The Ethos Philosophy
Everyone loves music (of some sort) and every individual has the capacity to understand and participate in it.
While the factors that limit musical success are too numerous to list here, we have learned three axioms that lead to success in this art:
The best musicians develop from mastering music through a structured and complete curriculum presented by an engaged and interested teacher.
The best musicians begin and end with constant parental participation. As with most things, the personal and introspective worth of an art is appreciated only after its value is absorbed through social interaction and approval.
The best musicians flourish by sharing their skills with others through performance, adjudication, and competition.
We have learned that adherence to these principles builds strong character and important life skills in people of all ages. Neuroscience has also proven that disciplined musical study improves brain function.
The Ethos Mission
To develop life-long musicians through precise, patient, and passionate musical training.
Our Slogan: Musica Liberator Animae (Music, Liberator of the Soul)
Our Motto: Imagine, Invent, Inspire
History of Ethos
Every year, Ethos evolves as we learn more about music education and its profound effects on human development.
Founded in The Woodlands, Texas, in 2004, Ethos espouses a philosophy of teaching that focuses on constant growth and exploration. Ensuring that both teachers and students are constantly learning and challenging themselves to excel to the next level, Ethos has been able to produce lifelong musicians, many of whom have continued on to professional careers in music. Since 2004, we have grown into a school with dozens of students across many disciplines and fields of study. Our students have the unique opportunity to work and collaborate together through our vital programs. In 2019, Ethos moved into its own 4,000 square foot campus built on 3 beautiful acres. We pride ourselves on using only Steinway brand and Steinway designed instruments for our piano lessons and all performances.
Khoren Ouzounian, began musical studies at the age of 5. He had already fallen in love with music because of the influence of his older sisters who all played instruments and/or sang. Khoren knew that music study had helped him in school and he performed well in all of his classes, always graduating in the top tier of students both in high school and in college. It wasn’t until Khoren was well into his 30’s and married with 5 children that he discovered that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. After meeting with many psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists, it was agreed that music study had masked or severely diminished many of the detrimental effects of ADHD in Khoren’s childhood. By this time, Khoren had been teaching piano for nearly 20 years, and had already codified many of his observations about neurological and musical development into his practice as a teacher. He continues to pursue this area of research as neurologists have continued to come to the realization that music study has a profound impact on brain development, cognition, and retention.
Ethos Faculty Bios
Andrea Benabent (Piano)
Spanish pianist Andrea Benabent, winner of numerous prizes in national and international competitions and Artistic Director of the concert series “Elkins Lake Classicals” (Huntsville, Texas) is currently completing her doctoral studies in Piano Performance at the University of Houston, under the guidance of professor Dr. Tali Morgulis. Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, Spain, and a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Sam Houston State University, Texas, where she studied with the international pianist and prize winner of Enescu International Competition, Josu de Solaun.
After her debut at the National Auditorium of Madrid in 2016, playing Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, she has been invited to perform in numerous halls around Spain and abroad. As an active performer, Andrea has received advices from pianists such as Nikolai Lugansky, Anna Petrova, Pascal Nemirovski, Anton Nel, Andrew Staupe, Edna Golandsky and Jesus María Gómez, among others. From 2018 to 2019 Andrea was appointed as Lecturer Piano Faculty professor at Sam Houston State University, where she won the First Prize in the Art Song Competition in 2018, and Third Prize in the SHSU Concerto Competition, playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
Andrea is also a passionate about flamenco genre and one of her dreams is to record a CD with her own flamenco compositions. What she likes the most about playing her instrument is to share her passion about art with her students and to encourage them to pursue their dreams through their love to music.
Douglas Loomis (Piano)
With over 20 years of pianistic training and experience, Douglas Loomis is a skilled pianist and accomplished teacher from Conroe, Texas. Douglas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Southwestern University. He joined Ethos School of Music soon after graduating and his teachers have included Kiyoshi Tamagawa, David Englert, and Khoren Ouzounian. Douglas is devoted to helping musicians reach their highest potential. This has included teaching music theory camps, leading music ensembles, accompanying at high schools, and adjudicating for music events. He is also instilling the love of music in children through early childhood music classes.
