Instructors and Staff

OUR TEACHERS ROCK!

 

This page and all of our pages are dedicated to our co-founder and teacher Mr. Matt, (1983-2016). He left a legacy of love and a passion for music education that we will carry on forever.

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Elexa Bancroft

Founder and Director of Atlanta Music Education

Education Director of Capitol City Opera Company

Voice, piano, acting and ukulele teacher

Children’s chorus director and Summer camp director and teacher

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Florida native Ms. Elexa holds a bachelors of music in voice performance from Florida State University. There, she studied in Marcia Porter’s studio for four years and before that, she studied four years in the studio of Carla Connors in Tallahassee. Ms. Elexa performed in FSU Opera productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Peaseblosson. At the Quincy Music Theatre she portrayed Belle in Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast and at the Tallahassee Little Theatre she performed Shelley in Bay Boy: The Musical and Wendy in Peter Pan.

Ms. Elexa studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Phyllis Bryn-Julson for her masters of music in voice performance. Ms. Elexa portrayed Despina in the production of Cosi fan tutte in the Peabody Opera mainstage production.

 Ms. Elexa made her debut with Capitol City Opera in 2012 as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at Ogelthorpe University. She performed Despina, in English this time,  in Cosi fan Tutte at the Conant Center for performing arts with CCOC in the fall of 2012 and in the spring of 2013 Ms. Bancroft was choir master for the children of Puccini’s La Boheme. She also sang one of her favorite musicals, Sweeney Todd, on the stage with Capitol City Opera.

She was honored to be a part of The Atlanta Opera’s children show and first commissioned opera, Rabbit Tales as the main character- Teenchy Duck. She and the cast traveled an entire school year to performance halls around Georgia bringing light opera to the ears of many young students.

Ms. Elexa founded Atlanta Music Education almost ten years ago with her partner Matt Johnson. Their studio of students has performed at events all over the Atlanta area including the Tucker Farmers Market, King’s Bridge Retirement home, the ARTLOT, San Francisco Coffee Shop, the Conant Performing Arts Center and The Corner Cup Coffee shop to name a few. Recently, her student booked the national Broadway tour of the King and I.

She is Education Director at Capitol City Opera and a mentor and speaker at the Dekalb School of the Arts. She hosts the popular Kids Open Mic programs featured in the Decatur Focus, Decatur Dispatch and Tucker Times magazines.

Read her feature in Broadway World

Ms. Elexa also has a love for painting and re-uses old sheet music for her own popular art pieces. She is an active mixed media artist in Georgia art festivals and most recently, Broadwaycon in New York City. You can find her work on Etsy now.

In April 2019, Elexa won the Amber Grant for female entrepreneurs and is a nominee for their annual grant of $25,000 based on public vote: https://ambergrantsforwomen.com/voting/

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Gabriel Jose Caballero
 
Voice, Acting, Audition Coaching, Ukulele, Guitar, Piano and Private and Group Lessons
 
 
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Music has always been part of Mr. Gabriel’s life. From a very young age he remembers singing with his aunts and uncles in the car when taking long road trips. He grew up learning the songs that his grandmother use to teach her own children. At age 7, he started learning guitar and started playing in church groups and for his friends and family. As a child Gabriel took part of many different acting and vocal programs that helped shape his passion in music.

Mr. Gabriel completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Clayton State University. He is an  active performer with Capitol City Opera, Atlanta Opera Fabrefaction Theater, Newnan Theather Company, Town and Country Theather, The Henry Players among others. . Mr. Gabriel has a deep passion for acting and musical theater, some of his favorite roles are, Jack (Into the Woods), Anthony (Sweeney Tood), Enjolras (Les Miserables) and Bernardo (West Side Story).  He enjoys learning and teaching eclectic theatre roles and finding ways to relate to the characters and bring them to life on stage.

Mr. Gabe has taught private and group lesson for over 8 years and enjoys watching his students grow as musicians and turn into full blow performers. He has taught Voice, Piano and Guitar at Musicology Newnan and performed and taught for 4 years as a staff singer at Atlanta First United Methodist Church.

On his free time he enjoys taking road trips with his family, learning to cook new recipes, drawing and spending time with his little chihuahua Penny. His students are popularly known for their ukulele and singing duets of popular hits like Sweet Caroline to fun classics like You are my Sunshine.

