Meet the Instructors

144 North Main Street
Hudson, Ohio
“Across from the Clock Tower!”

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Sean Collins, the founder of Western Reserve Music, decided after years of teaching that people needed a place that offers quality musical instruction in an atmosphere conducive to enjoyment and learning on an individual basis. Sean received his degree in music from The University of Akron in Jazz Studies and Guitar Performance. He is a protégé of Ohio and nationally known guitarists Dean Newton and Bob Fraser, as well as keyboard legend and jazz great Roland Paolucci, and classical guitarist Steve Aron. Sean has been in many bands and has performed at Blossom Music Center and other venues across the Midwest and also has his own instructional guitar videos. He is well versed in all respects of music and is accomplished in all styles of music from rock to country.

Jeremey Poparad, guitar instructor, is an Akron area guitarist and bassist who regularly performs with jazz, rock, and fusion groups. Jeremy is a 2006 graduate of The University of Akron with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Jazz Studies and Music Composition. He studied with local jazz greats Bob Fraser, Jack Schantz, Rock Wehrmann, Rich Shanklin, and Dean Newton. He can be seen and heard performing with various jazz and rock groups. You can learn more about Jeremey on his website,


BJ Bishop, low brass instructor, received his bachelor’s degree in music performance from The University of Akron studying under Ed Zadrozny and Jack Schantz. There he won the annual Concerto Competition open to all students. Since graduating, BJ has performed with such notable groups as the Youngstown Symphony, Bobby Selvaggio’s “Jazz Hendectet Collective,” The Temptations, and many others. He is well versed in reading music as well as playing by ear and improvising. BJ brings his wealth of knowledge to help his students whether they are working on marching band rhythms or jazz band chord changes in a conceptual manner conducive to the student.


Matthew Garrett, brass and piano instructor, is an Akron area trumpet player who performs regularly in soul, jazz and R&B ensembles. Matt is a 2015 graduate of the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies. He studied with Scott Johnston, principal trumpet of the Akron and Canton Symphony Orchestras, Ed Zadrozny of the Cleveland Orchestra, Tucker Jolly, and Jack Schantz. Additionally, Matt studied jazz composition with Richard Shanklin and piano with Rock Wehrmann. Matt can be seen performing regularly with soul bands Wesley Bright and the Honeytones and Get On Up.


Felipe Zaccarias de Brito, presently studying under Principal Trombonist Massimo La Rosa of the Cleveland Orchestra, Felipe Zaccarias de Brito is the Principal Trombonist for the Cleveland Opera Theater Orchestra and Substitute Trombone for the Canton Symphony Orchestra. At Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music (JSOM), Felipe was a finalist in the 2014 IU Brass Concerto Competition, and was awarded the highly coveted Anthony & Olimpio Barbera Scholarship and an Artistic Excellence Fellowship for three consecutive years during his Master’s degree. In addition, Felipe received a minor in Arts Administration through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and worked at the Pre-College and Summer Programs at the JSOM. He also worked as an academic mentor at the IU Global Social Entrepreneurship Program at the Kelley School of Business.

Felipe has performed with the Brazilian samba-rock group Sandália de Prata, the salsa bandleader Sammy Deleon, and Revolution Brass Band, and with countless Big Bands including Sam Blakeslee Large Group, and The Liberation Music Collective, which album was submitted for GRAMMY consideration.


Andy Flanagan, percussion instructor, received his Bachelor of Music from The University of Akron. He was a student of Dr. Larry Snider and Mark Gonder for jazz/drum set, and Matt Dudack for steel drums/improvisation. Andy has performed with The University of Akron Steel Drum Band, playing various venues throughout Ohio, African Ensemble and Brazilian ensemble, as well as various jazz combos, contemporary percussion ensembles, and rock groups. He has also performed with the Paragon Brass Quintet and The University of Akron Brass Choir. He also has experience working with students with both learning and developmental disabilities. Andy is currently the percussion instructor for Kent City Schools.


