Leadership Team

Anna Scholten
Instructor of Violin, Viola, Mandolin & Ukulele
B.S. Middle Tennessee State University

Anna is the Co-Owner of the Murfreesboro Academy of Music. She coordinates the Academy’s strings programs and teaches violin, viola, mandolin, guitar and ukulele. Anna grew up in Nashville and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University’s Music Industry program. She has been teaching professionally since 2006 including 2 years as an instructor at Tennessee Technological University. Anna has worked with the Murfreesboro Youth Orchestras, Ethos Ensembles and as a string instructor for the GRAMMY Camp programs in Los Angeles, California in addition to various summer camps and festivals. Anna’s performance experience includes the Disney’s Hall of Stars Orchestra, MTSU Symphony and the Blair School of Music Orchestra. She has studied privately with members of the Nashville Symphony and has also contributed to numerous commercial recordings as a session musician and performs regularly for weddings and other special events. Anna teaches a wide variety of musical styles including Suzuki method, Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Irish/Celtic, Pop/Rock, and Gospel.

Joshua Layne
Instructor of Piano
B.M. Middle Tennessee State University

Joshua is the Co-Owner of the Murfreesboro Academy of Music and coordinates the Piano lessons program. Joshua has been teaching privately since 1997. Joshua graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2008 with a degree in Piano Performance and Music Theory/Composition. His background includes studies with some of the most prestigious piano instructors in the world including: Sakiko Ohashi (Julliard), Michael Gurt (LSU) and Martha Bartles and Gary Hammond (NYU). Joshua has also studied piano with Dr. Arthur Devlin, Dr. Raymond Bills, Dr. Jerry Perkins and Dr. Leopoldo Erice. He has also participated in numerous summer music festivals and camps including the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and maintains an active performance schedule.

Joel Schwamburger
Instructor of Percussion
B.M. Ball State University

Joel serves as the Academy’s webmaster and teaches Percussion, Music Theory and Songwriting lessons. Joel is an accomplished producer, engineer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. He received degrees in Music Engineering and Music Composition from Ball State University. As a composer Joel’s original music has been featured on numerous cable networks and internationally in countries including Israel, Hungry, Poland, Taiwan, Finland, Croatia, Macedonia and Germany. He has also composed original music for several independent films, video games and commercials. As a recording engineer Joel’s notable credits include: Taylor Swift, Wynonna, Danny Gokey, Bob Ezrin, Gabe Dixon Band, Average Joe’s Records, Universal Pictures, the International Double Reed Society and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. As an educator Joel has worked with the Grammy Foundation for their summer Grammy Camp programs in Los Angeles and Nashville. Joel is a certified Pro Tools engineer and a member of the Audio Engineering Society, Recording Academy and is a BMI songwriter.


Stephanie Jones
Instructor of Voice
B.M. University of West Florida
M.A. Indiana University

Stephanie joined the Academy in January 2015. She is currently an adjunct professor of Voice at the Wright School of Music, Middle Tennessee State University and formerly taught music education in both Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools. Her students have been accepted to The Governor’s School of the Arts, Mid-State and All State honor choirs, and University Music and Theatre programs. Stephanie’s students can be seen at Dollywood, featured on “Today in Nashville”, and heard on live radio. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of West Florida as well as a Masters in Music Education from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she was a member of the Indiana University Opera. She has performed the role of Gretel in the opera Hansel and Gretel and has performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Carnegie Hall with vocal solos under the direction of world renowned baritone Sherill Milnes. Stephanie has also performed in such musicals as Sweeney Todd, Hello Dolly, Showboat, Lil’ Abner and many more. She is a member of the International award-winning TuneTown Show Chorus and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Her current students can be seen in lead roles in their high school productions, as well as in university and community theatre.


Ron Madow
Instructor of Piano, Cello & Upright Bass
B.A. Cleveland Institute of Music

Chris Franke
Instructor of Guitar & Bass
B.M. University of Nevada Las Vegas

Chris Franke teaches acoustic and electric guitar and electric bass. He has over 15 years of teaching experience as both a private instructor and a K-12 educator. Chris holds a degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. He studied classical guitar with Ricardo Cobo and Adam Foster at UNLV, and James Piorkowski and Kenneth Meyer at the State University of New York – College at Fredonia. Chris previously served as a full-time music teacher with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas Nevada where he taught classes in guitar, mariachi, violin and conducted youth choir. He also directed the rock band programs and taught private lessons at Family Music Centers of Las Vegas. Chris has performed on guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals in a wide variety of musical groups, and as a solo performer, in Las Vegas, New York and Nashville. He also enjoys songwriting, arranging and performing on solo fingerstyle guitar.

