Violin, Viola, Cello and String Ensembles
Linda was raised in Bozeman, Montana on a horse ranch near town. Her family was very involved with music, as her grandfather played the violin and her grandmother played the piano. The family would often get together and play in a family orchestra. Her mom on violin, dad on trombone, brothers on flute and baritone and of her grandparents on violin and piano. Linda started the violin in the fifth grade in the Bozeman school system.
Linda took private violin lessons from Patricia Reynolds and later from Creech Reynolds who taught at MSU and who was the Bozeman Symphony Conductor. Linda became a member of the Bozeman Symphony when she was in high school and has played with them now throughout her life.
College beckoned and Linda became a geology and music major at a small liberal arts college in Iowa: Cornell College in Mount Vernon. Through the encouragement of her music teachers, she got a music scholarship to go to a summer music school called Bay View Conservatory of Music in Petosky, Michigan. That began her quest to mastering the violin and becoming a serious music student. She then transferred to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to continue to study with her teacher Mr. Cing Tung Chi. Practicing 7-9 hours a day besides her classes at the university continued her education. Then an opportunity arose to study in Tallahassee, Florida after she got an scholarship to go there. After transferring so many times, she finally got her BA in Music- majored in History and Violin Performance.
Linda played professionally throughout Southeast Michigan in pit orchestras, community orchestras, the Ann Arbor Symphony and was concertmaster for the Ann Arbor Summer Symphony for 5 summers.
She was also personnel director, librarian, administrator, stage manager during her tenure with the Ann Arbor Summer Symphony.
Back in Montana, Linda has been a member of the Bozeman, Great Falls, Glacier, Butte and Helena Symphonies. She is currently principal second for the Helena Symphony. She was Concertmaster of the Symphony for 3 years. Linda happily playing for the Montana Power Summer Symphony concerts for the 5 years that it was located on the lawn on Carroll College.
Linda went back to MSU in Bozeman to receive her teacher’s certificate in 1991. She then taught in the Flathead Valley as a choral and band teacher. She was a middle school orchestra teacher in Helena. She was also the high school orchestra director and middle school orchestra director and general music teacher in Butte, Montana for 3 years. Currently, she is a very successful private teaching studio of violin, viola and cello students (almost 70) as well as two string ensembles. Linda’s groups play all over Southwest Montana and are known as Meuret’s Swingin’ Strings. She teaches once a week in Butte to a whole bunch of students there too. Linda started up her dream of having a music school in January of 2006 called the Music Makers’ Conservatory at 1016 W. Custer in Helena, Montana. Her life is full of music and the sound of music as the Conservatory resonates with the sounds of vocal, piano, string and guitar music. She also has a small recital hall with a 7½ Foot Samick Grand Piano.
Jim Kirby holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Clarinet, Virginia Commonwealth University. Jim has served in the Helena Symphony Orchestra (clarinet and bass clarinet). His experiences include service as band director in Virginia public schools. Concert band, chamber music and solo performance, woodworking, cats and pizza are his passions.
Jim emphasizes a firm foundation in instrumental technique, enhanced by supporting ventures into music theory, music history, and the fine points of practice procedure and personal focus—all aimed at helping each student to better experience the adventure of making music while building essential skills of musicianship.
Jodi Mattson received a Bachelor of Music Education from MSU, Bozeman MT, in 1977, where she performed with the MSU Chorale, Montanans, and Opera Workshop. She moved to Helena, MT in 1977, and taught in the Helena School District from 1977-2004. During this tenure she earned a Masters of Curriculum and Education from U of M, Missoula MT in 1992.
Jodi has been an active ensemble and solo soprano, and actress in Helena for 39 years; singing with Helena Symphony Chorale, Helena Chamber Singers, Grandstreet Theatre, Queen City Swing Band, St. Paul’s Methodist Church Choir. She found her niche in teaching young actors a foundation in proper vocal production-singing, 20 years ago, and now specializes in Musical theater.
