A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Melissa began taking piano lessons at age seven. While in her early teens, she added vocal performance, vocal coaching, and accompanying to her list of musical interests.
As an undergraduate student at Birmingham-Southern College, in Birmingham, Alabama, Melissa served as a soprano soloist for a variety of chamber choirs, including The Cathedral of the Advent Episcopal Church, Canterbury United Methodist Church, and Temple Beth-El. While working towards her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, Melissa served as Vocal Coach and Piano Accompanist for the students of Andrew Gainey and Mildred Allen. During her Junior and Senior years at BS-C, Melissa also taught piano to students at the Birmingham-Southern Conservatory of Music (an extension of the College).
Melissa attended graduate school at San Francisco State University, where she completed her Master of Music in historical musicology. Upon graduating from SFSU, Melissa enrolled in post-graduate studies at Florida State University in ethnomusicology, with an emphasis in traditional Irish music.
Her initial background is performance-based, but teaching is where her true passion lies. Previous school engagements include teaching choral music, simultaneously at Stanley Middle School, in Lafayette, California, and Carondelet High School, in Concord, California. One of Melissa’s favorite teaching roles was that of music director for productions of “Annie” and “Wonderland,” for Bay Area Educational Theater Company (San Carlos, California).
Melissa has taught private piano and voice lessons for 20 years in California, Florida, and Tennessee, and has served as an accompanist for various churches, individual soloists and ensembles, and community events throughout her teaching career.
VIOLIN, PIANO, DRUMS
A Florida native, Samuel has been studying the violin since a very young age. He started with a combination of the Lee County School system, and private lessons. He has developed a strong love for music and loves sharing his passion with others.
His recent engagements include a performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the FSW Symphony Orchestra, performing a Beethoven’s 5th arrangement with the American musical group, “The Piano Guys”, and numerous private chamber ensembles and solo performances for weddings.
As a music educator, he has had one on one private lesson experiences with string students, as well as teaching students who have pursued percussion with various band programs in the Lee County School District. He has taught outdoor marching band as well as instructing and writing music for indoor percussion ensembles. That includes Cape Coral High School indoor percussion ensemble, who he has helped develop a competitive show in which they have taken to the Florida Federation of Colorguards Inc. and took home 2nd place.
Samuel has earned his Associates in Violin Performance under the direction of Reiko Niiya-Chow, and is planning to audition for the University of Central Florida, and Lynn University. When he is not teaching lessons, you can see him performing with the FSW Symphony Orchestra at the Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall.
PERCUSSION/DRUMS, BEGINNING BAND, PIANO, GUITAR
Scott, originally hailing from New Jersey, comes with a wealth of experience acquired through several years of teaching multiple elementary and high school grade levels. He has been on staff with some of New Jersey’s top tier band programs winning state awards and recognition. Over the years, Scott performed with various Drum Corps International groups traveling all over the country and in 2007 captured a high percussion trophy in Division II DCI World Championship. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the College of New Jersey and is on the path to becoming an educator in the state of Florida.
Gary has been involved in music and playing in bands for 30 years and is excited to share that experience with his students of all levels. Learning to play guitar as a teen put Gary on the path towards discovering and learning about styles ranging from Blues and Rock to Classical, Pop, hip hop and Jazz.
Hailing originally from New Jersey where he graduated with honors from the famous Jazz school, William Paterson University, Gary has honed his craft and has diversified his skill set by immersing himself in the production and recording side of the industry. Living in Southwest Florida since 2009 has been an amazing experience as Gary continues to expand his horizons and develop more musical relationships and experiences around him.
Mary Anna Elser
Mary Anna has a passion for helping students of all ages to grow in their love for music as they learn its language and develop their keyboard skills. Sequential lessons are taught using the time-tested materials that can be purchased at Mr. Music, along with game-like strategies gained from many years of teaching music education in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia.
Mary Anna earned her Bachelor of Music Education at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY and her Master’s Degree in Music Education at Ohio State University. In addition, she completed 3 levels of Orff training at Mansfield University in PA, and an Education Specialist Degree from George Washington University.
Mary Anna has accompanied choirs, directed children’s choirs and organized several music camps, along with teaching private music lessons. She is excited to meet her new students in Fort Myers!
PIANO, CELLO, VIOLIN
A Michigan native, Madison Neill has been a Naples, Florida resident since 2006.
Her musical activity began in middle school; playing cello in the 6th grade orchestra. Private cello instruction began the next year with Si Cheng Liu of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Madison was a 4-year member of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Symphonia, and Philharmonic Youth Symphony. During this period, she was an active participant in several chamber ensembles.
