KSU Student Teaching Staff

Rachel CampbellRachel Campbell, violin
Rachel's passion for music began when she started playing the violin at the age of nine, and she discovered her love and natural talent for teaching not long afterwards. She currently teaches violin and viola lessons at Sandy Springs Music, where her additional work as an office manager has allowed for a greater understanding of student and parent needs. Rachel has a unique enthusiasm for teaching that promotes student success, growth, and enjoyment. Her teaching style can be adapted to best fit students of all ages, experience, and various educational needs while keeping lessons informative and fun.
Terry Keeling, violin
Terry Keeling is a junior at Kennesaw State University studying music education and violin under Professor Helen Kim. A graduate of Allatoona high school, he first started playing violin in sixth grade, then proceeded to study under David Arenz of the Atlanta Symphony for 3 years, and Jim Palmer in high school. Mr. Keeling has had a variety of orchestral experiences, including performances with the Georgia All-State Orchestra, Cobb County Honors Orchestra, the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO), and most recently the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Keeling also served as concertmaster of an orchestra featured at the Georgia Music Educator’s Association (GMEA) conference, and soloed with a alternative styles ensemble at the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) conference in 2012. He currently spends his time practicing, teaching privately, and freelancing on violin.
Brittany Thayer, violin
Brittany Thayer is a senior at Kennesaw State University studying violin performance under Helen Kim, a student of Dorothy DeLay. She began playing the violin in 6th grade and also started private instruction the same year. Her teachers include Ying Zhou and Marla Feeney, a second-generation student of Nathan Milstein. Brittany participated in the Cobb County Honor Orchestra for four years and was a member of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO), under Dr. Michael Alexander, for three years. She has attended Encore! Music Camp at Emory University and the University of Georgia Summer Music Institute. At KSU she participates in violin studio class and chamber ensembles each semester. She is also a member of the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra, serving as co-principal second violin. She spends a majority of her time teaching private lessons and practicing.
Courtney Varner, viola
Courtney Varner has been playing the viola for 12 years and is one of the founding members of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, serving as principal viola chair in its first year. She has played with the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra for 5 years and helped it reach the amazing level it is today. In 2010, she played for the opening of the Tyler Perry Studio with various freelance musicians in Atlanta. In January 2011, as part of the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra spent a week in Beijing and Xian China for their American Music Festival. She is a working violist and has been playing professionally in the Metro Atlanta area for the past 5 years. Upon graduation, she plans on teaching middle school orchestra.
Avery McCoy, cello
Avery McCoy began playing cello in sixth grade and began taking lessons through middle school and high school. Mr. McCoy has participated in Cobb County Honor Orchestra as principal cellist and the Georgia All-State Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he was a part of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra since its founding in 2006. Mr. McCoy has performed at Spivey Hall, the Bailey Performance Center, the Murray Arts Center, and recorded with the Zephyr Choral Guild. At North Cobb High School, Mr. McCoy was principle cellist for three years and received the National School Orchestra Award both of his last two years. In his senior year, he performed the Boccherini Cello Concerto in B-flat Major with the North Cobb Orchestra. At Kennesaw State University Mr. McCoy is pursuing a degree in music education and is a member of the KSU Symphony Orchestra as Co-Principal Cellist. While at KSU, Mr. McCoy has performed in masterclasses under Jesús Castro-Balbi, cello professor at Texas Christian University, and David Ying, Associate Professor of cello at Eastman School of Music. Additionally, he participates in chamber ensembles at KSU and has received master classes from the Pacifica Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, and Ying Quartet. Most recently, Mr. McCoy was a semi-finalist in the annual KSU concerto competition as well as the Georgia Philharmonic Concerto Competition.
Kathryn Encisco, cello
Kathryn Encisco, a junior at Kennesaw State University studying music education, while studying cello under Charae Krueger, is from East Cobb and a graduate from Lassiter High School. She began shifting her focus from piano to cello when she turned nine, and has loved the cello since. Her teacher for over ten years was Sarah Paul from the Kennesaw Area. Ms. Encisco has been a member of Honor Orchestras, both state and county levels, All-State, and GYSO throughout her musical career. She was a member of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) for seven years under Jim Palmer, Dr. Michael Alexander, and Grant Harville, and was co-section leader/assistant section leader for numerous of the years she participated. When she is not on campus in classes or rehearsals, Ms. Encisco is working at her job of two and a half years or teaching (new) cello students. She hopes to teach/help anywhere possible just so she can spread her love for music to anyone willing to listen.
Matthew Richards, double bass
Matthew Richards is a senior at Kennesaw State University, and is currently studying music education. He is a student of Joseph Mcfadden of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has been playing the double bass for more than ten years and was a private student of Dr. James Barket for six of those years. He has recently begun taking private cello lessons with Dr. Barket’s wife Jennifer. Mr. Richards has played with the Fulton County Honor Orchestra as well as the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) for two years. He has also worked as an assistant for the Elementary school students in the ASYO, and is a member of the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA). More recently he has started performing with a Jazz combo with the KSU School of Music. Mr. Richards enjoys teaching privately, and also performs regularly with both the Kennesaw State University Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras, as well the KSU Wind Ensemble.