Mikey Marrero
Guitar/Bass, Keyboard and Vocal Instructor

Ballantyne Studio


Mikey was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moved to the states at an 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 has gained proficiency in

Classical, Jazz, Fusion, Gospel, Rock, Metal, Shred, Composition, Songwriting, and more. 

Mikey holds a Bachelor of Arts from Queens University of Charlotte. He is currently pursuing 

his master's degree in Film Score and Composition from the prestigious 

Berklee School of Music. 

Mikey is a high demand session and live player who plays with Late Night Special, The Stranger Feat. Mike Santoro (Billy Joel Tribute). Mikey also holds a position at World Worship Church featuring Guitar Center’s Drum off champion Daniel Rodriguez, Bass Guru John Dillard, and two-time Grammy award winner Cedric Thompson. Mikey is also working on several long-awaited studio albums.  

Mikey says, “The study of History is an integral part of education. Studying the music from Antiquity to modern-day opens a broader perspective of the music we have come to perceive today. This applies to all instruments and musical genres around the world. Through this knowledge and the application of how music affects the ethos, one can apply these principles to produce music that will momentarily lift humanity from the internal struggles that have permeated the collective consciousness of since antiquity.”  ​


Madison Stegall

Senior Music Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Drums

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.

James Nelson

Guitar Instructor 

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios (Online Zoom Instructor only)


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 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. 

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. 

Joshua James

Saxophone/Clarinet/Trumpet and Beginner Piano Instructor

​Ballantyne Studio


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

Brian Cooper

Violin Instructor

Indian Land Studio


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.”

 

Charles Trotter

Guitar, Bass, Piano, & Ukulele Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios


Charles is a native Carolinian with 20 plus years experience in private,

group and classroom music instrument education focusing on many

styles of music from classical, jazz, blues and rock. Charles has a

Bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina. Charles has

developed guitar programs at Charlotte Catholic High School, Christ the King High School, and British International School of Charlotte.

Donna McPherson

Piano & Violin/Viola Instructor

Ballantyne Studio


Donna has been playing piano, violin, and viola since early childhood.  As a

13 year old, she played with the East Carolina University Symphony. During

high school she attended the Governor’s School for viola. While earning her

BA at NC State, she continued performing, playing with the local civic

orchestra and numerous chamber music ensembles.

Donna performed with the Johnson City Symphony while living in Tennessee, and joined the Charlotte Civic Orchestra after moving to the Queen City. While homeschooling her four children for more than 23 years, Donna also taught private lessons in violin, viola, and piano. Some of her favorite musical influences include hymns, fiddle music, and everything Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. Donna also enjoys music by The Police, Billy Joel, and Christian artists Michael W. Smith, Michael Card, and Steven Curtis Chapman.

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 a recent graduate of 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. 

Isaac Walker

Guitar & Bass Instructor

Indian Land Studio


Hey guys! My name is Isaac and I have been playing guitar since I was 14 and

now play professionally. I was born in Dublin, Ireland but my family moved to NC

when I was 6 years old. I really fell in love with music as a couple of my friends

played instruments and made me want to learn. My influences have a wide

range-  country, rock, gospel, pop, jazz, and R&B. I currently play with several

artists around town as well as some based in Nashville and LA. Music is about

bringing joy to the world but also to have a lot of fun with. I love teaching others how to grow in their craft and encourage them in the life-long journey that music is!

David Hodges

Brass/Woodwind Instructor

​Indian Land Studio


“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.”

Briana DiMaria

Piano & Clarinet Instructor

Indian Land Location


Briana was born in Clifton, New Jersey.  She started her music journey at age 4

when she heard "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles and tried to mimic what she heard

on the piano. Her parents quickly started her in piano lessons, and she was

playing Beethoven by age 7. She moved to Fort Mill, South Carolina, with her family

by age 11 where she started playing Clarinet in the school band. In high school, she

participated in many activities such as marching band, jazz band, percussion

ensemble, SC All State Band, and was chosen to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving

Day Parade with Macy’s All American Marching Band. After high school she took classes at Winthrop University learning many skills such as music theory, aural skills, and more. She played in the Winthrop University symphonic band as a music performance major. She fostered a love for music that drove her to teach her passion for the past 5 years and continues in hopes that she can pass along the same love for music to the youth of tomorrow. 

She has a wide range of musical influences including Dave Brubeck, Steely Dan, Tchaikovsky, Stevie Wonder, Periphery, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Dirty Nill, Led Zeppelin, Lianne La Havas, and many more. She looks forward to sharing her passion and knowledge to young musicians for the years to come. 

​​Kyle Franklin

Piano Instructor

​(Online Zoom Instructor Only)


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 California 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.

Ryan Fosnow

Drums/Percussion Instructor

Indian Land Studio


Ryan has spent most of his life 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 his original band

The L.A. Maybe and has toured nationally with bands such as Classic Journey Live,

a tribute to the band Journey.

