Paul "PJ" Abordo

Piano Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

PJ was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and moved to the Piedmont Triad area of

North Carolina in 2006. In the summer of 2015, he took a leap of faith to pursue

music professionally and moved to the great city of Charlotte. 

At the age of 3, PJ was inspired to play music by watching his father and older

brother to play drums at church. Every Saturday morning, he tagged along with

his dad to watch the church worship team rehearse for Sunday morning service.  When Sunday morning came, PJ grabbed his ukulele (gifted by impressed churchgoers), marched to the front of the auditorium, and sat on the edge of the stage in front of his father’s drumset to perform (or pretend to, rather) with the worship team every single week.

“After realizing that I had a strong obsession with music at church, my parents took my interest seriously and enrolled me in piano lessons while in elementary school. Little did I know that these lessons would be just the foundation of a lifelong musical journey that continues today.”

All throughout middle and high school, PJ participated in school orchestras playing the string bass. These orchestras competed in and won awards in various regional competitions. Simultaneously, he picked up on other instruments such as bass guitar and acoustic guitar. During this time, he began to volunteer to play piano at local churches.

Today, PJ is one of the keys players and playback operators for Elevation Worship. Currently, he serves from Elevation Church’s Riverwalk location in Rock Hill. He is also involved in the local music scene, occasionally playing for Charlotte’s up and coming artists.

In additional to piano, bass guitar, and acoustic guitar, PJ is very involved in sound design, music production, DJing and music directing.

Logan Hendley
Bass, Guitar, Piano & Ukulele Instructor 
Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Logan is a rock musician and vocalist born in Cape Canaveral Florida who, from a young

age, was inspired to play music by his father, Reese.  As a product of this influence, Logan

has studied and performed music consistently since age 11, and played hundreds of

performances to thousands of people.

At age 15, he decided to use the knowledge of theory he gained in concert and marching band to learn instruments outside of the brass section, including electric bass, guitar, and keyboard. He landed his first gig at age 17, as a bassist for a traveling Christian Rock band called The Refuge District. Here, he performed hundreds of sets at various churches and conferences in the Southeast. 

Over the next nine years, he would continue to hone his skills as a multi-instrumentalist for the band, but fell in love with bass guitar above all. At age 26, he auditioned and began playing bass for a touring national act called Classic Journey Live - a premier Journey tribute band based in Charlotte, NC. This show afforded him the opportunity to play to thousands of people across the country. 

Logan hopes that he can use his experience in musical performance and study to impact the lives of others in a positive way, because, as he explains:

 “Music is the one of the most universally enriching outlets that we possess as humans, having the power to connect all people.””

Blake Brown

Guitar/Bass/Piano/Ukulele Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Blake has been playing guitar for more than ten years and teaching for two. He has

experience performing and teaching a variety of styles including Rock, Metal, Jazz,

Swing, Folk, and Country. Blake is currently enrolled at Winthrop University in

Rock Hill, SC, with a focus on Jazz Guitar. Blake plays regularly for local establishments,

guitar ensembles, and Jazz trios.

Garrick White

Drum Set/Percussion Instructor

Ballantyne Studio

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."

Patrick Raymaker
Piano/Keyboard Instructor

Ballantyne Studio

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.

Danielle Smith
Vocal Instructor/Performance Coach & Ukulele Instructor

Director of Events and Associate Director of Chick Singer Night Charlotte

​Ballantyne Studio

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
Piano/Violin/Viola Instructor

Director of Homeschool Program

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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.  


Mikey Marrero
Guitar/Bass, Keyboard and Vocal Instructor

Ballantyne Studio

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. 

Madison Stegall

Senior Music Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Drums, Mandolin

Jam Sessions Director

​Ballantyne Studio

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

Classic Rock.

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."

Our Teachers

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.

Dillon Prentice

Guitar/Bass/Ukulele Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Dillon Prentice, while born in Boston, has lived in the Matthews and greater

Charlotte area for 21 years. He began playing guitar at the age of 14 and has

15 arduous years of practice under his belt. With influences ranging from

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, to the Mississippi Delta blues stylings of

Mississippi Fred McDowell, to harder rock and metal players such as John

Petrucci of Dream Theater and Michael Åkerfelt of Opeth, Dillon is a

versatile player who can teach with understanding in many genres. 

Dillon first began playing in early high school and formed a band with his other musician friends, to whom he attributes learning a lot of what he knows, in addition to taking lessons from other Ballantyne School of Music teacher Eric Esposito, who taught him the importance of theory and learning by ear. 

