Music Occupations Faculty

Natalya Berdnikova

music-berdnikovaMaster’s degree in Piano Performance, Vocal and Chamber Music Cum laude from Tashkent State Conservatory. Broad academic musical knowledge combined with extensive performance experiences as solo and accompanist for chamber and vocal groups. Leadership role at Milwaukee Piano Teachers Association. Past experience at Concordia University, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and Milwaukee Ballet contributes to a versatile teaching experience working with all levels of talent in both group and private settings. 

Robbi Heighway

Robbi Heighway began piano lessons at age five and continued her studies earning
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from UW-Oshkosh and UW-
Madison where she studied with Carroll Chilton. Robbi has extensive experiences
as a classical recitalist, composer and working in Musical Theatre, as well as
church and chamber music, cabaret, folk, blues, jazz, studio work and freelance
gigs of all sorts. She joined the music faculty at MATC in 1995 and is currently
chair of the Music and Audio Programs. Robbi maintains an independent piano
studio in Waukesha, where she lives a charmed life with her artist husband,
Richard, and their spirited Puerto Rican terrier Rags.

Armon Keshena


Tom McGirr

music-mcgirrTom McGirr grew up in Oak Creek Wisconsin and started his music studies in the Oak Creek schools including playing in the high school orchestra .He continued his music studies at UW - Milwaukee and began working around Milwaukee as a musician . He also earned an associate of science from MATC and went on to get a BFA in music at  Cardinal Stritch University .  As a musician in Milwaukee he has played bass with the Milwaukee Symphony including their Carnegie Hall debut . He has also worked with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra , Milwaukee Rep Theatre , Melody Top Theatre and the Skylight Music Theatre . While working at the Melody Top he worked with Debbie Reynolds , Leonard Nimoy , Rita Mareno and many others .  He has played in orchestras backing The Moody Blues ,   Little Anthony and the Imperials , Kansas , Harry Connick Jr . and many others . He has played Summerfest many times and many other Milwaukee summer festivals . He has played with jazz musicians , Jack Grassel , Chuck Hedges , the jazz group Montage and others in jazz clubs around Milwaukee . He has taught music at UW - Stevens Point , UW - Milwaukee and continues to teach at Concordia University and MATC . He also continues to work as a studio musician for Hal Leonard doing guitar and bass play along books . He also continues to work in clubs around Milwaukee.  

Hal Miller

music-millerHal earned his Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1978 and his M.M, in Jazz Performance from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in 1981.

He is a freelance bassist and has performed with national and international jazz artists such as Louis Bellson, Stanley Clarke, Cal Collins, Nathan Davis, “Wild” Bill Davison, Art Farmer, Bud Freeman, Johny Frigo, Bunky Green, Slide Hampton, Barry Harris, Brian Lynch, Tommy Newsom, Bobby Shew, Lou Soloff, Margaret Whiting, and Teddy Wilson.

Hal has also appeared backing comedians like Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Pete Barbutti, Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, and accompanying vocalists such as Anna Maria Alberghetti, John Gary, Joel Gray, Al Martino, Chad Mitchell, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Tiny Tim, The Crystals, The Drifters, The Four Aces, The Four Lads, The Ink Spots, The Moody Blues and a variety of other shows.

Committed to music education, Hal taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory from 1974-1982. He taught for 7 years in Jazz Studies at Southern Illinois University where he was tenured and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Music. Hal joined the faculty at Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1991 where he has remained, full-time. In addition he has authored “Rock and Pop: The Musical Essence” (Kendall/Hunt) and “Bebop Bass” (Columbia/Belwin)

Mike Neumeyer

music-neumeyerMike Neumeyer is a versatile musician, educator, and composer based in South Milwaukee, WI.  As a composer, Mike has written with one unique focus being marimba and voice. One of Mike’s marimba and voice works, The Power of Music, was used in the documentary In Pursuit of Passion.  Mike Neumeyer’s compositions have been published by C. Alan Publications, Heartland Marimba Publications, Eastern Hill Music and through self-publishing.  His works have been commissioned by The UWSP Percussion Ensemble, The Oak Creek Percussion Ensemble, and The Adna Percussion Ensemble in Washington. 

