At Palen Music Center, we believe that music makes a difference in the lives of people. One of our great missions is helping others learn how to express themselves through music. Not only are our instructors great teachers but they are also people of great character. Our Performance Week Program gives you the opportunity to perform what you are learning.

Questions? Give us a call! (417) 882-7000 or e-mail!

Questions? Give us a call! (417) 882-7000 or e-mail!

Kathryn Baker

Piano & Voice

Kathryn Baker is currently studying the piano as a Music Education student at Evangel University. Growing up in a musical environment, Kathryn was encouraged to grow in her abilities to play the piano. Starting at a young age, she has studied a range of methods, which include the following: traditional classical training, Suzuki method, and improvisation/composition. Kathryn has won both state and national scholarships/awards for her abilities to write and perform her personal compositions as well as classical pieces. Kathryn has experience in teaching music abroad—Thailand and Laos—as well as in the states. She believes both music theory and the ability to play by ear are necessary for a successful piano student. She plans to continue to teach music both in the states and abroad after her completion of her degree.

Check Kathryn's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Christy Batson

Guitar, Piano, Trombone, & Violin

Christy has been a music teacher for 9 years at a Christian school in Iowa, and has her Music Education degree from Simpson College. She taught K-8 band and vocal and lessons, including beginning piano and guitar. She loved leading music with her guitar every week at chapel. Trombone was her band instrument in school, but she enjoys getting students started on most all the instruments. She moved to the Springfield area with her husband in August 2017, and started working with Palen Music Center as soon as she could. Palen's goal to help students and families make music lines up perfectly with her love of teaching, music, and making it about the kids.

Check Christy's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Kelly Brown


Kelly grew up in Springfield, attending Parkview High School and Missouri State University. Beginning at 5 years old, he learned piano through traditional classical training and then shifted focus to playing by ear while attending the Berklee College of Music. Returning home to play keyboard with The Skeletons and Dave Alvin, he traveled coast to coast a few times for four years. Kelly performed on many big stages alongside such icons as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Taj Mahal, John Hartford, and Wilco to name a few. Kelly has been teaching for ten years, combining reading music with ear training and music theory. He is the current keyboard player with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, but his biggest claim to fame is having written the words and music for the Andy's Frozen Custard jingle.

Check Kelly's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Emily Dowden-Estes

Guitar, Banjo, & Ukulele

Emily Dowden Estes is a musician/singer/songwriter from the MO Ozarks. She lives in Springfield with her husband, Kyle Estes, and has been teaching at Palen Music Center for about 8 years. She also works at The Vacation Channel in Branson, MO as an on-air talent. Emily grew up on a big farm, and being country raised, she was exposed to plenty of old time, folk, and bluegrass music. She first picked up the banjo at age ten and began playing professionally with her sisters shortly thereafter. She toured with her family band throughout her teens and early 20s, while living in Mtn. View, AR (The Folk Music Capital of the world) and Asheville, NC. She later moved back to her home state of MO and attended Missouri State University, where she graduated with honors. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing, English, and minored in Theater. Emily loves to write, perform, record, and teach music. Aside from music, she stays busy with various other jobs and interests, such as acting and modeling. Emily is also penning her first novel and has started writing a children’s book.

Check Emily's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Joe Forney


Joe Forney earned his degree in Music Education at York College of Pennsylvania. Mr. Forney has been teaching marching percussion for over 9 years has held a private percussion studio for over 10 years. Currently, he is teaching percussion at Central High School in Springfield, MO. Areas of expertise include drum set, snare drum, timpani, mallet instruments, and auxiliary percussion. 

Check Joe's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Tyler Hamilton

Saxophone, Clarinet, Oboe, & Bassoon

Tyler Hamilton is currently an Instrumental Music Education Major at Missouri State University. During his time, he has served as principle saxophonist in the University Wind Ensemble, bari in Jazz Studies Ensemble, principle saxophonist in the University Symphony Orchestra, and has placed and emphasis on jazz studies. In addition to the university ensembles, he has performed multiple times with the Springfield Symphony. He has played and performed with artists Jeff Coffin, Rashawn Ross, Dick Oats, and Jamey Aebersold. Tyler has served as Vice President of Membership of NAfME-C and Chorister of the music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon.

Check Tyler's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Jason Kopsian

Acoustic, Classical, Electric Guitar, & Bass

Jason Kopsian, originally from Chicago, Illinois, moved to Springfield, Missouri in 1995. Jason has been playing guitar for over 25 years and has been teaching at Palen Music Center for over 15 years. He played with the Mesa Mitchell Blues Band and competed with them in the Memphis Bound Blues Competition. Jason also recorded with Raven Clan on the Staring at the Rain CD, and worked with Don Shipps and the Titanic Blues Band, and was also a guitarist for Oak Grove Assembly of God orchestra for 3 years. He’s currently at work on a compilation of all original music that has been written over several years. Musical styles include, but are not limited to classical, blues, rock, jazz, folk, and gospel.

Check Jason's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Seth Mabry

Brass | Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, & Baritone

A Northwest Arkansas native, Seth has a diverse musical background that came at an early age when he began playing guitar and piano. Trumpet became his focus when he joined band in sixth grade. In high school, he performed as the first chair trumpet of the John Philip Sousa National Honor Band, playing ten concerts in sixteen countries across Europe. In college, he was accepted for a position in the CBDNA Small College Intercollegiate Band, and performed at the CBDNA National Conference. Seth received his degree in Music Education from Henderson State University. Beginning his teaching career in Texas, Seth has since moved closer to home, and now enjoys working with students one-on-one, providing more individualized instruction.

Check Seth's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Mikaela McGarrah


Mikaela McGarrah is a senior Vocal Music Education student at Evangel University. Her passion for singing and music started at a young age. As high school came, Mikaela made 3rd chair in the All-State choir after taking lessons for a couple months. This propelled her into trying out for the top choir at Bentonville High School. After making the choir, she realized she wanted to make music for the rest of her life. Her voice has given her the chance to participate in choral tours across the world including Italy and Ireland. While in Rome, Italy with the Evangel Chorale, she was a soloist in the Festival Pro Musica Arte Sacra, which is a highly esteemed music festival in the Vatican City. She is a part of the Evangel Chorale and Evangel Women’s Chorus at school. She has been taking voice lessons for six years and has seen tremendous growth in herself because of it. She wants to pass down the knowledge that she has learned to students who are passionate and eager to learn what music means to them.

Check Mikaela's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Gene Puckett

Acoustic, Classical, Electric Guitar, & Bass

Gene started playing professionally at 15. He's been in several local and national touring bands; such as Mirror, The Darts, and Naked Zoo who toured nationally, and currently The Dropouts. Since 2001, he has played guitar for The Osmonds, performing at some of the biggest arenas in the U.K.; including the O2 in London, Apollo Hammersmith, Wembley arena, and the Cavern club in Liverpool where the Beatles started. Gene has worked with many big name artists; such as Collin Raye, Mary Wilson, The Lettermen, and many more. He loves teaching students at all skill levels, from beginners just starting to advanced players wanting to brush up on their chops.

Check Gene's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Shawn Vomund

Woodwinds | Clarinet, Saxophone, & Flute

Shawn is currently studying Instrumental Music Education at Missouri State University. Throughout his time at Missouri State, Shawn has been a member of multiple ensembles, playing clarinet in the Missouri State Wind Ensemble, where he was principle chair, Missouri State Orchestra, the Evangel Wind Ensemble, and the Missouri State Clarinet Society. Studying clarinet privately with Dr. Allison Storochuk, Shawn developed a love for performance, winning the 2011 Clarinet Performance Scholarship, being involved in multiple miscellaneous small ensembles, as well as learning additional instruments. Though primarily a clarinet player, Shawn also studied jazz guitar with Dr. John Strickler, studied jazz theory and improvisation, and played guitar in Missouri State’s Stage Band, Studio Band, Dues Band, a small Jazz Symposium combo group, as well as Jazz Studies Ensembles I and II. Apart from clarinet and guitar, Shawn is also fluent with the flute, saxophone, mandolin, and voice. Shawn has been very active in assisting Springfield area band programs, working for the Parkview Viking Pride, Ozark Tiger Pride, and Rolla Bulldog Pride marching bands as their Woodwind Technician. Shawn also worked with students of these programs involved in State and District-wide Solo/Ensemble festivals, All-District and All-State band auditions, and gave clinics over various instrument types at Parkview and Ozark High School, as well as Pershing and Hickory Hills Middle Schools. As an educator, Shawn focuses on helping students to develop techniques that allow them to independently practice and master material, understanding and controlling mental anxieties associated with general performance and practice, as well as exploring methods of participating in music outside and beyond public school programs.

Check Shawn's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Dennis Winkle


Dennis Winkle is a 4 year alumnus of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During his years at Berklee, his courses of study were Applied Music in Percussion and Arranging and Composition, and took private studies with Berklee luminary drummers, Alan Dawson, Joe Hunt, Fred Buda and Lou Maigano. After college, Dennis toured with local top 40 styled bands and contracted bands that put him in the company of artists like Saxophonist, Joe Lovano, singers Dux DeJohn and Rose Mary Clooney, and even famous vaudville and violinist comic, Henni Youngman. Since coming to Springfield in 1990, Dennis has continued to make a name for himself. He organized The Swingfield Dance Orchestra, a 10 piece Swing band, and its’ smaller 5 piece group, The Notables. Dennis has also been the Drummer/Percussionist at the Landers and Vandivort Theater and The Nixa Art Association; for such shows as Guys & Dolls, Oklahoma, Damn Yankees, Batboy, Annie Get Your Gun, and The Full Monty. He enjoys teaching all styles of drumming; from beginning snare drum and bells for school band to full kit rock, swing, jazz, and blues.

Check Dennis's Availability: (417) 882-7000

Ready to Get Started?

Give one of our friendly Sales Engineers a call for information on teacher availability,
pricing, and any other questions that you may have at the time.

(417) 882-7000


1560 E. Raynell Pl.
Springfield, MO 65804


Mon. - Fri. 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm