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Woodwind INSTRUCTORS

Get to Know Us

Woodwind Teachers: Team Members
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Rachel Birkman

Woodwinds, Accordion 

Rachel Birkman has been a member of our teaching staff since 2012, but became a part of the Matt’s Music family when she began taking lessons as a 9-year-old. Specializing in woodwinds and having primarily studied the clarinet, Rachel received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from SUNY Buffalo State and her Master of Music in Music Education degree from SUNY Fredonia. Currently, Rachel is the instrumental music director at Cardinal O’Hara High School. When she is not teaching, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She can also be found performing in various community ensembles around WNY. 

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Tiffany Manzella

Flute/Piccolo

Tiffany began teaching at Matt's in 2005.  Tiffany has been playing flute for 30 years and in her 17 years teaching at Matt's Music, she has helped the growth of countless flute students.  She studied under Gretchen Rowe and went to Buffalo State College for Business Administration.  She is also employed at a metal manufacturer as a Specialist at Materion Corporation.  She also occasionally teaches saxophone, piano, and ukulele. 

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Nicholas Childs

Saxophone

Nicholas Childs is an active saxophonist and educator currently residing in Buffalo, New York. Childs has performed with the Chautauqua Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic and in various chamber music series across New York, including Caffe Lena on the Battehnkill and the De Blasiis Chamber Music Series. In addition to traditional concert venues, Childs has performed as part of mixed media performances with local artists and children’s outreach series. As an advocate of new music Childs has premiered works by Zdenek Lukas and Kevin Austin, among others and been an active participant in the ETHOS New Music Society and Florida State University’s Festival of New Music. He has presented multiple solo and chamber recitals at various conferences across the United States, including the Navy Saxophone Symposium and both regional and national North American Saxophone Alliance conferences.

Childs is an adjunct lecturer of saxophone at SUNY Fredonia where he teaches applied lessons and methods courses. He has also taught interim at Syracuse University. Childs holds degrees from Florida State University (DM), SUNY Fredonia (MM) and Northern Arizona University (BM) under the direction of Geoffrey Deibel, Wildy Zumwalt and Jonathan Bergeron.

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Katie Kovacs

Bassoon, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone

Katie Kovacs, a native of Grand Island, NY, is currently a graduate student at University at Buffalo. She is majoring in arts management while also continuing to study bassoon. She is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University where she received a bachelor’s in music performance with a minor in English.

 

At Matt’s Music, she teaches bassoon, oboe, clarinet and saxophone to musicians of all ages and ability levels. She also makes bassoon reeds and has an Etsy shop where she sells them online. She is also a member of the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas, the UB Symphony Orchestra on bassoon, and plays oboe, flute, clarinet and sings with St. Stephen’s Music Ministry.

 

While a passionate performer, Katie hopes to expand her expertise into the field of arts management. She is a student assistant at the UB Anderson Art Gallery, where she is learning more about museum management and educational outreach. Outside of the arts, Katie loves stationery/bullet journaling, cooking, yoga, and beekeeping with her Dad, who maintains 12 hives for Katie Bee Honey.

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Matthew Incontro

Matthew Incontro is a woodwind teacher and professional musician in the WNY area.  He graduated from Eastman School of Music in 2020 with a Bachelor's of Music in Jazz Performance on the Saxophone and is currently completing his Music Education degree at SUNY Fredonia.  He was awarded “Best Soprano Sax Soloist” by Wynton Marsalis at the 2020 Jack Rudin Jazz Championship and performs for clients in a variety of settings including concerts, musicals, weddings, restaurant, and bar gigs.  He also performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 2023, as an alto saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist, touring internationally to Canada, Costa Rica, and Japan. 

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