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Ibukun (Ms. Bukie) Babalola

Piano, voice, ukulele and acting

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Ibukun (Bukie) Babalola is a Nigerian-American soprano. A Master of Music degree candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi, she studied with Dr. Maryann Kyle, and in the 2016-2017 season, she debuted with the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company as Yum-Yum in The Mikado and with Mississippi Opera as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto.

Ms. Bukie is an alumna of The University of Alabama where she studied with Dr. Susan Williams and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance. She was a principal performer with The University of Alabama Opera Theatre, and highlights from her time with this company include performances as Greta Fiorentino in Street Scene, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, The Lady Saphir in Patience, and the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel.

Ms. Bukie made her hometown debut at Capitol City Opera’s 2019 On The Light Side benefit concert, and will be featured in upcoming concert school tours of Dr. Seuss children’s opera and Hansel & Gretel. You can also catch her as a lead princess in Ms. Elexa’s Education fundraiser this October with CCOC. 

Ms. Bukie enjoys almost every genre of music, but hip hop and R&B are her favorites. She loves Disney princess movies and songs, and she will find any excuse to wear a tiara. Hamilton is her favorite musical, but The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown (Marietta native) is a close second. She is proud to be one of the earliest fans of the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift, and she is a dedicated member of the Beyhive. Ms. Bukie also loves to do yoga and to dance, and she regularly takes classes at Atlanta Ballet.

Her students enjoy having dance parties and musical theatre sing alongs with her. The performance confidence Ms. Bukie radiates always helps her students grow and shine in their performance abilities. 

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Nathan Holmes

Voice, piano, guitar, and ukulele 

Nathan Holmes, Mercer music student

Nathan Holmes, baritone, was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia. Nathan has done music in some form for his entire life. He began singing when he was 9 years old when he joined the Atlanta Young Singers and sang with them for his entire school career. Mr. Nathan won a spot with Georgia All-State Chorus multiple years while additionally making All-State Sight-Reading Chorus. At age 13, he began taking guitar and piano lessons. He is popularly known for his performances at several open mics around town singing various pop and folk tunes. 

Mr. Nathan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Mercer University. He has performed many roles in both disciplines of musical theatre and opera with companies such as Mercer University Opera, Harrower Summer Opera and Decatur High School Theatre. Some of career highlights include roles in musical theatre like Nathan Detroit (Guys & Dolls), Lewis (Pippin) and Corny Collins (Hairspray). His favorite operatic roles include The Fox (The Trial of Goldilocks, children’s opera), Guglielmo (Mozart’s Così fan tutte), and Giuseppe (Gilbert & Sullivsan’s The Gondoliers.)

Mr. Nathan’s background in teaching began with 3 years at Zoo Atlanta teaching summer camp and classes. He has also worked as a camp counselor for Atlanta Young Singers (AYS), working with their younger and adolescent aged children. In addition to his counselor duties, he has also worked with some of the younger singers with AYS in their sight-reading and theory abilities at their “Workbook Sessions.” 

In his free time, Mr. Nathan loves to watch funny clips on YouTube with his students about music, listening to his favorite composers like Mahler, Puccini, and Rachmaninoff, and cheering on Atlanta United and Atlanta Braves. He is excited to be continuing enriching student’s musical education with the AME family!

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Hila Brod

Piano, voice, beginner guitar, and ukulele

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Hila Brod, originally from Maryland, moved to Atlanta to study her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Georgia State University. There, she studied with well-known Voice Professor, Rick Clement. With the GSU Opera, Ms. Hila performed challenging Mozart roles such as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.  She also participated in several partial roles such as Susanna from Le nozze di Figaro, Clorinda from La cenerentola, and Phyllis from Iolante.

Ms. Hila has traveled around the world performing opera in various summer festivals. She has sung the roles Monica from The Medium in Greece, Despina from Cosi fan tutte in Vermont, and Adina from The elixir of Lovein Austria. She continues to perform around Atlanta, and you can see her in Dinner and a Diva productions with Capitol City Opera, and has upcoming roles this summer with Atlanta Concert Opera.

Originally a rock musician, Ms. Hila discovered her passion for classical voice in undergrad but continued to study both jazz/pop. She also toured with a local band around the DC and Baltimore area. During her undergrad studies, Ms. Hila also taught as a music theory tutor at Towson University. 

