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! (816) 792-8301
Born and raised in Missouri, Colton started playing guitar at 8 years old. He was self taught until 15, when he started taking lessons at Palen with David Hanna until 2017 when he left for the Marine Corps. Primarily a Metal guitarist, he also plays and teaches Rock and Fusion guitar.
Kristen has always loved singing, and has been doing so since she can remember. Kristen spent the first years of her life in Kansas City before moving to Ava, Missouri where she attended school. She was heavily involved with theatre and choral programs, and she performed at district and state contests performing in both solo and ensemble pieces, receiving top rankings in each. Kristen currently lives in Independence with her partner Jimmy and their four crazy pets. She runs her own family photography business and works as the repair shop liaison and front desk consultant, as well as the vocal teacher for Palen Music Center.
Fíonna Pillow is originally from St.Louis, MO and studied Low Brass Performance at William Jewell College. She has experience teaching in private, classroom-style, and marching settings, as well as special-education music classes with Variety St.Louis and Different Dynamics. She is also a brass repair technician at Palen Music Center, and loves to teach students about how and why their instruments work and how to take care of them!
Dr. Randall Cunningham has played Clarinet professionally with the Detroit Concert Band, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa (Mexico) and the Des Moines Metro Opera. Since 1986, he has been the Principal Clarinetist of the Liberty and St. Joseph Symphonies and Co-Principal Clarinetist of the Kansas City Wind Symphony. Dr. Cunningham is also a composer and arranger. Many of his works have been published by Woodwindiana. Two of his arrangements have been recorded on CD by the Harmonie Winds of Kansas City and one of his marches was performed in Carnegie Hall by the Kansas City Wind Symphony.
Chris grew up and started his music journey in Connecticut playing in cover bands before spending 7 years in Seattle performing and recording original songs. Chris was self taught and learned through playing along with others and more recently was taught and coached by Mike Miley of Rival Sons. Chris is primarily a hard rock, classic rock and blues player but teaches a wide variety of styles and techniques. He is passionate about creating music playing guitar and writing songs in addition to the drumming. His goal is to leave students with a technical, functional and creative foundation to go on and fully realize the magic of making music.
Classical guitarist Aleia González was born in Paraguay and started her guitar studies at the age of 8. Aleia proceeded her music studies at the conservatoryClave de Sol in Asuncion, where she graduated with the Diploma of Classical Guitar Instructor. Last spring, Aleia graduated with a Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she studied with guitarist Dr. Bráulio Bosi.
Aleia has performed for theCasual Concert Seriesof the Kansas City Guitar Society. She teaches guitar at theMetropolitan Community College in Independence, Missouri,Rockhurst Universityin Kansas City, Missouri,Palen Music Center in Kansas City, Missouri, andLanguage and Music House in Kansas City.
Bill studied music education at the University of Wisconsin where he received his undergraduate degree. He also studied music composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria before getting his graduate degree from the University of Illinois. Bill has taught music at every level. Before coming to the Kansas City area he taught elementary general music and middle school band in McHenry, Illinois, high school band in Joliet, Illinois, and various undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Maryland.
Since coming to Kansas City in 1983 Bill has served as Director of Bands at Shawnee Mission East HS and Sumner Academy, where he also taught piano lab, music theory and IB music. He has enjoyed tuning pianos and teaching at Palen Music Center since 2009.
Rob Leytham is a licensed Neuro-Rhythmic Trauma Therapist, and has been a popular drum instructor in Kansas City, Missouri for over 30 years. He has been a freelance writer for MODERN DRUMMER magazine, with over 20 articles published. Rob is a Best-selling drum instructional book author for MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS with 10 books written. His 2004 book OSTINATOS FOR THE MELODIC DRUMSET was voted the #2 instructional book in the MODERN DRUMMER READER'S POLL and #5 in DRUM! MAGAZINE DRUMMIES award.
Rob teaches all ages and founded the DRUMS FOR KIDS class that is a group class for young children and children with Special Needs. Currently he teaches drums at PALEN MUSIC CENTER in Kansas City, Missouri. He also uses Hand Drums, Rhythms, and Mindfulness with elementary students for the Liberty Public School District to teach missing skills in behavior. Rob presents RHYTHM, MINDFULNESS, AND THE BEHAVIOR STUDENTS to administrators and teachers around the country. He has been interviewed in both music and health magazines and on nationwide Webcast.
Some of Rob Leytham's former students have gone onto great careers in music. They are Tyler Chiarelli (FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE), Kenny Burkitt (PUDDLE OF MUDD), Jason Dean (SIDEWISE), David Vittetoe (U.S. AIRFORCE BAND) and Dr. Andrew Mcgraw (University of Richmond).
Rob Leytham has been the drummer for the Progressive Rock Band ANCIENT VISION since 1989 and has recorded 3 albums with them to great reviews. They are: THE VISION (1990), FOCUS OR BLINDERS (1994), and LOST AT SEA (2008).
Rob is a member of the PERCUSSIVE ARTS SOCIETY (PAS) and AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHERS (ASCAP).
A native of Kansas City, George Schram has been playing music professionally for nearly a decade. Though his musical background is rooted in jazz guitar, he has a deep passion for all instruments and all styles of music, making him one of the most versatile musicians in the KC area. He has studied with local legends including Wayne Goins, Brian Baggett, and the late, great Joe Miquelon. George continues to spread his love for music by performing on a weekly basis, and teaching aspiring guitar players at Palen Music Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Born in Chicago IL, 1991, Emmett Starkey is a working musician in Kansas City. His primary instrument is trombone, but he is also a composer, arranger, and keyboard player. Starkey has studied music from all reaches of history and across the globe, with a focus on Jazz and Latin genres. He has performed throughout the midwest alongside artists such as Maelo Ruiz, Mindi Abair, the Skatalites, Andy Frasco, and many others. Starkey has a Bachelor’s in Jazz Studies from UMKC where he studied under Bobby Watson and Steve Dekker. His current musical projects include The MGDs—an energetic blues/funk band, and Inkontenible Sonora—a Mexican Cumbia band.
Mike Steffen currently serves music educators in the KC area as an Educational Representative for Palen Music. He grew up in South Kansas City playing in the Grandview band program, and holds a Masters in Music Education from UMKC and a Bachelors from Missouri State. Mike has taught saxophone lessons for over twenty years and enjoys helping young students develop their playing with a focus on great tone and fundamentals. As a former band director, Mike has a good understanding of what it takes to help his students succeed in the school band setting and beyond. Mike is married to his high school sweetheart, Miranda, and is the proud dad of three amazing young ladies – Melody, McKenna, and Mae.
Brian received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in music at Chapman University in Orange, California. While at Chapman, he studied the viola and cello and was the principal violist for the Chapman Orchestras. He continued his education and viola study at the University of South Dakota, where he received his Master’s degree in Counseling. Brian received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2009 and is currently employed full time as a psychologist. He is a member of the Heritage Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed with various orchestras, including the Liberty Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Northern New York, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Minnesota, and Sioux City Symphony. He also was the principal violist for the St. Lawrence University String Orchestra and the Northern Lights Orchestra in Northern New York.
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.
340 South 291 Hwy
Liberty, MO 64068
Mon. - Fri. 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm