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meet our teachers


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MELIA SNEDEN COLWELL fell in love with the piano at six years old, itching to start lessons as soon as her parents would let her! A Hudsonville native, Melia developed her love of music through private lessons, choir, orchestra, fiddle clubs, musicals, and band leading at her local church. She earned her degree in Applied Music and History from Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion, IN), where she studied piano with Phoenix Park-Kim. 


Melia’s love of teaching has led to experiences with students of all age levels and abilities. From 2016 to 2018, she worked as the Manager of Education at Wonderscope Children’s Museum (Kansas City, MO), where she designed and led weekly Music and Movement classes and completed courses in early childhood education. Melia has also worked as a Montessori teacher at Stepping Stones Montessori School (Grand Rapids, MI), a one-on-one tutor for middle and high school students, and a choral accompanist for Girls' Choral Academy (Grand Rapids, MI).


In addition to operating Yellow Door Music Studio with her husband Justin, Melia serves as a choral accompanist for children's choirs at Mayflower Congregational Church. She is a co-director and Music Together instructor at Joyful Sounds Music Studio. Melia lives with her family in west Grand Rapids.

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JUSTIN COLWELL began playing the piano at age four and has enjoyed making music as a collaborative artist, music director, and sometimes composer ever since. As an undergraduate in his native central Indiana, he performed as a soloist with the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra (2014; Marion, IN) and won the collegiate division of the 2016 Indiana Music Teachers Association Hoosier Audition. Recent projects include a debut solo album the fires & the river: piano music for modern dance (2021) and collaboration on the piano duo accompaniment for Side by Side by Sondheim with Grand Valley State University Opera Theatre (GVSU; Allendale, MI; 2021).


Today, Justin’s work revolves around performing and teaching music in community spaces in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He currently serves as the Faculty Accompanist at Grand Rapids Community College and Music Director at All Souls Community Church of West Michigan (ASCC). With his spouse Melia, he co-owns Yellow Door Music Studio and Joyful Sounds Music Studio, offering comprehensive music education services to families in the region. Justin has previously served as a collaborative pianist for Jenison High School (Jenison, MI), Hope College (Holland, MI), GVSU, and ASCC. His teaching experience includes over 5 years of collegiate group piano at GVSU and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and over 12 years of private piano instruction.


Justin holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance & Humanities from Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion, IN; piano studies with Phoenix Park-Kim, conducting studies with Jason Thompson) and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the UMKC Conservatory (piano studies with Robert Weirich). Outside of classical music, Justin’s favorite things include parenting his children Margot & Lawrence, cooking, walks in his Westside neighborhood, the poetry of Mary Oliver, the On Being podcast, American roots music, and spreadsheets.

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DENIELLE FERRER began her musical journey at age five with her first piano lesson. As the oldest of four in a musical family, her music education only continued from there. She began violin lessons in 2002, followed quickly by organ lessons. Her organ studies sparked a love of worship and sacred music that continues to this day. She has held several church music positions in Ohio and Michigan and currently serves as the Music Director at Settlement Lutheran Church (Gowen, MI). As a violinist, Denielle has performed as a section player with several professional orchestras in northwest Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the Traverse City Orchestra (Traverse City, MI). She has performed with orchestra tours for vocal groups from New York City and was honored to participate in a month-long orchestra tour of Japan in 2014.


While Denielle loves sharing music through performance, she has long known that her true passion is watching others discover the joy of music. Denielle earned her initial Suzuki certification in 2015 and completed her Music Together certification in 2016. She has taught privately for over 10 years and now teaches piano and violin at Yellow Door Music Studio (Grand Rapids, MI). She also teaches Music Together classes at Joyful Sounds Music Studio (Grand Rapids, MI).


Denielle earned undergradutate degrees in Violin and Organ Performance and her MMA in Violin Performance with an emphasis on String Pedagogy with Vasile Beluska (student of Jascha Heifetz) at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH). Denielle lives with her husband Anthony, daughter Sophia, and their menagerie of fur babies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She enjoys tending plants, organizational projects, reading, and trips to Lake Michigan.

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