Miss Kelly Koch - Piano / MOM and Me / Band
Growing up in Ft. Walton Beach, Miss Kelly has always had a great love of music. After graduating from Choctaw High School, she traveled in "Up With People", singing and dancing in over 100 cities across the US, Mexico, and Europe. Her experience with Up With People culminated with a performance at the Halftime Show of Super Bowl XX in New Orleans. Miss Kelly then went on to study at Florida State University where she earned her BS degree in Communications. After a successful career in veterinary sales, she went back to school in 2009 to pursue a degree in music at Pensacola State College. Miss Kelly was fortunate to be able to study under Dr. Kadisha Onalbeyeva. As the daughter of a career kindergarten teacher, Miss Kelly also has a special interest in the impact of music on early childhood development. Since 2010, she has been teaching piano and MOM & Me classes to children and adults aged 3 months-70+ years.
As a recovering perfectionist, Miss Kelly gives extra attention to overcoming performance anxiety. One of her favorite things about teaching is watching a student overcome their fear of performing and experience the exhilaration of PLAYing music as a gift to their audience.
Miss Kelly is a hopeless Mets, NY Giants, and Florida State fan; if you stop by her studio at any point in the year, you can get an in-depth update on any of those teams. She often uses sports and team metaphors to teach musical concepts. Miss Kelly has a vivacious and encouraging spirit that makes learning music fun.
Mr. Thomas Koch - Recording
Mr. Thomas grew up in New York and bought his first guitar after graduating from college (a long time ago). Playing music was an outlet and a hobby until he retired from robotic and automation engineering in 2007. After leaving engineering, the idea of teaching guitar came after working with kids as a baseball and basketball coach. Combining his love of coaching and passion for music became a natural transition into a new career. In 2009, he went back to school and studied classical guitar under Dr. Joseph Stallings. The rigors of learning classical guitar appealed to his technical nature and translated well to his understanding of efficiency, mechanics, and economy of motion. This technical "upgrade" has greatly improved his ability and he brings this approach into his teaching. Mr. Thomas teaches from an encouraging and positive spirit and employs some of the incentivized practice methods he learned as a coach.
Now, Thomas spends a lot of time managing the school and working in the recording studio. He is still very comfortable behind monitors.
Mr. Derrick Javier - Guitar / Drums / Piano / Bass / Band
Pensacola resident, Mr. Derrick was born in Charlotte, NC but spent most of his life moving around the world. He first started playing guitar in his early teens and spent most of his high school days playing in local bands. His love for playing in bands continues to this day. He often spends nights playing concerts at local venues and festivals. Playing for years in live bands has not only been rewarding for Mr. Derrick but has also given him a wealth of invaluable information and experience in playing guitar, drums, and bass.
Derrick's first introduction to teaching guitar started in high school where he tutored guitar students and taught guitar lessons from a local recreation center. In 2006, he moved to Pensacola where he began studying music and classical guitar. He currently holds a degree from Pensacola State College with a focus on Classical Guitar Performance and has had many years of experience teaching music.
One of Derrick’s favorite aspects of Minds on Music is the recording studio. In today’s age of the internet, being able to record is a completely new skill set that all musicians need to master in order to be successful. Be it creating content for a channel or submitting a video audition, recording has become a cornerstone of the modern musician.
Derrick is a kind and caring teacher and his "easy-going" attitude makes his music lessons fun. Plus, he has a really awesome beard!
Miss Stephanie Deaton - Piano / Guitar / Ukulele / Drums
Stephanie began teaching at Minds On Music in 2015, after she graduated Summa Cum Laude from John Wesley University in High Point, NC with a BA in Worship Arts. Her love of music was evident early on in life, whether it was listening to a new song, trying a new instrument or creating “music videos” with her siblings and friends. In her teens, Stephanie’s love for music grew, and she began to offer babysitting services in exchange for piano lessons. During college, she played with multiple praise bands and had the opportunity to help lead worship services cross-culturally on several missions trips. She currently lives in Gulf Breeze and directs the music at her church.
Stephanie’s favorite part about teaching at Minds On Music is seeing the opportunities her students have to branch out and explore the musical world. Once a concept “clicks,” students start understanding how to apply what they have learned to other songs and instruments. It makes each lesson a musical adventure! She also enjoys editing the level test and recital videos that Minds On Music releases; these videos help students and teachers examine each player's skill set and adjust accordingly. In her free time, Stephanie loves to make the most of the beautiful town she lives in. You will often find her paddle boarding, hiking, swimming or doing pretty much anything outside.
Miss Rebekah Lashley - Voice / Piano / Band
A Navarre native, Rebekah is the Operations Manager at Minds On Music, a Voice and Piano instructor, and she works with our student band, Noteworthy. She has a passion for teaching that began at a young age— just ask her a little brother, who was one of her first piano students! Having grown up in a musical family, she began taking piano lessons at 5 years old and continued through college. She began taking formal voice lessons while in high school and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from The University of West Florida, as well as Master’s degree credits in the same from Baylor University. Rebekah now lives in Gulf Breeze with her husband, Braylen, who serves as the Associate Pastor of Worship and Media at Midway Baptist Church.