Sharon Maynard has a BS in music education from MSU and has been teaching music in the classroom and privately for 25 years. Sharon currently teaches private piano and guitar lessons at Keys and Frets Music Studio and pre-school through 6th grade general music at Helena Christian School. She also sings with the Helena Symphony Chorale and is active with music ministry at Helena First Assembly of God. Sharon currently teaches private piano and guitar lessons at Keys and Frets Music Studio and pre-school through 6th grade general music at Helena Christian School. She also sings with the Helena Symphony Chorale and is active with music ministry at Helena First Assembly of God.
Piano & Organ
Big Timber, MT
Bachelor of Music — Concordia College, Moorhead MN
Master of Music — University of MT (piano performance; graduate assistantship)
Taught Jr. High Public School Music
Pianist for Great Falls Summer Theater (1 yr. as director)
Pianist for Missoula Children’s Theater (on occasion)
Church choir director, organist, and/or director of music
Moorhead, MN; Great Falls, MT; Missoula, MT;
Big Timber, MT (also community chorus director);
Colstrip and Forsyth, MT; Bozeman, MT (developed an organ scholarship program)
Pianist for symphony chorales at Great Falls, Bozeman, and Helena
Private piano and organ instructor for over 40 years
Gerald Schafer grew up in a musical family in British Columbia–his mother is a church organist/pianist. Starting piano at age eight, he continued piano studies through university, graduating as a biology and piano major from Walla Walla University (WWU), where he studied piano with Leonard Richter. While at university he had the opportunity to develop solo and ensemble skills and was in demand as a pianist for vocalists and instrumentalists. He taught in the Preparatory Division at WWU, under the supervision of Debra Bakland, and has taught beginning through advanced students. Gerald focuses on developing a strong technique that enables confident and expressive playing of many musical styles.
With his wife, Tanya Anderson, Gerald moved to Helena in 2013 to take a faculty position in the Health Sciences Department at Carroll College. Music continues to play an important role in his life and he’s active in choral groups in Helena, including as pianist for the Helena Chamber Singers.
Sam Smetana grew up in Clancy, Montana playing classical guitar. He spent his teenage years playing electric bass in a rock band called Goodnight Sunrise. The band traveled around the US and signed a deal with a record company in Japan before relocating to Los Angeles. Sam decided to deepen his study of music at UC Berkeley, where he earned a BA in Music while studying piano and playing archtop guitar in jazz combos.
Sam now teaches privately and devotes his time to the study of folk, old-time, blues, swing and early country music on guitar, piano, ukulele, and bass guitar. Sam works for the legendary traditional music venue Freight & Salvage, tours and thrives as a creator and collaborator.
“I had never played the guitar before starting lessons with Sam and for the past year I have gained a level of confidence and knowledge that I would have never found without him. When I started playing I wanted to learn elements of music theory as well as just the general ability to play songs by artists that I like listening to. Sam’s teaching has allowed me accomplish both of those things! Sam exhibits a level of patience in his teaching method that I greatly appreciate. He consistently stretched me to practice in new ways and work on all elements of improving (right hand, left hand, fretboard geography, etc.). Sam approaches teaching by meeting you where you are and encouraging you to respect the process. I look forward to my weekly time with Sam and would highly recommend him as a teacher!” – Ryan Drew
“Sam is an incredible musician (I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him perform) but more than that, he is a fantastic teacher. My 11 year old daughter and I have been taking lessons from Sam for more than a year now. Sometimes, we don’t get around to practicing as much as we would like. Sam is always patient, even tempered and supportive. He also gently nudges us and helps us to get excited about the music we are learning. I love that he focuses on the basics, but is also flexible enough that he helps us to learn an occasional piece of music that we want to learn. Both my daughter and I look forward to ongoing lessons with Sam. I highly recommend him.” – F. Ramzi Asfour, MD
Kihana received her Bachelor of Music in music education at Eastman School of Music of University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. She has teaching experience at Yamaha music school outside of Portland, OR, teaching music classes for ages 3 – 12 and private piano instructions. She has also made public performances in Cincinnati, OH, as well as in Kobe and Osaka, Japan. She has worked as an accompanist for local musicians, string students, and for elementary school orchestras in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky area. Kihana moved to Helena in August 2014 with her family that is home to her husband. She has been enjoying being part of the Helena Community. Currently, she teaches piano at various levels and works as an accompanist, including the choir and string orchestras at St. Andrew School. She has recently joined the Helena Music Teachers Association.