STAFF


Parker Smith

(Owner / Teacher)

(guitar, ukulele and bass)

  • BA in Music Business from the University of Miami
  • MM in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin

Parker Smith is the founder and owner of Guitar Shed, a modern music school in Atlanta that opened its doors in August of 2015. With over 20 years of teaching experience, including teaching at lesson studios, summer camps, preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools, he believes in maximizing each student’s true potential by customizing individual lessons.  Believing that one is never too old or too young to begin the journey, Guitar Shed fosters music learning as a lifelong process. In addition to managing Guitar Shed, Parker maintains an active teaching schedule at Guitar Shed and conducts guitar workshops nationwide.

Parker performs as a vocalist, guitarist, bassist, and on mandolin, ukulele, and piano. He has played innumerable gigs as a sideman, soloist, and leader of his roots-rock group “Parker Smith and the Bandwith.” He has toured the country and independently released four albums, Garden Hills (2011), Solo Flight (2013), Long Live Jazz Vol. 1 (2014), and Live at Smith’s (2018). He specializes in blues, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slide guitar, songwriting, and improvisation. Parker holds a degree in Music Business from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to his own band, Parker performs with Long Horn (jazz), Bald and in the Way (bluegrass), and Elegant Bachelors (party band).

Parker’s Top 5 artists: 

  • B.B. King
  • Derek Trucks
  • Duane Allman
  • Grant Green
  • Jerry Garcia

Nichelle Young

(Office Manager / Teacher)

(piano, voice)

  • BM in Musical Theatre / Vocal Performance
  • Arizona State University

Nichelle has over 18 years’ experience teaching music and theatre in various public and private schools from Pre-K, to high school. In addition to group teaching, she has over 16 years’ experience instructing students of all ages in private voice and piano lessons. Nichelle has toured with Grammy award-winner Speech (Arrested Development) and conducted a 24-piece choir for one of Josh Groban’s tour concerts. She has also had the pleasure of being an integral part of the recording, instructing, and conducting of Deeper Shade of Soul, a 60 -100-piece choir and band under the direction of Frank Davis. Currently, she helps lead worship, singing from the keyboard alongside her husband (bass player) with various musicians and singers on Sundays.

Nichelle is ecstatic to be using her Bachelor of Music degree as she steps into the role of teaching both piano and voice here at Guitar Shed. She equally enjoys her administrative role as Office Manager assisting Parker, assigning the right fit for student and teacher, directing calls, and selling Guitar Shed “merch” and gift certificates. She is happy to give descriptions of teachers to parents and students who are looking for a certain style of teaching.


Nichelle’s top 5 artists:

  • Aretha Franklin
  • Billie Eilish
  • Billy Joel
  • Tori Amos
  • Norah Jones

Brandon Marsolo

(Shed Manager / Teacher)

(guitar, ukulele)

 

  • BM in Music Performance (Classical Guitar) from Georgia College

Brandon Marsolo is an active guitarist, singer/songwriter, and music teacher from right here in Kirkwood! He has been in countless bands and performed just about every major genre of music there is, ever since his teenage years (most recently The Norm and Thoughtomatic) and often performs around Atlanta, as a solo act too. Brandon earned a bachelor’s degree in Music with a concentration in Classical Guitar at Georgia College, but loves to incorporate ear-training and other fun self-taught methods, along with the methods of the classical tradition.

As a member of the admin team, Brandon updates the Guitar Shed website and social media accounts, keeps up with new prospective students, and creates content for our monthly newsletter. He also plays a large role in facilitating our recitals. Brandon pitched and organized our first annual fundraiser, ShedFest, this year and looks forward to being involved with more philanthropy and community involvement in the future. Outside of music, Brandon is a huge sports nut and loves going to games and supporting our Atlanta teams.

Brandon’s top 5 artists: 

  • David Gilmour
  • Duane Allman
  • John Frusiante
  • Jake Cinninger
  • Cory Wong

 


Drew Spradlin

(Office Assistant / Teacher)

(piano)

  • BM in Classical Piano from University of Montevallo
  • MM in Classical Piano from Manhattan School of Music

Drew Spradlin is a pianist and composer originally from Alabama. He has earned a B.M. from the University of Montevallo and a M.M. in classical piano from Manhattan School of Music under the direction of Phillip Kawin. He applies this traditional training to modern musical outlets including mixed media and electronic composition. Drew has given performances at Mannes School of Music’s Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance, Abrons Art Center, Spectrum NYC, Mise-En_Place Bushwick, and has showcased works at numerous other venues. He has released compositions through New York’s eclectic label Not Art Records, Montreal’s Dream Disk Lab, and TAR Records from L.A.