Ms. Hila grew up playing piano and has over a decade of formal classical piano training. She loves teaching beginner and intermediate piano students of all ages and incorporating her musical experience on and off stage to her unique lesson plans. In her years of being a music educator, Ms. Hila’s students have made great accomplishments in their school auditions, recitals and All State chorus. 

Ms. Hila is well known to her student’s families for her individualized lesson plans over the last ten years. She believes in tailoring each lesson to a student’s strengths and improvising in a fun clever ways to help out with struggles students meet musically. 

In her spare time, Ms. Hila enjoys spending time with her two dogs and going to see her saxophonist fiance perform at jazz concerts in the Atlanta area.

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Bryn Holdsworth

Piano, voice, ukulele

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Bryn Holdsworth is an operatic soprano with a huge passion for all types of music! She grew up as a very serious dancer, which she continued to teach as well for 15 years. Her love of dance introduced her to musical theater and opera which gave her the gumption to pursue a life in the arts!

She holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Manhattan School of Music in New York City and has performed all over the world since graduating. She has performed in operas with The Glimmerglass Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Royal Opera at the Château de Versailles, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall to name a few.  

Her students enjoy working on all types of music, having dance parties, singing Disney tunes, composing songs about animals, and anything fun out in nature with piano and uke. Ms. Bryn’s students can be found in off-broadway performances today and even composing full studio albums. 

 Ms. Bryn fell in love with Atlanta while the resident soprano for the Atlanta Opera from 2016-2018 where she returned numerous times to perform. She is thrilled to be joining the Atlanta Music Education team and continuing her teaching studio in this city.  ATLOpera_Cinderella_CCCC0065

 
Brian Raddock
 
 
Percussion, Drum set
 
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Brian Radock is a multifaceted percussionist/drummer with a Master’s Degree in percussion performance and over 20 years of experience in every music genre. Originally from Orlando, FL, Mr. Brian received his training from his mother and step-father Danny Gottlieb & Beth Gottlieb, who are both world famous drummers/percussionists.

Since moving to New York City in 2011, Mr. Brian has performed with 40+ musicals, 50+ bands of various genres, 3 record breaking tours of Italy (over 110 shows), several Symphony Orchestras (including the Manhattan Symphony in Lincoln Center), and in Carnegie Hall 9 different times. 

In Summer 2019, Mr. Brian toured China as the drummer/percussionist/co-writer with the popular show Rhythm Boom Boom performing 32 shows in 24 cities for over 50,000 people. 

 Mr. Brian has performed with world renown artists Kansas (Legendary Rock Band), Joe Hisaishi (Academy Award Winner for Spirited Away), Josh Young (Tony Award Nominee), Jenn Colella (Tony Award Nominee), Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carol King Musical), Andrew WK, Chris McQueen (Snarky Puppy), Lucy Woodward, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Martin (Chicago Symphony), & Casting Crowns.   

Mr. Brian has been a music teacher for almost 20 years. Not only have his students frequently made all-state and All-County, many have gone on to perform with popular rock bands, received scholarships to music colleges, write film scores, and have famous performing careers with bands and orchestras.

Mr. Brian’s students enjoy learning drum set, percussion, mallet percussion (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone), Latin percussion (congas, bongos, cajòn, timbales), and Drum Line instruments. Students can learn over 100 instruments from Mr. Brian from countries in almost every continent!

From 2009-2011, Mr. Brian taught the drum line and front ensemble for the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band. He assisted in composing works they still perform today. Mr. Brian marched drum corps with Boston Crusaders and won DCI timpani individuals with a self composed solo.

When Mr. Brian moved to New York City 2011, he gained real world experience and Broadway experience to bring to his students. His students flourish while he continues to be a full time freelance musician in shows all over the world.

In his free time,  Mr. Brian loves going to farmers markets, visiting art museums and watching Star Wars movies. 

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Ally Jenkins

Violin

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Ally Jenkins is a violinist/violist based out of New York City. She began playing the violin when she was six years old and saw a fiddling street performer. After that, she was looking for any and every excuse to play: for family members, her stuffed animals, or anyone else who would listen. Ms. Ally later attended SUNY Purchase (’11) and majored in Violin Performance, studying with Cal Wiersma and Laurie Smukler.

Ms. Ally is a classically-trained violinist and member of several orchestras and chamber ensembles. Her quartet, The Manhattan Four, tours internationally every year and performs favorite chamber works all over the world.

