Mr. Jammin

Ben MartinBen Jammin loves teaching people who think they have no musical talent. He graduated with a degree in music from Sierra Nevada College. Ben has performed with legends Kenny Loggins and Mike Love of the Beach Boys. He currently plays acoustic guitar in the After Eights, bass guitar with the Emily Tessmer Band and acoustic guitar with Angele and the Wildwood Band.   He is the founder and Director of the non-profit Tahoe School of Music and runs the music program at the Sierra Expeditionary Learning School Academy in Truckee.

Emily Tessmer

Emily TessmerEmily just released “The Seven Sisters” which promises to be lush and lyrical. Emily has worked with the best in the music business on her previous solo releases, “Reach Toward The Sky” 2002, and “Luminarium” 2008. Emily has enjoyed working with many world-class musicians and magicians. Prior to her solo accomplishments Emily and her former band worked in studio on a production deal funded by MCA, headlined at the Veenhoop Festival (Holland), played Los Angeles’s Troubadour, and opened for diverse artists including Gilby Clarke (Supernova), and Blue Oyster Cult. Emily has been invited to sing the National Anthem for the San Diego Padres twice at PETCO Park. Additionally Emily was commissioned by Kristen and Mike Klink (Guns N’ Roses) to write an original song for their foundation, A Song of My Own, a charity enabling singer songwriters to connect with terminally ill children. Emily wrote Annie’s song and Annie went into remission from Leukemia shortly thereafter. “I consider that song and my experience with Annie as being the true healing power of music and that is why I am here.” 

Angele M. Thibodeau

Angele M. ThibodeauAngele started her musical career as a little girl singing in the back woods of Maine.  After moving to Connecticut at the age of 9 she pursued chorus and private vocal lessons.  She has had numerous adventures with her music including choir camp, performing with her High school chorus in Disney World, and interacting with a wide variety of talented artists.  She loves to pass on her lifelong passion for music to her students and equip them with whatever skills they require to pursue their own dreams.  Angele strongly believes in the power of music to enrich the mind, and help people learn.  She also sees music as a great tool for healing and navigating life's challenges.  

Crystal Boutelle

crystalCrystal has been singing since she was 9 years old.  She has sung in many different musical groups from Church Choirs and musicals to the UC Davis a capella Latin baroque choir and even sung the national anthem at her college graduation.  She currently sings in an acoustic duo called the After Eights accompanied by Ben Martin on the acoustic guitar.  She started playing the flute at the age of 8 and continued through college, playing and performing in flute quartets.   Her passion has always been singing and harmonizing with others.  She enjoys sharing her love of singing with those who are excited about learning and exploring their own unique voice.

Sean McAlindin

SeanSean is a multi-instumentalist singer/songwriter born of the Northwest Connecticut Berkshires. His musical inspiration comes from his Scots/Irish roots, and his love of connecting to people and spirit through song.  For Sean, every performance is an expression of one's own story and perception of life.  His musical career began with piano lessons at the age of six. While he enjoyed learning the basics as a child, it wasn't until his discovery of classic rock n' roll as a teenager that he truly began to engage with music in a meaningful way. As a teen, he gigged with local jam bands and performed classical music on piano and clarinet with school groups. Upon moving to Colorado for college, Sean found a love of acoustic folk music and took up the guitar and banjo. His debut Americana album Women & Roads, released in 2013, chronicles the adventures of a hopeless romantic lost out on the road. You may see Sean raising a ruckus around town with his current band, Lost Whiskey Engine. Also of note, though he used to think he couldn't sing, Sean realized one day how much he enjoyed and has gotten a lot of pleasure out of continuing to improve this aspect of his musicality. Sean believes becoming a true musician requires a unique combination of hard work, dedication, inspiration and fun.  He teaches piano, guitar, banjo, and voice at Tahoe School of Music.


Stephanie Fountaine

Stephanie studied under Carleen Graff at Plymouth University with a focus in Performance and Pedagogy graduating in 2001. She has been teaching privately since 1996 and enjoys young beginners through intermediate students and adults. Stephanie tailors lessons to individual style, taste and learning abilities.  She will provide weekly instruction in theory, musicianship and technical training. Stephanie is a Simply Music certified teacher and also serves as the accompanist for the Institute.


