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Meet the Teachers

Ashley McGinnis

Music Director, Voice, Piano, Ukulele

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. She has a degree in Music from UC Santa Cruz. She is also a certified First Steps in Music teacher.

After graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree 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. Upon returning, Ashley had the pleasure of teaching voice and piano at Clarizio Music Studio in Point Pleasant, and early childhood music classes with Dancing Bears in Ocean County.

Ashley and Brendan realized one of their greatest dreams by opening Midgarden Music in Wanamassa in March 2020. They named the studio in honor of Ashley’s grandmother, Evelyn Midgarden, who was instrumental in her musical development. They hope to do the name proud by bringing people together and by inspiring the same love and dedication to music that Grandma Evie demonstrated everyday.

Brendan Hartnett

Director, Acting Coach, Performance Classes, Voice, Piano Club


Brendan Hartnett is an accomplished educator, director, and singer. Before moving to the Jersey Shore, Brendan directed up and down the coast of California with companies including Opera Parallele and the Pacific Opera Project. As an educator, he has been a Lecturer in Music at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and has taught undergraduate acting and directing at UCLA. Most recently, he directed The Gondoliers with the Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

Some favorite projects Brendan has led include The Tragedy of Carmen and Down in the Valley with Opera UCLA, The Araboolies of Liberty Street and Xochitl and the Flowers with Opera Parallele’s ‘Family Opera’ program, and The Center Cannot Hold with Pacific Opera Project.
Brendan holds an MFA in theater from UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television, and a Bachelor’s of Music from UC Santa Cruz.