Meet our outstanding faculty.

Katie Mattix, director

Suzuki violin, viola & piano teacher

Music Together® teacher & director

Katie is a violin, viola, piano and Music Together® teacher at Mattix Music Studio, where she welcomes students age three to adult. She enjoys helping students achieve their maximum potential, and puts an emphasis on healthy instrumental technique. Katie is a registered Suzuki teacher and specializes in early childhood education and pedagogy. Katie has a master’s degree in violin education and a bachelor’s degree in violin performance, with a minor in piano performance. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, going to the opera, and eating dark chocolate.

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Valerie Schierl

Traditional & Suzuki cello teacher

Valerie Schierl studied Music, Art History and Psychology at Macalester College in St Paul, MN and at The University of Minnesota. Valerie has studied and played the cello for 43 years.  She began studying the cello at age 4 with the Suzuki Method at MacPhail Center for the Arts in Minneapolis, MN.  Her studies have included instruction from distinguished musicians and teachers such as Diane Tremaine, Claudette Laureano and Janet Horvath. Valerie has many years experience playing in various ensemble groups; from symphonies and chamber ensembles, to duets and quartets, to gigs with Mpls rock bands.  Her first career led her into the field of behavioral psychology, working with young children who have communication and interaction disorders.  Valerie has also explored studies linking the arts and psychology, such as Art and Music Therapy.  Valerie is mom to 5 teenage kids (string players all!) and lives in La Grange Park with her husband, Michael. Valerie is now thrilled to be able to teach cello full time to all ages, from 4 years old to adult.  Pursuing her true passion for music education, Valerie seeks to support the arts and partners with like-minded individuals to create resources and opportunities for youth and adults to experience the many joys of music and the visual arts.

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sixto 8Sixto Franco

Violin & viola teacher

Sixto Franco is a violin and viola teacher at Mattix Music Studio. He is an avid violist, teacher and composer, having performed in Europe, United States and Mexico. Mr. Franco has appeared extensively with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Symbiosis Ensemble in LA, and Camerata Musicalis in Spain, Barcelona Symphonic Orchestra, and Shleswig-holstein Musik Festival Orchestra, among others. Mr. Franco is the violist of the Kaia String Quartet, with which he has recorded the quartet’s first album “Latinoamerica”. The Kaia String quartet has appeared as the quartet in Residency of the Latino Music Festival of Chicago performing in such venues as the Pritzker Theater, Fullerton Hall of the Chicago Arts institute, Mayne Stage featuring Paquito D ́Rivera, Fareed Haque, Ernie Adams, and Rick Ferguson. As a composer, Sixto Franco has written for different mediums such as chamber music, theater and dance. He made his debut on February 2011 premiering his work “Blanco y Negro” in a Cancer Benefit Concert promoted by the Spanish Consulate of Los Angeles and the Symbiosis Ensemble. Mr. Franco is a graduate from ESMUC, Barcelona. In 2012, Sixto Franco earned his Graduate Certificate and Master Degree at Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California. His teachers include Ashan Pillai, Donald McInnes and Anthony Devroye.

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Sharon Knickerbocker

Suzuki piano teacher

Sharon is a piano teacher at Mattix Music studio and accepts students ages three to adult. She is on the piano faculty at Morton College, and also enjoys an avid freelance career as a collaborative pianist and music director. Some of her favorite Chicago-area performances include playing with her trio at the Lyric Opera, accompanying recitals at DePaul University, and performing at PianoForte’s Schubertiade festival. She is passionate about music education for children. She regularly music directs workshops for young musical theater performers with BAMtheatre, and directs children’s music at her church. Sharon is also a registered Suzuki  teacher. Sharon has a her bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Ithaca College, a master’s degree in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as a professional studies diploma in collaborative piano, also from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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Yajing Li

Piano teacher

Yajing Li is a piano teacher at Mattix Music Studio. Having been teaching piano for many years, she has rich experience in piano instruction. Patient, enthusiastic, and approachable, Yajing is skilled in teaching students of all ages with different levels. Yajing studied piano with Dr. William Goldenberg at Northern Illinois University. She has two master’s degrees in music (solo performance & accompaniment and chamber music) from Northern Illinois University. As a musician and accompanist, she has been playing for churches and school choirs for years, including DeKalb High School, Clinton Rosette Middle School, and Huntley Middle School.

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Dan Mattix, owner

Piano, composition & voice teacher

Dan Mattix is a piano, voice and conducting teacher at Mattix Music Studio. He welcomes students age six to adult, and offers integration lessons. Dan enjoys helping each student grow as a person as well as a musician, incorporating elements of technique, theory and history into each lesson. Dan is also the music director at a church in Western Springs, and an adjunct professor of music at Moody Bible Institute. He earned his master’s degree at the University of Iowa, where he studied piano with Réne Lecuona, voice with John Muriello and conducting with Timothy Stalter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music. Dan has taught in the public schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels; and also works as a singer, vocal coach, accompanist and conductor.

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Want to become a Mattix Music Studio instructor?

We’re always glad to meet new friends who want to teach at our studio. If you’re interested in joining our faculty, please send your resume and any additional information to

Mattix Music Studio    (708) 638-3027