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.
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.
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.
Randy grew up in Springfield and can trace his family roots in the Ozarks to the 1830s. He has played guitar since 1973, at age 9. Randy started teaching in the 1990s. Full-time since 2008, he provides individualized music lessons face-to-face and online. He has students in multiple states and Europe. He is influenced by Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, George Barnes, Wes Montgomery and Eldon Shamblin. Initially self-taught, Randy studied jazz at Middle Tennessee State University and has a degree from Missouri State University. He has performed in rock, jazz, blues and country bands and on stage with Eddie Pennington, Duck Baker, and Merle Travis. Currently, he performs solo, in a jazz duo/trio and with 83 Skidoo. He was a finalist in two national thumbpicking contests. Each May, Randy is an integral part of the Merle Travis Thumbpicking weekend at the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas. He performs, teaches and moderates a musician panel regarding the influential guitar style. Randy enjoys teaching students of all skill levels, from beginners and hobbyists to music majors and performers. He’s had students start in kindergarten and their 90s. He tailors his teaching style to meet the interests and goals of each individual. Randy is married with two children.
Melissa Clyde is a Springfield native. She’s played cello classically for over two decades in various groups including Springfield Youth Symphony, Missouri State Symphony and Missouri Philharmonic. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a minor in music. Since graduating college she's pursued playing by ear with local bands, accompanied singer Michael Bublé, and worked at the Springfield Police Department for six years. She expresses that it is a true privilege to be given the opportunity to teach the aspiring cellist. Students will find no limits to playing music they love in a motivated environment. Her life motto is, "Embrace life and be as confident as you want to be because, honestly, you've earned it."
Dylan Halacy attended Berklee College Of Music in Boston, MA. After studying privately with Mike Mangini, Gary Chaffee, Kenwood Dennard, and Dave Elitch, Dylan became an established drummer and drum teacher in Los Angeles. He has toured the U.S. several times with signed artists (Bleu, Angels Fall, Percy Hill, Jillian Wheeler), and has performed as the musical guest on late night television. Dylan has been the drummer for actors Gary Busey, Harold Perrineau (Lost, The Matrix), Thomas Nicholas (American Pie movies), Cassie Steele (Degtassi: Next Generation), and the cast of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" with Danny Devito. Dylan's drumming has been featured in the video games Guitar Hero II and Rockband with the group Bang Camaro, and he has had endorsements with various drum and cymbal companies including Pearl, Soultone, and Peace Drum Co. Dylan now performs regularly with the pianist David Brooks and with the Springfield band Nathan Bryce and Loaded Dice.
Dillon is originally from Salem, MO and has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 20 years. He has a degree in music from Evangel University with an emphasis in Recording Technology. Like a lot of guitarists, he has plenty of background in the performance of rock, country, and classical music. In addition to that, Dillon has served in many worship experiences at several churches. His resume of live performances includes Evangel University Orchestra, Heartsong, Makenna and Brock, The Plastics, Liz Moriondo, Ryan Collins, Jason Pritchett, and the Pensacola Songwriters Festival held every year in Pensacola, FL.
Kalleigh has played trombone for 10 years, while also additionally studying euphonium, tuba, trumpet, and horn. She was a member of the Springfield Youth Symphony during all four years of high school, and made the Missouri All-State Band twice, the second year as principal chair. Additionally, she also won the Youth Symphony’s youth talent concerto competition on euphonium in 2018. She is currently studying instrumental music education at Missouri State University. While at Missouri State she has earned placements in both the Missouri State Wind Ensemble and University Symphony Orchestra, as well as earning a position in the competitive Trombone Octet. In the course of participating as a member of the Octet, Kalleigh has had the privilege of playing with such notable artists as Carl Lundgren of Maniacal Four, Jeremy Wilson, Kevin Hicks, and Victor Barranco of the U.S. Army Blues.
Kimberly’s love of music began with piano lessons as a child and continued when she begged her Mount Vernon band teacher to let her play the clarinet in 5th grade. Her wish came true! By high school, she had started teaching her own students, forming her first piano studio out of her parents living room. She continued on to study piano and clarinet at Southwest Baptist University, performing multiple recitals and earning a spot in the SBU Symphonic Winds. In 2003, Kimberly took her love of music to China, where she developed an instrumental music program at a K-12 international school. For seven years, the language of music was her connection to students from multiple nations. During this time, she also completed a Masters degree in Music Education from Gordon College, in Massachusetts. In 2011, Kimberly ventured to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she worked as a school principal and teacher of teachers until 2021. While in Cambodia, Kimberly enjoyed helping develop the music ministry at a multi-national Anglican church, starting a church choir, and being a pianist on the worship team. In 2021, after 18 years in Asia, she returned to her roots in Missouri, eager to teach again. Kimberly loves to find out what motivates each student, and tailors lessons to each individual. Helping others develop a lifelong love of music is her delight!
Connor has been playing woodwinds for over 10 years now, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music Education at Missouri State University. Connor has held the principal position in Missouri State's Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra for 4 years now, and also plays with the university's flute choir and clarinet choir. In 2022 Connor placed as a finalist for Missouri State's Concerto and Aria Contest. Connor also regularly performs many local gigs in the area including alongside Drury University, SBU, the Civic Orchestra, and the Springfield Symphony.
