A Few Notes About the Instructors
Dawn Smith Salmons
The founder of Dawn’s Piano Studio, Dawn Smith Salmons has been teaching piano in Orlando since 2002. She holds a B.A. in contemporary music ministry, with an emphasis in voice and piano, from Spring Arbor University and a Master's of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. In 2009, she was recognized with the Young Leader Award from Spring Arbor University's alumni association. Dawn has accompanied and performed with various groups including bands, jazz bands, choirs, a ska band called The Smoothies, and WellSpring (Spring Arbor University’s traveling ensemble), in which she was the primary keyboard player. She has been the worship assistant for River Run Christian Church, the worship pastor at The Harbour Church, and is currently the worship leader at Asbury Seminary. In addition, she writes music, leads worship, consults and performs for a variety of venues and events including churches, camps, retreats, and conferences. Dawn believes that piano is best taught from many different angles so she focuses on combining note-reading with theory, ear-training, and chord playing. When put together, this well-rounded type of study helps students become pianists who are able to play many different styles with great understanding. Dawn’s students are encouraged to make suggestions about song selection so that they remain focused and move forward while learning songs that they specifically enjoy. Dawn enjoys watching students progress and her goal is for all students to grow in their understanding, ability, and love of the piano! In addition to music, Dawn loves to hang out with her three children and her husband, Blair!
Wilson Diaz started his piano and music studies at the age of 13 with the Colombian composer Jaime Doneys. During his high school years he was a member of marching bands and participated in arranging music for theater productions at the National Theater House in Colombia. He has been a piano student of recognized pianists such as Sergei Sychkov and Dr. Gary Wolf, has completed piano pedagogy courses under the instruction of Dr. Gloria Cook and Randall Faber, has had the honor of performing with virtuoso Bela Fleck, and has participated in clinics, workshops and master classes with globally recognized musicians such as Leon Fleisher, Joseph Banowetz, Chick Corea, Chano Dominguez and Avishai Cohen. In 2004, he was a recipient of the outstanding musician award in the honors recital at Seminole State College. He holds an A.A. in Music (Seminole State College) and an Honors B.A. in Music with an emphasis in piano pedagogy and composition (Rollins College), a degree he earned magna cum laude. Wilson has taught with Dawn's Piano Studio since 2007.
Keegan Matthews joined Dawn’s Piano Studio in 2011 with experience in a wide variety of musical areas. He began his musical studies on euphonium but switched his focus to piano after a group piano class in high school. He holds an associate’s degree in Music Education from Seminole State College of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano Studies from the University of Central Florida. While at Seminole State, he was a mentor in music theory and piano for other students in classical and jazz music, music theory, improvisation, and piano technique and performance. He has won awards in multiple competitions and has performed with notable musicians such as Bobby Koeble, Jeff Rupert, Richard Drexler, Roosevelt Collier, Anthony Cole, Linda Cole, and Matt Lapham. Currently, Keegan performs weekly with The Orlando Jazz Orchestra, the funky-Latin quartet Con Leche, the Get 2nds, and Orlando’s up and coming band Leisure Chief. He is also a composer/arranger who has his music performed throughout Central Florida. Keegan loves teaching piano and is passionate about each student finding their own interests in their study. He has seen a positive impact in his own life as a result of his piano studies and wants to pass that on to his students.
