James was born in Charlotte, North Carolina where he stayed until he moved
to Madison, West Virginia around the age of 9. Tiring of not amounting to
much beyond being the best darn scrambler of the egg in West Virginia, at
the age of 13, he heard "Eruption" by Van Halen, and he then knew what he
wanted to do. James' guitar journey began with learning the classics like
"Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry and "Wild Thing" by The Troggs. From
there, his eyes were opened to various genres that he grew to love including
Blues, Funk, Jazz, Rock, Southern Rock, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, and
even the occasional Post-Modern Polka-Pop Jazz-Fusion song with hints of Glam Metal. James' main guitar influences stem from the likes of Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Gary Moore, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, and David Gilmour.
Other than now being the best darn scrambler of the egg in North Carolina, James has half a decade of experience under his belt teaching beginner to advanced players, including several notable local Carolina musicians such as Kelly Flusk and Adam Nelson of Something Clever and Brain Baker, formally of Shadow of Myself. Additionally, James has earned quite the reputation as being a reliable fill in guitarist for bands such as Blackwater Drowning (Heavy Metal) and The Reticent (Progressive Rock/Metal), where he has the privilege of working with Grammy nominated band director, Chris Hathcock. He also plays in two bands with fellow co-instructor, Cole Millward. One of which is Ozai, a progressive rock/metal band from Charlotte, and FM Encore, which is a cover band also comprised of co-instructor, Garrick White and co-worker, Mikayla Marlow. He also co-owns Giant Spoon Productions with Cole Millward, which is an audio recording enterprise.
James offers a laid back and fun environment for learning where he can pass on his approach to playing music using practical music theory in a variety of musical styles ranging from Rock and Blues to Jazz and Funk. Whether you want to become the next Eddie Van Halen, or you just want to play "Basket Case" by Green Day, James' mission is to help you achieve your goal.
Justin was born and raised in Lancaster, South Carolina. He began playing the
drums at age nine. He went on to join middle school band in his later years
and his musical journey began there.
After high school, Justin moved to Rock Hill, SC to attend Winthrop
University. While attending Winthrop, his ear and passion for music was
broadened and cultivated as his instructor, Dr. Michael Williams, introduced to him an array of musical knowledge that led him to acquire his own personal dialect in the percussion world. Prior to his musical experiences at Winthrop, Justin was accustomed to primarily performing in church settings and because of this, Justin viewed himself as only a gospel drummer. However, his drum set instructor Dr. Adam Snow allowed him to learn and explore almost every genre of music. He learned to expand his listening and playing, and from there he began to take on new musical challenges and experiences.
Justin’s professionalism and refined talent has presented many opportunities for him in recent years. He now plays at Freedom Temple Ministries in Rock Hill, SC as their lead percussionist. He is also the lead drummer for the Charlotte Hornets Buzz City Brass. In addition to these musical positions, Justin is also the drummer and musical director for worldrenowned gospel/jazz artist Gabriel Bello and currently tours with Natural Wonder, a Stevie Wonder Tribute Band. Playing for Gabe has afforded Justin the opportunity to play shows featuring gospel artists such as Tasha Cobbs, Jekalyn Carr, Israel Houghton, Kierra Sheard, and Tye Tribbett. He has also previously played for gospel artists Le’Andria Johnson and Tamela Mann.
Despite his undeniably polished skill, Justin remains just as humble and ambitious as he was when he first began. He attributes his motivation to the individuals who have influenced him the most:
“My inspirations, foremost is my Savior and my daughter Nyla” – Justin Allen
His drumming inspirations include Buddy Rich, Calvin Rodgers, Stanley Randolph, and Sput Searight.
Justin is elated to be a part of the musical family at Ballantyne School of Music and he looks forward to engaging young minds and igniting the same zeal that he shares for music.