Currently, Dillon plays in an up-and-coming local metal band that will be gigging in the area very soon

David Hodges

Brass Instructor

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

“I am a South Carolina native and a graduate of the University of South

Carolina School of music (BM-instrumental music education) and

Winthrop University (MM-music performance/trumpet).  I'm passionate

about sharing my love of music with students. I've been teaching privately

for over a decade now, and am at home teaching students of all ages. Through

music, I've had the opportunity to play in many different states, as well as overseas. I am eclectic in my musical experiences, as I am at home teaching classical, jazz, and other styles. I was introduced to the sounds of the bands Earth, Wind and Fire and Chicago at a young age – their horn sections helped stoke my love for music.  In high school and college I was also introduced to classical and jazz through artists like Wynton Marsalis, Maurice Andre, and Phil Driscoll.  One of the great experiences of my life was being able to travel to England to perform in the 2014 London New Year's Day festivities. Additionally, I treasure the time spent performing with the University of South Carolina Marching Band in my college years.  Currently, I freelance in the Charlotte and surrounding areas, as well as play in the Union Symphony Orchestra in Monroe, NC.  

In my teaching, I strive to have each student develop individual goals for themselves and their musical experiences; whether it be simply getting better for the love of playing or striving to perfect skills to excel at various auditions.  I want students to be able to perform the music they love, be it the Star Wars soundtrack or the Haydn Trumpet Concerto.  A student may simply want to improve their skills on their school band music, and that is something I love to help out with also.  I feel that teaching music is a calling and strive every day to monitor and adapt to each individual student’s needs.”

Eric Esposito

Guitar/Bass Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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. 

Dale Eckholm

Guitar Instructor

​Ballantyne Studio

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!

Joshua James

Saxophone/Clarinet/Trumpet/Flute and Beginner Piano Instructor

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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

RJ Jones
Vocal & Piano Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Born into a family of musicians, RJ was introduced to the beauty of music since birth. For

him, music has been the key to many doors such as that of Winthrop University, where he

has been studying Choral Music Education with hopes to achieve a BME before returning

to obtain a master’s in choral conducting with a minor of music therapy. His musical

influences include Beyonce, John Legend, Leslie Odom, Jr., YEBBA, Jasmine Sullivan,

Lance Hamright, Anita Baker, and Michael McDonald to name a few. 

RJ has been actively involved in music programs for the bulk of his school career, singing in

honor choirs in elementary school, chorus and band in middle school, Rock Hill High School Concert Choir & Chamber Singers, the Winthrop University Chorale, Winthrop Chamber Singers, and the York County Choral Society. At Winthrop, he takes private lessons and studies with a distinguished host of professors and choral conductors. He has performed in musicals such as Seaweed in the Rock Hill High School production of Hairspray, and Winthrop University’s production of The Wiz. He also performs in churches, and various open mic opportunities under the alias ArJae. 

Driven by his desire to make the world around him freer, more passionate and open minded, he is also the creator and leader of The Optimistic Outliers, a youth group designed to aid young adults in being rebellious against negative societal expectations and limitations. RJ teaches with the following quote in mind, “The test of leadership is not to put greatness into the world, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”- John Buchanan.

Ryan Fosnow

Drums/Percussion Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Ryan has spent 18 of his 26 years behind the drum kit.  He studied privately for close to a

decade performing in school orchestras, jazz, and marching bands. 

Originally from Chicago, Ryan is an active player in community at church as well as

numerous cover and original bands.  He currently performs with Street Drum Corps and has toured nationally with bands such as Classic Journey Live, a tribute to the band Journey.

Kaitlyn Hayward
Vocal and Piano Instructor 
Ballantyne  & Indian Land Studios

Kaitlyn Hayward was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She currently resides in Rock Hill,

SC, where she is a senior at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She is studying choral

music education and wants to teach high school choir.
Kaitlyn started her musical journey at the age of 7. She began taking piano lessons and

singing in the elementary school choir. From there, she continued piano lessons for

approximately 10 years (as well as continuing lessons at Winthrop University). She also has experience with other instruments; including alto saxophone (7 years), tenor saxophone (4 years), and marching/concert percussion (4 years). 

At Winthrop University, Kaitlyn regularly takes voice lessons with some of the most prestigious vocal instructors in South Carolina. She is currently in the Winthrop University Chorale, where she serves as the alto section leader, and the Winthrop University Chamber Choir. Though she is classically trained; she is also a jazz, neo-soul, and R&B vocalist. Some of her influences include Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott.   
Kaitlyn is passionate about her craft and is so excited  to be able to share her skills with her students. She is also honored to be amongst this winning staff of instructors. 