Patrick Moreno began studying music at the age of 12. After a brief time learning guitar, he received a keyboard for his birthday and switched instruments. He continued to study through college and received a minor in music from UCF in 2016, where he played in various school ensembles, including jazz chamber groups, and studied music theory, sight singing, and composition. He received additional training through master classes with Richard Drexler and Per Danielsson and jazz clinics with Benny Golson, Dan Miller, Addison Frei, Harry Allen, and Catherine Russell. Patrick is also an experienced performer. He has played with the Sanford Jazz Ensemble, the School of Performing Arts (Maitland), Soul Funktion, the Sweet Talkers, Holey Miss Moley, the Steamin’ Trio, Two Party System, the Christian Ryan Trio, his own jazz-pop band Honeypot, and several other local and regional artists. He is a substitute/sit-in pianist for various local music acts as well. In addition to his performing, Patrick has taught piano in Oviedo for several years and spends a great deal of time composing and arranging. Patrick is passionate about helping his students enjoy learning piano and he hopes that his teaching will inspire them to achieve a greater understanding of music as both an art and a language.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Marcinko Orozco began learning piano at age 11. In 2009, he began studying under renowned pianist Dr. Boril Ivanov. He went on to study at Florida State College at Jacksonville, where he received an A.A. in Music with a focus on piano and theory. In 2015, Marcinko moved to Winter Park to attend Rollins College, where he received his B.A. in Music with a focus in Composition and Piano Performance. While a Rollins student, he studied piano and music theory pedagogy extensively under the direction of Dr. Gloria Cook and Dr. Daniel Crozier and performed both piano and composition recitals. He has also taken master classes with Lise de la Salle and Marvin Blickenstaff. Marcinko performed as a solo artist at San Jose Country Club, provided accompaniment for FSCJ's production of Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and played with the FSCJ’s President's Jazz Combo. He was the pianist for the Rollins Chamber Ensemble and the Rollins Acoustic Ensemble, a conductor for Vespers at Knowles Chapel, and a tenor in the Rollins College Choir. In 2018, he was awarded the Ralph Lyman Baldwin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Composition. In addition to performing, Marcinko has a real love for teaching and connecting with students. While at both of his undergraduate institutions he was a music theory and piano tutor and he has taught private piano lessons around the greater Orlando area. He is also a well-loved and sought after tennis instructor at the Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park. A passionate and creative teacher, Marcinko is committed to helping each student love their lessons and reach their greatest potential as a pianist.
Nylah Rampersad is excited to bring her passion and talent to the Dawn’s Piano Studio team. A pianist for over 20 years, she plays with an expressive style and great precision, and brings a lifelong love of music as well as an excitement about inspiring a kindred love for music in others to her teaching. She is an experienced educator, whose background includes not only teaching piano for several years, but also providing science education for children and families and overseeing many other facets of the educational process. She has worked with students from a variety of cultures, with various needs and abilities, and is gifted at connecting with students individually to help them reach their potential. As an Early Childhood Education Specialist at the Orlando Science Center she developed age-appropriate curriculum, trained educational staff, ensured alignment between programs and their correlated domains, and facilitated Teacher Professional Development for three central Florida counties and a variety of corporations, including Disney and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. She has presented and exhibited at conferences, tutored at Daytona State College, and even hosted the WUCF Science! Kids television program. In addition to her experience as an educator and a pianist, Nylah is also an accomplished dancer. She spent 12 years studying ballet, jazz, and lyrical dance, including two years as a dance company member, and has performed in “Oklahoma,” “Wicked,” and other unique company performances. Nylah holds a B.S. in Biology from UCF and a Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh. A smart, creative, engaging, passionate, and insightful teacher, Nylah is thrilled to help each and every student develop a genuine love for music and to help them reach their musical goals!
Libby Sellers started playing the piano at a young age with her mother as her first piano teacher! An organist and pianist, she holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. and was a student of Dr. Henry Doskey, a protégée of William Gillock and Menahem Pressler. Some of the highlights of her undergraduate years were being selected as a semi-finalist in the ECU Young Artist’s Competition and being inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society. Libby spent thirty-three years teaching choral and general music at schools in North Carolina and Orlando and has been a music director at several Orlando area churches. Now she is excited to spend more time teaching students how to play her favorite instrument. Libby enjoys sharing the joy of music with her students and watching them grow as they learn about music and increase their piano playing skills. As an educator, she has learned that playing the piano has many benefits: it helps students develop good critical thinking and problem solving skills as they learn to read and analyze the music, gives students a sense of accomplishment as they meet their weekly practice goals, and creates a sense of confidence in students as they see themselves improve and move on to new and more difficult pieces. In addition to her teaching, Libby is on staff at St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church and also plays for theater productions. A sought-out musician, you will be captured by her talent, excitement, and enthusiasm!