Cumberland University

Private Lessons

Tuition: $300 for the fall semester
(30 minute weekly private lesson for 14 weeks)
Learning to sing or to play a musical instrument is a highly rewarding pursuit.  Our students will receive one 30-minute private lesson per week for eight weeks.  Teachers will contact students after enrollment to answer all questions and to schedule lesson times. Our highly credentialed faculty members are among the best teachers and performers in Middle Tennessee and most teach at Cumberland University.  Their affiliations include the Nashville Symphony, the Broadway Series at TPAC, the Sewanee Music Festival, the Tennessee Governor’s School and Tennessee Mid-State and All-State Band and Chorus, membership in MTNA, NATS and the National Piano Guild. 


Piano (age 6 – adult)

Beginning, intermediate and advanced instruction with theory, technique, and interpretation included. 

Ms. Carolyn Blake, instructor –

Carolyn Blake grew up in a small town in South Central Texas surrounded by music. She graduated from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX with a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree (with comprehensive hours in Music). Following graduation, she taught for two years on Long Island, N.Y. She has been involved in teaching piano and piano accompanying for most of her life. For the past 14 years she has been a staff piano accompanist for Cumberland University and a teacher for the Cumberland Arts Academy since its inception.

Traditional Violin (age 10 – adult) 

Beginning instruction develops basic playing skills and enhances fine motor skills. Includes proper hand positioning, good tone production, bowing rhythm patterns, and rote learning of simple tunes. Gradual introduction to music reading and theory. Also, intermediate & advanced levels.  (Also appropriate for those particularly interested in Fiddle).

Mr. David Johnson, instructor -

David Johnson has been a working violinist/fiddler since 1979.  His experience includes work with orchestras, chamber music groups and, since 1986, Country singer Randy Travis's touring band.


Guitar (age 6 – adult)

Classical and/or commercial (steel-string) guitar technique and styles (including jazz, rock, blues, country, etc.). Chord shapes, location of notes on neck of guitar, scale/chord theory (especially as related to building chords), and different strum patterns. 

William Fitzhugh, instructor –

William “Tiger” Fitzhugh attended Berklee College of Music for 3 years and completed Bachelor and Master Degrees in classical guitar performance at Austin Peay State University. He is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Classical Guitar for the Steel String Guitarist". A professional musician as well as an educator, he has lived in the Nashville area for over 25 years. He teaches all styles of guitar to all ages of students

Voice (age 14 – adult)

Individual singing instruction to develop and enhance the student’s tone production, breathing technique, posture, diction, phrasing, and overall musicality. Varied repertoire per student’s needs. Audition/interview required for new students.

Band/Orchestral Instruments: (7th grade – adult)

Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, French Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone. 

Mr. Robert Shankle, instructor –

Robert Shankle currently teaches at Trevecca, Lipscomb, Cumberland University and Cumberland Arts Academy. His free-lance woodwind playing includes the Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Broadway shows, and recording work for Faith Hill, Matchbox 20, and The Temptations to recording in the Christian music field.  

Voice, Trumpet, Piano, Songwriting, Guitar (all ages) 

Mr. Shawn Savage, instructor

Hailing from East Tennessee, Shawn Savage is a graduate of Cumberland University. His degrees include an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance, Masters of Arts in Education, and a Masters of Art in Music. He is currently recording his first album and writing in Nashville. Although, classically trained Shawn specializes in teaching commercial music and jazz. During his time at Cumberland University he was a principal soloist on trumpet for many years and involved in many musicals including leading roles in H.M.S. Pinafore and the Fantasticks. Shawn started teaching lessons as a graduate student. He teaches voice, piano, trumpet, songwriting and beginning guitar.