She has taught private students for 15 years and group classes in NYC public schools for 2 years. Ms. Ally has also taught strings, led chamber ensembles, and conducted orchestras at Long Lake Camp for the Arts and The Noel Pointer Foundation.  

Ms. Ally believes that classical training is important, but has always been interested in playing and teaching other genres too. She is also an avid fiddle player and regular member of several rock bands, as well as an active studio and pop musician. Ms. Ally has recorded for artists including Jewel, Snoop Dogg, Sky Ferreira, PJ Morton, The Lumineers, Stephen Sondheim, and Philip Glass. She has also contracted and led orchestras for major film scores and ad campaigns for companies like Google and Emergen-C. 

She frequently appears on television. Recently, she played in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live and The Grammys’ Tribute to Elton John. Ms. Ally has played on The Tonight Show with Pete Townshend, Common, The Roots, Questlove, Alfie Boe, and Metroboomin. Ms. Ally has also performed live or toured with artists including The Who, Harry Connick Jr., Joshua Bell, Nas (NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert), will.i.am, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, & Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

One of Ms. Ally’s other greatest passion is playing in pit orchestras. She likes opera pits but LOVES musical theatre pits. She has played in every level of theatre pit, from local elementary school spring shows to regional union theatres to Broadway. She also regularly performs with Broadway singers in the studio or in cabarets and charity performances.

When not playing the violin or viola, Ms. Ally is usually busy watching videos of dogs, reading, and cooking.

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Jacob Lavoie

Dance and Movement, Theatre, Puppetry

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Jacob Lavoie is an Atlanta, GA based maker, performance artist, and educator born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire. Mr. Jacob got his first glimpse of the stage at the age of 5, playing the role of the Wolf in his school’s production of The Three Little Pigs. Throughout his childhood, Mr. Jacob’s love for performing only grew while regularly performing in plays and musicals at school and in the community.

Mr. Jacob graduated Summa Cum Laude from Keene State College with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance, dual concentrations in Dance: Choreography and Performance and Theatre Arts: Directing. His artistic research has been presented at Keene State College’s Academic Excellence Conference twice: once in the form of an original modern dance work and the other through his direction of a short play by James Still. He is also a two time participant in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Fellowship Program and a two time performer in the American College Dance Association’s New England Regional Conference. In May 2018 Mr. Jacob received the Julia McHale Redfern Memorial Prize for Excellence in the performing arts.

Mr. Jacob is currently performs as a freelance movement artist around Atlanta and is a company member with Room To Move Dance and Sideways Contemporary Dance. As a choreographer he has created work for Brian Clowdus Experiences, Out Front Theatre Company, and Georgia State University to name a few. Jacob has assisted acclaimed directors such as Brian Clowdus and Jeannie-Marie Brown. Some of his directing credits include The Butterfly’s Evil Spell (Keene State College), When Lydia Hinkley Gives A Bird The Bird (KSC).

As an educator Mr. Jacob actively utilizes a wide variety of vocabulary and instructional practices in rehearsals and the classroom. He LOVES teaching musical theatre dance to all ages. The style allows him and the students to really break out of our shells and just have fun while being a little silly sometimes. For this style he focuses on working together to develop/strengthen our expressiveness and storytelling abilities on stage. Mr. Jacob is also passionate about sharing his love and knowledge for all aspects of theatre, dance, and somatic practices with his students.

When he’s not teaching, Mr. Jacob loves playing with his four legged friends Bear and Piper, working on sewing projects, and playing board games with his friends and family. He’s ecstatic to be joining the Atlanta Music Education team to lead dance and acting classes in Greatest Showman and Hamilton routines among other fun summer offerings for 2020.

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 Jenn Klammer

Dance and Movement

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Jenn Klammer is a Miami native choreographer, dancer, and artist, currently residing in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate from the University of Florida with a BFA Degree in Dance, focusing on education, composition, and performance. Jenn began her training with classical ballet at the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, and danced with their Pre-Professional Program while pursuing a dance major for high school at Miami Arts Charter, where she was exposed to modern and jazz techniques.

Her undergraduate experiences included serving as a modern dance teaching assistant, hosting master classes in the Gainesville community, and serving on the executive board of Dance in a Suitcase, a student lead-organization at the University of Florida.

