Our Music Instructors are Second to None
Western Reserve Music offers high quality instruction on all instruments and aspects of music including theory and improvisation.
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, www.poparad.com.
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.
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.
Scott Schlegel. Scott is an American classical guitarist currently studying with Jim Marron. Scott has worked with pieces spanning from Frescobaldi to Burle Marx. Scott teaches theory, classical guitar, and electric guitar. Scott played electric guitar for 15 years playing and performing works by Rush, Mahavishnu, Frank Zappa, and many more. Scott has played a variety of venues including Quicken Loans arena, The House of Blues, and various nightclubs and venues in the Cleveland area.
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.
Calvin Miller is a percussionist currently attending the University of Akron double majoring in music education in percussion performance. Calvin graduated from Manchester High School in 2012. After graduation, Calvin Miller joined the 122nd Ohio Army National Guard band and attended the Army School of Music in June of 2013. He is a currently member of Copali, a Funk Fusion group in the northern Akron area. He has also played in numerous groups in the University of Akron School of Music including: Symphonic Band, New Music Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Brass Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz combos, and many more.
Stephen Kuhn. Music has been an integral part of Stephen Kuhn’s life since he started playing piano at age 5. Stephen picked up guitar at age 13 after hearing a Wes Montgomery record in a relative’s basement. Since then, he has spent more than a decade honing his craft on the instrument. A graduate of Kent State University’s jazz program, Stephen performed in the top jazz combo and large ensemble under the tutelage of Dan Wilson and Bobby Selvaggio. In addition to teaching jazz guitar, bass, piano and music theory, Stephen co-leads a group featuring Mark Butto and Evan Baker called “The Kent Trio”. Although studied in jazz, Stephen uses his experience in styles of rock, country, blues, metal, and pop to reach all styles and passions of his students.
Jared Dubber. Double/electric bassist and guitarist Jared Dubber lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Bass Performance from Cleveland State University. Beginning playing guitar at age 9, Jared has been playing music for over 10 years. He has played at many of the live venues in the Cleveland area, as well as being a working musician at many local schools, churches, and community theaters. He hopes to move to Los Angeles to become a professional session bassist. He can teach all styles on guitar and bass, but specializes in classical bass, jazz, funk, soul, R&B, and rock. His teaching style focuses on technique, trying to cultivate a playing style that allows students to play in any style they wish; reading tablature and music notation so students can communicate and understand every written style of music; and music theory, so students deepen their understanding of music as a whole.
Warren Henry. Warren studied jazz guitar at the University of Akron in Ohio. No stranger to the live music scene in NE Ohio, Warren plays either guitar or bass in several classic rock and progressive rock tribute bands. His passion is jazz, and the Warren Henry Trio performs concerts and private events all around the area. Warren also has experience building and repairing fretted instruments alongside Leo Fender at G&L and has owned a local music shop prior to teaching at WRM.
David Mendieta began his violin studies when he was 12 years old in the city of Zipaquirá, Colombia. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in violin music performance from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá under the tutelage of violinist Juan Carlos Higuita. In 2014, he toured Cataluña, Spain with the National University Conservatory’s Symphony Orchestra.
In addition, he has participated in festivals such as International Music FEMUSC 8th in Brazil (2013), International Festival of Emeralds in Ecuador (2015, 2016, and 2018), International Music Festival of Cartagena in Colombia (2016), Young Philharmonic of Colombia (2017), Winter International Music Festival Campos do Jordao in Brazil (2015 and 2017). II International Violin Competition Frank Preuss in Ibagué, Colombia (2018), and Portillo Music Festival in Chile (2019). Furthermore, he performed and worked in the Bogotá Youth Chamber Orchestra for three years (2016-2019). Amy Lee, associate concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra, is his current violin teacher at Kent State University. Mr. Mendieta is currently pursuing a masters degree in chamber music at Kent State University.
Nicholas Kusic, is a music education major at the University of Akron. Prior to his undergrad, he studied Tube with Mr. Ray Harcar, Dr. Christopher Blaha, and the Principal Tubist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Yasuhito Sugiyama. He also toured Europe with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. During his college education, he became pedagogically familiar with all brass instruments, the piano, clarinet and saxophone. Aside from school, he taught at multiple school districts including Brunswick, Mogadore and Stow during the summer.
