Meet our outstanding faculty.

Katie Mattix, director

Suzuki piano, violin, & viola teacher

Music Together® teacher & director

Katie teaches piano, violin, and viola students of all ages and abilities. She is also the owner and director of all programming at Mattix Music Studio.
Katie has been teaching music lessons since 1999 and specializes in early childhood music education. She loves learning alongside the youngest musicians in the studio in Music Together® classes and Suzuki lessons. Katie enjoys empowering her students of all ages to learn and grow through rich musical experiences. With a deep passion for education, she works to enable every family at Mattix Music Studio to make music an integral part of their daily life. Parent education is a high priority and Katie’s families enjoy ongoing support for successful music practice and growth at home.
She earned her Master’s degree in violin education from Northern Illinois University, where she studied with Mathias Tacke, of the Vermeer Quartet, and Ann Montzka-Smelser, famed Suzuki teacher trainer. During her undergrad, she studied with David Taylor, assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her Bachelor’s degree is in violin performance with a piano minor from Moody Bible Institute. Other violin teachers include Dr. Robert Emile, former conductor of the San Diego Symphony, as well as violinist David Neely and violist Clark Potter.
In her free time, Katie enjoys thinking up new ways to inspire her students, playing chamber music, and relaxing with her family.

Contact Katie at

Anna Kovalevska

Piano teacher

Anna Kovalevska is a traditional piano teacher and accepts all levels of students ages four and up.

Anna began her piano studies when she was five years old in Ukraine, her home country. She came to the U.S. in 2010 to get her Artist Diploma at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) under the direction of David Allen Wehr and Yeeha Chiu with full graduate assistantship in accompanying.
After the graduation she was invited to join Duquesne University as a Staff accompanist.  While living in Pittsburgh, Anna also served as an organist at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral and was an active opera and collaborative pianist.
Anna has been a prizewinner in many national and international piano competitions in Europe and USA as a piano soloist. In 2011  she appeared with the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra as the winner of Duquesne Concerto Competition. Later, she was granted a J. Cornetti Tucci Piano Performance award. In 2013, Ms. Kovalevska and her piano duo partner Yuting Zhou won the 1st prize at the United States International Duo Piano Competition (Colorado Springs, CO). Earlier in 2012, they also won the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions.
Prior to her arrival to Pittsburgh, she has received a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Piano Performance from National University in Kiev, Ukraine with full tuition. In 2009, she was awarded a stipend from the President’s fund for her musical talents. Anna moved to Chicago at the end of 2017. She can teach in English, Ukrainian and Russian languages.

Contact Anna at

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.

Contact Valerie at

Michelle Callahan

Piano teacher

Michelle is a piano teacher at Mattix Music Studio and accepts students age 5 to adult. Michelle has given piano lessons for nearly 30 years to students of many ages and skill levels, but she especially enjoys working with beginners. She loves seeing students gain confidence and pride in their growing skills. She has a Music Education Degree with a concentration in Piano Performance from Evangel University, where she was awarded a Fellowship in Music Theory.  In addition to teaching music in the public schools, Michelle has accompanied choirs, soloists and instrumentalists at various concerts and competitions.  She has also served as Choir Director, Children’s Musical Director and Worship Leader.  She enjoys relaxing on the lakeside, reading, chai tea and playing with her family.

Contact Michelle at

Sharon Knickerbocker

Suzuki piano teacher, Suzuki Group Class Coordinator

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.

Contact Sharon at

Yajing Li

Piano teacher

Yajing Li is a traditional piano teacher at Mattix Music Studio for students ages four to adult. 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.

Contact Yajing at

Cara Schlecker

Suzuki & traditional violin & viola teacher

Violinist Cara Schlecker, alumna of The University of Michigan and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, is currently an Associate Member of The Civic Orchestra of Chicago.  She has participated in master classes and studied under artists such as: Ruggiero Ricci; Alice Schoenfeld; Shmuel Ashkenasi; Christopher O’Riley; Chee-Yun Kim; Robert McDuffie; David Yonan; Amy Schwartz-Moretti; Emerson String Quartet; St. Lawrence String Quartet; Brentano String Quartet; Cavani String Quartet and Orion String Quartet among others.

Completing her Suzuki Teacher Training at The University of Michigan and a former Suzuki student herself, Ms. Schlecker has a passion for helping her students find joy and confidence in music making. She accepts violin and viola students at all ages and abilities.

Email Cara at

Dan Mattix, owner

Piano, organ, composition & voice teacher

Dan Mattix is a piano, organ, composition, and voice 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.

Contact Dan at

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