Teachers/Speakers


Shannon de l’Etoile, Ph.D., is associate dean, Graduate Studies, and professor for the Music Therapy program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Dr. de l’Etoile is a board-certified music therapist and current member of both the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), and the Southeastern Region of the AMTA. She is recognized as a Fellow of the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy, has served on the editorial review board for the Journal of Music Therapy and is currently on the editorial review board for Music Therapy Perspectives. Widely published, she earned both her bachelor and master’s degrees in music therapy from Colorado State University. She received her doctorate in music education with an emphasis on music therapy from the University of Kansas and joined the Frost School of Music faculty in fall 2001. Prior to her current appointment, Dr. de l’Etoile taught music therapy at the University of Iowa and at Colorado State University. Her clinical background includes working with adults with mental illness, children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders, adults and children with developmental disabilities, and adults and children with neurologic disorders. She was previously a research associate for the internationally-recognized Center for Biomedical Research in Music in Fort Collins, Colorado where her research focused on exploring the ways that infants respond to infant-directed singing, and using infant-directed singing as a therapeutic intervention for at-risk mother-infant pairs.


Lauren Julius Harris is a Chicago native and was educated in its public schools. His belief that music matters, the topic of his presentation for this program, grows out of a love for music first nurtured by his parents, his best teachers. Thanks to them, he had the good fortune to begin learning about and enjoying music and other art forms while still a child, starting with piano lessons on his mother’s Baldwin grand. These were precious gifts and enriched his life. He also was lucky to attend public schools at a time when the arts were deemed worthy of support, and to grow up in Chicago, with its great orchestra, architecture, museums, festivals, and other cultural and educational programs and institutions. After high school, where he played cello in the orchestra, he enrolled at the University of Illinois to study psychology. Most of his coursework was at its main campus in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, the rest at its Chicago campus on Navy Pier. That gave him the chance to work as an usher for the Chicago Symphony at $5/concert. The "Pier" is now an amusement park, and the site of his classes is now a Ferris wheel. At Urbana-Champaign, a course in child psychology taught by a post-doc from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis led to graduate study in child psychology. There, along with coursework and research, he spent many hours watching small children in the Laboratory Preschool. In winter, he helped them put on and take off their coats, leggings, sweaters, scarves, boots, mittens, earmuffs, and hats — and learned a lesson never taught in class: before putting on all this stuff, ask them, "Do you have to go?" and if they say no, ask again. At Minnesota, he also studied philosophy of science and took a memorable course on the mind-body problem taught by the philosopher Herbert Feigl and the psychologist Paul Meehl. When not studying, he took advantage of the rich variety of arts in the city, including attendance at concerts by the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Symphony), which, conveniently, were held in an auditorium on campus. They were wonderful. In the long winter, he also played games of broom hockey. They were awful.

In 1965, he joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, where, except for sabbaticals, he's been ever since. He’s a member of the program in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and teaches courses in developmental psychology, history of psychology, and neuropsychology. His research has ranged from laboratory studies of cognition, emotion, and laterality of function, to studies in the history of psychology and neuroscience. Throughout, he's been fortunate to have outstanding colleagues and students. He's served on the editorial board of Developmental Psychology and the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, and currently is on the editorial boards of Developmental Neuropsychology, Laterality, and Brain and Cognition. His office radio is always tuned to WKAR-FM, one of the last remaining classical music stations in Michigan. He feels lucky to be at MSU where he can enjoy and learn from the superb musicians in its College of Music, and he attends campus recitals and concerts as often as possible, and encourages his students to do the same.


Deborah Moriarty is professor of piano and chair of the piano area at the Michigan State University College of Music, where she is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award.  A Massachusetts native, she made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 11. She has served on the piano faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Lowell. Moriarty attended the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Master of Music degree with honors. Major teachers include: Russell Sherman, Theodore Lettvin, and Beveridge Webster. A medal winner in the “Concours Debussy,” she is an active recitalist and soloist with orchestras throughout the eastern United States. She has also performed in Belgium, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, China, Italy, and the former Soviet Union. Moriarty is a founding member of the Fontana Ensemble of Michigan, and as an advocate of new music, has participated in numerous premiere performances including Milton Babbitt’s “Whirled Series” at Merkin Hall in New York City. She has recordings on the Crystal, CRI, Blue Griffin and Centaur labels.