Ti-Li Nastycz, piano and voice instructor, is a 2006 graduate of The University of Akron’s School of Music where she received her degree in music, specializing in piano and voice performance. In 2003 she received her certification of piano pedagogy, also from The University of Akron. Her experience includes eight years of teaching piano, voice, and music theory and piano and voice instruction at the Talent Tree in Hudson, and is the Interim Conductor of Children’s Music at Messiah Lutheran Church in Akron. Currently, Ti-Li works as the mezzo-soprano soloist and section leader at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Canton. She also performs with the Canton Symphony Orchestra Chorus and performs across Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ti-Li has an eclectic teaching approach, focusing on the learning style and need of each student as a guide for her individual instruction.


Jeff Rice, woodwind and piano instructor, is a graduate of Kent State University and Berklee College of Music. Jeff has over twenty years of teaching and performing experience. Through hard work and dedication, Jeff provides his students with a wealth of knowledge in regards to all aspects of music including the basics, music theory, improvisation, and other advanced techniques. Jeff has studied and performs all genres of music both locally and nationally. He uses these experiences to inspire and motivate his students in an educational and fun learning environment.


Kevin Johnson, guitar and upright bass instructor, is a graduate of the Bowling Green State University with a degree in jazz studies on bass and guitar. At BGSU Kevin studied under; Chris Buzzelli and Jeff Halsey. Kevin has traveled the continents extensively, primarily in Europe and the South Pacific, while under the employment of P&O, Holland America, Azamara, and Royal Caribbean cruise ship lines. He can be heard performing with Northeast Ohio artists including; Hillbilly Idol, Jen Maurer Project, Rebekah Jean, Hot Djang, and Spaghetti Western.
Max Brady, brass and piano instructor, is currently finishing his Bachelor’s of Music at The University of Akron. Max has studied with Ed Zadrozny and Jack Schantz for classical and jazz trombone. He performed with the University of Akron’s Jazz Trombone Quartet in Germany and also at the International Trombone Festival in 2013. Max plays in many Ohio big bands such as Mojo Big Band and Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Band. He also plays and arranges music for Wesley Bright and the Highlights as well as R&B artist Antoine Dunn.


Josh Leslie teaches Drum set, Marching percussion, Concert percussion, and West African percussion here at Western Reserve Music.  Josh has been studying percussion for 7 years and is a recent graduate of Firestone High School’s Akron School For The Arts program. He is currently studying jazz percussion at the University of Akron and pursuing a B.A. in Jazz Studies. He has played professionally with various jazz combos from Akron to Cleveland and performed with The University of Akron’s 2015-2016 Jazz Ensemble in which he played with musicians such as Alexis Cole, Nester Torres, Sam Blakeslee, and Theron Brown. Josh was also a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014-2015 Guitar Center Drum-off!


Cole Messner, guitar, Cole grew up in Aurora, Ohio and has performed many genres of music with numerous bands around the Cleveland area at venues including the Grog Shop, the Agora, Musica, and the House of Blues. He began his professional training at Cuyahoga Community College and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where he studied under guitar greats such as Jon Finn and Don Lappin. Cole continues to write, record, and perform music both on his own as well as with his hip-hop group, The Daily Drivers.


Tyler Spuzzillo is from Akron, Ohio. He has been playing guitar since elementary school and took guitar lessons through high school. Tyler was active in rock bands and choir all throughout his education and has an appreciation for all genres of music. He has always loved to play guitar and likes to write his own music in his free time. Tyler has a very good understanding of the guitar as well as music theory. He is currently pursuing a degree in Guitar Performance at the University of Akron, where
he studied under Stephen Aron for three years. In the 2014-2015 school year Tyler earned the award for Outstanding Undergraduate Classical Guitarist and participated in a masterclass with Dieter Hennings. Tyler currently studies with Jim Marron. Tyler has also been a very active singer and was a part of the Cleveland Boy Choir, The Singing Angels, North Royalton Show Choir, Ohio University Honor Choir as well as The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. He attended Bowling Green State University for 3 semesters as a Vocal Music Education major. Tyler has also studied piano for
five years.


