Drums / Percussion Our Instructors | The Music Garden

Drums / Percussion

Jack Gordy

Guitar, Ukulele, Drums,

Jack Gordy is a multi-instrumentalist who studied business and music theory at West Georgia Tech and the university of West Georgia. He specializes in stringed instruments and has had experience with percussion, brass, electronic, and wind as well. He has over three years of studio experience where he has learned to record/produce music for artists and has played live performances at venues in the surrounding Atlanta area as well as other states and cities. He's performed as a guitarists for many musical projects over the years and has not only taught instrumental work but also, he shows others how to record and produce the music they create.

James McDaniel

Drums, Percussion

James McDaniel is a Music Educator and Percussionist with a lifelong passion for music and learning. Surrounded by a musical family and church, his love for music blossomed early. From Elementary through High School, James participated in numerous band, percussion, and choral ensembles including the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. He has a wide range of experience playing drum set, including praise music, Rock, and many R&B styles. After high school, James attended Mercer University, and later transferred to Jacksonville State University where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. James played in many concert, percussion, jazz, and marching ensembles from Chamber Winds and Advanced Quintet to Jazz Combos and New Music Ensembles. His final year with the JSU Marching Southerners, he served as Snare Section Leader. James also toured with Phantom Regiment and Spirit of Atlanta Drum Corps. James began teaching percussion upon high school graduation, working with numerous local high schools. While finishing his degree at JSU, he helped develop the marching percussion program at Carrollton High School. The indoor drumline program at Carrollton rose to national ranking, finishing 10th at WGI Scholastic A World Finals. James is the Director of Percussion at East Paulding High School.

Dr. Michelle Thomas

Brass, Winds, Percussion, Drums

Dr. Michelle Thomas served five years as Assistant Band Director at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City Georgia and has just completed her PhD in music education at Georgia State University. Mrs. Thomas is a native of Peachtree City and alumna of McIntosh High School. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Education from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. ​During her career Mrs. Thomas has served as a percussion instructor for Weaver High school and McIntosh High School. She has taught private lessons in trombone, percussion, and euphonium for many years. Mrs. Thomas has performed as a Marching Southerner, Symphonic band, and A Cappella choir member. She currently performs with the Peachtree Wind Ensemble and the Peachtree Wind Ensemble Brass Quintet.

She would like to thank her family, friends and husband for always being her support system. She is happy to have joined the teaching staff at The Music Garden and is looking forward to sharing her talents as an educator and musician with her students.

Frank van der Merwe

Guitar, Bass, Drums, ROCK E.D.U.

Frank van der Merwe grew up in a family that loved music so he was of course drawn to the same love at an early age. He started his musical journey by learning a chord on his father’s guitar and after that he couldn’t put it down!

Growing up and living in Australia, Frank moved to the US four years ago. He has played many different styles and experienced countless venues and genres. He has played on worship teams, with road bands, and in recording studios. When Frank isn’t teaching, he is recording and producing his own music in his home studio.

Frank has always found himself surrounded by music..performing, listening, and teaching. He is excited to make a difference in the Peachtree City / Atlanta area by sharing his passion and skill with students of The Music Garden.

Adam Yurgionas

Drums, Percussion

Adam Yurgionas began playing percussion in the 5th grade band and has remained involved in school band either as a student or teacher ever since. As a student, Adam studied privately with various teachers and participated in the marching band, symphonic band, jazz band and percussion ensemble. He continued his percussion education while attending Georgia Southern University and majored in music for nearly two years before ultimately deciding to teach social studies as a career. Being a 4-year member of the Atlanta Olympic Band member along with playing in various rock/funk/metal bands during his time as a student are his favorite musical memories. As a teacher, Adam began instructing High School band camps at age 19 and has worked with many schools in central Georgia and the Metro Atlanta area. Currently he is a percussion instructor for the McIntosh High School drumline and plays in a cover band. Playing in a church is another area of experience that Adam brings to the Music Garden. When he is not teaching drums, he enjoys playing the drums and spending time with his family.