Joshua James

Saxophone/Clarinet/Trumpet/Flute 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

​Curt Keys

Keyboard/Vocal Instructor

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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.” 

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

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. 

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. 

Blaine Fernandez
Drum/Percussion Instructor

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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)

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!


Justin Allen
Drum Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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. 

​​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.

Logan Hendley
Bass, Guitar, & Keyboard 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.””

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. 

Shealee Cousino

Violin and Mandolin Instructor

​Indian Land Studio

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
​musical skills.

​Today Shealee works on writing and playing her own original music and is currently working to record her first EP.

Garrick White

Drum Set/Percussion Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

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."

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.  

JMichael Peeples

Guitar & Songwriting Instructor

Ballantyne Studio

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”

Lathan Wood
Piano Instructor 
Indian Land Studio

Lathan Wood is a passionate soul, groomed to accentuate the melody of life. He has been

playing and doing private piano/organ/drums instruction for over two decades. His 20+

years of experience as a musician and director, have afforded him the opportunity to grace

many stages both domestic and internationally. 

He is also a splendiferous vocal arranger, with a creative proclivity for intricate harmonies. He is the founder and former director of the award winning Vineyard of Praise Gospel Choir at Georgia State University. Mr. Wood has written and produced seven albums to date, and currently has a recording studio in Fort Mill. 

Lathan is endowed with myriad giftings. A leader of leaders, this community leader, musician, motivational speaker and vocal arranger possesses a special grace to cultivate. His teaching pedagogy focuses on performance in contemporary music, with an emphasis on foundational theory. Lathan is a certified instructor for City Music Network, the nonprofit arm of Berklee College of Music. He has also been an instructor for Suzuki Music Camps.

Mr. Wood is a native of Stone Mountain, Georgia and has received an Associate’s Degree in Music, Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He also works closely with several non-profit organizations in reference to youth-focused programs. Lathan Wood is also the founder and CEO of WoodWorx Creations. 

He and his wife, Kelli, have been married for 15 years & are the proud parents of two sons, Lathan II & Kaiden. They currently reside in Indian Land, SC.

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!

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.

Seth Duncan

Vocal and Piano Instructor

Ballantyne & 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. 

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.

Jess Strzepek

Vocal instructor/performance coach and Kindermusik Instructor

​Ballantyne Studio

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.”

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). 

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.”

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.