Our Teachers

CMT teachers are awesome. They’ve performed all over the world, are current music therapists, elementary school teachers…and they love what they do. They are passionate about music and, more importantly, about supporting your child's musical journey.

photo Esther Winter

Esther is an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, director, and mom to four beautiful children. She began teaching Music Together® in 2002 and founded Canalside Music Together in the fall of 2003. Esther has performed on stages throughout the country such as Main State Theatre (Ain't Misbehavin'), North Carolina Theatre (Dreamgirls), and Sacramento Music Circus (The Music ManPirates of Penzance). She was also in the West End cast of Show Boat directed by Harold Prince. Locally, Esther has appeared on the stages of JCC CenterStage, Blackfriars Theatre, Webster Theatre Guild, Lady Parts Theatre Company, Method Machine, and Out of Pocket Theatre Company. She has also appeared in various local commercials (sometimes even a billboard!). Although Esther grew up in Los Angeles, she has been an east coaster for most of her adult life, receiving her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and living in NYC as a professional actor for thirteen years. Esther holds Music Together Certification Level II status for outstanding achievement in teaching, musicianship, program philosophy, and parent education. She is also a Music Together teacher trainer.


Esther’s Fun Facts:

All-time favorite (non-Music Together) song is: I found this question almost impossible to answer as there always seems to be some sort of soundtrack playing in my head, but “Sailing” by Christopher Cross always makes me smile and immediately relaxes me

If you were an animal, you’d be: an eagle. They’re powerful. Plus, flying

Your favorite food is: the cheeseburger at Restaurant Good Luck. Never disappoints

Most people don’t know that you: worked at Christie’s Auction House in NYC for three years setting up auctions for photography, European paintings, contemporary art and sculpture. I learned so much

When you were a child, you once: thought it would be fun to run around the house blindfolded. I was mistaken.

You will always dance to: pretty much anything but “Love on Top” by Beyonce is one of my top five

You remember: putting on shows in my backyard along with my two childhood buddies (hi Laurie and Darrell!). We’d invite the entire neighborhood and serve refreshments. Our favorite performance was singing and acting out West Side Story. There were only three of us, so it was tricky, but we made it work

photo Tara O'Brien

Tara is a board certified music therapist and a registered Music Together teacher with Certification Level I training. She received a B.S. in Music Therapy and a B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Fredonia. While at Fredonia, Tara served as a teaching assistant for an Early Childhood Music Pedagogy course, giving music classes in the community to typical preschool students and preschool students with developmental disabilities. Tara is currently working as the music therapist for the Monroe One BOCES and is earning her Masters in Music Therapy from Nazareth College. She plays the piano, guitar, ukulele, and various percussion instruments. Tara completed her Music Together training in New York City and taught in Fredonia, NY. She is thrilled to join the Canalside Music Together team.


Tara’s Fun Facts:

All-time favorite (non-Music Together) song is: “After the Storm” by Mumford & Sons
If you were an animal, you’d be: A koala hangin’ in the trees!
Your favorite food is: Soft pretzels with cheese dip
Most people don’t know that you: Go swing dancing for fun
When you were a child, you once: Tried doing somersaults down the stairs
You will always dance to: “Material Girl” by Madonna (I don’t consider myself to be one, but man is that song catchy)

You remember: My music together teacher training weekend. We started by moving around the room singing This Train while playing egg shakers. I was hooked right away!

photo Michelle Wagner

Michelle received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Masters of Education from Nazareth College with concentrations in choral conducting and child vocal development.  She is a registered Music Together teacher with Certification Level I training. Additionally, Michelle holds a Kodaly Level 1 Certification.  Before the birth of her first child she taught Vocal/General Music and Chorus at the Canandaigua Primary/Elementary School for nine years.  Michelle currently serves as the Secretary of the Brooks Hill Elementary School PTA Board, is the Co-Director of the Brooks Hill Theatre Company and volunteers as a Religious Education Catechist and Cantor for her family's parish. Michelle and her husband have two daughters and reside in Fairport.


Michelle’s Fun Facts:

All-time favorite (non-Music Together) song is:  I find my favorite song truly depends on the place I find myself in in my life and has varied greatly over the years.  My mantra song for “adulting” has been “Break My Stride” (Wilder)

If you were an animal, you'd be: I have often wished to be my cat....snoozing in a warm patch of sun

Your favorite food is:  CHOCOLATE (did you have to ask?)

Most people don't know that you: lived for a summer in Germany as an exchange student

When you were a child, you once:  I desperately wanted to be the voice of a Disney character

You will always dance to:  “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

You remember: The “+” sign on the EPT test after years of battling infertility

  CMT Staff