In summer of 2013, Madison earned an orchestral performance certificate as a participant of the New York Summer Music Festival, at the State University of New York in Oneonta.
Madison is a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in music education, and continues instruction with Si Cheng Liu.
Madison plans to pursue a graduate degree in cello performance.
Growing up around Detroit, Michigan, Bo was intrigued with music at an early age and went through the process of a formal education playing trumpet in high school band and orchestras. As a teen, he was immersed in popular music playing drums, and after a number of years went on to guitar, songwriting, and teaching. During those years, recording became a mainstay as well, eventually enrolling in a recording school, and building a studio.
He’s taught guitar classes at Jackson Community College and private lessons for years after moving to Florida in a continuing effort to find new and better ways to communicate the education of music. In 2009, Bo wrote and produced an independent release distributed by Universal Music, and continues to write and record today.
GUITAR, BASS GUITAR, UKULELE, BANJO, PIANO
Carl Reijer was born in Stockholm, Sweden but has lived in California for 10 years and Florida for 12 years. At the age of 10 he discovered his passion for music, playing clarinet at Benito Middle School in Tampa, Fl. Around that time he also started playing guitar and bass and has been playing for 20 years.
He studied jazz theory at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California. He’s been teaching guitar, bass and music theory for 8 years privately and 2-3 years professionally. Carl has technical proficiency in many genres including Rock, Metal, Pop, Country, Blues, R&B, Jazz, Classical, World Music, and their various sub-genres. He has an extensive knowledge of music theory and is able to adapt that knowledge to many different styles of music.
Carl is currently recording solo material and privately studying the art of music therapy; as well as teaching lessons.
GUITAR, BASS GUITAR
Kevin began his music career in Detroit, Michigan playing the guitar and the bassoon. Upon moving to Florida, he began to study the bass guitar extensively in addition to playing guitar, bassoon, tuba and bagpipes. He was an All-State bassoonist in high school as well as an All-State bassist.
After high school, he attended Berklee College of Music as a bass performance major. He then toured with an original Reggae/Rock band for several years, doing guitar, turntables and lead vocals.
Currently, Kevin produces and records music professionally in his home studio in addition to performing his original music live and playing in recording sessions. He has a strong passion for music and teaching others to play it in a fun and effective way.
VIOLA, VIOLIN, CELLO, BASS & GUITAR
A native to Southwest Florida, Hunter began his pursuit of music at an early age. Hunter took an interest in stringed instruments and began studying his primary instrument, the viola, through a combination of programs offered in the public school system and private studio lessons.
As a performing violist, Hunter has performed on European tour with The Florida Ambassadors of Music, is a current member of the Bower String Quartet, principal violist in the FGCU Symphony Orchestra, and violist/violinist/singer and guitarist in ‘The Dahlen Trio’ and ‘Subject to Improvisation’.
As a music educator, Hunter has experience in both ‘one-on-one’ lessons as well as group lessons. In 2013-14, Hunter served an internship through Florida Gulf Coast University as a teacher for the Pre-K Violin Literacy Program at the Guadelupe Early Childhood Center, and as violin/guitar instructor at the Pinecrest Elementary Mariachi Program in Immokalee, FL, as well as teaching a number of private studio lessons since his involvement with the university.
Hunter is currently earning a Bachelor of Arts in music performance under the direction of Lisa Mattson (Naples Philharmonic). When he is not educating or being educated you can likely find Hunter playing with one of his Jazz combos, ‘The Dahlen Trio’, or ‘Subject To Improvisation’
Olga’s love for music started when she was 5 years old, and has grown into a great passion. She gained her sixteen-year music education while growing up in Russia, graduating from the Saint Petersburg conservatoire. Olga has enjoyed teaching children and adults piano and singing, immediately after completing her third year in the conservatoire. She has had seventeen years of teaching experience since then. She also worked as a singer for 4 years in Saint Petersburg Academic Chapel, performing soprano both as a member of chorus team and solo.
Her teaching methods include, along with piano and singing, all elements of musical grammar, theory, and art of performance. She believes that instead of simply teaching a student an instrument, the instructor should help the student to discover their own talents and boost creative development. This will allow the student to enjoy the art of expressing themselves through the music they play.
Monica began learning to sing and play the piano at 4 years old, and she continued studying voice and piano through high school. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Bryan College in Tennessee, where she participated as a member of a touring chorale and worked as a student accompanist. She recently relocated to Florida with her husband. Monica has a love for both classical and popular music, and a passion for helping students learn and grow as they reach their individualized musical goals.