Derek Volkmann
Instructor of Guitar & Bass
B.M. Central Methodist University
M.M. Middle Tennessee State University

Derek joined the Academy in 2016. He is a native of Missouri and has been teaching privately since 2008. Derek also teaches several music courses at Motlow State Community College and performs regularly thought the Nashville area. He specializes in classical and jazz guitar and enjoys teaching students of all ages and experience levels. Derek has served on various worship ensembles and as a session musician for numerous recordings in both Missouri and Nashville. After receiving his Bachelors degree in Music Education from Central Methodist University in 2014, Derek spent a year studying with acclaimed guitarists such as Rod Fleeman and Steve Kovalchek before beginning his studies at Middle Tennessee State University. He received a Master of Music-Jazz Studies degree from MTSU studying under guitarist Chip Henderson.

Mona Odegard
Instructor of Piano & Voice
B.A. Hendrix College

Mona joined the Academy in June of 2016. She is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. Mona started singing and playing on an old converted player piano at her grandparents’ house as a kid and has continued ever since. She participated in various choirs and musical groups thought her youth including the prestigious Schola Cantorum in Fort Worth, Texas. Mona recieved her degree with a focus on Piano Performance from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas in 1998. While living in Texas, Mona often accompanied string and voice students for Solo and Ensemble competitions and recitals, and volunteered with the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital’s Center for Dyslexia in Dallas to develop an art and music education curriculum for students in their reading therapy program. Mona has taught in a variety of settings including the University of Central Arkansas Community School of Music in Conway, Arkansas, the Dosher Music School in Arlington, Texas, and her own private teaching studios. She has taught students ranging from age 5 to older adult, and is proficient in many different styles of music including Classical, Pop/Rock, Jazz, and Broadway. Mona and her family relocated to Murfreesboro in November of 2015 from Central Massachusetts.

Dee Donasco
Instructor of Voice
B.M. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
M.M. Southern Methodist University

Dee Donasco is Philippine-born soprano. She joined the Academy faculty in 2017 after relocating from the Dallas area. At age 10 Dee won the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) of the Philippines. After moving to the U.S. at age 13, she became a member of the Corpus Christi Cathedral Pontifical Chorale for ten years, and served as the cantor for five years. Dee spent the summer of 2012 as an Apprentice Artist for Chautauqua Opera where she covered the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and also appeared as a featured soloist in concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. She made her Dallas Symphony Orchestra debut as the featured guest artist for the 2011 New Year’s Eve Concert. She has also appeared with the Texas Camerata as soprano soloist in Couperin’s Tenebre and as a guest artist in Turtle Creek Chorale’s Christmas Concerts. Dee was a 2011 Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Southwest Region). She has also performed as Barbarina and Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Opera North music festivals after making her company debut in 2010 as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In 2009, she made her debut with the San Antonio Opera as Ines in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Additional roles at the Meadows Opera Theater include Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Aminta in Mozart’s Il Re Pastore and Laurie in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. She has also performed in H.M.S. Pinafore (Josephine) and Hansel and Gretel (Gretel) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she studied with Flicka Rahn. Dee’s concert works include soprano soloist for the Coronation Mass and Requiem by Mozart, Michael Haydn’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. In addition, she was featured as the first guest recitalist for Rockport Center for the Arts Young Artists Series. Mrs Donasco’s awards and honors include the Apprentice Award from Chautauqua Opera, first prize from the 2009 Annual Concerto Competition of the Meadows School of the Arts (SMU), the 2007 San Antonio Opera Vocal Competition, and the 2006 Tuesday Musical Club Vocal Competition (San Antonio). She was also awarded second prize in the 2009 Mid-Texas Symphony Young Artist Competition in Voice, and the 2007 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. She received the inaugural Ben K. Howard Excellence in Opera from SMU (2010), third prize from the 2010 Lois Alba Aria Competition and was a finalist in the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Vocal Competition 2010. Dee was a member of the Dallas Opera/SMU Emerging Artists Program for three consecutive seasons and was also a recipient of full artistic scholarship from Southern Methodist’s Meadows School of the Arts. Mrs. Donasco earned her Performance Diploma and her Masters of Music degree at Southern Methodist University and received undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a double major in Biology and Music Performance (Cum Laude).

Linda Newby
Instructor of Piano & Voice
B.A. Austin Peay State University
M.M. Vocal Pedagogy Belmont University

Zach Taylor
Instructor of Piano
B.M. University of Florida
M. Ed University of Florida

Zach joined the Academy faculty in 2017. As a working musician, he supports a well-rounded approach to music education that includes ear training, music reading, functional music theory, and improvisation. He has worked with hundreds of students of all ages, has served as a full-time choir director at Fort Clarke Middle School in Florida, as a piano accompanist at the University of Florida, as a keyboardist at Anthem Church in Florida, and has played with many bands. His current passions include music production, synthesizer sound design, jazz, and classical piano.

Jacob Keener
Instructor of Percussion
B.M. University of North Texas
M.F.A. Middle Tennessee State University