Shelly Riff

Shelly Riff is a professional keyboardist/composer that has been performing, recording, and teaching for 25 years. Shelly studied Piano at William Paterson University. In addition, Shelly has studied with Rufus Reid and also with Adam Wakefield and Tim McDonald here in Nashville. Shelly lives in Nashville and is performing in a variety of settings including with Kenny Olson (Kid Rock’s guitar player) and Elliot Blaufuss (MD for Eric Hutchinson).

Shelly is also a songwriter and producer who is proficient in Pro Tools. As a songwriter, his music can currently be heard on the E! Channel (The Kardashians), ABC Family (The Vineyard), The Oxygen Network (Bad Girls Club), and MTV.

Tim Allen

After majoring in music at the University of Memphis, Timothy J. Allen earned certification from the Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA in 1993. He soon began a career as a session drummer in Memphis – working on radio and TV spots during the day, teaching top West Tennessee high school drumlines in the afternoons and playing rock, blues and soul with several bands on Beale Street in the evenings.
A multiple Emmy-Award winning TV producer as well as musician, Tim knows what producers are looking for when hiring session musicians. A former instructor at Memphis Drum Shop and for Yamaha Rock School, Tim’s former students include session players, touring musicians, percussion instructors and even band directors
His fun and versatile teaching style is influenced and informed by instructors including Bobby Rock, Kenny Aronoff, Chuck Flores and Joe Porcoro. With Tim, you’ll learn how to create effective drum parts, how to prepare for auditions, how to prepare for the recording studio, drumset maintenance, sight reading (including charts) and more. Tim is a certified ProMark Stick Specialist and a member the D’Addario Education Collective as well as the Sabian Educators Network. You can find him on Twitter @playdrums.

Nico Santora

Nico Santora started playing music at an early age, and very soon was involved in multiple local bands. After playing hundreds of shows in his hometown, he was ready to take a chance and make a career out of playing guitar. In 2010, Nico moved to Los Angeles to attend Musicians Institute for the GIT program. After an amazing year of extensive learning, he moved back home and immediately jumped into teaching guitar. Soon Nico was regularly teaching about 35 students a week, and gigging in multiple bands on the weekends. Then, when he least expected it, Nico got the call to play guitar in the legendary punk band, Suicidal Tendencies. He toured the world with them for over 4 years between 2012 and now, and have since toured with The Faceless, and even played a gig with Bobby Brown. Nico has been fortunate enough to share the stage with bands like Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot, Megadeth, Motörhead, ZZ Top, and many others. Now residing in Nashville, Nico is focusing on his own band ‘Lillake’ featuring professional musicians Eric Moore and Evan Brewer, and is eager to get back into teaching students who want to expand their knowledge of music and their instrument.

Joanna Sugameli

Whether it’s to a sold-out crowd or a small gathering at a local park, Joanna’s passion lies in her performance. After spending the past four years sharpening her talents with the finer points of voice and violin studies at Berklee College of Music, Joanna has become a new addition to our Nashville musical family. Since her arrival, she has become an active participant in local and touring shows as well as studio sessions.

Her unique ability to combine the techniques found in classical, jazz, and folk; she stands in high regard amongst her peers as having found her own sound. For those wanting to take to the spotlight of the Grand Ol’ Opry or simply entertain family and friends in their living room, Joanna will help you uncover the music that only you can make!

Danielle Sopchak

Danielle is an active woodwind player and has taught private lessons for 5 years. After being trained classically on flute and graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Music, Danielle now focuses on performing Jazz and Contemporary styles. She currently plays with the Nashville Flute Choir and takes courses with the Nashville Jazz Workshop. In lessons, expect to learn about the many components of music including theory, improvisation, and performance. Danielle teaches all styles and ages helping students better grasp concepts and techniques to become a well-rounded performer.

Charlie Diez

Charlie Diez is a graduate of the Jazz guitar program at Western Carolina University. He teaches Guitar, Drums, Bass and Intro level piano along with Music Theory and composition. Charlie teaches all popular genres including Rock, Blues, Country, Jazz, Funk and R&B.

Aaron Traylor

Over the years, I administered radio stations for Clear Channel and Townsquare Media, including planning, staffing, leading, promotion activities, etc. Host of a #1-rated daily music program that airs in numerous mid-sized markets across America. I’m a published author of “The DJ Chronicles: A Life Remixed,” which was published and distributed worldwide; currently in its 2nd edition. I’ve also earned the honors of ‘Best Radio Personality’ year-after-year in our annual town surveys and won an E.B. Craney award for ‘Best Radio Promotion.’ I add personal flair to the latest hit music on the nationally syndicated ‘Popcrush Mini-Mix’ program. Finally, I’m a touring festival and club DJ who’s been on the road with T-Pain and Sir Mix A Lot. I’ve also performed alongside many major stars like Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, The Crystal Method, Bobby Brown and more!

John McNally

No matter how you cut it, John loves bringing the gift of music into people’s lives whether that be in a loud, cramped club or quiet focused practice rooms.  He has loved music since he was in diapers and has been playing, learning and sharing since little on.

After graduating from McNally Smith College of Music in May of 2013, he promptly moved to Nashville, guitar in hand, bounce in step.

John’s number one priority is to get straight to the music. While technique, reading and fundamentals are emphasized in lessons, the song is priority number one. John’s largest influences are – The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Chet Atkins, Led Zeppelin, Jack White, Jeff Beck, Steve Jordan, and clean petal boards.


Pamela Gadler

Pamela Gadler has received training from multiple private instructors, professional musicians and the vocal coach at Sony Records Nashville. Pam’s diverse musical background includes influences of folk, bluegrass, and Western songs. She has toured with country artist Doug Stone, playing keyboards and singing background vocals; she’s been a featured house band artist at the Wildhorse Saloon and her band performs regularly for games and events for Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators.

Pamela has taught private music lessons for over seven years and has worked as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Words and Music” songwriting program. Whether you are just wanting to learn an instrument for your own enjoyment or perform on stage, Pamela tailors each student’s lessons specifically to help you achieve your goals.

Neal Guinane

From a small town in New England, Neal holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. He has taught private music instruction for more than 6 years on a wide variety of instruments including guitar, voice, piano, brass, percussion and strings.

Aside from teaching, Neal is very passionate about songwriting. His musical tastes range from Led Zeppelin to Duke Ellington to Beethoven. His absolute favorite is the music of The Beatles.

Mark Caviness

Mark has taught at the prestigious Guitar Institute of Technology, located at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA., after graduating with honors. Mark now lives in Nashville, where he has experienced every aspect of the music industry, including extensive touring and recording sessions. Mark currently teaches all levels and styles of guitar lessons. He also offers bass guitar and mandolin lessons.

As a student of Mark Caviness, you will benefit from his experience of teaching hundreds of students and performing in many different venues and formats. He specializes in personalizing lessons based on the student’s level and desire.

Chris Nelsen

Chris is an active performer and educator throughout the Southeast and a frequent performer with the Nashville Symphony. Chris has also performed with major acts including Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Ricky Skaggs, Glen Campbell, Bernadete Peters, Michael W. Smith, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Louis Bellson and many others.

Chris can teach all styles to all ages in all levels. Chris uses advanced technology as well as basic learning tools to conform to whatever teaching strategy is needed per each individual student. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education from University of Colorado and has done graduate study at the Cleveland Institute of Music.