One of Rebekah’s favorite things about teaching at Minds On Music is all the unique resources offered to our students, such as the Recording Studio and the In-House Stage. These resources allow her the opportunity to help develop musicians from their first lesson, to their first recording session, to their first recital performance, and everything in between. Each student has different hurdles to jump and Miss Rebekah is all about finding which approach (or analogy) works best for each student.
In addition to studying music for most of her life, Miss Rebekah played basketball, volleyball, and softball for the majority of her childhood and into high school, and now coaches basketball for her church's Upward league. She finds this athletic knowledge to be helpful when communicating with students in lessons, and even says that it often times leads to breakthroughs! When Miss Rebekah isn’t at the studio, you can find her at the beach with her husband and two dogs, drinking Dr. Pepper, and eating Chick-Fil-A nuggets!
Mr. Bryan Norris - Drums / Piano / Guitar
Mr. Bryan is a Pensacola native and started playing the drums when he was 8 years old. He has been studying the instrument for over 20 years. His passion for music is evident from the first time you meet him. Not only is he well versed in tools and techniques, but he loves to teach and comes at it from an encouraging and positive approach. Constantly researching and improving his craft, he has learned key techniques for playing the drums to reduce strain and tension on the body. Bryan also teaches the value of musicianship, team work, and the importance of communication amongst band mates. With these values, it brings a new level of professionalism and self-discipline to our students to prepare them for whatever musical endeavor they decide to take; whether it’s playing in a band or creating original compositions.
Bryan joined Minds On Music in October of 2018. As a performing musician, Bryan is a member of two local bands and often fills in for others. You may also recognize Bryan from a local music store where he worked as a teacher and retail sales associate.
Bryan has already contributed his knowledge and experience as a professional drummer to update our Minds On Music Drum Curriculum. His teaching and performance experience coupled with an infectious positive attitude makes Mr. Bryan a welcome addition to our staff!
Miss Anne Rogers - Piano / Guitar
Music and art have always been a part of Anne's family culture. Her grandfather was an opera teacher, her mother played piano, her father and aunt were professional artists. As a small child, she especially loved drawing and singing. Anne started piano lessons at the age of six and by fourteen she was singing, and playing guitar and three-quarter string bass in a high school folk-rock group. Later she studied classical and folk guitar, and taught both for a brief time. In recent years she has sung, played guitar, and composed songs with a very diverse, faith-inspired musical group called Los Viajeros.
Anne majored in Fine Arts in college. She worked for many years in portrait photography, and in pre-press commercial photography, in Chicago and Atlanta. Since 1989, Anne has been a professional portrait artist, drawing human and animal portraits for more than 150 subjects, throughout seven states.
One of her happiest endeavors was homeschooling her daughter, Carrie. Carrie belonged to a homeschool group which studied art, music, dance, and theater at the Orange School for the Performing Arts in Virginia. Anne helped with musical theater productions and also taught drawing classes to the children. Since then, Anne's primary interest has been helping young people mine the gems inherent in each of them, through education, creative expression, and service to humanity.
Mr. Brenan Woody - Guitar/ Piano/ Drums / Recording
Mr. Brenan’s love for music began at an early age. He began teaching himself melodies on his great-grandmother’s pump organ as soon as he was tall enough to reach the keys above his head as he pumped the organ with his feet! When he was 8, his grandmother noticed his inclination for music and began teaching him piano at her house. After about two years, he decided he wanted to learn guitar as well. After receiving one as a gift for Christmas, he began teaching himself, and went on to join multiple bands in high school. He even joined the local high school’s marching band where he played percussion and electric bass.
While he was trained in piano, bass, and percussion throughout his childhood, it was after moving to Pensacola that he finally received proper technical training on his primary instrument. In addition to earning his degree from Pensacola State College for Classical Guitar Performance, Mr. Brenan was decorated with multiple musical and academic awards including a First Prize guitar performance at a statewide competition.
After finishing college, Mr. Brenan settled into quite a musical life playing bass, guitar, drums, and mandolin in multiple bands in the area, including the Gulf Breeze Presbyterian Praise Band. In his free time he likes to hike, camp, grill, study music theory, and work on his personal recording projects at home.
Mr. Brenan’s favorite thing about teaching at Minds On Music is having the ability to leave lasting, positive impressions on his student’s lives. The best feeling, to him, is witnessing that breakthrough moment when a student achieves what they first saw as an impossible task. As a result, his lessons are frequently accompanied by cries of glee and high fives!
Tommy Koch - Market Research Consultant
Fourteen-year-old Tommy is the Market Research Consultant for Minds On Music. Since he is a teenager, the team runs ideas by him to rate their "coolness" factor.
Tommy started taking piano lessons when he was 5 years old with Steinway artist, Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva. In addition to piano, he plays drums and guitar and is in Minds On Music’s student band, Noteworthy. Tommy also acts as an accompanist for several of our students for recital performances.
Tommy loves being at Minds On Music because it really is like a “musical playground” with the recording studio, practice stage and tons of different instruments to choose from. In addition to playing music for pretty much his whole life, Tommy is a 2nd Degree Black Belt and is a pitcher and a catcher in baseball. If Tommy is not at the studio, you can find him at the baseball field with his Dad and a bucket of baseballs.