tuneBugz! Teachers

photo Amber Nichols

Founder, Director & Registered Teacher

Hello Everybody!  Like the majority of humans I connected with music right away -  since I first heard it as a bouncy baby! My earliest memory is of my mother holding me and singing harmony with my dad.  I feel very fortunate that music was a part of not only my family culture but, I was also raised amongst the Appalachian bluegrass and folk culture.  My Mother was deeply enamored with music and I grew up listening to her album collection that was huge and included anything and everything from Gregorian Chant to Bach to Frank Zappa and even Lynyrd Skynyrd. Music was a deeply emotional and important piece of everyday life. 

From my earliest memories I have always had an incredible response to music being played, sung or made so in 1988 when my family moved to  Austin, Texas  I wanted to do all the musical things here in this amazing musical city. Our first house in Austin was 2 blocks from The Continental Club and SoCo was a very different place.  I joined my High School (Travis -Go Rebs!) concert choir and then also show choir and of course UIL Solo & Ensemble competitions. I studied piano and guitar and was even elected Choir President in Senior year - and of course - did plenty of busking on the drag. A high schooler needs $ for important things like a glorious cheesesteak at the orginal Texadelphia or a modest cup of jo at Quacks and Indigo Girls and awkard R.E.M. covers provided. 

After high school I embarked on what would end up a long and intensely fulfilling career in educational publishing. Having always been curious and passionate about both children and education - it was a great fit since I had spent so much of my childhood running around printshops with my parents (both writers and musicians!).  In 2003 I met and married my best friend - Daniel Nichols (a bass player and musicology enthusiast). Once we started our family I was delighted to study early childhood development firstand fell immediately back in love with the joy and power of music. I was out of the rat race of corporate education and toward something more personally fulfilling, supporting the next generation of music makers. 

I created tuneBugz! to bring this simple joy of music making to all families.   I strive for tuneBugz! to inspire parents all over Austin to raise their children up to be musical creatives. Every parent can do this regardless of their own musical ability!  Many just don't know this until they JOIN our classes and we show them a different path than the private lesson route where parents are EXCLUDED.  :( 

tuneBugz! has been inspiring music makers all over town for nearly a decade and I'm so grateful that the Austin community doesn't just talk the talk - we walk (and dance) the musical walk! tuneBugz! has the best early childhood music educators in the greatest early childhood music program around - Music Together®

     
Sara Nuttle

Registered Music Together Teacher - Lead

Sara is a singer, songwriter & visual artist who loves that her day job is all about making music with Austin's littlest musicians!   Sara is beloved by Austin families and continues to surprise and delight with her charming vocal style, silly peek-a-boos and lullaby time with her sweet ukulele "Lulu".  Sara has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Psychology and Studio Art and received her Music Together training in April 2014 at the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ - the "Mothership" of Music Together.  

In addition to her classes Sara also serves as a mentor and model for new teachers. 

When not at tuneBugz! Sara's out in ATX performing solo or with one of her bands, working on new paintings or collaborating on new music. See and hear what's new from Sara here on bandcamp.

 

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photo Corley Woods

Registered Music Together Teacher

Corley is a native Austinite and mother of two who started singing early and never stopped. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas with a minor in Education. After experiencing how Music Together can enrich day to day life with small children, Corley is so excited to share the experience with other Austin families. In free-time, you can find her in the garden or sitting behind her sewing machine. Either place, she is probably singing!

 

Corely completed her Music Together teacher training in Sept 2018. 

     
Annissa Austin

Registered Music Together Teacher

After attending several semesters of Music Together at tuneBugz! and witnessing the impact not only her children but on herself as a music maker - Annissa was inspired to hit the books and train to be a Music Together teacher.  She has lived in Leander, Tx her whole life and as Leander grows she hopes to grow a whole new community of music makers! Annissa completed her Music Together teacher training in July 2017.

  

Annissa loves introducing children to her sweet guitar 'Lavvie'  and when she's not singing and making music at tuneBugz! you'll find her out at the lake with her boys, getting centered at yoga or headed to a drum circle! 

 

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photo Tania Vona

Registered Music Together Teacher

Tania began singing before she could talk, crawling up to the box television to sing along with the theme song to the Young & The Restless, or so the story goes.  Tania continued singing in church and in a children's choir but then turned her focus to performing in an award winning variety show spanning 7 years. Tania continued throughout her 20's singing in a country band, chamber ensemble, solo vocal performances, acting/singing in musical theater. She also enjoyed traveling with a performance troupe educating youth about peer pressure topics through drama and popular music. 

Tania continues to perform locally and is honored to continue her voice study under Susan Lincoln, founder of Austin's beloved women's singing group,  The Hilde Girls. 

After a neck sugery threatened possible vocal paralysis Tania became even more driven to share her love of music. Tania completed her training with Music Together in April 2018. 

 

 

     
Cindy Haws-Rice

Registered Music Together Teacher

Cindy likes to keep many plates spinning!  She has been a lifetime musician and has been singing since she could press record/play on her cassette player while pretending to be Annie. Trained in classical piano, oboe and flute, she has a B.A. in Music and a minor in Studio Art with an emphasis on ceramics. She has studied and performed African and Middle Eastern percussion as well as dance and incorporates this training into her projects. 
 
Cindy is a certified Special Education teacher at the Rosedale School teaching Life Skills, music, art, social emotional learning and gardening electives. She is certified to teach levels one and two Radiant Child Yoga.  For her own musical joy, Cindy spends time performing in two bands but her favorite project right now is her children’s band - the Stawbitty Yops! 
 
As a foster parent, as well as a parent to two college students, and an 18 month old, Cindy is never without a house full of kids. She discovered Music Together while looking for a music class for her three young children, read the philosophy and fell in love. She immediately signed up for training the same semester and became certified in March 2019 in Austin,Tx.  Bringing music to children and encouraging everyone to have fun making music is her passion and she enjoys working with families to bring music into their homes.
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photo Christa Tumlinson

Registered Music Together Teacher

A transplant from Kansas, Ms. Christa has peformed as a professional vocalist across Southern Cailfornia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now has set down roots as a teacher and performer in Austin, Tx. 

 

Christa started singing before she could talk (or do just about anything else!) She was born into a family of professional musicians and it's always been her first and second nature to make music. Christa has a B.A. in Music and is a piano and voice teacher, accompanist, conductor, and Mama! 

Christa was inspired to become a Music Together teacher when she became a mom. Having a baby sparked a deep curiosity in her about how music development progresses in early childhood. She completed her Music Together training in March 2019 and is so excited to join the tuneBugz! team this Summer 2019!