The Leander High School Band Program provides an outstanding one-on-one educational program through our amazing private lesson staff. These teachers are specific to your child’s instrument, and lessons are incredibly convenient as most lessons take place during a child’s band class or before or after school.

Email Mr. Sirna at for district private lesson grant information.

  • Private Lesson Facts to consider:
    • 82% of the Band Program is in private lessons
    • 100% of the students that band Region, Area, and All-State take private lessons
    • 98% of the Wind Ensemble takes private lessons
    • Taking private lessons has a direct correlation to a student’s success

Click here to sign up for Private Lessons

Private Lesson Staff

Flute – Rachel Lopez

Oboe – Gabriel Grant

Gabriel Grant

Gabriel Grant is an oboist, reed maker, and private lesson teacher located in Austin, Texas. He currently serves as Principal Oboe of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed with ensembles including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Central Texas Philharmonic, and Temple Symphony Orchestra. 
Gabriel holds a Master’s degree (MM) in Oboe Performance from the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music where he studied under Dr. Andrew Parker. He received his Bachelor’s degree (BM) from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia where he studied with Dr. Susan Tomkiewicz. Gabriel performs on a Loree Royal 125th Anniversary model oboe.

Bassoon – Karen Stephenson

Karen Stephenson

Karen Stephenson is a bassoonist and bassoon repair specialist based in Austin, Texas. Originally from Sugar Land, Karen graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a double degree in Bassoon Performance and Spanish. During her studies at UT, she attended the Eastern Music Festival in 2019, where she studied with Karla Ekholm and George Sakakeeny. 

Karen frequently teaches masterclasses at Dulles High School in Fort Bend ISD as well as private lessons at Leander High School, Running Brushy Middle School, and Bastrop Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools. 

In addition to her private teaching studio, Karen runs a specialized bassoon repair business in the Central Texas area and has hosted repair masterclasses at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. She studied with revered bassoon repairperson, Ken Potsic, in Atlanta and hopes to continue growing her repair business. You can reach out to her at

Clarinet – Stephanie Grubbs

Stephanie Grubbs 

Stephanie Grubbs is one of the clarinet private lesson teachers at Leander HS. She earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education at the University of North Texas. She was a band director for 10 years and has been teaching privately for in the Austin area for over 19 years. She lives in Liberty Hill with her husband and has two grown daughters. She prides herself on her personal and positive approach to teaching. 

Saxophone – Dustin Hunter

Dustin Hunter 

Dustin Hunter is an Austin based saxophonist and music educator. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Louisiana State University and a Master’s of Music degree from the University of New Mexico. Locally, Dustin performs regularly with Honey Made, a funk and soul band hailing from Austin, Texas, and the Austin Saxophone Ensemble, one of the only professional classical saxophone ensembles in the country. He has also performed with the San Antonio Symphony, Mid-texas Symphony, and various other ensembles of all genres of music. He has been a guest soloist with the Heart of Texas Concert Band and the Louisiana State University Wind Ensemble. As an educator he has been teaching professionally for over twelve years in Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. His students have consistently won auditions in region, district, area, and state competitions, and have often continued their education at the collegiate level.

Trumpet – Shane Pistch

Dr. Shane Pitsch 

Shane Pitsch holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet performance and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance degree from Eastern Illinois University, and a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance (jazz emphasis) degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Shane has performed with artists such as Willie Nelson, The Drifters, Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter, Steve Turre, Henry Butler, Spoon, What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Latin Breed, Johnny Bush, Ron Wilkins, and many others. 

Over the past several years, Shane has been involved with many Austin area bands, including Global Soul (co-leader), Ghandaia, Opositivo, The Latin Breed, The Caldwell Shine Band, ATX Big Band, Blind Date, The Nash Hernandez Orchestra, and The Contemporary Works Jazz Orchestra. 

French Horn – Maggie Demel

Trombone – Javier Stuppard

Dr. Javier Stuppard 

Dr. Javier Stuppard strives for excellence as an eclectic musician while upholding the highest of standards. He maintains an active performance schedule in various styles of music including Jazz, Salsa, Orchestral and Commercial. He has been featured at several major conferences such as the International Trombone Festival, the National Trombone Workshop and the Texas Music Educators Conference with both the Minor 4th Trombone Quartet and JazzBonez. In addition, the Minor 4th Trombone Quartet presented at the Texas Bandmasters Association Conference, have been featured guest artists with professional and collegiate Symphony Orchestras, and perform recitals and master classes at Universities nationwide. 