Violin and Beginner Piano Instructor
Glaubirsel was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Charlotte,
North Carolina. She started playing violin in her middle school orchestra,
when she was 11 years old, and played in orchestra every year since then
until she graduated from high school. She also took private lessons and played
in the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Glaubirsel has studied music theory and teaches beginner through advanced violin
as well as beginner piano. Her favorite styles of music are classical, rock, alternative, and pop. She loves teaching music and is very eager to show students how much fun it is to play violin and piano!
Vocal instructor/performance coach and Kindermusik Instructor
Although raised in Charlotte, Jess began taking vocal lessons at age 4 in Sacramento, CA.
By the age of 10 she held the position of 1st soprano at St. Ann’s Catholic Church Choir and
was performing pieces such as Aaron Copland’s Lullaby and The Flower Duet from Lakmé.
Jess continues to strengthen her vocal skills by focusing on technique and is currently branching
into the study of coloratura. Jess studies under Jane Edgren, the founder of Vocal Fitness
Training. She is currently the K-12 music teacher and choir director at Grace Academy.
Although a classically trained soprano, Jess has a passion for and ability to sing a variety of
genres. She has been performing in Charlotte and the surrounding areas for the past 8 years
as a solo artist, acoustic duo or her Rock band of 6 years, Butterfly Corpse. Jess is a three-time
nominee for Female Rock Vocalist from the Queen City Music Awards.
“Music is my life. Not only do I love performing and sharing music, but I get great joy out of teaching kids of all ages music. I’m extremely excited to join the great team at Ballantyne School of Music. This feels like I’m coming home, much of what I do today started here; I started my band here, I met my best friends here and I met the love of my life here.”
Blaine was born in Tennessee and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina at age 8. It was
around that time that he started to gain interest in playing music rather than listening to it.
Having grown up listening to his dad's favorites, such as Guns N Roses, AC/DC, and
Metallica, Blaine didn't experience any different styles outside of rock and heavy metal
(other than his mom's favorite artist, Prince). In middle school, Blaine tried out the trumpet
and piano, but neither stuck. Percussion was his calling. From 6th grade until 12th, Blaine
was a concert band percussionist, participating in Wind Ensemble his last 2 years of high
school, playing everything from timpani to xylophone.
Throughout high school, Blaine marched bass drum and tenor drums. Now in college at UNCC, Blaine was a part of the inaugural year for the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band. Blaine has been playing cymbals for them for 3 years, and the band will be playing as the official band of the US at the 74th anniversary of D-Day in 2018. Blaine has been involved in the local music scene throughout his high school and college years. From metal to pop punk, Blaine has done it all. Most recently, his newest metalcore project has begun writing an album and has begun touring. Blaine's influences are: Matt Greiner (August Burns Red), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), The Rev (Avenged Sevenfold), Jared Easterling (Fit For A King), and Neil Peart (Rush)
Dale is originally from Bismarck, North Dakota. He started playing guitar at the age of 9, way
back in 1971. (Yes...we know that's 40+ years ago, don't remind him!) He got to use his voice, as
well, in choir and concert choir in junior and senior high school. He spent most of the 80's playing
guitar and doing vocals in local bands such as ZEPHYR and ELIXIR, driving all around the ND,
SD, MT, and MN area. Dale later became a nationally registered EMT in the 90's. Then,
wanting a change, he moved his family to Charlotte in 1999.
Dale REALLY loves guitars! In his spare (LOL) time, he loves to build, modify, finish and
assemble them out of parts. He assembled his first one in 1986 with several friends who currently
own, operate and test equipment for VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE!
Born and raised in small-town Great Falls, South Carolina, and now living just outside
Charlotte, North Carolina, Curt has taken the stage with well-known gospel recording artists
like Tasha Cobbs, Tye Tribbet and Israel Houghton & New Breed.
When Curt Keyz walks on stage, it’s just him, his instrument and his audience. A certain tunnel
vision takes over where nothing else matters. Studio sessions are focused and full of honed-in
musicality—craftsmanship fueled by creativity. His attention to detail comes from a place of passion and love for what he does. Hearing Curt play piano, it’s hard to believe he’s self-taught. Though he played drums and has been singing since he was a toddler—even traveling and playing in a family quartet group–it wasn’t until high school that he got serious about the keys. “I was a late bloomer,” he says.
