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 Kidding Around Yoga 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.

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 Jennifer Logan

Jen's love for music began in early childhood as her mother was a trained pianist and would play for her when she was dancing, drawing, or getting ready to go to sleep. Originally a dancer until the age of 13, Jen always enjoyed singing and chose to attend the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, where she began her dedicated voice training. She has studied Choral Music Education at the University of Colorado, and Music Performance at the University of South Florida.

Jen began teaching private voice and piano lessons in 2006, which blossomed into her current full-time career. Additionally, she writes and performs her own music and plays in various music projects with other professional musicians. Jen discovered Music Together in 2012 with the prompting of Center Director Colleen Lilley and hasn't looked back since!

     
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 Gail Walker

Gail began practicing yoga about ten years ago at the suggestion of her chiropractor to help relieve constant severe back and hip pain due to scoliosis. Yoga immediately resonated with Gail and she not only gained mastery over her physical pain but over other areas of her life as well. As she continued her yoga practice she noticed that her life was transforming before her eyes. During a story boarding exercise in a yoga workshop, Gail received a sudden clear vision of her future life as a healer and began to move toward this goal immediately following her vision. Since then she graduated from the 200-hour Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Program at Living Room Yoga in 2008 and obtained her certification in Prenatal Yoga from Janice Clarfield of Urban Yoga of Vancouver, Canada. Gail also completed her 500-hour yoga teacher certification in January, 2012.

Gail is a thorough, caring teacher with a strong commitment to her students and her yoga community. Her classes are well-rounded and follow a philosophy of giving individuals what they need even within the class setting and helping students carry their practice into their daily lives, to provide them with a means of regaining their ground and reconnecting with their truer selves, finding peace amidst whatever pain is pressing in on them, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, and to help them move forward in the process of returning to wholeness.

     
photo Anne Vaurie

Anne Vaurie is a mother, a physical therapist, and a skilled yoga teacher. She and her family moved to St. Petersburg from France in 2014. A yoga (and Music & Me) enthusiast, Anne completed Kidding Around Yoga teacher training and offers yoga to children in area schools. She brings her many gifts to Music & Me as our Family Yoga instructor. Her easy, upbeat nature makes her the perfect person to be leading these playful and interactive classes.  

     
photo Devon Willette

Devon Willette is a Kidding Around Yoga certified teacher. She is a mama to a beautiful 8 year old yogi. She has been working with children in a preschool setting for over 3 years. Devon began working in early childhood education when her daughter was in preschool. She found that she had a passion for working with young children. As a teacher at Creative Play Preschool in Gulfport, she received KAY training and developed a yoga and mindfulness curriculum in her school. She also teaches yoga and mindfulness to elementary school children at Sunflower School. 

 

Devon has worked in tandem with Jen Logan of Music Together for 2 years and has implemented Music Together curriculum with her preschoolers. Singing, dancing, playing, stretching, meditating and having fun are some of Devon’s hobbies. She looks forward to making some new friends with you and your little yogis! 

     
photo Desiree' Ugosmith

Desiree has always enjoyed being around and helping children, so it’s no surprise she’s found a way to share the benefits of Yoga with kids!  With a background in Elementary Education, she knows how stressful children's lives can be... and Yoga is the perfect way to find some inner peace.  Desiree completed her Kidding Around Yoga teacher certification in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, where she lives with her husband and almost two-year-old son, Talon.  She is very eager to introduce Yoga to children of all ages and abilities.

     
photo Taylor Ray
I was called to the yogic path 6 years ago. At the time all I knew was it made me feel better! Something magical happens when you turn off your mind and allow movement and breath to take over. I am so grateful to have found this life changing practice so early in life! I began my teacher training 2 years later with the hope of sharing this beautiful practice with children one day. I've always known I wanted to work with children but was never sure how. I was lucky enough to share 9 months of my 200 hour training with my own inutero yogi. I believe in my heart yoga was the key to my healthy happy pregnancy. My son Jaxon was born into loving peaceful space thanks to my yoga practice. To my surprise, motherhood hit like a recking ball! My peaceful 9 months of self care and discovery ended upbruptly. As all mothers know self care goes out the window when you have a newborn. The isolation and fear that accompanies being a new parent was a big adjustment. Again yoga saved me! Having the tools to return to a natural state of peace whether it be through mindfullness,  breathwork, or movement was the greatest gift. I am so excited to share this gift with families. By giving caregivers and children the permission to show up and be themselves we will cultivate a practice of self love and acceptance that will last a lifetime.
 
     
photo Shalini Karnani Bonjour

Shalini Karnani Bonjour was born and raised in Michigan and spent most of her adult life in and around the midwest. From a young age and through college, Shalini choreographed and performed in numerous community and school theater productions touring throughout the United States, Canada, Russia and Denmark. After graduating college Shalini began her decade long journey as an am/fm radio broadcaster. Countless late nights and early mornings year after year, engrossed in a wide variety of music genres, music artists, associated events, and promotions, was just enough to feed Shalini’s musical interests.

Working with Music and Me LLC, Shalini uses her natural ability to connect the element of fun while sharing a musical experience with children. As a constant student of the “art of teaching”, Shalini frequently practices her S.Q. (silly quotient) with her son, Chaitan. His fun-o-meter proves to be a useful litmus test for lesson planning. Giving children a tool for life - their very own musical voice - and helping them access it, is Shalini’s goal for each of her students, adult and child alike.

     
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