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.

Shealee Cousino
Vocal, Songwriting & Violin Instructor

​Ballantyne Studio 


Shealee was born and raised in Monroe, Mi and lived in Missouri and Illinois before moving

to Waxhaw, NC.  She grew up in a musical family so it didn’t take long for her to decide she

wanted to be a part of the family band. She began playing the violin at age 5, and not long

after that she found a passion for singing and writing songs.

In 2014 her and a friend started a duo called Henry River Honey, shortly after forming they

recorded an EP and began touring regionally.  In 2019 Shealee released her debut solo

album entitled “Head to the Stone” which was recorded at the world-renowned Fame

Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Al.

Shealee’s love for music led her into teaching violin, voice, and mandolin for several years at Ballantyne School of Music and she is very excited to be back at BSOM teaching again.

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."

Nickolus Stewart

Vocal and Piano Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios


Nickolus is from Columbia, South Carolina, where his love for music began

in his church's youth choir at the age of five.  Nickolus (affectionately

known as "Nick") is a senior at Winthrop University studying Choral Music

Education.  He is a tenor section leader on the Winthrop chorale and is a

member of the Chamber Singers.


Nick is a classically-trained tenor who also has a background in piano.  

His piano training began at a young age, and he has continued to take lessons at Winthrop along with studying music theory.  Nick is a member of Opera Carolina in Charlotte.  Although he is classically trained, he enjoys multiple genres of music.  Some of his favorite artists are Kim Burrell, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder.


Nick has a passion to teach and share his voice with his students.  He wants his students to understand the fundamentals of music while increasing their passion and love for music!

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.””

Cole Millward

Bass/Guitar/Music Production Instructor 

​Ballantyne Studio


Cole Millward has been involved in music in some capacity for almost his whole life.  

Participating in various choirs and ensembles in church as a child, he became serious

about pursuing music at the age of 15 when he was introduced to the bass guitar.

Through the bass, music changed from a mild interest to an outright obsession for

Cole. He quickly found himself playing in bands and forging relationships with other

Charlotte musicians, and he began to develop the knowledge and skills that would

lead to a fulfilling career in music.

Cole attended Central Piedmont Community College at 18, eventually graduating

with an associate degree in fine arts with a focus in music composition and

performance, along with special commendations from the music department’s leadership. While at school and motivated by the growing needs of his own songwriting, he developed an interest in audio engineering. He spent his time between classes studying the basics of audio and learning how to record, mix, and master music. After completing his time at CPCC, he worked at GAT3 Studios as an intern. There, he acquired a proper education in audio from Grammy-winning engineer Glenn Tabor and the team at GAT3.

Since then, Cole has built a livelihood by traveling the many avenues available to music professionals. He puts his knowledge of music to use by teaching guitar, bass, and music theory to students of all ages at Ballantyne School of Music, by regularly performing gigs all over the Carolinas, and by continuing to compose music for his original projects. Not forgetting his audio skills, he also works as a contracted live sound engineer, and is the head engineer and co-owner of Giant Spoon Productions, a recording studio in Charlotte.

Cole is grateful for the immense positive impact playing music has had on his life, and he actively seeks to share the joy of the art with aspiring musicians.

Jim Edwards

Violin/Viola, Brass, Guitar and Piano Instructor

Indian Land Studio


Jim studied violin and viola with Amadi Azikiwe (Hummings) and Dora

Mullins.  He holds the Bachelor of Music Degree from Old Dominion

University, in Norfolk, Virginia.  In addition to teaching band and orchestra

for over 25 years, he has performed with numerous groups over the years

including the Virginia Beach Symphony (Symphonicity),  the Virginia Beach

Chamber Orchestra, and with members of the Virginia Symphony.


Mr. Edwards is also an active composer of music for vocal and instrumental

music.  He currently resides in Ft. Mill, SC with his wife and 4 children and

works in the area as a free lance musician, teacher, and composer.

Kaitlyn Hayward
Vocal and Piano Instructor 
(Online Zoom Instructor Only)


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

SC,  and teaches high school choir in Chester.  Kaitlyn has a music degree from Winthrop

University.


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 took voice lessons with some of the most prestigious vocal instructors in South Carolina.  She was in the Winthrop University Chorale, where she served 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 among this winning staff of instructors. 

Ariel Fisher

Vocal Instructor

Ballantyne Studio

Ariel is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and currently resides in Rock Hill

South Carolina. She recently graduated from Winthrop University with

a major in Musical Theatre and a minor in Outdoor Leadership. 


Ariel has been singing for 11 years and is influenced heavily by Rock

and Musical Theatre music. She has been trained professionally in

Classical, Music Theatre, Pop, Rock, and Choral singing. 


When Ariel is not teaching she works as an actor at various theaters around the Charlotte area. She is also lead vocalist and lyricist of her rock band, WAGS.