“I'd always admired the piano and keyboard instruments so, I dabbled in arranging music because of modern hip-hop and jazz. I studied Pharrell Williams, Frankie Beverley, Steely Dan … George Duke and Robert Glasper. When asked what music means to him, Curtis says “everything." “I believe that gift of music bridges the gaps between nationalities and ethnicities—between any socioeconomic status and any demographic. Music is what makes the world go round.”
Drum Set/Percussion Instructor
Garrick was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has lived here his whole life. His family has a
history of musical talent. His grandmother and aunt played and taught piano, and his father taught
Garrick how to play drums "basically since I was able to hold a drum stick!"
"I have had a musical interest from a very early age, also playing guitar since I was 10 years old,
but my main interest and focus was percussion. I started taking percussion in elementary school
learning bells, xylophone, marimba, conga drums, steel drums, timpani, snare and bass drum. I
continued my musical education throughout middle and high school, studying music theory,
rhythm, notation and marching percussion. My high school marching band competed in national
stage marching band competitions, placing very high in all band of America finals, as well as the battery or drum line, placing in the top ten nationally several times."
Garrick says that he loves 80's hair bands and rock genre music including Guns and Roses, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Metallica, and more. "My father took me to a Boston concert in sixth grade, and I have grown up loving this style of music. My main musical influences were drummers like Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and Neil Peart from RUSH. I love working with kids and love music, so that's what motivated me to become a drum instructor at Ballantyne School of Music."
To say that Patrick has played piano for a long time would be an understatement. He started
playing piano at age 4 and took classical lessons for 14 years. He became a concert and jazz
pianist before the age of 18. By this time, he had also developed an ear for singing, drums,
percussion and clarinet.
After being accepted to Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship immediately after high
school, he put his own band together. In 1990, he wrote a concept work entitled, "Portrait of
a Hero," and one year later released a demo CD with four songs on it. The CD actually
charted on some college music stations throughout the U.S. In 1992, Patrick graduated from
Berklee with a degree in film scoring.
Patrick worked with Disney Cruise Lines, sailing throughout the Caribbean for two years in the show band. He then started performing in dueling piano shows in various cities from coast to coast. In the last few years, he has picked up the bass, guitar, keytar (keyboard around neck) and, of course, the harmonica, for songs like "Piano Man." This consummate entertainer has developed a song repertoire of over 2500 songs of which most are committed to memory.
As a teacher/instructor, Patrick believes that learning music should be fun and never forced, understanding that tolerance and "speed of flow" are necessary elements in the building blocks of education. If the student really cares, they will practice on their own time and gradually improve their music skills.
Patrick was lucky enough to have teachers who were patient with him and, as a result, was able to master the piano by ear and sight reading. He is a laid-back teacher, but is not afraid to take the "in-depth approach" when necessary, bringing a balance of patience and discipline. He looks forward to coaching and teaching anyone who is willing to learn at whatever speed they choose.
Vocal Instructor/Performance Coach & Ukulele Instructor
Director of Events and Associate Director of Chick Singer Night Charlotte
Danielle was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and recently received her
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Catawba College, located in
Salisbury, NC. She has been singing for as long as she can remember and decided to
seriously train and develop her voice by beginning private voice lessons in late elementary
school. Her passion for music drove her to join the school choir and begin performing in
In high school, Danielle was greatly involved in choir and theatre and was blessed to find
so many wonderful opportunities through her choral program. For two years she was
chosen by her choir teacher to participate in the North Carolina All State Choir and
during her senior year, she auditioned and was chosen for a performance internship with
the prestigious Charlotte Renaissance Choir.
