All Our Teachers

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Columbia, St Louis, and Jeff City

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Asia Ellingsworth Columbia Piano.

Born in Rolla, MO, Asia Ellingsworth discovered her passion for music at the young age of 7. Her musical journey began within a local community choir for children, where she took her first steps into the world of melodies. During her time in this choir, she found inspiration in a skilled pianist who left an indelible mark on her heart.

Upon grasping the essence of music and its intricate workings, Asia embarked on a new path—learning to play the piano. Guided by a team of exceptional music instructors, she tirelessly honed her skills, gradually unraveling her deep-rooted affinity for the instrument.

Currently a sophomore at Mizzou, Asia is passionately pursuing psychology, nurturing her ambition to become a Music Therapist. Her desire to touch lives through the magic of music has always burned brightly within her. Endowed with kindness, compassion, and unwavering patience, Asia extends these qualities to everyone fortunate enough to cross her path.

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Audrey Bush Columbia Violin, Improvisation, Song Writing.

Audrey was born into a family of musicians from the small river town of Washington, Missouri. She began learning violin—classical and folk/fiddle—at the age of five, taking private lessons and joining the Washington School District orchestras, where she eventually became concertmaster. In high school, Audrey also participated in four musical theatre productions, sang in the East Central College Community Choir and earned state festival recognition.

Audrey plays music for occasional church services and regularly performs for local weddings and events, including the annual Sounds of Starkenburg Holiday Concerts. Her musical influences include Dr. Susie Thierbach of the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, Alison Krauss and, of course, Lindsey Stirling. She loves all styles and teaches learners of all kinds!

Audrey completed her BA in English from the University of Missouri in the spring of 2023 and is now working toward her graduate degree. She believes that music, with all its psychological benefits, truly has the power to stop time and change lives for the best. Audrey has worked at A Major Music Lessons since 2020.

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Becca Griffin Columbia Guitar, Piano, Ukulele.

Rebecca Griffin is a piano and guitar teacher. She loves to teach beginners and enjoys journeying with students as they learn their instrument. She enjoys finding the best way to teach each student – everyone is different!

Rebecca Griffin has been playing guitar since a young age and has teaching experience even before being trained and starting here at A Major Music. She minored in music and is currently studying to become a Music Practitioner, a practice that creates a healing environment in clinical settings for patients by responding musically based on the science of sound. She uses voice, guitar, and piano for this practice.

Rebecca loves playing and singing for special events and has worked as a professional musician since 2010.

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Connor Maxey Columbia Guitar.

Passionate about the language of music and the art of the guitar, I am Connor Maxey, a dedicated guitar instructor. My journey in music began at a very young age, and since I was 14, the guitar has been my constant companion.

My grandfather loved playing the 12-bar blues and passed down his musical knowledge to me so my musical journey has been a fusion of diverse influences. From Rush to Tool, I have cultivated a versatile approach to the guitar, embracing various styles to create a rich and engaging learning experience.

But for me, learning the guitar goes beyond mastering chords and scales; it's about unleashing your inner voice through music. My teaching philosophy is all about nurturing creativity. I encourage my students to view the guitar not just as an instrument but as an extension of their body and mind. Together, we'll uncover your own unique voice on the guitar.

Being a left-handed guitarist, I understand the challenges of connecting with this beautiful instrument. That's why I believe patience is the key to learning and growing, both for myself and my students.

Beyond the guitar, I'm constantly exploring the vast world of music in my home studio. I delve into different mediums like DAW systems, always striving to expand my horizons. Before my journey as a guitar instructor, I spent several years on stage as a painting instructor, which means I'm no stranger to performing in front of others.

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Dante Cartwright Columbia Guitar, Ukulele, Saxophone, Ear Training, Song Writing.

Dante is an accomplished guitarist from Columbia, Missouri.

Since his 6th-grade days, Dante has showcased his musical talents in various settings, from performing with top nationally ranked high-school jazz bands to captivating audiences at concerts, and even participating in marching bands.

