Meet the Teachers

Ashley McGinnis

Music Director, Voice/Piano Instructor, Early Childhood Classes

Ashley has been teaching private lessons, group classes, early childhood music & movement classes, after school enrichment, and music directing for the past ten years. She strives to make her studio a safe, welcoming space where people feel comfortable to make mistakes and try new things!

Ashley’s private students range in age from 4 to 84. She has prepared kids for their choir and musical auditions, guided aspiring singer-songwriters finding their sound, and helped countless hobbyists, both young and young at heart, to enrich their lives through music.

After graduating with her BA in Vocal Performance in 2011, Ashley taught private lessons, glee classes, early childhood classes, and camps at Village Center for the Arts in Pleasant Hill, CA. She also led after school enrichment classes in Bay Area elementary schools, and worked as a music editor/arranger for local composers.

In 2013, Ashley moved to Los Angeles where she opened her own music studio. She taught a full schedule of voice and piano students and tutored music majors from local universities in Music Theory and Music History. Brendan and Ashley co-taught group performance classes for singers and group theory classes for studio members.

In 2016-2017 Ashley taught an Orff-based general music program at Laurence School in Van Nuys for students K-6. While in LA, Ashley also served on the board for the LA chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Ashley has enjoyed music directing for theater companies, elementary schools, and middle schools. She served as Music Director for Sunset Theatre Company in Redondo Beach from 2013-2017, where she taught voice classes, musical theater camps, and music directed the mainstage shows for their award winning youth theater company. Some of her credits include Into the Woods, Once on This Island, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Spamalot, The Addams Family, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and The Drowsy Chaperone.

In 2018, Ashley and Brendan moved back to Ashley’s home state of NJ. Since returning, Ashley has taught private lessons in her home studio as well as Clarizio Music Studio in Point Pleasant. She also taught baby/toddler music classes with Dancing Bears Music in Ocean County.

In 2019 Ashley & Brendan renamed the studio Midgarden Music in honor of Ashley’s grandmother, Evelyn Midgarden, who was instrumental in her musical development. They’re excited to be starting their new group class program this Winter!

Brendan Hartnett

Director, Acting Coach, Performance Classes

Brendan Hartnett studied Vocal Performance at University of California Santa Cruz. He spent his remaining time in the Bay Area teaching, singing, stage managing, and assistant directing for local opera companies.

Brendan went on to get an MFA in Directing from UCLA. He then served as a lecturer at the UCSC music department where he taught opera workshop and directed the annual children’s opera. When he’s not directing theater in the NY/NJ area, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Ashley, and their wonderful son Owen.