MEET OUR TEAM

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Katie Cooke

Studio Owner

Violin, Viola, Guitar, Beginning Piano

An active musician and teacher in the South Shore/Boston area, Katie has taught private string lessons throughout the region for over 15 years. She has also served as orchestra director for grades 4-8 in the Westwood, Fall River, and Cambridge Public School systems. Katie grew up in Easton, Massachusetts and began studying piano at age 7 and violin at age 9. She fell in love with performing and teaching at an early age and went on to pursue a BA in Violin Performance from Westfield State University. She also holds music teaching certification in the state of Massachusetts, levels K-12.

Katie plays frequently with various groups including wedding string quartets, chamber ensembles, and is a member of local folk-rock cover band The Fancy Bassetts.

Her favorite part about teaching is helping students push themselves out of their comfort zones in order to grow into confident young musicians and people who live life to the fullest.

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Kristy Foye

Cello

Kristy Foye received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Berklee College of Music and her graduate degree from the Boston Conservatory. In 2006, Kristy began her music education career at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton, MA, teaching violin to students in grades 1-5. From 2009-2011, she worked for the Marblehead Public Schools as Orchestra Director for grades 3-12. Kristy taught orchestra and instrumental music for the Easton Public Schools from 2011-2019. In past summers, she has also been the string instructor for Berklee's Day Sessions camp. Kristy is currently the orchestra teacher for grades 7 & 8 at Clarke Middle School as well as a string specialist for grades 4 & 5 for the Lexington Public Schools.

As a cellist, Kristy has pursued a diverse career in music, having performed and recorded with a variety of ensembles throughout the Boston area. She is a member of the pop-folk band, Walter and the Night Owls, as well as local cover band, The Fancy Bassetts. Kristy performs at weddings and other special events as part of the Loft String Quartet.

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Dave Buckley

Piano, Mandolin, Saxophone

Dave Buckley has been an active musician in the Boston area for over twenty five years. He has performed on piano, mandolin and saxophone in a wide variety of settings. Dave is the band director at Braintree High School where he also teaches music technology. He holds a masters degree in music education from Bridgewater State University.

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Laura Swartz

Voice, Beginning Piano/Ukulele

Swartz began her teaching career in Des Moines, Iowa metro area, working with students of all age groups in traditional classroom settings as well as within her private teaching studio. Currently, Swartz is teaching voice classes and individual students of varying ages at the South Shore Conservatory with previous teaching engagements with the Boston City Singers Kodaly group, Boston Arts Academy, and Amy Dancz Vocal Studio.

A soprano by training, Laura Swartz has been performing in operas such as Le nozze di Figaro, La calisto, and Sour Angelica. Laura has been involved with the Madrigal singing group based in Iowa that travelled through Europe performing chamber pieces. Recently Laura was a part of Boston Conservatory's Conductors choir, which performed with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra along with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Laura believes that everyone, no matter what level, should have the opportunity to explore and grow through music. Her lessons focus on healthy sound production while engaging the entire body in order to maximize expressive performance. She believes that by exploring multiple genres, we maintain flexibility in the voice along with an in-depth understanding of how the larynx functions. Equally comfortable in all musical styles, she specializes in classical and musical theater to diagnose vocal faults; creating individually customized vocal plans containing specific repertoire aimed at assisting the student in developing their personal vocal technique.

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Michael Figueiredo

Guitar, Ukulele, Bass

Michael (Fig) is a guitarist, composer, arranger & music archivist with over 20 years of teaching experience. He has taught students from beginner to advanced, from old to young (and young at heart). Although his principal instrument is guitar, he is equally adept at playing & teaching electric bass, ukulele, mandolin, songwriting, & music theory.

In the early 2000s Michael studied Classical Composition at Berklee College of Music and is comfortable playing & writing in a wide variety of styles. He has led and performed in ensembles ranging from jazz to avant-garde and everything in between.

Over the past 20 years Michael has perfected his own notation system for transcribing music. He has handwritten dozens of songbooks including thousands of transcriptions from a multitude of songwriters and artists from 1950 to present, such as The Beatles, Elvis Costello, and David Bowie.

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Alex Toli

Double Bass, Electric Bass, Guitar, Ukulele

Alex is a full-time student, pursuing a degree in Jazz Studies and Bass Performance at Westfield State University. Currently, he performs with two groups; a Jazz trio and a rock band. You can see him perform jazz with the Lawrence Wood Trio every Thursday night in Easton at The Foundry. Alex’s band, Shark Bait Real Estate, will be performing in the greater Boston area this summer. Alex has written and arranged music for both of groups.

He has taught electric bass, guitar and ukulele to grade school children and young adults. In addition to performing and teaching, his strengths include ear training and music theory.

“Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.”— Frank Zappa

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Stephanie Thibert

Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Thibert is a recent transplant to the South Shore from Martha’s Vineyard, where she spent a decade playing with toys for a living at The Toy Box, an independent toy shop. She also worked after-school and summer hours with the students of the Sense of Wonder Art Camp, creating clay, paper mache, acrylic painted and hot glued masterpieces.

Stephanie is learning how to play the ukulele, so she can make up songs for her cats, chickens and all of the plants in her garden. She has dabbled in many artistic mediums but has found her niche carving beach stones. She founded her small business, The Vineyard Rocks, in 2014, and she still thinks rocks are awesome.

A recent highest honors graduate of Massasoit Community College, Stephanie plans to pursue a degree in sociology. Stephanie’s goal throughout her adventures is to support diverse community building, inclusive of all ages, through the arts, creativity, education, gardening and most importantly, play.