Dante's passion lies in teaching and discussing music. His teaching style is both informative and laid-back, creating a comfortable learning environment. One aspect he cherishes most about teaching is fulfilling students' requests by learning and playing songs they love.

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Josh Golden Columbia Guitar, Bass, Drums, Ukulele, Mandolin, Ear Training, Music Theory, Song Writing.

Josh is a guitar player from O’Fallon, Missouri. He currently resides in Columbia and is working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Mizzou. He has been playing guitar, drums, and bass for over 8 years. After starting his musical journey in 6th grade, Josh fell deeper into his love for music and played in bands throughout high school. This experience gave him what he needed to expand his taste and musical abilities.

Josh enjoys playing, writing, and listening to as many genres of music as possible. He's an expert finger picker! These genres range from Bluegrass, to Indie, to Metal, and everything in between. Josh is experienced in playing rhythm and lead guitars, as well as writing original pieces. He is always looking to refine his musical skills and knowledge. No matter the taste in music, Josh is sure to be able to assist students on their musical journey.

In addition to guitar, drums, and bass, Josh has taught himself to play banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and piano.

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JT McClendon Columbia Drums.

JT is a drummer from Dixon, MO. He started playing drums as a toddler but started taking it seriously at around 13 years old. He played in school, churches, and cover bands growing up and now plays in a band around the Columbia area. As a kid he mostly listened to metal and heavy rock, which led to progressive metal and jazz in high school and college.

JT's passion and natural talent for drumming has helped him refine his skills to get where he is today. Now he wishes to help other people build their talent and skills so they can feel the joy of creating music. 

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Justin Mitchell Jeff City Guitar.

Justin is a skilled and proficient guitar teacher who derives immense joy from imparting knowledge in a relaxed, enjoyable, and approachable manner. His teaching style strikes a perfect balance between being laid-back and highly informative, resulting in an effective learning experience. Numerous students have expressed their delight in discovering how effortlessly they can master the guitar while simultaneously enjoying the process. The harmonious blend of ease and effectiveness that Justin brings to his teaching has resonated deeply with those he instructs.

Justin grew up in a musical family, where his father played the guitar and his mother played the piano. His fondness for music blossomed early, sparked by his initiation into the world of melodies as he learned to play the trumpet for the middle school band. At the age of ten, his journey took a new direction when his Uncle gifted him a guitar. Encouraged by his father, Justin delved into learning and quickly grasped three fundamental chords. He embraced his father's guidance, fostering his skills, and embarked on a journey of continuous improvement.

Justin seizes every chance to engage in musical collaboration, cherishing the opportunity to harmonize with others through his guitar. He views each performance as a learning experience, always seeking to refine his craft and expand his musical insight. Justin's devotion to his instrument is unwavering, a testament to his unbridled passion for music's ability to connect, inspire, and communicate beyond words.

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Laura Harder St. Charles Piano, Drums, Music Theory.

Laura is a percussionist, pianist, and well-rounded musician from St. Louis, Missouri. She is a lifelong musician but began taking piano lessons at the age of 8. At the age of 12, she joined her middle school’s band as a percussionist. She continued to take piano lessons until high school when she joined her high school’s marching band, which she continued for the next four years. In high school, she was a three-time qualifier for the Missouri State Solo and Small Ensemble competition.

Her love of music grew through high school and she decided to continue her education at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA. She is currently finishing up her Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance with two endorsements in K-8 and 5-12 Music Education. Throughout college, she participated in many ensembles and performance opportunities that have helped her grow as a musician and educator. She is a three-time placer in the Anthony Hyde Solo Scholarship Competition during her time at Graceland.

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Lauren Abbott Columbia Voice, Violin.

Lauren Abbott was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri. She grew up singing in church and started playing violin at the age of 8. She immediately loved it and excelled quickly.

She enjoys listening to and playing lots of different music genres, including but not limited to indie, 80s, and modern rock.

Lauren has previously been employed at a summer camp ministry, working for multiple summers and gaining experience on building relationships with kids. She moved to Columbia in 2022 and gained more experience with children working as a school photographer.

