Melissa Lesniak , Ph.D.

Director, Programs

Phone:
(305) 284-6755
Address:
Volpe Classroom Bldg 5489 San Amaro Dr
Room 205B (inactive)
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

 
About

Biography

Dr. Melissa Lesniak has served as the Director of Outreach at the FROST SCHOOL OF MUSIC at the University of Miami since August 2014. She supervises The Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program, the Community Education Program and the Engagement Program, which provides musical experiences for students throughout Miami–Dade County. 

During her first five months in that position, the program received a one million dollar endowment from the Phillip and Patricia Frost foundation, allowing for the expansion and development of an outreach program which serves underserved youth. Weekly mentoring, a diverse array of after school group music instruction, in-school support, sectionals, workshops, private lessons, and outreach performances at schools, hospitals, parks, and other community venues are provided free of charge to the community, while serving hundreds of youth each week.

Dr. Lesniak has also presented sessions on string pedagogy at ASTA National Conferences and FMEA Conferences, and has also had articles published in Florida Music DirectorAmerican String TeacherMusic Educator’s Journal, and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

As a performer, Dr. Lesniak has participated in a number of music festivals, including an event held at the Henri Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, California. She is a regular performer and studio violin/viola teacher in South Florida and served as Past President of Florida American String Teachers Association. Dr. Lesniak has also served on cultural grant panels for the county and state cultural affairs departments, as well as The Children's Trust. 

In 2004, Dr. Lesniak joined the Greater Miami Youth Symphony as the Concert Orchestra conductor. In August 2005, she became the first Executive Director for GMYS after writing a successful grant for The Children's Trust to create free beginner instrument classes in different Miami-Dade locations. Under her artistic and administrative leadership, the organization grew from serving 100 students to reaching over 900 students, adding ensembles, summer camps, and a variety of other educational opportunities.  During this time, the organization was recognized by county, state, and national cultural institutions for excellence in music education. In addition, the budget increased by 800% primarily due to successful grant writing by Dr. Lesniak. 

Dr. Lesniak also provides grant, artistic, and other programmatic support and consulting to several non-profits in the Miami-Dade community. She recently completed Level 1 ORFF training. In addition, Dr. Lesniak and MusicReach were awarded the FMEA Exemplary Model Program Award in 2017.

Dr. Lesniak received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and Business minor from Indiana University in Bloomington where she studied with Mimi Zweig. In 2005, she received her PhD in Music Education from the University of Miami, while a teaching assistant.  

Career

Honors & Acknowledgements

Honors and Awards

Career Highlights

  • ConcertOrchestra Conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony
  • Presented sessions on string pedagogy at ASTA National Conferences and FMEA Conferences
  • First Executive Director of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony
  • Oversaw the expansion and development of an outreach program which serves underserved youth in Miami-Dade County
  • Regular performer and studio violin/viola teacher in South Florida
  • Past President of Florida American String Teachers Association

Honors, Awards & Competitions

  • Awarded the FMEA Exemplary Model Program Award with MusicReach, 2017

Publications 

  • Articles published in Florida Music DirectorAmerican String TeacherMusic Educator’s Journal, and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education