Meet Our Instuctors | The Music Garden

Meet Our Instructors

Luanne Harms

Certified Let's Play Music
Instructor Years 1, 2 and 3, Presto, Bridge

Luanne Harms has had a life full of music within her family, church, and school, Luanne majored in voice and piano and received her Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Wichita State University in 1987. She has been a music teacher in both public and private schools ranging in ages from preschool to high school, and has served as high school choir director. She has taught piano and voice lessons both in the private and group format for over 30 years.
View Luanne's full bio page.

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.

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.

Brandon Bolton

Lessons & Performance Manager, Guitar

Brandon Bolton was born into a very musical family. “From a very young age some of my fondest memories were watching my grandfather and uncle playing guitar while my grandmother and mother would sing. My grandfather was a professional musician as well as one of my biggest influences throughout my musical career”. Brandon began playing guitar at 16 and began playing professionally at the age of 18, averaging four bookings per week. At the age of 21, while touring with a Columbia Record's artist in Chattanooga, TN, he visited the Atlanta Institute Of Music and became inspired to pursue a music degree. Upon graduation, he relocated back to Nashville to pursue a music career. Brandon became involved in business management in various music studios throughout the south. Throughout the years, he built a solid teaching career and has developed a loyal student base. In 2018, Brandon moved back home to Lawrenceville, GA and began teaching guitar lessons full time to 70+ students per week. Brandon's teaching, touring, studio, and business management experience make him a welcome addition to The Music Garden family!

Lane McDuffie

Guitar and Ukulele

Lane McDuffie teaches beginning to intermediate guitar and ukulele lessons and is excited to be a part of The Music Garden! Lane is a Georgia native and grew up in a musical family, playing saxophone in the school band, and learned guitar from her mother. She has a B.A. from Emory University (in History) and studied classical guitar as a music student at Clayton State under the guidance of Dr William Hearn. She also received certificates of achievement, with honors, through the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She has performed at weddings and with the Atlanta Guitar Orchestra. In addition to being a classical guitarist, Lane enjoys playing and teaching various styles of music. She has a passion for teaching, and is always learning from her students too. She has been been giving private lessons since 2011 and has experience in both private and group settings. She is a member of the South Metro Atlanta Teachers Association and Suzuki of the Americas. Lane has 2 grown sons and 2 dogs.

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.

Katie Mahoney

Viola, Cello

Katie Mahoney began her musical journey with piano lessons at 6, and had lessons for 8 years. She learned and has played the violin for over 15 years. At 14 she began learning the classical, and acoustic guitar. She took cello lessons for 7 years from the principal cellist of the Lakeland Symphony, who was an professor at the Florida Southern College. Katie also took a string pedagogy class at FSC, which helped her teach the viola as well. Katie has performed as a cellist in a community college orchestra, and with the Florida Philharmonia Orchestra. She has taught private music lessons for six years. She loves playing for personal enjoyment, performing, and playing with her family, for church, and at events. While living in Haifa, Israel for two years, Katie was involved in music for the residents at the Ebenezer Home, where she also had lessons from the former director of the National Uruguayan Opera. Katie has a passion for music and wants to pass it on to others.

Zhishan Zhang


Zhishan Zhang has been playing piano since the age of 4. She has a Bachelor’s degree of Music in piano performance and received her Masters in Piano Pedagogy in early 2023 from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Zhishan Zhang was a teacher of piano for three years during her undergraduate studies at the University of West Georgia and has been teaching at The Music Garden for several years. Zhishan is passionate about music and teaching music. Her goal is not only to teach students how to play but also help students establish a routine, harvest the ability to challenge themselves, and help them reach their full potential.

Sarah Buttram

Let's Play Music Year 2, 3, Piano, Voice

Sarah Buttram has been involved in music her entire life and truly loves it. Sarah attended Georgia State University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Choral and General Music Education with piano as her main instrument. Piano has been a part of her life since a very young age and she enjoys teaching piano lessons to all ages. She has been singing since she was four and has participated in numerous choral events and has traveled to different states in a church singing group. Through the years, Sarah has been a piano accompanist and vocalist for many churches and choirs. Sarah believes that music is a beautiful gift and is very passionate about teaching music and sharing it with others!

Rachel Gianelloni

Babies, Toddlers, Poppies Preschool Music, Let's Play Music Year 1

Rachel Gianelloni is a lifelong musician. She grew up immersed in music and began playing the piano at home as a young child, then studied privately for 9 years. At the age of 10, she was offered a position in Mobile Singing Children’s prestigious, invitation-only concert choir and discovered the joy of making music with others. From there, her love of music has grown and expanded. Throughout the years, she taught herself to play both the flute and guitar, participated in several musical groups and choirs, and to this day makes continued musical study, practice, and education a part of daily life. She believes that playing and sharing music is a rich, beautiful gift! One of Rachel’s other passions is early childhood education- she spent 7 years teaching preschool and developing a dynamic, creative, hands-on, play-based classroom. She is thrilled to be at The Music Garden, where she can combine her passion for music with her love for children. She believes that music is one of the deepest, most profound joys in life and that it should be shared with everyone!