Justin Crenshaw

Piano and Trombone Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Originally from Winona, MS, Justin began to delve into music when he

started playing trombone at the age of eleven. Trombone quickly became one

of his strengths, and he eventually made the Mississippi All-State Lions Band,

joining the elite high school musicians of the state.  Justin was a member of

the band in 2005 and 2006, traveling to Hong Kong and Boston for the

international parade marching competition where the band won both years.

As for piano, he began to take lessons at the age of 15. Though Justin took only three years of lessons, he quickly grew into a strong pianist because of his love for the instrument.  Two years of lessons focused on the sonatas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Justin also spent much time learning difficult arrangements from Final Fantasy video games, including works by Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu, and the “John Williams of video game music,” Nobuo Uematsu.  Altogether, Justin enjoys playing multiple genres of music including jazz, classical, contemporary, gospel, Latin, and rock.

In 2006, Justin was accepted into Mississippi State University where he received his bachelor’s in music education.  While studying music, he discovered that he loved to write music.  Justin pursued his interest in writing, taking summer composition lessons from his theory professor Dr. James Sobaskie.  He went on to study composition at the University of Kentucky under the guidance of the vibrant and gifted composer, Joseph Baber, and graduated with his masters from UK in 2013.

Justin has written 36 works to date, and 30 of them have been performed.  Two of his notable accomplishments are commissioned works – a fifteen-minute production for the Ridgeland High School (Ridgeland, MS) show choir and the song “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a new Christmas song featured in a private performance for the Lexington Opera Society.

Justin has worked as the band director at Cardozo Middle School in Jackson, MS for the past two years and is looking forward to starting as the new music teacher for Indian Land Elementary School beginning in the Fall of 2018. 

Marlen Lane

Vocal and Piano Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Born and raised in La Ceiba, Honduras, Marlen had always enjoyed singing but it wasn’t

until she attended music school at age 14 that she found her passion for it.  In her last

semester of music school she wrote her first song which eventually led to her being

signed by a label in Miami two years later.  At the age of 19, Marlen co-wrote and

recorded her first album “Por su Gracia” and it was released in 2014.  After releasing her album, Marlen traveled around Honduras and to the United States to perform.

Marlen began teaching at the music school she graduated from as a vocal teacher in 2014 and taught there until she moved to the United States in 2017.  She also volunteered at her local church teaching vocal lessons to the children and teens there.  She has a passion to help her students improve their vocal skills and technique and to help them pursue their dreams with music.  

Now living in Charlotte, Marlen serves as a worship leader in the Transformation Church band and continues to write and record music.

Brian Cooper

Violin Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Brian K. Cooper, II is a professional Concert Violinist/Recording Artist

from Chicago, IL. He began his musical journey at the age of 5, becoming

an inaugural member of the Make a Joyful Noise String program at his

church home, the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, IL. As a member

of this program founded by his church’s former First Lady, Sister Isabelle

Brazier, Brian was first introduced to learning the violin thru the Suzuki

Method. From age 5, till age 18, every Saturday during the school calendar,

Cooper would attend lessons at his church which included music theory, followed by group lessons, then small ensemble lessons, and would end with private lessons. 

His, time as a member of Make a Joyful Noise would serve as the foundational seed that would lead to Brian’s love of music in the coming years. At the age of 11, he was chosen to be mentored in a private lesson with world-renowned violinist Rachel Barton-Pine. After 7 years of playing, Brian became a member of the Parker Junior High School Orchestra. After graduating from Junior High School, Brian would expand further, becoming a member of his high school orchestra of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, IL. 
As a member of both orchestras, he would perform in a variety of shows across the state of Illinois, including a performance at the Orchestra Hall, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in downtown Chicago. 

As a young adult, Brian has had the pleasure of joining the Chicago Sinfonetta Orchestra as a guest violinist for numerous concerts in the Chicago-land Area. Throughout his career, Brian has been taught and mentored by multiple professional string players including, Edith Yokley, Racheli Galay, Samuel Williams, and Phyllis Calderon to name a few. 

Today, Brian enjoys producing his own music as well as playing his violin and expanding his knowledge of the instrument everyday. He continues to play as a guest violinist across the globe. “The violin has blessed me with the ability to express myself thru music in a way that I would have never imagined”, says Cooper. “Being able to create melody thru this 4-stringed instrument is one of the greatest gifts that I could have ever received as a musician, and I am looking forward to walking thru the process of climbing a musical ladder with each of my students, that they will be able to carry along as they embark on the road to greatness. I want them to know that if I can play this instrument, then so can they. We all are gifted, it’s just a matter of believing it, and then the rest will follow.”