In addition to her achievements in choir, she also fostered a love for musical theatre and participated in several musicals through her school and with Matthews Playhouse including: Pippin, Sweet Charity, High School Musical, and Footloose, as well as in college in productions such as An Evening of Magical Song, The Boy Friend, and Hello Dolly! All of these experiences filled her with the desire to pursue an education in theatre. Danielle feels that all of these amazing experiences have given her the confidence to convey her knowledge and talents to her new students at Ballantyne School of Music, and she is so thankful for the opportunity to work with these talented, young future superstars!
Donna McPherson has lived and traveled all over the United States. She began piano
lessons at five but completely fell in love with the viola at eight. As a 13 year old, she
was the youngest person to play with the East Carolina University Symphony. During
high school she attended Governor's School for viola and picked up the violin and hid
her hair in a hat to be the "Fiddler on the Roof" (a rickety ladder) in her senior play.
While earning a Ba in environmental design in architecture at NC State, she continued
with music - playing in the civic orchestra and numerous chamber music groups. She played
with the Johnson City Symphony while living in Tennessee, and joined the Charlotte Civic Orchestra after moving here, playing off and on as family needs changed. While homeschooling her four children for more than 23 years she also taught private lessons in piano, violin, and viola. Some of her favorite musical influences include old hymns, fiddle music, everything Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky, the Police, Queen, Billy Joel, and Christian pop/praise music like Michael W. Smith, Michael Card, and Steven Curtis Chapman.
Guitar/Bass, Keyboard and Vocal Instructor
Director of Curriculum
Mikey was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moved to the states at a very early age.
His fascination with music started at age 8. After playing clarinet for four years, he quickly
picked up the guitar at age 11 and immediately fell in love with the instrument.
Obsessively devoting four-to-six hours to practice each day, Mikey taught himself works
from classical to metal/shred genres. He is currently a guitar major, studying for his degree
in Music/Music Education at CPCC. Mikey says, "Studying classical and jazz guitar really
opens up your mind and perception toward the instrument and music in general. Tracing the
modern-day guitar language to its roots allows you to identify the path music has traveled for
it to finally become what it is today."
Mikey is the founding member of the band "Fall of Ashes," which is a Christian Progressive Rock band that leads worship at local churches and plays at local venues. He was recently honored as CPCC's 2011 Outstanding Student, where he was invited on stage during the world-renown Assad Brothers concert to share his future goals and aspirations. Upon leaving CPCC, Mikey plans to continue composing for his band, obtaining a master's degree in Music Business and establishing a career in music.
Senior Music Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Drums, Mandolin
Jam Sessions Director
Madison is native to Union County and began his musical journey at the age of 14. He was an
avid athlete until he found his musical soulmate - the guitar. He learned to play his instrument the
best way he knew how - by copying his heroes. He drew from influences such as Kirk Hammett
(Metallica), Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), Darrell Abbott (Pantera), Jeff Waters
(Annihilator), Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), Tom Scholz (Boston), and Joe
Satriani. Though the majority of his favorites reside in the Heavy Metal genre, he also enjoys
Classical Music, Old School Country (George Jones, Hank Williams Sr., Willie Nelson, etc.) and
Madison was a self-taught musician until he began college at Wingate University. While persuing
his degree in English/Literature, he took musical theory and guitar classes every semester. Madison is an extremely experienced musician. He has been in bands since he was a teen, has recorded albums, and tours with his heavy metal band, Final Curse. His dream is to make it onto the cover of a notorious guitar magazine some time in his lifetime. "Then, I could die happy."
Ballantyne School of Music provides award-winning instruction to our students. Our instructors are motivated by their love of music and the passion to transfer their knowledge and skills to others so their creativity and talent can shine.
Saxophone/Clarinet/Trumpet/Flute and Beginner Piano Instructor
Josh began his love of music and the arts in 5th grade. Like most young musicians, he
wanted to play drums. Unfortunately too many people wanted drums and was asked to
chose a different instrument. He chose saxophone, he says "it was the best decision
of my life". Josh received his B.A in music performance from North Carolina Central
University. There he honed his craft and developed classical and jazz saxophone techniques.