Christy Mahoney


Christy Mahoney loves playing music. She started piano lessons at 6 years old. At 12 years old she started violin lessons. At the age of 15 she taught herself the mandolin - learning classical, Italian, and Bluegrass. She has enjoyed playing music at church, as well as special events like festivals, craft shows, senior events and seasonal music outside of shops around Christmastime. She performed with her sisters as an ensemble/band in Florida where she originally resided. Christy also enjoyed playing in a college community orchestra and in church orchestras. She loves to teach different styles of music. She has participated in singing in the Händel's Messiah Choral Society in Orlando, FL. for 15+ years. Christy wants to pass on the love and enjoyment of music to others. She loves to help all age groups to be able to learn the styles of music that they enjoy, while making it a fun learning experience. She encourages and helps her students along their musical journey with their individual desires in mind , whether it’s performing or playing in ensembles, orchestras, bands, church or just for their own enjoyment!

Kathleen Paul

Office Manager, Let's Play Music Year 2

Kathleen Paul majored in music at the Baltimore School for the Arts and received a Bachelor's of Music degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where she majored in musical theatre. Kathleen has performed in theme parks in Maryland, Orlando, Southern CA, Japan and aboard the Disney Magic. She has sung in a number of a capella groups, most recently "The Tinseltones" here in Atlanta for the holiday season. Kathleen moved to Peachtree City from Los Angeles in 2019. She lives here with her husband, Jaye and their three children who are all in various stages of the Let's Play Music program. Her children have loved the program and Kathleen is excited to share that love by teaching for us at The Music Garden!

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.

Samantha de Zayas Munoz


Samantha de Zayas Muñoz relocated from her home in Cuba to Georgia in 2023. She has earned Undergraduate degrees in Piano Instrumentalist, Piano Education, and Ensemble Practitioner. Samantha has also completed a Bachelor of Music-Profile Musicology and a Master’s degree in Sociocultural Studies-Profile Music. The teaching of music occupies a fundamental place in her life because she has studied extensively for more than 22 years. She started working as a music teacher 14 years ago, which has allowed her to gain experience teaching music education to both children and adults. In Cuba, in addition to being a professional musician directing her own musical group and playing with various classical and popular music groups, she worked as a music teacher at “The Benny Moré Music and Arts Conservatory” She had the opportunity there beginning in 2009 until her move to the U.S. to work with children between the ages of 4 and 15. Samantha is qualified in the creation of study programs in the fields of Piano, Musical Initiation, Solfeggio, Music History and Music Theory. “It is a personal satisfaction to see how my students learn a new instrument and make it part of them and their own future.” Teaching music, especially to children, is her passion – seeing it broaden their cultural horizon and initiate them into a new world with a new language, that is music. Samantha is looking forward to sharing that passion at The Music Garden.

Erin Bernier

Let's Play Music Year 1

Erin has been surrounded by music all her life and began her music instruction at the age of five. She was involved in private voice lessons, band and choir all through her school years. She went to Florida State University where she earned her Bachelor’s of Music Therapy degree. While at FSU, she was involved in different ensembles that gave her the opportunity to continue her vocal instruction while also learning and experiencing different types of instruments such as percussion, guitar and ukulele. She is excited to be a part of the The Music Garden family and share her love of music with her students!

Terah Tucker

Let's Play Music Year 3, Bridge, Voice, Piano

Terah Tucker's musical journey as a pianist and singer/songwriter began at a very young age. Long before she was old enough to understand the intricacies of how music worked, she was mesmerized by its power. It was when she was 5 years old and had begun taking piano lessons that she discovered the art of writing songs, little knowing it would eventually be one of her greatest passions. Terah has spent many years playing piano and flute for church services and other events, and singing in various college ensembles, including operas, the Clayton State Chorale, and Chamber Choir. Since completing her bachelor’s degree in music composition in 2002, Terah has taught both piano and voice lessons, and has led worship in several churches. She has also released three albums and hosted a podcast showcasing independent Christian music artists that was featured on a local south Atlanta radio station. Terah loves inspiring others to begin their own musical journey and is excited to be a part of The Music Garden family!

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.

Erin Niconovich

Presto, Piano

Erin Niconovich comes from a very musical family and has been a musician all her life. She grew up singing and playing guitar and piano in her church’s band, and played keyboard in two other bands through high school and college. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from University of North Georgia in 2018, where she also discovered her love for percussion and playing in ensembles. After graduating, she taught piano and voice at a private studio and went on to create her own piano studio in Newnan, until deciding to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Theory from Florida State University. She now lives in Newnan with her husband, Danny, and their dog, Oliver. Erin is incredibly excited to be a part of The Music Garden community, and is looking forward to making music with students in Presto and private piano lessons!

Stephanie Lockridge


Stephanie Lockridge began playing piano when she was 10 years old and studied with Dr. Rima Anatolievna at the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, Russia and Dr. Robert Henry and Professor David Watkins at Kennesaw State University. She made her first orchestral appearance when she was 13, playing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra. In December 2008, she performed Dvorak’s Second Piano Quintet with the Halcyon Quartet in the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. In 2009, she performed Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the 35th Annual ACSO Ruth Kern Young Artists Concerto Competition.

She was selected as the recipient of the Emanuel Ax Piano Scholarship in honor of Dean Joseph Meeks in 2010. Most recently, Stephanie won The American Prize in Piano Concerto Performance. She has performed in many master classes with internationally acclaimed artists including Grammy Award-winning contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird, Alessio Bax, Ian Hobson, Marianne Jacobs, Roberto Plano, Yevgeny Sudbin, and Orion Weiss. In addition to playing classical music, she plays piano for several local theatre production companies. Some musicals she has played in include Fame, Little Shop of Horrors, and Once Upon a Mattress. Outside of teaching piano, Stephanie is a laser artist at The Peachtree Blossom with a booth in Heirloom Market Co. in addition to being a full-time mother and wife.