Seth Duncan

Vocal and Piano Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Seth is from Indiana and has always had a passion for music. Starting in middle school, he

began singing in his school and church choirs. This love developed in all types of music. He

went on to take saxophone and piano lessons in addition to continuing vocal studies. His

passion continued to take on different forms of the performing arts as he was involved in

both school and community theater. He graduated from Indiana university with a Bachelors

degree in music business.

For the past twelve years, Seth has been performing across the country as a singer and dancer. Working for various production companies has led him from Indiana to St. Louis, Baltimore, New York, Ohio, and eventually Charlotte, NC. He has been performing at Carowinds for the past several years and now calls Indian Trail his home.
Seth looks forward to continuing to spread his love for music and performing through whatever avenue he can. 

James Nelson

Guitar Instructor 

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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. 

Drew Wilkerson

Drum/Percussion, Piano & Guitar Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Drew is a South Carolina native, originally from Cheraw, and now currently

located in Rock Hill. Starting at the age of 9, Drew has been playing drums

and guitar for 12 years. Since the age of 14 Drew has performed with bands of

many genres including rock, country, jazz, and reggae.

Drew has also performed for shows at Carowinds including The Brass Brigade

(D & G Entertainment) , Turn It Up! (D & G Entertainment), and Blood

Drums (Street Drum Corps).

Drew is currently a Senior music student at Winthrop University, where he has studied both drum set and percussion for 3 years and is a member of the Winthrop Swinging Eagles Jazz Ensemble. 

Some of Drew’s inspirations include drummers such as Travis Barker, Thomas Pridgen, Tony Williams, Matt Gartska, Jojo Mayer, and Joey Jordison. 

​​Kyle Franklin

Piano & Guitar Instructor

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Kyle is originally from the bay area in California. He started playing guitar at age 14 after

discovering the band Metallica and gave hours upon hours of his high school social life up to

perfect those rocking riffs and shredding solos. For him, guitar and music were life and may

have been his secret to getting through high school in a new state. 

After discovering the piano at age 17 in an advanced music theory class, through experimentation and focused practice, Kyle quickly gained an affinity for the instrument and a love for all the musical opportunities that began to present themselves. 
Such opportunities included composing and recording an original theme for the Westlake High School Football Broadcast, arranging orchestral music for stage productions in the Westlake Performing Arts Center, and further studying music at the Berklee College of Music.  While studying at Berklee Kyle met and connected with famed Russian composer Alla Cohen and Boston POPS pianist Bob Winter, where he began private instruction in composition and piano. 

Currently a graduate with a degree in Composition and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music, Kyle now resides in North Carolina working as a freelance composer for commissions and media scoring as well as an instrument instructor to help kindle that spark for music in people of all ages.

Kaleb Bragg

Guitar & Bass Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Kaleb started playing guitar at 11 years of age and enjoys all styles of music

including rock, rap, country, Motown, gospel, and everything in between.

Kaleb has taught many students how to play guitar over the years and is very

passionate about it. He believes giving the gift of music to a hungry generation

is very important and is excited to teach at Ballantyne School of Music.

Kaleb’s influences include Nirvana, The Doors, Prince, The Fall of Troy, and

many more. Kaleb believes that any kind of musician can learn from any genre

of music.

Cole Millward

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). 

Glaubirsel Figueroa

Violin and Piano Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Glau started playing violin in her middle school orchestra, when she was 11 years

old, and played in orchestra every year until she graduated from high school.

She also took private lessons and played in the Union Symphony Youth

Orchestra. She has studied music theory and is also now teaching beginner

piano. Her favorite styles of music are classical, rock, alternative, indie, and pop.

Glau loves teaching music and will show students how fun it is to play violin and piano!

David Dorenfeld
Guitar, Drum, Piano & Ukulele Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Hi, my name is David Dorenfeld! You might have noticed I like to describe

myself in the 1st person.

I have been playing music for about 16 years and I have been teaching professionally for close to 5 years. I started with guitar which is my main instrument, but I have picked up other instruments along the way and I also sing. I play music because I love making my own and playing other musicians’ great songs. From time to time I play live solo gigs and in the past I played in a few bands. It’s just so fun!

I love teaching and I love connecting with students. The only other thing as cool as being a rockstar is being a teacher rockstar, and I’m am so thankful to be earning a living doing so. I always look for the potential in my students and hope to make them feel comfortable playing their instrument so they know that it will always be a positive part of their lives.

I love basketball, music, language, comedy and fruit. Thanks for reading!