In addition, Drew is a very active teacher, maintaining a studio of many students. His pedagogical philosophy incorporates a strong foundation of music theory, ear training, and composition. He believes structural knowledge of music assists one’s performing ability and yields much more.

Drew also serves an administrative role at Guitar Shed, maintaining the schedule for both students and teachers, registering and billing accounts, attending to client requests via email and phone, and cultivating leads for new students.

Drew’s top 5 artists:

  • Daniel Barenboim
  • Hélène Grimaud
  • Mitsuko Uchida
  • Brad Mehldau
  • Marc-André Hamelin

TEACHERS


Chris Case

(piano)

  • BM in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University

Chris grew up with a piano in the home, and was drawn to the instrument. Building on the fundamentals he learned through his early lessons, learning to improvise opened the door to new freedom in playing and composing, and infused music with a new passion that still bears fruit today. Chris strives to bring this experience and excitement for what music can do to Guitar Shed. He knows firsthand that music is not just notes on a page but a vital art form that can reward the player as well as the listener.

Chris has led and accompanied a wide variety of musical projects. He is the principal songwriter/producer for the psychedelic space jazz group Samadha, and has also lent his talents to the delicate folk of Adron, the retro soul of Curtis Harding, and the virtuosic Atlanta supergroup Little Tybee. As a touring musician, he has shared stages with Jack White on the Lazaretto tour and traveled to Canada, Europe, Mexico, and Panama as well as multiple runs across the US. 

As a teacher, Chris balances patience and precision, knowing that each student has the potential for great musical expression inside them. His students over the years have ranged from the very young to the very old, from the absolute beginner to the seasoned veteran looking to expand their knowledge. He stresses a practical knowledge of music theory and peppers his lessons with compositional exercises and chordal literacy as well as the classical favorites. For the student looking for a fresh, vibrant approach to playing that can help them move closer to finding their particular voice at the instrument, Chris is a great choice.

Chris’ Bands: Samadha (Instrumental Space Jazz) Little Tybee (Indie)

Chris’ Top 5 artists:

  • Bill Evans
  • Ahmad Jamal
  • Bernie Worrell
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Joe Zawinul

Desmond Myers

(guitar, piano)

Originally from North Carolina, Desmond Myers has been performing, teaching, and writing music since his teens. Desmond’s path to music was encouraged by his father, a guitar enthusiast whose love of blues legends such as Albert King and Jimi Hendrix rubbed off on Desmond from a young age. He quickly took up his father’s guitar obsession, at one point having three separate guitar instructors in order to absorb a breadth of musical styles. 

Desmond has extensive performance experience, both nationally and internationally. His role as a singer and instrumentalist in Charlotte’s long-standing Tosco Music Party led to new opportunities for his original music in Europe. During his 8 years living and working in Munich and Paris, Desmond performed his original music and was a songwriter and touring member of the French synth-pop group The Band Her

Parallel to performing, Desmond has taught students of many ages (5-65 years old) and from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. In Germany, he taught at the “Private Music Institute of East Bavaria” and “Musikschule Wittl” where he handled a roster of 20+ students and taught lessons in a variety of styles including jazz, rock, metal, folk and classical. In France, he worked with  “La rock school de Paris” to help students develop their guitar and voice skills, and cheered them on at the end-of-the-year showcase at a prominent Parisian jazz club.

Desmond sees it as his duty to follow and adapt to the passions of each student while exposing them to new styles and genres. Students also learn how to improve their on-stage performance skills, songwriting, and producing their original music with some of the leading digital audio software.

