national leader in the field of piano pedagogy. He is published in book form and has several articles in prominent music journals on teaching adults (andragogy). He has presented nationally at the Music Teachers National Association Conference, the Music Educators National Conference, the World Music Symposium and at numerous state and local conferences and workshops. As a leader in adult piano teaching he has had the fortunate opportunity to teach Recreational Music Making courses throughout the world. Thomas is currently the President-Elect for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. Dr. Swenson holds degrees from Minnesota State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Oklahoma. He can be heard on numerous CDs as a soloist, accompanist, arranger, and producer.
Glenna Elam Poindexter
Glenna Elam Poindexter of Winston-Salem, N.C. is an experienced piano instructor, having taught both in her home studio and on the Adjunct Piano Faculty of Wake Forest University Department of Music. She taught music at Jefferson Academy and was a Piano Instructor at the UNCG Summer Music Camp. Ms. Poindexter holds a Masters in Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her Bachelor of Arts degree is from Wake Forest University where she majored in both Music and Elementary Education. She graduated with Honors in Music, and was a winner of the WFU Giles-Harris Piano Competition. Ms. Poindexter is President of the Winston-Salem Piano Teachers’ Association, of which she is a long-time member. As a Faculty Member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, she is a Guild Adjudicator. She is a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs and judges for Festivals.
Jesse MacKenzie is a recent graduate of Salem College with a degree in music and a professional certificate in Well-Coordinated, Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique. From 2009-2012 she has been a teaching assistant to Barbara Lister-Sink at seven Wingsound International Intensive Technique Training Workshops. She is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and received the 2010 Bright and Annie Lee Fitzgerald Sink Award for Excellence in Piano and the 2012 President's Prize in Music from Salem College. Ms. MacKenzie is from the Erie, Pennsylvania area and now resides in Winston-Salem.
Lisa Duerr joined the Center for Musical Excellence in 2013. With nearly 25 years of teaching experience, Ms. Duerr has also taught at The Community Music School (UNCSA), The Community Music School of The University of Alabama, and Southern Arts Academy in suburban Atlanta. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association since 1989, her students have consistently received Superior and Excellent ratings and have performed at North Carolina Music Teachers Association State Conferences. Several of her pre-college students have been accepted into established and reputable collegiate music programs.
Ms. Duerr holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, with a secondary emphasis in science, from Agnes Scott College, and a Master of Music in piano performance, with secondary emphasis in piano pedagogy, from Georgia State University. While at GSU she was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity. Students range in age from 4 1/2 to 70+ years and include beginners of every age, music enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as students auditioning for competitions and college music programs. Approaching each student as an individual, Ms. Duerr encourages communication between the parent-child-teacher triangle and uses unique instructional strategies that combine tradition with modern eclectic flair.
- Ann Listokin (BM, Mannes College The New School for Music; MM, The University of North Carolina School of the Arts)
- Irma Goldberg (BM, Salem College; MM, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
- Joy Rushton, Salem Academy Director of Music (BS, West Chester University)
- Jeffrey Carlson (BM, The University of St. Thomas; MM, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
- Samuel Taylor (Guitar & Ukulele) (BM and MM, The University of North Carolina School of the Arts)
- Maureen Michels (Viola & Violin) (BM, Indiana Univiversity; MM, Rice University)
- Dr. Donna Rothrock (Brass) (BME, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; MME, The University of Colorado; PhD, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- Anne Sellitti (Cello)