Garrick White

Senior Instructor - Drum Set/Percussion

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."


Mikey Marrero
Senior Music Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Piano

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.”  ​

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.

Patrick Raymaker

Senior Instructor - Piano/Keyboard

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.

Cole Millward

Senior Instructor - Bass/Guitar/Music Production

​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.

Donna McPherson

Senior Instructor - Piano & Violin/Viola

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.

Madison Stegall

Senior Music Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Drums

Jam Session Director (Sundays)

​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."

Andrew Richmond

Guitar, Bass, Piano, Ukulele & Music Production Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Andrew is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and lived in Nashville before moving to the greater

Charlotte area. He has been playing guitar almost his whole life and teaching since

high school. Andrew is also an audio engineer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

He has had the opportunity to work with music industry professionals at some of

the top studios in Nashville, and even has his own recording studio here in South

Carolina. His biggest guitar influences are Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John

Mayer, and Johnny Greenwood. Although mostly interested in Rock, Blues, and Indie

music, his taste in music is broad and he's always willing to learn something new!

​​Charles Trotter

Senior Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Piano, & Ukulele

Indian Land Studio

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.

Briana DiMaria

Piano 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. 

Brian Cooper

Senior Instructor - Violin

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.”

Ryan Fosnow

Office Administrator

Ballantyne 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.  He has also taught

for several years at our Indian Land studio, prior to stepping into an administrative role

​at our Ballantyne studio.

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

numerous cover and original bands.  He formerly toured nationally with bands such as  Classic Journey Live, a tribute to the band Journey and is now touring internationally with his original rock band The L.A. Maybe.

Kaitlyn Hayward
Senior Instructor - Vocal and Piano

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

R&B Band Jam Session Director (Saturdays)

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


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. 

Amanda Sanchez

Vocal & Flute Instructor

Indian Land Studio

Amanda was born in Westland, Michigan, and grew up in Orlando, Florida. 

Her father exposed her early on to a multitude of musical genres that

molded her appreciation and love for music. At the age of 8, she began

learning the flute and would sing and play at her church.  By age 11,

Amanda started taking lead roles in her school plays such as Cinderella

(Rogers and Hammerstein), Constanze (Of Mice and Mozart) and Crystal

(Little Shop of Horrors).

Throughout high school, she was involved in Show and Concert Choir where she absorbed music theory, sight reading and the importance of unity.  Her choir director, Dr. Jeffrey Redding (2019 Grammy award winning music educator of the year) instilled the importance of hard work and dedication along with the joy of moving an audience with stage presence, dynamics and passion.

Amanda now resides in Ballantyne, North Carolina, with a degree in nursing.  She is currently the lead singer of "Smokin Gunn," "The Amanda May Project," and "Tin Man's Heart" (Heart Tribute Band).  In 2021, she recorded her first single, "Overcomin," that can be found on all digital streaming platforms.

"Teaching is a gift that can inspire passion and purpose.  What you learn can be put into everything you do, not just music, but your life in general - your grades, your home situation and what you go out to do in the world."

Shealee Cousino
Senior Instructor - Vocals and Violin

​Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios 

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.

Eric Esposito

Senior Instructor - Guitar, Bass, Ukulele

Band Director - Jam Session (Saturdays)

Indian Land Studio

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. 

Logan Hendley
Senior Instructor - Bass, Guitar, Piano & Ukulele
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.   He is now a bassist and singer in the nationally-acclaimed 70's/80's tribute band "Kids in America."

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.””

Drew Wilkerson

Senior Instructor -Drum/Percussion, Piano & Guitar

Indian Land Studio

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. 

Raymond Patrick

Violin/Cello, Piano & Guitar Instructor

Ballantyne & Indian Land Studios

Raymond Patrick is a multi-instrumentalist, worship leader, songwriter,

music producer, audio engineer, and content creator who has worked

with world-renowned musicians Tommee Profitt, Jonathan Traylor,

Mac Powell of Third Day, Mark Wood, and Michael W. Smith, as well as

performed at the acclaimed Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, Raymond moved to the Charlotte

area in 2015. He is a graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor of

Science in Commercial Music, studying instrumental performance, music production, and songwriting. His influences include Owl City, the 1975, Lindsey Stirling, Michael Jackson, Sarah Reeves, The Arcadian Wild, Elevation Worship, and Phil Wickham.

Raymond seeks to bring to BSOM the passion, love, and excitement he has for music to the students, families, and community of Charlotte!

Denise Forbes

Vocal/Violin/Piano Instructor

​Ballantyne Studio

I am a creative shepherd that actively performs (violin, vocaI artist, and wordsmith)

and possesses a MM in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of

Music on bassoon. I also worked at The Juilliard School. As a private teacher, I have

positively impacted the lives of young creatives in bassoon, strings, voice, piano and

in dance. I have codified what I have developed as a performer and teacher to

impart to student artists and contribute their whole child evolution.

James Nelson

Senior Instructor - Guitar, Bass, & Ukulele

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 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.