Randy Napoleon joined the MSU College of Music faculty in fall 2014 as assistant professor of jazz guitar. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he began his journey in jazz immediately after finishing his studies at the University of Michigan. Jeff Hamilton of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra invited the young Napoleon to do a series of performances with them at the Hollywood Bowl. From there, Napoleon's career took off, first touring with pianist Benny Green nationally and internationally for a year, and then full time with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Comparing him to Wes Montgomery, music critic Michael G. Nastos says, “he displays an even balance of swing, soul, and single-line or chord elements that mark an emerging voice dedicated to tradition and universally accessible jazz values.” Napoleon currently tours with the legendary singer/pianist, Freddy Cole, and is featured on Cole’s 2009 album, “Live at Dizzy’s Club: The Dreamer in Me.“ He is the main arranger and the guitarist on “Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B,” a 2010 Grammy-nominated release from High Note that features songs from the Billy Eckstine song book, as well as on “Talk to Me,” Cole's 2011 album, and Cole's most recent album “This and That.” Today, Napoleon is one of the most sought-after guitarists in New York, where he is known as a forward-thinking musician with a passion for the jazz guitar tradition. 


Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music.  Polischuk received the Doctor of Music Arts Degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Daniel Pollack.  Polischuk has worked extensively with pianists on the Autism Spectrum for ten years, and has published articles on the subject in the MTNA e-Journal and American Music Teacher.  At MSU, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award and the Teacher-Scholar Award.  In 2013, “Terra Incognita” Polischuk’s recording of Impromptus by Franz Schubert and Thomas Osborne was described in a review as a “thought-provoking mix of sensual pleasure and deep reflection.”


Dr. Scott Price currently serves as Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, and Coordinator of Piano Pedagogy at the University of South Carolina School of Music. In addition, he is President of the Board of Trustees of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, The Cleveland Institute of Music, and Bowling Green State University (OH), his recent engagements have included performances and clinics at the national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and solo recitals and presentations across the nation. Dr. Price is creator and editor-in-chief of the on-line piano pedagogy journal “Piano Pedagogy Forum.” He has recorded 39 compact discs of educational piano music for Alfred Publishing Company, and has published several educational compositions. He is a member of the Committee on Special Needs Students for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Special teaching interests of Dr. Price include teaching students with disabilities, very young children, and teaching keyboard improvisation to piano students ranging from beginning to advanced levels. Dr. Price is the founder of the Carolina LifeSong Initiative that is dedicated to providing piano lesson and music experiences for students with special needs, and in fostering best practices in teaching and teacher training. Dr. Price was named a Foundation Fellow by the Music Teachers National Association in 2009, and is the 2012 recipient of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award for the University of South Carolina.


Diego Rivera, associate professor of jazz saxophone and associate director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University is a world-class musician, composer, arranger and educator. Rivera is known for his muscular tone and unique blend of straight-ahead mainstream jazz fused with music inspired by his Latino background and heritage. Since 1999, he has performed concerts across the United States, Canada, Greece, Japan and South Korea. His debut recording, Hercules was released in 2006 on his own record label, Rivera Records. His latest CD project, The Contender (D-Clef Records 2013) received national critical-acclaim reaching #8 on the JazzWeek Radio Charts. Rivera has also appeared on several recordings as a sideman and arranger. An avid composer and arranger, Rivera has written arrangements for a number of recordings and artists most notably for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Motor City Jazz” concert, a tribute to the music and musicians of Detroit. A passionate educator, Rivera has presented masterclasses at schools and universities both in the US and abroad. In addition to his own ensemble, Rivera has toured with Juno-Award winning Canadian Vocalist, Sophie Milman, The Rodney Whitaker Quartet and the MSU Professors of Jazz. Rivera has also performed or recorded with Christian McBride, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Cobb, Wycliffe Gordon, The Mack-Avenue Superband, The Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and The Gerald Wilson Big Band. 


Connie Wible, Owner of Musical Mind Piano Studio, Mercer Island, Washington, is a performing artist, composer and experienced Adaptive Piano consultant for Faber Piano Institute.  She studied at Boise State University, and Seattle Pacific University concentrating in Piano Pedagogy with an emphasis in Abnormal Psychology.  Connie is the Founder and Director of MI Music Technology Camps, Mercer Island, which has been running 15 years.  She has composed and performed her music for several documentaries as well as CD’s published, and performs solo, Piano Duo, and Lake Washington 8 Hand Piano Ensemble.

She has 25 years working with children and adults with neurological issues, and developed an effective Keyboard Adaptive Program called “Piano Keys for Autism”. She teaches according to the student's learning style and has developed adapted piano and keyboard instruction for children with Autism Spectrum and Aspergers Syndrome along with ADD, dyslexia and behavior disorders.  She teaches over 25 special needs students at present in her studio of 55 students.  Connie also specializes in teaching pianists who need accompanying skills, composing and improvisation and mentors music teachers in starting their own studios.  She has given workshops on teaching Adaptive Piano at MTNA New York Convention, and several groups around the country.  She was on the Staff for the Inaugural Year of “Celebrating the Spectrum”, the first ever Autistic Piano festival at Michigan State University.  She also runs a Seniors Piano lesson at the Mercer Island Community Center, and is a member of Alive Inside Foundation, working with seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.