During his tenure he marched in The Marching Sound Machine Band where he served as assistant and Lead Sax section leader. Currently Josh teaches Band and general music in CMS. Josh credits his influence to John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Branford Marsallis, who is artist in residence at North Carolina Central University
Violin and Mandolin Instructor
Shealee was born outside of Detroit, Michigan to a very musically inclined family. As a teenager
she moved from Michigan and lived in several places in the Midwest before settling in Waxhaw, NC.
At the age of 5 she began playing violin and fell in love with music. She went to a performance
arts high school in Columbia, MO and was able to play in the school orchestra all through high
school. She also had the opportunity to play in the pit orchestra for several productions for the
school theater. In her 20s Shealee began studying fiddle music and worked to start honing her skills
as a functional violinist/fiddle player. She also began her studies in other instruments to broaden her
Today Shealee works on writing and playing her own original music and is currently working to record her first EP.
Bass Guitar Instructor
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, John was surrounded by music that
helped shape his unique style of play and approach to music. Like most
musicians, John began his musical journey as a drummer, at the age of 6,
in his local church and was surrounded by a musical family. At the age of
16, while listening to his father learn the bass line to the iconic “Billie Jean”,
John quickly transitioned to the electric bass and has grown to be one of the most sought after bassist in the area and abroad.
John deems himself as a predominately ‘self-taught’ musician but has always pursued an educated path and has learned from some of the best educators in the industry. While attending Wingate College as a Mathematics major, John was heavily involved in the schools music department as a member of the marching band and bassist for the schools jazz ensemble and Big Band. John studied music theory and continued his pursuit to become a better bassist and musician during those years.
“VERSATILITY, DEDICATION, EXCELLENCE and the GROOVE = THE TOTAL BASSIST” has been his motto for many years as he has performed, produced, recorded, and directed for many of the industries top artist. His client list spans several genres of music and has earned him Grammy certifications for EMI’s gospel projects “Oh Happy Day,” an All-Star Celebration (Best Traditional Gospel Album) and Heather Headley’s “Audience of One” (Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album.)
John has worked with gospel artist Lejuene Thompson,John P Kee, Daryl Coley, Monique Walker, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. His RnB credits include, Stephanie Mills, Tamia, Deborah Cox, Jeniffer Holliday.
John released his debut solo cd title “Let’s Ride” featuring smooth jazz artist that include Marc Antoine, Matt Marshak, Marcus Anderson, Art Sherrod, Jr and Lin Rountree. Let’s Ride has already been well received great accolades and continues moving forward within the genre of Smooth Jazz. “Let’s Ride”, delivers an auditory experience that finds its way down in your soul and moves every part of you.
John brings over 20 years of performance, recording, and production experience to the Ballantyne School of Music Family and is honored to be amongst a winning staff of instructors.
Bass/Guitar/Music Production Instructor
Cole Millward, a Charlotte native, has played bass guitar since 2008. Having gotten his musical start
in his childhood church's youth praise band, he has since performed in numerous acts of varying
styles, including Blues/Rock power trio Halden Vang, Progressive Metal super-group Ozai,
Christian Rock outfit Fall of Ashes, Alternative Lounge music band Traveler, and his own solo
project, Hairy Parrot.
In early 2014, he emerged from Central Piedmont Community College classically trained in electric bass guitar, with an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts with a focus in music composition and performance, as well as a student excellence commendation awarded by music department chair Dr. Craig Bove.
In addition to his musical experience, Cole is also a trained audio engineer; he participated in the vocational recording program at GAT3 studios and subsequently joined the studio for a term as an intern/assistant to audio veteran Wade Starnes and two-time Grammy-winning engineer Glenn Tabor. He now runs Giant Spoon Productions, an audio production business started by himself and fellow Charlotte musician James Nelson.