She is so excited to teach new students wether they are beginners or advanced!!

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Mikayla Fender Columbia Piano, Voice, Ear Training, Music Theory.

Mikayla, a recent music graduate from Central Methodist University, has been singing since she was 10 years old. Throughout middle school and high school, she continued to participate in the worship team at her church, knowing she wanted to pursue music as a career. Mikayla picked up the piano the summer before attending college, and went on to study both voice and piano as part of her degree.

While in school, she participated in the Worship Band, Jazz Band, Conservatory Choir, and maintained a 4.0 GPA for all four years of study. Due to her dedicated work ethic, she was able to graduate a semester early in December of 2022.

Mikayla focused on music ministry in college and has applied those skills in various aspects of her life. She consistently plays, sings, and leads contemporary worship music at local churches in Columbia. Beyond her primary involvement in the church, she regularly performs as the lead singer and keys player for her cover band, which she started with her husband.

Mikayla enjoys teaching students who may be new to music, looking to learn, and practice basic knowledge and skills. While Contemporary Worship is where her greatest passion lies, she also has a deep appreciation for Musical Theater and Pop.

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Moon Ray Columbia Piano, Voice, Ukulele.

Moon Ray was practically born on the stage, dancing by the age of four and appearing in countless musical theatre productions with PACE, CEC, and Maple Wood Barn over the years. Throughout the years at school, Moon participated in regional and state ensembles and solo vocal competitions as well as competitive show choir.

More recently they performed original songs at local venues and worked with The Revolution Church's primary and youth worship bands – helping lead vocals and teaching harmonies, as well as playing bass.

Moon enjoys making art, hiking and composing songs, and is abundantly grateful to be able to teach and perform music with others.

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Noah Schmitz Columbia Guitar.

Noah Schmitz is a guitar teacher from Kansas City, MO. He started playing when he was 14. Noah knows that anyone can learn and play music and he loves helping others achieve their dreams of becoming a musician! Noah would describe his teaching style as patient, accessible, and enthusiastic.

Noah started his musical journey at a young age by joining the ukulele club at his school. He fell in love with music and progressed so quickly that his instructor would have him help teach songs to the class. There he learned that playing music with others is one of the most fulfilling things in this life. Noah’s musical education is never finished, and he loves teaching others what he’s learned!

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Phiya Kushi Columbia Guitar, Piano, Ear Training, Arranging, Music Theory, Improvisation, Song Writing.

At an early age his older musical sister taught him to read music and he was immediately hooked. By age 11 he spent hours on the piano learning every song and style he heard and loved. In his teens, he was gifted a classical guitar and quickly developed the ability to learn songs and complex chord arrangements by ear on the guitar. Although he loves playing and teaching all different genres, his forte is classical and finger styles.

Professionally, Phiya is a macrobiotic educator and has worked in the natural and organic foods industry his entire life. Through the years, in his spare time and as a hobby, he strove to advance his musical skills whenever he could, focusing more recently on jazz piano improvisation and expanding his Brazilian, Spanish and classical guitar. Through the years he has met and been inspired by many musicians who sees music as the universal language that brings people together.

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Sage Cuebas Columbia Guitar, Improvisation, Song Writing.

Sage Cuebas is a nice, fun, and well-rounded guitarist hailing from New York City who specializes in heavy rock/metal.

Growing up in such a melting pot, he was exposed to music from all over the world at a young age, and that inspiration led him to start playing guitar at an early age.
He soaked up every music education program he could find, including classical guitar at university.
In time, he would come to take lessons from renowned guitarists Angel Vivaldi and Emil Werstler for a short time.

He played in various hard rock and heavy metal acts throughout New York State, eventually touring the country before landing permanently in Columbia, Missouri, where he began actively pursuing his project as a solo instrumental guitarist.
Since relocating to Missouri, he has branched out into a multitude of genres such as neo-soul, gypsy jazz, trap metal, and country, among others.

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