Mike’s work Mikayla for euphonium and marimba was recorded and released by euphonium artist David Abellan Garcia at Banda Municipal de Musica de Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain and newest work Emergent has been premiered by Don and DJ Palmire of The US Army Pershing’s Own.  Mike recently recorded vibraphone and percussion as a guest artist with The Grovelers, Lost Tribes of the Moon, Conundrum, Damien Cockenpot, Graham Marlowe, Teus Araujo, Ukulele Jack and more. He has recently been featured by Marimba One, Modern Marimba, Wisconsin Music Ventures, Vibesworkshop.com, Desperate Housegeek Magazine, and Los Angeles Jazz Society!

Mike is on faculty at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), teaching music business, film scoring and percussion.  He is the co- caption head with The Oak Creek Marching Knights (7 consecutive year State Champions) and works with the Oak Creek-Franklin School District as a percussion specialist.  From 2014-2018 Mike acted as percussion coordinator of the UW-Milwaukee Youth Percussion Ensemble in accordance with UWM Youth Wind Ensembles. 

In 2007, Mike graduated with a Bachelor of Music from The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he studied voice, percussion, and music education with Dr. Robert Peavler, Robert Rosen, and Dr. Judy Bond, respectively.  During this time, Mr. Neumeyer also studied conducting with Dr. Brendan Caldwell and composition with Dr. Charles Rochester Young.  In 2011, Mike earned a Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied with Dr. John Climer.  While at UW-Milwaukee, Mike also studied percussion with Carl Storniolo and composition with Dr. Keith Carpenter and Steve Nelson-Raney.   Mike is a Marimba One Educational Artist and endorses Saylers Percussion/Encore Mallets.  www.mikeneumeyer.com

Steve Peplin

music-peplinAfter graduating from MATC's Music Occupations program, Steve graduated from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor's degree in traditional composition with emphasis on orchestration and conducting. 

Steve now teaches major Instrument guitar, composition, improvisation, orchestration, honors ensemble and other courses at MATC. 

Steve also teaches jazz guitar and jazz studies at Lawrence University.

Steve performs regularly with numerous Jazz, Latin and rock-based bands including Strangelander, De La Buena, Amanda Huff, MilOrgaNite, Carlos Adames, the Davis/Peplin Duo, Invocation Trio, and many others.  

Steve has performed with many notable musicians and organizations such as Doc Severensen, Dr. Art Davis, Howard Levy,  Jack Grassel, Melvin Rhyne, Maureen McGovern, Dierdre Fellner, War, The Static Chicken, the Platters, the Monkeys, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Fox Valley Symphony, Tontine Ensemble, the Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra and numerous others. 

In addition to composing and performing, Steve has written and transcribed several books, including 12 Easy Classical Masterpieces for Guitar and Sound Traveler's Atlas. 

You can hear his music at https://gardenofsilenceandsound.bandcamp.com/ as well as most other platforms. 

Andrew Spadafora

music-spadafora-pic-2023.pngAndrew Spadafora is a Woodwind Performer and Instructor in the Milwaukee area known for spirited improvisations, featuring both Saxophone and Clarinet. As a noted entertainer in the region, Andrew performs with groups such as Tweed, Dead Man's Carnival, and The Sweet Sheiks, among numerous others. As an instructor at MATC he approaches music education with a multi-faceted approach for students of any level of skill, utilizing both his deep experience as a specialist in several genres, as well as a broad understanding of multi-genre woodwind techniques to help students exceed their own expectations. With additional experience in many aspects of the greater music industry Andrew approaches music education with the same verve as his performance/touring and recording career, and students experience an enjoyable learning setting with engaging exercises, excised from real world experiences!

Elizabeth Wallace

music-wallace-pic-2022.pngElizabeth Wallace began her formal music training at 4 years old and never stopped. She has trained mainly in piano, organ, and voice, but has dabbled in guitar, bass, and percussion. She received her Bachelor's in Elementary Education with a concentration in music from Martin Luther College and her Associate's in Piano and Voice Performance from MATC. She has performed music in many genres with a variety of groups around the country. Since 1996, she has been formally teaching music to children and adults, accompanying and directing choirs, directing musicals, performing vocal solos and duets, and playing organ and piano for church. She began teaching at MATC in 2015.