Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Maya Brlecic joined The Queen City Music Studio in 2014. Her music education began at the age of 6, when she was admitted to the prestigious Vatroslav Lisinski School of Music in Zagreb, Croatia where she received a rigorous music education with a focus on classical piano. As a young girl, Maya was a frequent performer on a national stage, appearing in countless musical, theatrical and television productions. She also participated in various Croatian piano competitions playing scales and Etudes, which is her primary specialty. Maya has performed and taught in both the US and Europe. Her passion for teaching and helping others started when she was still a high school student; her perspicacity and talent enabled her to assist her peers with preparation for their music theory and piano exams. Immediately after she graduated from high school in her native Zagreb, she began to teach private piano and music theory lessons to little children, and later on to adults as well.
Maya came to the United States in 2006 when she began performing with Tajci (TY-chi), an International singing star who achieved platinum record sales of her albums in the US and abroad. After almost two years of touring across the US with Tajci and her team, Maya enrolled at Northern Kentucky University as an operatic vocalist where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Music, majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Piano.
During her studies in the US Maya has dedicated the majority of her time exploring how the vocal apparatus actually works and how to properly use it without abusing it. She has discovered that lots of students at a very early age misuse their vocal instruments as a result of improper guidance, and she has made a commitment after her studies to work with young students to learn how to use their voice properly and how to sing in a good, healthy way. She has continued her training with various educational events for the voice in the US and abroad, taught for the Clifton Performance Theatre's children's programming, and continued to professionally tutor private piano and vocal students. She has also participated in American vocal competitions, such as the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and was a winner in her category in 2012 (Evansville, IN) and 2013 (Louisville, KY).
Maya's classical music education, professional performance and teaching background, broad International experience, and cultural adaptability have been of significant benefit to the furtherance of her mission in the professional world of music. Her teaching style is a unique blend of the traditional Western European approach to music education intertwined with a contemporary American style. Maya is extremely excited to continue her teaching career at the Queen City Music Studio and is eager to introduce the beautiful art of music to all young future intellectuals eager for knowledge.
Sarah Gorak (Schmidt) began her musical journey in her elementary school orchestra program in Renton, Washington. She then furthered her interest in private violin lessons with Sara Roark (former Concertmaster of Village Theatre) and Gwendolyn Taylor (Associate Concertmaster of the Tacoma Symphony). In 2013, she graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor’s of Music Education and her K-12 teaching certification with specializations in Instrumental, Choral, and General Music. Her primary instrument during her undergraduate studies was the violin and she studied with Carrie Rehkopf Michel and Heather Netz (now staff at Idyllwild).
Sarah has filled many elementary through high school music ensemble instructor roles over the years. She was an active staff member in the CWU Preparatory Strings program and she was nominated as employee of the year in 2012. She student taught with Kara Hunnicutt (principal cellist of the Yakima Symphony and conductor of the Icicle Creek Youth Symphony) for the Ellensburg School District orchestras grades 2-12. She also did a short practicum with Cherrie Adams at Graham Hill Elementary in Seattle.
Her primary passion is interacting and engaging with children, and music is her vessel. She has extended her experience beyond musical instruction and into venues such as the YMCA, day camps, country clubs, church youth programs, afterschool programs, and being a child care provider. While she is passionate about working with children, she also enjoys instructing youthful minds of adults. Her goal for all students is for them to all find their child-like yearning to learn and be creative.
Sarah strongly believes in being a lifelong student so she enjoys pursuing learning other fiddle styles, improvisation, and other instruments. She is currently pursuing studying with renown jazz violinist Christian Howes and cellist Greg Byers. She enjoys collaborating with local Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky musicians in non-classical settings.
Sarah enjoys staying connected to the culture of her birthplace (Hawai’i) through hula dancing - she used to compete with halau Na Hanu ‘O Ku’uleialoha. She also loves spending time with her husband, violist Peter Gorak, and her cat.