Adrian Ramirez is a classical oboist and teacher with professional music theory training. With over a decade of performing experience, Adrian has performed recitals at Del Mar College, as a soloist with the Mansfield Philharmonic, and given numerous solo and ensemble performances in the coastal region of Corpus Christi and beyond. He has taught oboe at Aubrey ISD and Corpus Christi area and was invited to assist in double reed camps for younger players. In addition, Adrian is trained to teach Trinity College music theory and oboe curriculum, a program that teaches collegiate level courses for credit. Adrian has Associate’s Oboe Performance and Music Theory/Composition degrees from Del Mar College under Dr. Evelyn McCarty, and Bachelor’s degrees in Music Theory and Oboe Performance from the University of North Texas under Prof. James Ryon. Currently under Dr. Jack Cozen Harel, Adrian is studying for his Master’s in Oboe Performance at the University of Akron. His mission is to teach and perform music theory and oboe with an emphasis on contemporary works. With his dual expertise in oboe performance and music theory, Adrian utilizes them to inform his performances and teach the mechanics of his music to others.
Benjamin Martinez-Lizaola is a 3rd year Music Education student with a minor in Music Composition at the University of Akron. He plays the Clarinet under Dr. Stanislav Golovin and studies Music Composition under Professor Nicholas Sohutskay. Benjamin is currently running as President-Elect of the North East Ohio Clarinet Association and Vice-President of the New Music Association. He performs in Wind Symphony under Dr. Galen Karriker, he is in the Clarinet Studio under Dr. Stanislav Golovin, and the Composition Studio under Dr. James Wilding and Dr. Robert Brownlow, as well as performs in Choir under Dr. Marie Bucoy-Calavan. Benjamin also marched trombone in Ohio’s Pride for 2 years under Dr. Andrew Feyes. Benjamin currently resides in Coventry Township, Ohio. Benjamin loves to play Piano, Compose Music, Sing, play Clarinet, and of course teach. Benjamin plans on getting his Master’s after graduation.
Hannah Cecil, is a junior Music Education student at The University of Akron. Her main instruments are flute and piano, but she is also proficient in French Horn, Trumpet, Clarinet, and Saxophone. She participates in multiple ensembles currently and marching band. She graduated from Highland High School in Marengo, Ohio, and originally pursued Mechanical Engineering, so she is quite versed in Mathematics as well. Outside of her classes and teaching, she participates in drum corps, and loves swimming and crocheting.
Steve Curry has been teaching and playing drums professionally since the age of 18. He currently performs with The Gap Mangione Big Band and with upstate NY jazz singer Nancy Kelly. Extensive past performances include legendary saxophonist Joe Romano, Spyro Gyra guitarist Chet Catallo and pianist Andy Calabrese. In addition, concerts and tours include Chuck Mangione, Mickey Rooney, Frank Gorshin, Howie Mandel, Donald O’Connor, Kenny Rankin, Mark Murphy and Cornell Dupree to name a few. He also played with vocalists Austin Giorgio, Jackie Foster, Britton Buchanan and other members from the TV show “The Voice”.
Steve has performed on various movie soundtracks and jingles for TV and radio. He also played drum and percussion in a number of theater productions mostly at Geva Theater in Rochester, NY. Teaching experience includes Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY; Eastman Community School in Rochester, NY; and the Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, NY. Steve had his own studio in East Rochester, NY and in the late 1980s created a group through Young Audiences to perform in schools called the New Millennium Jazz Quartet. Steve studied drums with jazz legend Vincent Ruggeiro and percussion with John McNeil of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
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 teaches at Medina City Schools. She has an eclectic teaching approach, focusing on the learning style and need of each student as a guide for her individual instruction.
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.
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.
Robert Sobnosky, brass and piano instructor, is a 2016 graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Music Education. While completing his undergraduate degree, he performed on bass trombone in the Symphonic Band, Brass Choir, and Trombone Choir, and on double bass and electric bass in the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos under the direction of Jack Schantz. He studied applied trombone with Dr. Jim Albrecht, and took private lessons in double bass, electric bass, piano, and jazz improvisation. Robert has served as a low brass instructor for the Chargrin Falls High School and Brookside High School Marching Bands, and completed his student teaching at the Twinsburg City School District, where he instructed 5th, 6th, and high school band students in concert band, marching band, and jazz band. Robert currently teaches privately and continues to perform on both trombone and bass.
Rex Allen, guitar/bass,/banjo/mandolin instructor studied music at both the University of Akron and Kent State University. Having formed his first band at age 11, by 16 he attended school in the day and played local clubs at night for the next six years. Leaving college, he assembled and toured the mid-west for seven years with Hott and Rampage. Adept at all styles, Rex’s main goal is to “pay it forward” passing on a lifetime of knowledge to the next generation of musicians.
Interested in lessons? Get in touch over on our lessons page!
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.