Our Teachers

Meet the Teachers of Music & Me

Quality programming needs quality teaching and we have it. Our teachers’ professional and personal backgrounds, combined with the rigorous Music Together® and Canta y Baila Conmigo® training we undertake inform not only the music classes we offer in our studio, but also how we approach other programming we offer in preschools and in our community outreach. Constant learners, our teachers are supported with annual continuing education to further deepen their knowledge and continue to grow as educators.

photo Colleen McGrath Lilley

Colleen McGrath Lilley, center director of Music & Me, LLC, brings fifteen years of performing and teaching experience to the program. In September 2008, Colleen successfully completed the Music Together® Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey. She then became a registered Music Together teacher and taught her first Music Together classes in Berlin, Germany in Winter 2008. Colleen earned her B.F.A. in music performance with honors from Carnegie Mellon University and her M.M. in opera, magna cum laude, from Boston Conservatory. She has performed worldwide as an opera singer and has taught all ages and levels of music over the past fifteen years. Colleen is thrilled to have found a second career she believes in so passionately. Music has deeply impacted her life in many positive ways and she seeks to influence her class participants similarly with this outstanding program.

     
photo Deborah Bassinger

Deb grew up loving everything to do with making music. She learned to play the piano and began taking oboe lessons in elementary school. By high school, she was singing in choirs, playing oboe in several community orchestras, and performing piano and organ pieces in church. In college, she studied social work, earning her master’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2006 and her license in clinical social work in 2010. Since moving to Florida nearly ten years ago, she has been counseling children and families struggling with trauma and attachment difficulties.  Deb discovered Music Together when she and her two children began taking classes with Colleen in 2014. These classes have been tremendously valuable for Deb’s family, as they have helped her develop a deeper connection with her children and with music.

     
photo Alex Gammon

Alex got his first guitar at age 13 just for show, but when his family thrust him into private lessons with Sarasota guitarist, Jami Gee, he centered his life around the instrument, learning jazz, classical and progressive rock pieces. As a teen, Alex played guitar in the Fogt's Junior All-Star Band, which performed at Sarasota retirement homes and blues festivals, covering old swing hits and dancey jazz tunes. He has continued to pursue his love of guitar with regular study and at open mic venues. 

 

After studying Childhood Anthropology at Florida State and receiving his B.A. in International Affairs and English, Alex was intrigued by early childhood development and continued his study on his own. He became fascinated with how children learn and grown and became driven by a desire to help them succeed. Finding that Music Together blended his passion for music and early childhood development, Alex took and passed the Music Together teacher training in the fall of 2018 and now eagerly looks to help children (and parents!) realize their musical potential.

Private Guitar Instruction:

Alex Gammon is now accepting students for private guitar instructions, ages 5 and up - yes, adults too!

Private guitar, $25/half hour. Specializes in rock, folk and jazz and teaches music theory as well as sight-reading. Sessions begin with setting goals and working out of The Real Book along with charts for any piece the student wants to approach, regardless of genre. Contact Alex Gammon atAlexGammon81@gmail.com

     
photo Melanie Baez

Melanie Baez is originally from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, but has lived most of her life in Tampa, Florida. She grew up surrounded by music, singing and dancing and eventually discovered a passion for performing. Throughout Elementary, Middle and High school Melanie immersed herself in music programs including chorus, show choir, barbershop quartets and gospel club. She received an Associates in Arts from the performing arts program at Hillsborough Community College with a major in Voice and a minor in Classical Guitar. At HCC she received classical and musical theater training with voice coach, Ruthie Nelson, and was offered several solo performing opportunities.

Melanie is excited to be part of the team of talented teachers at Music & Me and sharing her love of music with the families of St. Petersburg. As a native speaker of Spanish and English, she teaches both Music Together and Canta y Baila Conmigo classes at the studio. 

     
photo Stephanie Ashman

Originally from Pittsburgh, Stephanie lived in the Philadelphia area from 2012-2019, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the West Chester University School of Music, taught at Flute & Friends Suzuki Music Academy, and was a member of the Brandywine Pops Orchestra. As Stephanie began to specialize in working with young children, she also opened Music Together® Harmony offering early childhood family music and movement classes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. We're glad to add another experienced Music Together teacher to the staff at Music & Me. In addition to bringing her flute, Ms. Stephanie also accompanies her classes with the ukulele. Stephanie looks forward to meeting a whole new group of wonderful families in St. Petersburg and Tampa and is eager to grow her new studio, Tutti Flutes.