Devon Caskey, strings. Devon started playing viola when she was in 5th grade through the Lakewood City Schools Orchestra Program. In high school, she auditioned and played for the North East Regional Orchestra her sophomore, junior and senior year. In 2012, she qualified for the Ohio All-State Orchestra Ensemble in Columbus, Ohio. From 2010-2013, Devon played an electric viola for the Lakewood Project, the nation’s first high school electric orchestra. She was the manager and violist of the Four Season’s quartet for two years and has been giving private lessons for violin, viola, and cello since 2009. Devon has taken private lessons with Christiana Reader, at Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Laura Kennan Poper, and at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Christina Spackey. She is now taking private lessons with Yu Jin at Kent State University. Devon has performed at John Carroll University, Lakewood Civic Auditorium, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin, the Columbus Convention Center, Kent State University and for Joe Biden and Jason Mraz. She’s very passionate about viola and enjoys all types of music.
Veronica Quevedo, strings instructor, received her Bachelor of Music from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in 2010, and her Master of Music in violin performance from The University of Akron in 2013. She is currently completing another Master of Music at Akron in composition. Veronica has performed with the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Central Ohio Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bayamon, Camerata Filarmonica de Puerto Rica, Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional de la Republica Dominicana, along with many others. She has also performed at summer festivals such as Sewanee Summer Music Festival and FOSJA (Festiival of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of America). In January 2014, Veronica won the Orchestra Composition Contest at The University of Akron.


Rob Hassing, percussion and brass instructor, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Percussion Performance from Kent State University. Rob has been playing and studying the drums since he was 12 years old, studying with Jim Wall, Ted Rounds, and even took a lesson with the great Dave Weckl. Playing professionally since he was 16 years old, he currently is the drummer for the up and coming Cleveland band These Knees, the Cleveland Chinese Music Ensemble, the United Methodist Church of Kent’s contemporary choir New Spirit, and is one of the multi tenor-drum players in the Cleveland Browns Drumline. Other experiences include performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. twice, Carnegie Hall, Kelly’s Island, the Aurora Little Theatre, Porthouse Theatre at Blossom Music Center, and China. Rob has played with the who’s who of jazz and blues musicians in the Cleveland/Akron area: Hank Lyman, Austin “Walkin’ Cane” Charanghat, Butch Armstrong, The Bad Boys of Blues, Becky Boyd, Mary Bridget Davies, Helen Welch, and Bobby Selvaggio, to name a few. Rob has been teaching drums for the past five years as a marching percussion instructor at Revere High School, and also privately in drum set, concert percussion, and marching percussion.


Andrew Paa, string instructor, is currently attending Kent State University pursuing a second MM with an emphasis in Chamber Music studying violin with Cathy Meng Robinson and chamber music with members of the Miami String Quartet. At Kent, he performs in the graduate Rosen String Quartet and the University Orchestra-as both principle 2nd and concertmaster. Andrew is a recent graduate of the University of South Dakota, where he earned his MM in Violin Performance. There, he studied violin with Dr. Eunho Kim and chamber music with the Rawlins Piano Trio. While at USD he was concertmaster of the USD Symphony, assistant concertmaster of the chamber orchestra, and performed in the Townsley and Triple A Piano Trios. For one semester he was also the first violinist of the Tristero String Quartet with performances on and off campus. Andrew earned his B.A. in Music Performance from Luther College studying violin under Dr. Virginia Strauss and Dr. Jubal Fulks. During his tenure there, he performed in the Luther College Symphony Orchestra and, in his final year, served as second violin assistant principle.


Jeremy Avalos, is a guitarist based in Northeast Ohio. Born in Miami, Florida, he began playing bass guitar at age 12. Early musical interests were rock, heavy metal, and jazz, and he currently focuses on classical style. He has performed in master classes for guitar virtuosi Johannes Möller, Vladimir Gorbach, Robert Gruca, and Dieter Hennings. In March of 2015 he was a finalist in the annual James Stroud All-Ohio Guitar Competition held at Oberlin Conservatory. He received a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Theory and Creative Writing from the Florida State University where he studied classical guitar with renowned pedagogue Bruce Holzman. He is currently working on a Master’s in Guitar Performance at the University of Akron, which awarded him a graduate teaching assistantship in 2014. He studies under acclaimed performer and teacher Stephen Aron.


Western Reserve Music offers high quality instruction on all instruments and aspects of music including theory and improvisation. We also provide expert on-site repair service for all instruments. In addition, we offer student instrument rentals for band and orchestra. We also buy and sell new and used musical instruments and musical merchandise. We look forward to serving you and helping you to make music an important and enjoyable part of your lives’.