BRASS, WOODWINDS, PIANO, GUITAR
Although born in New Jersey, Evan Ziegler has lived in Florida since 1972. He was raised around the Ocala area and subsequently attended the University of Florida in Gainesville where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree.
Mr. Ziegler’s teaching career began in Hillsborough County in 1994 where he taught music at Summerfield Elementary and then band at Progress Village Middle School and Rodgers Middle School in Riverview, FL. While in the Tampa area, Mr. Ziegler was also a brass instructor at the New Tampa School of Music. In addition to teaching, he performed regularly as a member of the Sunshine Brass Band of Tampa. In 2002 Mr. Ziegler relocated to Southwest Florida to raise his family and for the past ten years he has been the music teacher at Vineyards Elementary School in Naples.
Flute, Oboe, Saxophone, Clarinet, Trumpet, Trombone
DRUMS, MALLET PERCUSSION, STEEL DRUM, PIANO/KEYBOARD
Sean Holmes has been playing percussion since 2001 and teaching private lessons since 2009. He teaches drum set technique as well as classical drumming, keyboard percussion, steel pan drums, hand drums, and auxiliary percussion. He teaches several different musical styles of drumming, including but not limited to: Classical, Jazz, Rock/Metal, Reggae, Latin rhythms, New Orleans drumming, Blues, and Hip Hop. He develops a unique lesson plan for each student over time based on their strengths, needs, and personal musical goals. The lessons are relaxed and fun while still engaging and educational, integrating technique/performance, note reading and theory in a manner that is easy to understand for students of all ages and skill levels.
Sean currently performs with several different groups in the South Florida area, primarily including Remedy X, who he has been playing with for 5 years. He has performed alongside several national musical acts and has performed at prominent music industry showcases and national festivals including the Ink Life Festival and Vans Warped Tour.
GUITAR, BASS GUITAR, MANDOLIN, UKULELE, BANJO
Jim Shinn is a native of Fort Myers and started his music education in the Lee County School System. He played trumpet in the sixth grade and continued all through high school. Jim took up the guitar at age thirteen. Although mostly self-taught, he has taken many private lessons over the years. One notable guitar and voice teacher was Alan James, lead guitarist and singer for Roy Orbison.
In the year 2000, Jim became the Praise Band Leader and guitarist at Cypress Lake United Methodist Church. He is currently playing Bass guitar at Good News Baptist Church in Fort Myers. Although he holds an Associates Degree in Business Administration, his passion is helping students to have a fun and exciting experience, while learning to play guitar.
David is the owner of Mr Music and has specialized in accordion sales, repairs and lessons since the ’70s. The accordion is a family tradition for Mr. Magnante and he is more than happy to impart those special skills to students who wish to play this amazing instrument! Accordion lessons are given on a weekly basis, year-round. Call or stop in today for more information.
Please call David at (239) 561-5611 Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM to discuss accordion lessons, sales or repairs.
Spaces are limited and scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis.
Your instructor will recommend a course based on your experience and personal goals. This almost always includes a lesson book that you purchase separately and take home with you. Please be sure to bring your book with you to each lesson. With the exception of piano and drum students, you will need to bring your instrument with you to each lesson.
Playing regularly at home is the key to your success!
Mr Music offers the very best experience available in the Fort Myers area for private music lessons. Our instructors are top-notch professional private instructors with years of experience. However, there is no “magic pill.” The key to your success is your commitment to attending your lessons consistently and equally important, your at-home playing time. If possible, set aside a particular time each day that you devote to playing your instrument. We recommend 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
Accessories & Books
If you don’t already have a music stand at home, please purchase one at Mr Music. We carry a good variety of stands ranging from $19.50 to $79.00. For all instruments other than piano/keyboard, we also highly recommend an electronic tuner. For all instruments we recommend that you have a metronome. This is a device to help you develop your timing skills. We have a great selection of these devices in stock at all times.
You need to have an instrument at home on which you can play the lesson material on a daily basis. If you need an instrument, we will do everything possible to help you get the best value and just the right instrument. We sell and repair many of the most popular musical instruments.
When 30 Minutes is Not Enough
Our experience tells us that a 30 minute lesson once a week is ideal for most students. However, if you feel that you would benefit from more lesson time, please be sure to discuss this with your instructor. He or she will provide an honest assessment and make the appropriate recommendations.
VIP Pricing for You!
Students or parents of students who are currently taking lessons at Mr Music automatically qualify for additional discounts on most instruments, equipment, books, and accessories!
We’re here to support you.
Do you need help with your instrument or have questions? Please contact us or stop in during store hours if we can help you with your musical needs in any way.