Tom McClung (Violin)
Tom McClung born 1952, began studing violin at the age of twelve in Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to Oberlin, Ohio. Mr. McClung was accepted into the studio of violin virtuoso Carol Sindell (student of Gingold and Heiftz).
Tom received a full scholarship to attend Ohio University studying with Howard Beebe (student of Ivan Galamian at Julliard) where, in 1974 he completed his BMusEd and began his public schools teaching career. In 1981-82, Mr. McClung was awarded a grant as concertmaster or the Lima Symphony and 1st Violist in the Lima Symphony String Quartet. As part of the grant, Tom became a Teaching Assistant while working toward a Masters in Violin Performance at Bowling Green State University where he studied with Boris Brandt (student of David Oistrach). After moving from BGSU to McAllen, TX., Tom founded the Valley Music Academy and served as Concertmaster of the Valley Symphony where he was appointed Director of the Valley Symphony String Project reaching out to students on behalf of the symphony guild.
Overall, Mr. McClung had 32 years experience teaching public schools in Ohio and Texas before retiring in 2011 as Head Director of The Woodlands High School Orchestra. Mixing teaching and playing in orchestras,
Tom found time to perform in orchestras including Concertmaster of the following: Lorain Pops, Lima Symphony, Valley Symphony, Valley Chamber Orchestra, Corpus Christi Chamber Orchestra; Assistant Concertmaster (3nd Chair) of Corpus Christi Symphony; Associate Concertmaster (2nd Chair) of the Victoria Symphony, and section violinist of The Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont
Ian José Ramirez (Voice)
Praised for a voice with “affecting lyricism” and “a pleasantly warm, spinning light tenor sound,” Ian José Ramirez has already established himself as a fine musician and dynamic actor. During the 2015-2016 season, he joined the opera studio at Oper Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany, singing Third Jew in Salome, Smee in Peter Pan (Richard Ayres), Le Remendado in Carmen, and Borsa in Rigoletto. As a Resident Artist at Portland Opera, he sang Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Man with Old Luggage in Postcard from Morocco, and Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, among others. Equally at home in recital and on the concert stage, Ian has spent two seasons at the Marlboro Music Festival and has sung with the Oregon Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Musica Sacra of Cincinnati. Mr. Ramirez has received awards from the National Opera Association, as well as a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Most recently, he was one of nine finalists invited to the ZAV-Künstlervermittlung Nachwuchsvorsingen held in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He received his bachelor’s degree in music, graduating summa cum laude, as well as his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
Rafael Tacaki (Piano)
Rafael Tacaki holds a Masters degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from the State University of Paraná/ School of Music and Fine Arts in Curitiba, Brazil where he graduated in 2016. He is currently under the guidance of Dr. Diego Caetano at the Sam Houston State University where he is pursuing in the Artist Diploma program for Piano Collaborative.
His performance experiences goes beyond piano solo. He often performes with musicals, operas, choirs, chamber music and ensembles. As a teaching assistant at the University of Massachusetts he accompanied the University Chorale, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band and also taught piano class for music majors. During his Masters, most of his time was accompanying singers, instrumentalists and teaching piano class. He has earned a prestigious merit-based scholarship from DIEUWERTJE MEIJER which sponsored his Bachelor's degree.
Every year since 2005 he atttends the Music Festival in Londrina (Winter Festival) and the Summer Music Program in Curitiba (Summer Festival). All these festivals take place in Brazil and host masterclasses with worldwide renowned artists where he performs with several musicians. Since 2017, he has been hired by the Music Festival in Londrina as a staff pianist accompanying vocal students.