Dr. Stuppard is an energetic advocate of music in public schools and often serves as an adjudicator, clinician, and mentor. In 2015, he gladly accepted the position of Artist Mentor for Electrify Your Band!, a program that was created to assist with the promotion of fine arts in school districts around the nation by bridging imagination and intellect though musical self-expression. This program allows him the opportunity to teach students the important combination of being an educator, performer and entertainer though clinics and performance on Electric Trombone. 

Additionally, he is a founder the Fresh2Def Horns, a horn section who’s soulful sound is a culmination of an exceptional blend, superb musicianship, and creativity that is adjusted to enhance any genre of music. They have a distinct style that is deeply rooted in entertainment; their delivery of a “complete package” is evident though choreography, and high-energy that engages the audience through interaction. To further enhance the experience the look of the section is chosen from a wardrobe of matching attire such as suit and ties, fitted hats and Air Jordan shoes. 

As a free-lance musician, Dr. Stuppard has performed with Lukas Graham and taped live for the MTV Woodies, played festivals such as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Blues of the Green, and opened for a variety of artists such as Canadian Brass, Leon Bridges to Kool & the Gang. On the orchestral side of music, he has also performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Temple Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, and the Bermuda Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2010, he had the distinct honor of opening for a speech given by President Obama in Austin, Texas. From 2009-2018, Dr. Stuppard served as Assistant Professor of Music at Huston-Tillotson University. He holds a B.M.E from Norfolk State University, a M.M and D.M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin. His principal teachers include Paul Adams, Ron Westray and Dr. Nathaniel Brickens. 

Dr. Stuppard has served as the International Trombone Festival Competition Coordinator since 2012, is an artist/clinician for Michael Rath Trombones, Applied Microphone Technology, 64 Audio, and plays exclusively on Pickett Brass Mouthpieces. 

Euphonium/Tuba – Zachary Bixler

Zachary Bixler

Zach Bixler is a tuba player and private lesson teacher in North Austin and holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Texas Tech University. During his time at Texas Tech, He studied with Dr. Kevin Wass, an internationally respected pedagogue and member of the tuba euphonium community. 

Zach is a native of Round Rock and has been teaching with the Austin based tuba and euphonium camp, Teupha, since 2018. He also enjoys occasionally performing with groups such as the Austin Brass Collective, a North Austin based brass ensemble.

Outside of teaching, Zach is an avid reader, and he can often be found in the middle of a book. He also enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and dogs, as well as playing disc golf at many local courses.

Percussion – Chris Sawyer, Andrew Dobos, Trevor Deary, Allan Dobos

Chris Sawyer 

Chris Sawyer is a percussion educator and performer in Central Texas. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He has taught for 11 years in the Austin area, including 4 years as a middle school band director, and the last 7 years as a private lesson instructor. 

Chris was an All-State Percussionist in high school, a member of the band program at John B. Connaly HS. He graduated in the top 5 percent of his high school class, earning scholarships for academics and music. While at UNT, Chris studied with Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Christopher Deane, Mike Drake, and Ed Smith. He performed with the Green Brigade Marching Band, the world-renowned UNT “A-Line” Indoor drumline, the UNT 2:00 Steel Drum Ensemble, Concert bands, new music ensembles, and world music ensembles. 

After Graduating, Mr. Sawyer taught as a middle school band director in Austin ISD. After that he ventured into a career as a private lesson instructor. He teaches in Leander ISD at Henry MS, Stiles MS, and Vista Ridge HS. He also teaches in Round Rock ISD, and Austin ISD. He was instrumental in helping Henry MS win the first-ever PASIC Middle School Call of Tapes, culminating in a performance at PASIC in Indianapolis. In 2018 many of his students at Vista Ridge HS also had the opportunity to perform at Pasic while winning the 6A Texas State Marching Band Contest. 

His students have consistently earned positions in the All-Region Band, Superior ratings for solo & ensemble contest, and he has helped several students earn positions in drum corps and college music programs. 

Andrew Dobos 

Andrew Dobos is an energetic, skilled, well-rounded percussionist with extensive ensemble-playing experience, collegiate leadership experience, and workplace experience with percussion instruments, including repair, marketing, and sales. Andrew is one of the founding members of the Austin-based post-rock percussion quartet, The Kraken Quartet, which performs locally and has recorded several EPs. While pursuing a Master’s degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Andrew held positions of Principal Percussionist of the Symphony and University Orchestras, as well as Wind Ensemble Section leader. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree at Ithaca College, Andrew held positions of Wind Ensemble Section Leader, Principal Timpanist of the Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Timpanist of the Chamber Orchestra.

Currently, Andrew lives in Austin, TX performing frequently with The Kraken Quartet, and teaches percussion lessons at local high schools 

Trevor Deary

Bio Coming soon


Bio Coming soon

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