About Us

The Orchestra Program at Austin Academy is a great place for kids pursuing an Orchestra Career, or just a musical background. The Orchestras at Austin Academy have taken home countless medals, trophies, and plaques.

There are four orchestras at Austin Academy; Honors, Philharmonic, Intermediate, and Beginning. We are very proud of them all.

 Photo Orchestra


Jane Samford

DirectorPhoto Samford

Jane Samford earned a Bachelor of Music Education from University of Tulsa in 1986 and a Masters of Educational Administration from ETSU (now Texas A&M Univ. Commerce) in 1993.  She taught orchestra for 12 years in Dallas and Mesquite Independent School District, then served as an assistant principal for 6 years at Vanston and Agnew Middle Schools in Mesquite

After marrying Brent Samford in June 2004, Mrs. Samford returned to the orchestra classroom at Austin Academy.  She plays violin and piano and enjoys playing in the orchestra at church with her husband, Brent and daughter.


Sara Howell

Assistant Director

Sara Howell began her Cello studies with Jean Schneider Goberman at the age of seven. In addition to her private studies, Ms. Howell attended the School for Strings and later The Juilliard School Pre-College Division.

Ms. Howell moved to Texas to attend at Southern Methodist University, where she received both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Theory. While at SMU, she studied privately with Christopher Adkins and Ko Iwasaki. She has been a member of the Irving Symphony Orchestra since 1993 and is a member of Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) and American String Teachers Association (ASTA).


Our Mission

1. To achieve excellence in musical performance for all students
2. To uphold the highest standards of musical education
3. To create life long learners and lovers of music



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