Clara Alonso Tofé (Violin)
Clara Alfonso Tofé is the Graduate Assistant of orchestral conducting at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. She started her violin studies at the age of nine years old at the Professional Conservatory of Valladolid-Spain under the direction of Miss Ana Haliti. Later, she finished her undergraduate studies at the Higher Conservatory of Music of Castilla y Leon, Salamanca-Spain.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Music in Violin Performance from SHSU, where she studied with Dr. Javier Pinell. Throughout her career, she has been a member of acclaimed musical ensembles such as the Youth National Orchestra and Baroque Academy of Spain (JONDE). Rewarded with the second and third prize at the SHSU Concerto Competition 2019 and 2018 by her violin interpretations of Korngold and Glazunov Violin Concerto respectively, Clara has performed chamber music and solo repertoire in renowned venues such as National Auditorium of Spain (Madrid-Spain), Miguel Delibes Auditorium (Valladolid-Spain), Royal Theater (Madrid-Spain) and Steinway Hall of London (UK).
As an arranger, Clara has collaborated with Aperio Music of Americas, creating a reworking of Philip Glass’s Etude No. 2 for Piano and String Quartet. This piece was performed in Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston to critical acclaim.
Halle Yap (Cello)
Born and raised in the Houston area, Halle Yap began playing the cello at the age of 8. She is an experienced cellist with over 10 years of performance experience. A winner of many awards in high school and college, Halle is a graduate of Baylor University where she focused on the study and performance of chamber and small ensemble music. In 2018, she was a finalist in the Sempre Pro Musica competition for chamber music held at Baylor University. She is passionate about sharing her love, appreciation, and knowledge of music with her students and peers.
Khoren Ouzounian (Piano)
Khoren Ouzounian is a nationally recognized educator, composer, conductor, organist, pianist, and entrepreneur. As the founder of the Ethos School of Music, his students have successfully enrolled in conservatory and college music programs throughout the United States and he is well recognized for his work as a teacher-trainer and master class presenter. His philosophy and methodology in teaching has garnered international recognition and acclaim at such events as the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and his contributions have been published in The American Music Teacher, the journal of the Music Teacher’s National Association. Khoren’s compositions and arrangements have been published and presented by Celebration USA™, Faiths United of the Woodlands, and in LDS church services throughout the U.S. Khoren holds a Master’s in Music from Rice University where he specialized in piano performance and composition. He also studied piano performance and pedagogy at Houston Baptist University and at Brigham Young University where he also majored in comparative literature and economics.
As a performer and collaborator, Khoren has performed extensively throughout the United States both conducting and performing solo and collaboratively on organ and piano. Most recently, he has launched a chamber music series in The Woodlands in conjunction with Glade Art Gallery where he has been hosted many times. Because of his foreign language and comparative literature training, Khoren is fluent in Italian, French, and conversant in German, making him highly sought after as a vocal coach.
At Ethos, we utilize most of the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. We have tailored RCM’s offerings to our own in order to craft a comprehensive body of knowledge for our students.
Through our private and group classes, as well as through our ensembles, our students receive the most comprehensive music education available to students worldwide. Our curriculum is divided into three areas of musical development each of which has two sub-masteries. Thorough training in each of these areas enables students to do much more than play an instrument. They will be able to approach music in a scholarly manner.
Musicianship (Audiation MLT)
A. Ear Training
i. Understanding and Writing what is heard.
B. Eye Training
i. Hearing and Reproducing what is seen.
ii. Score Reading/Sight Singing
iv. Socio-Political Issues
i. Effective Practice Habits
ii. Technical Mastery
iii. Repertoire Development
At The Ethos School of Music we approach education based on the humanistic model of the Renaissance philosophers. It is a mixture of apprenticeship repetition, formal theoretical instruction, and Socratic inquiry. Because we engage the students in private as well as small and large group settings, we are able to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of each musician and pace their lessons accordingly. Additionally, through individual assessment and exposure to a master teacher, we identify and cater to the individual learning styles (visual, auditory or kinesthetic) of each student.