 Desmond Myers on Spotify | The Band HER on Spotify

Desmond’s top 5 artists:

  • Stevie Wonder
  • Daft Punk
  • Frank Ocean
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • The Beatles

Dylan Banks

(drums, piano)

  • BM in Music Composition from GSU

Dylan Banks is an Atlanta native who’s been actively involved in the local music scene for almost 15 years. Dylan grew up as a drummer and started taking drum lessons when he was 8 years old, along with playing in his first bands around age 14 and gigging professionally since 2009. Earning his undergrad in Music Composition at Georgia State, he began teaching in 2014 after graduation. You can often find Dylan performing in multiple styles of music: catch him playing drums in a jazz/soul band One Day, keyboards for one rock outfit or another, and even DJing dance music in clubs and venues on the weekends.

Though drums are his primary instrument, Dylan also teaches piano and has professional experience working in digital music production, composition, film scoring, and DJ-ing. Banks’ teaching style is as eclectic as his background, pulling from many musical (and non-musical) influences to strengthen the bond between music and performer. He firmly believes you must work hard to obtain your musical goals, but you must not forget to have fun along the way.

Dylan’s top 5 artists:

  • Björk
  • Beethoven
  • John Bonham
  • Louis Cole
  • Thom Yorke

Gail Burnett

(cello, piano)

  • BM in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University

Gail Burnett has a degree in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University. For 20 years, she has been teaching young children the foundations of music in a developmentally appropriate, educational and fun class setting, performing as a children’s entertainer (Miss Gail and the Jumpin’ Jam Band) in the Atlanta area, speaking at state and national educators’ conferences on using music effectively in the classroom, and teaching private cello and piano lessons. She most enjoys working with beginning students, children and adults alike, to help reinforce rhythm and pitch, mechanics, and other components that are important to competence….all while making it an enjoyable experience! She is currently co-authoring the music section for a book on brain development.

Gail is also a studio musician, contract musician for worship and other bands, and has been a part of ESOEBO, a charted and award-winning roots/Americana band, performing regularly at clubs, private events and songwriter festivals including 30A, and Wire & Wood. 

In her 20’s, Gail found she had a gift for playing by ear and much of her work now is improv-based. However, she is passionate about helping students to both discover their creativity and learn foundational music knowledge to get them where they want to go on their musical journey! She is the mother of a 23-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter, who are both songwriters/musicians, with music on Spotify and other platforms. She believes everybody can be musical, it’s just a matter of helping them discover their best way to learn!

Gail’s top 5 artists:

  • Yo Yo Ma
  • Luther Vandross
  • Lizz Wright
  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Pleasance House

HOBERDAN PENO

(guitar, ukulele)

  • BM in Classical Guitar Performance by the Federal University of Mato Grosso – Brazil
  • MM in Classical Guitar performance in progress at Georgia State University (December 2020)

Hoberdan Peno da Silva is a Brazilian classical guitar player with extensive experience performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and also with Brazilian popular music groups.

Enamored with music performance and research, Hoberdan has participated in festivals and guitar master classes in Brazil and in the U.S. with some of the great names in the world of classical guitar such as Paul Galbraith (Scotland), Alvaro Pierri (Uruguay/Austria), Fabio Zanon (Brazil), Carlos Barbosa-Lima (Brazil), and many others. He has won awards in competitions including the Best Brazilian Music Performance in the I Soloist Competition of Mato Grosso (2017), and the U.G.A Exchange Program Award during the Winter Festival of the Federal University of Santa Maria (2015). In 2018, he was invited by the Chamber Orchestra of the Federal University of Mato Grosso to perform the premier of the Concerto Simples I for Guitar and Orchestra (Full Version) by the Brazilian Composer Nestor de Hollanda-Cavalcanti.

In addition to the technical aspects of the guitar, Hoberdan hopes to impart to his students the pure essence of musical expression. In every culture, music can be a manifestation of one’s thoughts and feelings, and improving as a musician often leads to improving as a person. 

Hoberdan’s top 5 artists:

  • Julian Bream
  • Paul Galbraith
  • Sergio Abreu
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wes Montgomery

Jenny Chun

(violin)

  • BM in Violin Performance from University of Michigan

Atlanta native Jenny Chun began violin at 8 years old. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, & Dance. Since graduating in 2011, she spent five years teaching violin at the Albany Music School in California’s Bay Area. She also specialized in group and duet classes for 5-year-olds on the violin, drums, guitar, and piano.