Recently, she has attended Dance Italia, expanding her knowledge of gaga technique and contemporary forms with previous Batsheva Company dancer Chisato Ohno, previous Kidd Pivot dancer Sandra Marin Garcia, Andy Noble, Maya Orchin, and Eugenia Demeglio. Ms. Jenn has performed in works globally, including the Florence Dance Festival in Florence Italy, the Big River Dance Festival, Regional and National High School Dance Festivals, and other performances in her community.

​Her choreographic works have been presented in stages across Florida, in both performance and academic settings. One of her more recent choreographies, La Buffa, was presented at the University of Florida Annual Research Symposium.

Ms. ​Jenn is recipient of the Maria Taglione Dance Scholarship with Accademia Europea di Firenze and National Honorable Mention of the 2015 NDEO National Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award.

While in Atlanta, Ms. Jenn was a choreographer for the 2019/20 season for the Palette Project, performed in the premiere edition of Excuse the Art performance series curated by Fly on a Wall, and in other small projects across the community, mainly in collaborative processes. Currently, she is a dance instructor at Druid Hills Dance Center, Legacy Dance Centre, and The Atlanta Dance Academy (TADA). She is in progress for a new work on a digital format with the Beacon Dance Festival.

​In her spare time catch her taking classes, cooking, writing, and blabbing random facts she learned from binge listening to NPR. Ms. Jenn is obsessed with knitting, while her cat Simone watches intently next to her lap. She is overjoyed to join the Atlanta Music Education team and incorporate creative movement based classes with special treats for the whole family to enjoy!

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Laura McMahan

Piano, voice, mommy moments teacher, camp teacher

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Laura Posey McMahan, a converted Georgian originally from Southern Maryland, teaches Masterclasses, piano and voice through our sister studio in Oakhurst & loves collaborating to help with special Studio Events at AME. She is also the Music & Globetotting teacher at Holy Trinity Parish Preschool.  

Ms. Laura graduated from Georgia Southern with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. She has sung with The Augusta Opera, the Michael O’Neal Singers, various choirs allowing her to tour Europe, debut at Carnegie Hall & is a founding member of the Oakhurst Community Choir. Ms. Laura continues her Music Education studies by taking Music Therapy courses and regularly attends Music Education Conferences to learn from others and share in her own classroom/lessons. 

Ms. Laura has a deep love of music that she hopes is contagious to her students.  Her laid back approach to teaching is to make lessons fun in order to excite the student about learning. She celebrates all genres of music and loves to encourage her students to request songs they enjoy to learn.

Ms. Laura and her husband live in Oakhurst with their two dogs. Together they enjoy traveling, especially to see live music. On their honeymoon to Switzerland they ended up at a music festival & have been to over twenty music festivals all over the US together. Last summer they enjoyed taking their nephew to a private concert in Vienna when cruising the Danube with their family. When home Laura enjoys gardening, entertaining and general merriment.

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Staff

Courtney Justice

Administrative Assistant

There has been one constant in Courtney’s life, and that is music. Growing up in a house full of music lovers, she heard a wide variety of music that left Courtney wanting more. That want turned into a passion for creating sounds and feelings through performing and writing. Courtney took every chance she could get throughout grade school to be a part of the fine arts; whether it was playing clarinet in the band, singing in a chorus, taking voice lessons, working tech for shows, or playing a lead or ensemble role in musicals.

Courtney realized at a young age that she wanted to have a career in music and that is why she went on to major in Music Management at Georgia State University. During her time at GSU, Courtney wrote, recorded, and released original music for the first time. She was a member of the top choir at GSU, the University Singers, and worked as a Stage and House Manager at GSU’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall. Courtney interned at a music nonprofit called Georgia Music Partners, and that’s when she realized her love for nonprofits.

Once she graduated Summa Cum Laude from GSU with her Bachelor’s degree, Courtney made it her goal to find a job at another music nonprofit. Her prayers were answered when Courtney was offered a job at the nonprofit professional opera company, Capitol City Opera Company. There she met Elexa Bancroft who would later offer Courtney a position at Atlanta Music Education.

In her free time, Courtney loves to read, obsess over superhero movies, write stories, listen to music, and take care of her fur babies Ray, Etta, and Bruno, who are all named after her favorite singers. Courtney is beyond excited to be a part of the AME staff and continue her work with music organizations that matter!

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