Rebekah graduated from UCM in 2020 with a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance. While there, she studied under Roger Oyster, principal trombone of the Kansas City Symphony. Before this, Rebekah attended a number of other universities and studied under a diverse list of teachers, including Dr. Scott Anderson at UNL, Dr. Lee Harrelson—founder of Fountain City Brass Band— at MWSU, and Bob Swanson at Drury University. Studying with this wide range of professionals has prepared Rebekah to be equipped to teach a variety of ways in order to meet the differing needs of her students.
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.
Emmett McWoods III has been playing violin for the last 23 years, as well as piano for the last 17. He's played in several different bands across the country, and has performed in many college ensembles. His goal is to build and inspire his students to be well rounded in theory, sight reading, and playing by ear, as well as helping them create their own music. Emmett enjoys assisting his students in the direction they want to go, making their lessons personal and unique to their own interests while giving them the foundations they need to last a lifetime.
Michael has played trombone for 10 years, while also studying euphonium. In high school he was the Brass Caption Head for the Ozark High School Marching Band, and he held first chair in all of the top ensembles. He also played in the seasonal pit orchestra by invitation. In 2017 Michael earned the spot of Principal Trombonist for the inaugural year of the Springfield Youth Wind Ensemble at Missouri State University. He also competed and was awarded scholarships at the University of Arkansas Trombone Workshop in 2017. He now pursues a degree in Instrumental Music Education at Missouri State University. As well, he serves as the Brass Technician for the Ozark High School Marching Band. He performs regularly with Missouri State University’s PRIDE Marching Band and has performed as a soloist for the band since 2019. Since 2018, he has earned spots in Missouri State University’s premier Wind Ensemble, the competitive Trombone Octet, and the Trombone Choir. Additionally, he plays Lead Trombone in the top-notch Jazz Studies 1 Ensemble. With the Jazz Studies 1 Ensemble he has traveled to perform in New York City as well as the 2019 MMEA conference. Michael performed with the Trombone Octet in Washington D.C at the American Trombone Workshop in 2020. In the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Lance LaDuke, Jeremy Wilson, Kevin Hicks, Steve Wiest, Victor Barranco, Carl Lundgren, and Christopher Bill.
Jeremiah, originally from Los Angeles, grew up in a musical family. From the age of 3, he was able to play full songs on the piano and drums by ear. At the age of 7, he began learning to play the guitar and bass. After moving to Branson, at the age of 15, he studied formally under the University of North Texas virtuosos, Gary Freeman. For the last 15 years, Jeremiah has performed, recorded, and toured the country professionally playing the bass, guitar, and drums. He is extremely passionate about music and wants to help students discover the same joy and creativity of music that has lasted him a lifetime.
Skyler was born and raised in a musical family in Springfield, Missouri. From age 2, his mother Alberta Smith would sit with him at the piano and practice matching pitches up and down scales in order to train his ear. At age 12 Skyler picked up the guitar for the first time. After just 3 months of playing, he auditioned and made it into his junior high's jazz band. Within two to three years he had formed a couple of bands of his own and began professionally gigging around Springfield. His band The Tall Dark and Handsomes was asked to perform for the 2010 Imagine Concert at the Gillioz. During his late teens/early twenties, Skyler was part of the pit band for several musical productions, including Little Shop of Horrors and Fame. He began recording what would be his band's debut e.p. with Lou Whitney at The Studio in 2012. The lead single would go on to become the theme song for Tag Radio. Skyler's alternative rock band The Kursk has toured locally as well as nationally, and most recently for Grindsight 2020. His country band The Random Strangers has toured off and on throughout the Ozarks and the four states area, including opening for the Gatlin Brothers. Skyler is embedded in the music community in Springfield as well as connected to many artists across the country. With a total of 19 years playing experience on guitar alone, as well as 7 years on electric bass, Skyler specializes in rock vocals, rock guitar, and country guitar, as well as songwriting, with 7 albums and 25 original songs to his credit.
Ryan has been fascinated with playing music since starting out on the trombone in middle school. In high school he picked up the electric bass, and since 2006 has played everything from classical music to metalcore in various music venues ranging from The Outland Ballroom to Carnegie Hall. Between running a music blog and teaching private lessons, his goal is to help bassists advance their skills to the next level through inspiration and education.
Chi earned her bachelor's degree in flute performance from SIU Carbondale before joining the US Army bands as a professional performing musician. During her military career she toured and performed extensively throughout Europe. While stationed at Fort Bliss, TX, she also completed her master's coursework. Along with professional concert band, Chi has substantial experience as an orchestral flutist and piccoloist as well as opera and music theater pit orchestra. Chi has an infectious love of flute from classical to jazz to Celtic folk music. She has taught students from beginners to college prep, and even adult hobbyists. Chi and her family moved to Springfield in 2021 where she homeschools her two teen daughters.
Amy started learning piano at age three and picked up violin at age nine. She was also in multiple choirs throughout her high school and college careers including the MMEA All-State choir. Amy has studied music performance under instruction of music professors from various music schools including the Julliard School of Music. She has played numerous performances with university symphonies and community symphonies.
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.
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pricing, and any other questions that you may have at the time.
1560 E. Raynell Pl.
Springfield, MO 65804
Mon. - Fri. 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm