Berks Piano Quartet



In a unique music studio setting, the Institute offers both Music Classes as well as Private Instruction for students of all ages. The music wing encompasses five private studios that are scheduled with lessons throughout the day year-round. Lessons take place once per week at regularly scheduled time and are typically 30 minutes in length.

In addition to instruction the Institute provides performance opportunities to all students of the music department. The Yocum Gallery serves as a recital hall and is equipped with two Steinway Grande pianos. Students can experience both solo and two-piano performances.

We offer lessons in:
• piano • voice • guitar • violin/viola • brass • woodwinds • percussion
Students must have an instrument available for daily practice.

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Music classes are offered on our semester schedule.


Fall: September 12-November 14:  
Mini-Session: November 21-December 23:
Winter: January 9 -March 18:
Spring: April 3-June 10:
Summer: June 19-August 19

Music Private Instruction is offered on our Private Schedule.

Session 1: September 5 – November 12
Session 2: November 14 – January 21
Session 3: January 23 – April 1
Session 4: April 3 – June 10

Summer 2017: June 19 – August 19
Please refer to Calendar for closings and holidays.

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2017  Spring Course Catalog

YM61  Early Notes                                                                                    (Ages 4-6)
Tara Bernstel                                                                                                       Apr. 3 – June 5
Explore music through signing, movement and rhythm activities. Students will be exposed to various musical instruments, as well as both traditional and non-traditional songs.  Children and parents will experience and develop music and non-music skills.
Mon. 6:15p.m.-7:00p.m.                                  $90 ($80 members) 9 wks.      Click here to register

VC31 Young Singers Voice Class                                                              (Ages 7-12)
Tara Bernstel                                                                                                       Apr. 3 – June 5
This specialized voice class will address vocal concepts for motivated middle school singers. This class will help break bad habits and gain vocal strength.
Mon. 7:00p.m.-8:00p.m.                                 $100 ($90 members) 9 wks.     Click here to register

YM42 Teen/Adult Beginning Guitar                                                    (Ages 13+)
Danny Phillips                                                                                                      Apr. 6 – June 8, no class 4/13
A beginner’s guitar course geared for teens to ANY age adult.  Learn your favorite songs to join a band or just pick up the basics to strum and hum.  No experience necessary, but prepare to groove and have fun. Limited guitar rentals available.
Thurs. 4:30p.m.-5:00p.m.                       $65 ($60 members) 9 wks.              Click here to register

YM12 Violin for Beginners                                                                         (Ages 4-6)
Kate Uhler                                                                                                             Apr. 5 – June 7
Young musicians will learn how to hold a violin and bow while learning the names of the strings. In addition, students will begin to understand the concept of rhythm and how to play beginning notes on their new instrument using familiar songs and traditional pieces.
Wed. 6:30p.m.-7:00p.m.                                 $75 ($70 members) 10 wks.      Click here to register

YM11 Elementary Violin                                                                             (Ages 7-9)
Kate Uhler                                                                                                             Apr. 5 – June 7
Your mini-musician will learn the basics of violin playing, including note reading and rhythm. During this class, students can begin preparations for their school string orchestra.  Beginning lessons include ensemble playing.
Wed. 7:00p.m.-7:30p.m.                                  $75 ($70 members) 10 wks.       Click here to register

ME05  8 Hand Piano Ensemble                                                               (Ages 8-12)
Jim Neher
By Audition Only. Maybe you have seen Yocum’s exciting “Berks Piano Quartet” (check out our YouTube videos), featuring four young virtuosos playing on two pianos – well, here is where it starts! Come and join an easy level ensemble. You must be a piano student (about book 2 or later) taking lessons from any teacher in the area. This is a wonderful opportunity to play exciting music as a team and perform at community events. We may form more than one group if enough qualified students apply. To audition, just bring a piece you know and be ready for a little easy sight reading. We look forward to meeting you! Call 610.376.1576 for an appointment.
Date and Time TBA                                        $120 ($110 Members) 10 wks

Private Lessons are available in Music. Please email:                                      for more information.




Berks Piano Quartet:

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Members for 2016-2017 are:  Abi Bashore (home-schooled), Jacob Isaac (home-schooled), Alexia Forsythe (cyber schooled), Michaella Mellen (recent graduate from homeschool).


In 2012, the Yocum Institute for Arts Education introduced the Berks Piano Quartet, four young keyboard virtuosos playing on two pianos.

Building on a successful first year, our quartet program has expanded, and now includes three quartets at varying levels of study.

Directed by educator and composer James Neher, these ensembles are a cooperative effort involving accomplished students drawn from prominent area teachers. They appear year-round as ambassadors of music (playing exciting versions of symphony showpieces, classical favorites, and lively extras from Sousa to ragtime) at concert venues and community centers of all kinds.

For more information about auditioning or to book a performance, please call Susan Forry, Music Director, at 610.376.1576 ext. 206 or email

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Sue Forry

Susan Gish Forry Music Director







Susan Gish Forry – Music Director teaches Piano for ages 4 to adult. She has studied with Dr. Malvina Leshock, internationally acclaimed concert pianist and composer. In addition to private lessons and introductory classes to young children, she coordinates music for the Institute Preschool and has been an accompanist for internationally renowned operatic Bass-Baritone Brian R. Gibson.

Tara Bernstel teaches voice, piano and music theory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Kutztown University. She has experience in concert choir, chamber choir, Drama Club and Musical Production.  She teaches voice and piano to all ages.

Theresa Cocci  is an Orff-Schulwerk certified teacher completing levels I, II, and III at Villanova University. Graduate studies at West Chester University include certification as a First Steps in Music Instructor and Conversational Solfege. She is also a graduate of Kutztown University with BS in Elementary Ed and a minor in Music. She is a member of MTNA, Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, Philadelphia Area Orff- Schulwerk Association, and continues to teach private piano for many years. She currently serves as music instructor for our Preschool Department.

Michele Cooper teaches voice, elementary through adult.  She has a BA in vocal performance from Boston Conservatory and a Masters from University of Cincinnati, College of Conservatory Music.  She has been teaching voice for over 10 years.  She was a professional singer with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Vitalij Kuprij is a graduate of KievLyssenkoMuisAcademy in Ukraine, Basel Conservatoire, Switzerland and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes and was the youngest person to win first prize in the All Union Chopin Competition and won first prize in the Kiev Conservatory Competition and the Geneva Duo Competition for Piano and Violin.

Steven Holgate teaches beginning band instruments, beginning ukulele, and advanced brass instruments.  His primary instruments are tuba and euphonium.  He earned a Bachelors of Science of Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Masters of Music in Performance degree from Illinois State University.  He has taught music in the Governor Mifflin School District since 1999.  His private students have won auditions with many of the PMEA Festivals, scholarships and solo competitions.  He is principle tuba for Bravura Brass Quintet, and director of Berks Summer String Institute.

James Neher teaches piano, theory, and composition, and is director of our Piano Ensemble program. He is a former student at Manhattan School of Music, and has a BA in music from SUNY at Stony Brook and a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has directed small vocal and instrumental groups for over forty years, and was Executive Director of Community School of Music and the Arts in Reading in 2002-2003. His piano students include local, state and national competition winners.

Danny Phillips teaches guitar at the Institute and has been studying and playing guitar for 36 years. He has performed in numerous local and regional bands including “Hunter”, “Rogue” and “Karnevil of Souls”. He is versed in many styles of music and holds degrees in Music Theory and Modal Study. Mr. Phillips has studied classical guitar with the virtuoso classicist Rod Hill and has attended National Guitar Workshops in Connecticut for cutting edge guitar techniques.

Lisa Speece teaches voice elementary through adult. She received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Susquehanna University and Master of Science in Education from Duquesne University. She has been a choral/music teacher as well as general music.

Mary Grace Harris teaches violin. She is a recent graduate and has been studying violin since an early age. Mary has been teaching private violin for the last few years and has played at many community and church functions.

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