Jenny has been accepted to prestigious music festivals including the ENCORE School for Strings, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the International Music Academy of Pilsen. Significant teachers include Jun­Ching Lin of the ASO, David Updegraff of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Stephen Shipps of the University of Michigan. Prior to college, Jenny was an active member of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for six years. She served as concertmaster on the youth orchestra’s first cultural exchange to Berlin, Germany, and again her final year. She continues to teach students of all ages and is most passionate about teaching beginning violin students. She views the lessons learned through music as necessary in day to day life including resilience, adaptation, problem-solving, and listening to the mind and body. Her goal is to teach students all these skills in their own unique ways using a broad repertoire, ear training, music theory, music history, and sight-reading.

Jenny’s top 5 artists:

  • Billie Holiday
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Andrew Bird
  • J.S. Bach
  • Sergei Prokofiev

Max Godfrey

(banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, ukulele)

Max Godfrey is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher who performs southern roots music with several groups, including Max and Maggie and the Drivin’ Wheels, Sourwood Honey, and The New Millennium Jelly Rollers. In 2016, he released a solo record entitled Before the Ice Melts, and his solo music was featured in the 2019 film Mine 9. 

Max got into American roots music in high school, through a weekly “jug band” rehearsal hosted by his chemistry and history teachers. He was already classically trained on the violin, but he was attracted to the “play by ear” approach of more traditional styles, and that anyone could learn to play without having to read music.

Max went on to teach himself banjo, guitar, and mandolin in roots and folks styles. In addition to teaching at Guitar Shed, Max teaches a weekly class on folk tunes at the Frank Hamilton School, is a music educator at Turning Sun School, and has led music workshops all over the east coast.

 

Max’s top 5 artists: 

  • Mississippi John Hurt
  • The Carolina Chocolate Drops
  • Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
  • The New Lost City Ramblers
  • Big Bill Broonzy

Paul Miller

(guitar, ukulele)

  • BA in Jazz Studies from University of North Florida

Paul Miller is an Atlanta based guitarist and singer who has been playing guitar for over 20 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in jazz from the University of North Florida where he studied with Barry Greene. He has played in festivals all throughout the Southeast from Floyd Fest to Hulaween and shared the stage with everyone from Anders Osborne to Ari Hoenig to Roosevelt Collier, to name a few.

Paul relocated to Atlanta in 2017, and his diverse range of playing has quickly found a home in the city’s diverse music scene. He’s played jazz with Kevin Bales, Tyrone Jackson and Billy Thornton, Top 40 with The Emerald Empire Band, as well as funk and soul with Tracksuit Mafia, who host a monthly jam session at Buteco in Grant Park. He is also active as a songwriter and recording artist, having just released his first solo track on Spotify entitled “Hudson” under the name Maul Piller. 

Paul has over 15 years experience teaching all ages and skill levels and prides himself on catering his lessons to the student’s specific needs and musical interests. He has students working on everything from Disney songs to Bach preludes, and all points in between.

Paul’s top 5 artists:

  • Bill Frisell
  • D’Angelo
  • John Scofield
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Radiohead

Ron Abraham

(voice, piano)

Since being drafted as the drummer in the family band at age 7, Ron has been completely obsessed with music. When the family bought their first piano, he played it night and day to the point that his friends would have to pull him away to go outside. In his early teens, he made the leap to playing keys in a high school band and building his first basement studio – always acting as arranger, producer, and instrumentalist by default.

Ron has played with a long list of successful Detroit bands, playing around the city and around the country. His attention to detail has kept him in demand for Rock, ’80s, Motown, Pop, and Dance music. He also studied Music Theory at the University of Michigan, and taught voice, keyboards, and recording at The Detroit School of Rock and Pop. His students have gone on to prestigious schools like Belmont and NYU. In Atlanta, he has been active as a player and educator, performing regularly with numerous bands including Electric Avenue, and teaching lessons at Guitar Shed and his home studio. 

Ron believes every person, young or old, has a set of unique strengths and abilities, and it is his job as a teacher to instill the confidence and patience to bring those abilities out and help them thrive. Ron takes students beyond the written notes to understand how and why music works. Ultimately whether we make music for crowds of people, or just for ourselves, the feeling of accomplishment is exactly the same. Ron is the co-author of Sing For Your Life, the vocal textbook published in 2019 (available at Guitar Shed) and is also putting the finishing touches on a second book – Sing It Out Loud, a guide to live vocal performance.