Kerry Andras

KerryKerry has been playing music for over 20 years. He plays and teaches acoustic guitar, upright bass, and mandolin. His focus as a performer has mainly been on roots music and jazz, and he has played upright bass in successful bands for the last 9 years including The Rusty Strings and Sneaky Creatures.  He has been teaching music lessons for several years.  He has an easy-going and friendly style of teaching, and always strives to find the balance of teaching the fundamentals of music theory, the technical aspects of the instrument, and focusing on what the student wants to learn. He holds a certificate in Professional Music from Portland Community College.

Shauna Gilberti Righellis

ShaunaShauna teaches woodwind, brass, percussion, voice and piano and has over 9 years of teaching experience, including three years at North Tahoe Middle School. Her experience includes teaching general music, band, choir, and jazz band as well as working at various music camps. Shauna has performed clarinet with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, and the Nevada Opera. She also served as principal clarinet for the Reno Wind Symphony and the Reno Pops Orchestra. Shauna is an active board member of the California Music Educators Association’s Northern Section, and holds a master’s degree in Music Education.

Misuzu Kitazumi Burns

Misuzu Misuzu was born in Mie, Japan, and has been an active piano player in Los Angeles, Southern California and Northern Arizona. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the California Institute of the Arts and a Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Redlands. Misuzu was a first prize winner of the Antelope Valley Bach Competition in 1999 and the founder of piano performance group, Los Angeles Piano Unit. As an educator, she has been teaching since 1996 and her past students includes grammy awarded professional musicians and their children. Misuzu believes that through the process of learning a musical instrument and performing, students develop self-confidence and motivation that will be truly beneficial in life even if the student decides not to pursue a career in music. Musical appreciation is a lifetime journey that evolves through time and it is her utmost goal to share this passion with students.

Gwendalyn Gilliam


Gwendalyn has been playing the fiddle since 1963. Largely self-taught, she has gleaned the best techniques from the masters who've crossed her path and uses them to accelerate her students' success. She loves helping students of all ages grow their skills.
In 1985 she learned most of the Celtic music she plays in two days busking on the streets of Berkeley with a flutist and mandolin. 

She has performed in many venues in Manhattan, including the Eye Gallery, the Kitchen and Danceteria, in the Bay Area with the Wildcat Canyon Band (country), Front Porch Ministry (rock), and with Tahoe's Ziva! (kirtan with Emily Tessmer) and Groove Foundry (funk). 
She currently specializes in weddings and parties with a troubadour approach - entering and circling the guests while playing 1-2 songs - and enjoys singing (soloing with Sierra Nevada College Choir), playing the piano, and has recently fallen in love with the cello, which is swiftly teaching itself to her.

Ellen Flanagan


Ellen is a classically-trained violinist living in Truckee, CA whose mission is to spread her love of music as wide and deep as possible through teaching and live performance. Originally from Hanover, NH, Ellen moved west to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Since moving to Tahoe in the winter of 2013 (she was missing the snow), she has been teaching violin, fiddle, and viola at the Tahoe School of Music and performing around the area with orchestras in Reno and San Francisco as well as a local bluegrass band.

Darcy Kathleen


Darcy loves all styles of music especially those that include good lyrics and tasteful melody. Living out her chapters in San Francisco, New York, Florence, and Cheltenham she is delighted to return to the Reno/Tahoe area. Darcy has always seemed to find great places to sing and amazing musicians to perform with. Through her travels she has trained, schooled/degreed, and careered in interior architecture & design and Montessori education, while singing all along.

Darcy tailors each lesson for the age and ability level of her students, with exercises in breathing, vocal stretching, tone control, and developing range and pitch. She covers a range of topics including history, exposure to great singers, lyric analysis/memorization, rhythm and movement, microphone technique, and Music Theory. Darcy exposes a wide variety of musical genres and aids students in developing their singing voice within their best range.

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