While his list of influences encompasses a wide array of artists (The Police, Journey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Jackson, Queen, Muse, Iron Maiden, Audio Adrenaline, Information Society, Weird Al Yankovich, Claude Debussy, Johann Sebastian Bach, Alice in Chains, Meshuggah, and the soundtracks of various 90’s animated Disney and Dreamworks movies), his primary musical heroes are John Myung (Dream Theater), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report), Geddy Lee (Rush), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and Adam “Nolly” Getgood (Periphery).
Eric has been teaching guitar for almost 20 years. A jazz-trained musician, he also
has a special affinity for rock music and R&B. Eric has played guitar and bass in
numerous successful bands in both the New York City and Charlotte areas over the
last 25 years, and is currently in several bands that perform across the East Coast.
He has a B.A. in Music Education and Performance from the Five Towns College
in New York.
Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Mandolin Instructor
Michael Haywood began playing the guitar in 2005 when he was 13 years old. At a
young age, he was trained in reading and began taking classical guitar lessons. At the
time, Michael was inspired by the guitar playing of Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen
and Marty Friedman. After a few years of taking classical guitar, he became interested
in Jazz, Funk and Pop music. Michael still loved the music that inspired him to pick
up a guitar but his musical taste began to develop and he listened more to Prince, Jaco
Pastorius and George Benson. Michael also began playing the bass at a local church
and played upright bass in his high school’s band. Michael has taken advantage of
multiple opportunities to play alongside Lou Pallo of the Les Paul Trio; which further
inspired and motivated him to become a musician. Michael studied music performance
for two years at Lenoir Rhyne and Central Piedmont Community College; he
currently attends CPCC and is pursuing a degree in Business and hopes to mix the two together.
Michael plays actively in the Charlotte music scene and has played with some notable musicians over the past several years. He is currently the music director and guitarist of Radiojacks, a wedding/corporate band. He has also played with Queens Vice, The Fifth Divine, The CPCC Jazz Band, The CPCC Big Band, The Vine Worship Band, Pineville United Methodist Church and More!
Michael has been teaching guitar and bass for over two years and focuses on music theory, reading skills and fretboard logic for the understanding of the guitar in chords and soloing. Michael helps students understand rhythm and how to feel the music while giving them opportunities to develop while playing in real situations. Whether he is teaching children or adults, he uses his patience and friendly attitude in the classroom to help his students fully understand music while pushing them to learn their instrument.
Often times when a new musician comes on the scene, common adjectives like
fresh and hot, are thrown about frivolously and usually there is more hype than
truth. But that’s definitely not the case when it comes to J’Michael Peeples.
The mantra he lives by is “Live to create and keep the music honest”.
This Columbia, South Carolina native was exposed to the life style of a musician
firsthand at the young age of eight. He vividly recalls sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen early Saturday mornings listening to her sing church hymns and spirituals throughout the house. Not only was she a loving grandmother, lead singer of the family band and fashionista, she provided a strong musical foundation for him. He grew an appreciation for the likes of musical legends such as Sam Cooke, Al Green, Norman Brown, Prince, and George Benson. After experimenting with several instruments, the guitar was the only instrument he felt could approach the music like a pianist and express melodies as a vocalist.
Q: What was it like growing up in your household?
“I recall a house filled with laughter, music, and a lot of creative outlets. My father exposed me to R&B classics like Isley Brothers, Soul Brothers # 1…James Brown and my mother was a play writer so, naturally I saw the creative process from having a vision, creating a script, and seeing it come to life on stage.”
Q: What made you want to make a career out being a musician and a writer?
“It makes me happy!”
Although he is currently unsigned, J’Michael has already accomplished many goals and skill-sets that have served as his creative outlets. After attending the University of South Carolina, he became a Master Barber, Music Teacher, Writer, Personal Trainer, Songwriter and a raising contemporary jazz star! All of these attributes have contributed to the JMPMovement.
Q: Please define the JMPMovement.
“JMP Movement- Is a movement that embodies the pure essence of creativity and inspires others to reach their creative potential”. He stated “I am passionate about creative expression and providing inspiration to others… while giving a sense of empowerment to propel others to the ultimate level of self-gratification”