Ron’s top 5 artists:

  • Peter Gabriel
  • Freddie Mercury
  • David Bowie
  • Elton John
  • Dan Huff

Sean McMorris

(guitar, bass)

Sean McMorris is a professional musician and instructor with 25 years of experience. Equally proficient on guitar and bass, he has taught at DeKalb Musician’s Supply (1997), Atlanta Music School (2001), and privately since 1990. In 1989, he studied music theory privately under one of the founding instructors at LA’s Musicians Institute, the late Vic Trigger. And from 1991-1993, studied jazz bass under Dr. Wayne Goins at Kennesaw State University

Gigging around the Southeast and Midwest on both guitar and bass since 1992, Sean L. McMorris has performed in a multitude of genres such as afro-beat, rock, blues, neo-soul, reggae, folk, zydeco, funk, and jazz. Over the years he has shared the stage with artists such as Dionne Farris, Derek Trucks, John Popper, Heather Luttrell, and Barenaked Ladies, to name a few. Currently, he performs with East Coast Entertainment party band Ascension, Wesley Chapel UMC’s Sunday worship band, and the ATL-based world beat supergroup The Lightning Orchestra.

As an instructor, Sean’s goal is to expose students to many different forms of music and artistic expression, all supported by an understanding of music theory and guitar/bass technique. Lessons can focus on learning specific parts for cover songs or creating parts for original music. Sean also teaches song structure, ear training, basic knowledge of effects pedals, how to make/use charts, and the importance of good tone and time.

Sean’s website: Sean McMorris

Sean’s top 5 artists:

  • Prince
  • Stanley Clarke
  • Andy Summers
  • Pat Metheny
  • Carlos Santana

Vivian Slade

(piano, voice, ukulele)Vivian Slade

Vivian Slade has been a working musician for over 20 years, starting out as a singer/songwriter in the pop-rock genre. She toured the east coast from 1998 to 2000 receiving rave reviews and charting on college radio before settling in Nashville to raise her two daughters. During her career, Vivian has been involved in a myriad of creative projects ranging from children’s theatre to performing in an a cappella three-part harmony group to acting as the house vocalist in Cuenca, Ecuador’s premier jazz listening room.

In recent years, she has turned her attention to teaching and especially enjoys inspiring young, budding musicians. Her aim is to foster students’ natural inclination and enjoyment of music while teaching its fundamentals–note recognition, rhythm, theory, expression, and FUN–in an easy and understandable way. This nurtures greater intelligence, curiosity, and creativity in the person as a whole. Her most recent project is The Dragon King, a children’s illustrated book/audiobook/musical. For more detailed information on Vivian or to know more about empowering children through The Dragon King please visit the links below.

The Dragon King’s Website and Vivian’s Website

Vivian’s Top 5 artists:

  • Beatles
  • Elton John
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Billie Holiday
  • Steven Sondheim

Zack Albetta

(drums)

  • BA in Percussion Performance – Ball State University
  • MM in Percussion Performance – The University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • MA in Jazz and Studio Performance – The University of Missouri – Kansas City

Zack has been playing and teaching professionally for 20 years. He grew up in Santa Fe, NM, where he began playing drums at age 8. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music in percussion performance, a Master of Music in percussion performance, and a Master of Arts in jazz and studio performance. From 2003 to 2010, Zack lived in Kansas City, MO, and was a first-call drummer on that city’s rich and historic jazz scene.

In 2010, he moved to Los Angeles, where he expanded his jazz resume, played dozens of musicals for the region’s top theatre companies, and worked as a staff musician at Disneyland. In 2016, he and his wife relocated to Atlanta, where he has hit the ground running with top acts such as Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Atlanta Funk Society,  Delta Moon, and ATL Collective. 

As an educator, Zack has taught everything from beginning private lessons to college classes with students ranging from ages 8 to 80. He takes a song-based approach, using students’ favorite songs and bands as vehicles for learning the language of drums, from the most basic grooves to the most advanced soloing and improvisation. 

Zack’s website: Zack Albetta

Zack’s Top 5 Artists:

  • Ringo Starr
  • Neil Peart
  • Peter Erskine
  • Bill Stewart
  • Bernard Purdie

See our teachers in action performing “Don’t Change Horses” by Tower of Power!