Music Lessons | St. Louis | Palen Music

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Music Lessons | St. Louis

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!  (636) 229-1904

Taylor Hesskamp


Taylor Hesskamp is a enthusiastic teacher and performer in the greater St. Louis area. She is currently the flute professor at McKendree University. In 2021, she graduated with her masters degree in flute performance from the world-renowned Royal College of Music which was recently ranked as the top institution in the world for Performing Arts in the prestigious QS World University Rankings 2022. While at the RCM, Taylor studied with flute with Gitte Marcusson and Adam Walker, as well as piccolo with Stewart McIlwham. She had the opportunity to perform with the RCM Philharmonic, RCM Symphony Orchestra, RCM Opera, and many chamber groups during her time there. Taylor received her bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2019 where she studied with Dr. Shelly Monier. In her time there she performed with Wind Symphony, Orchestra, and Flute Choir. During her time at SIUe, she won the Concerto Competition as a sophomore and performed the first movement of CPE Bach’s Concerto in d Minor with the Orchestra. 

Taylor was a member of the St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra for three years where she played flute and piccolo. She was awarded first place in the Flute Society of St. Louis competition in both high school and college, first prize in the Central Ohio Flute Association competition, as well as alternate in Atlanta Flute Club’s Young Artist competition. Taylor has attended flute camps including the Iowa Flute Intensive, Whole Flutes, the Consummate Flutist, the Wildacres Flute Retreat, and the Aria Summer Academy where she was able to perform in many masterclasses. She loves spreading her love for music to absolutely anyone willing to learn. 

Ilya Litvin


Ilya Litvin is a Band Director at the South City Catholic Academy. He teaches all brass instruments at the Palen Music Center in O’Fallon and trumpet at the Webster University Community Music School. Ilya Litvin was a professor of trumpet at St. Charles Community College from 1999 to 2011 and Assistant Band Director at St. Joseph School in St. Charles from 2008 to 2021.Ilya Litvin was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. Since moving to the United States, Ilya Litvin has performed with St. Louis Brass Band, collaborated with local musicians. Ilya is a passionate teacher. Many of his students have distinguished themselves through local and regional awards and achieved positions in local and regional orchestras and bands such as St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra, St. Charles Youth Orchestra and Missouri All State Honor Band. In addition, some of his students have received prestigious music scholarships at distinguished music colleges and universities such as Truman University, North- Western University, Yale University and Cleveland Institute of Music.

Ethan Saake

Piano, Saxophone

Ethan has been playing music since the young age of 6 and is a recent BA graduate of the University of Missouri - St. Louis Music Department. He has been studying classical piano with teachers Randy Kruger and Alla Voskoboynikova and jazz under the instruction of Carolbeth True, Ken Kehner, and Adaron “Pops” Jackson. A multi-instrumentalist, Ethan has also been playing saxophone since he was 11 years old studying under the tutelage of Dr. Van Lees. Ethan is a graduate of Fort Zumwalt North High School where he played saxophone in the Jazz Bands and Wind Ensemble. While in high school, he took part in some extracurricular groups including the Missouri All-District Band and Jazz Band, JazzU, the St. Charles Community College Big Band and St. Louis Metrobones both under the direction of Dave Dickey. During his UMSL years, Ethan was the featured pianist in the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos. With the band, he played at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and the Jazz Educators Network Conference in Dallas, TX. In 2018, Ethan was selected to represent UMSL as the pianist in the Missouri All-Collegiate Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Berklee professor and master saxophonist Tia Fuller. In the summer of 2019, he traveled with the Jazz Ensemble to play at the Vienne and Umbria Jazz Festivals in France and Italy. Later that year, Ethan led the UMSL Jazz Combo to play at the “Shared Joy in Jiangsu” Jazz Festival in Nanjing, China. Ethan has performed with many notable artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Faddis, Terrell Stafford, Stefon Harris, Wayne Bergeron, John Pizzarelli, Denis DiBlasio, Steve Wiest, the Jim Widner Big Band and many others. Ethan frequently plays around the St. Louis and St. Charles areas, being featured in groups like Trio Monaco, Sugar Ray Charles, the NexGen Big Band, and the 636 Big Band.

Marc Torlina

Guitar, Bass, Piano, Ukulele

Marc Torlina has been performing music professionally since the age of 11 years.He is well-versed in a multitude of instruments. He is currently teaching acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, bass guitar, upright bass, the ukulele, and banjo. Having graduated from Southern Illinois University, with a major in music performance, Marc has a well rounded, solid approach to music theory. He enjoys teaching beginners as much as he does teaching Professional players. He also enjoys teaching how to play by ear. Each lesson is taylor-made for each student; therefore his teaching approach is vast and productive. Marc grew up in St. Louis, lived in Los Angeles for a time, and Amsterdam for 8 years. Playing professionally all over the world, Marc has a wide variety of musical understanding. Having shared the stage with a number of well-known artists; Chuck Berry, Johnny Johnson, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Peter Mayer, Mike Stern, and too many other great players to put in this bio, Marc has learned what it takes to be a great musician. He is still on his quest to be that great musician.

Sean Trost

Guitar, Piano, Banjo, Ukulele, Bass

Sean Trost has over 36 years of experience in playing a variety of musical instruments. He started taking lessons at the age of 11 with guitar master, Kevin Ray, who is a Nashville studio, session guitarist. It was during Sean's college years that he had an opportunity to study with both, the President of the Classical Guitar Society, Bill Ash and Classical Concert Pianist, Bertram Ward. Mr. Ward was a 5th generation, student of Ludwig Van Beethoven, making Sean a 6th, generation student. Sean started teaching at St. Louis Community College, where he was employed as a teacher's assistant in the music department and taught continued education group guitar classes Sean has been sharing his musical talents with his students for over 25 years. Teaching music theory, guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, banjo, and mandolin. Many of his former students are now instructors and perform in bands locally and nationally. A few of his students have been accepted into music conservatories around the world. You can find Sean performing in a variety of bands throughout Missouri and Illinois.

Daniel Winfield


Daniel Winfield has been playing cello since he was nine years old. Having the opportunity to study with a variety of teachers, he served as a student cellist in the St. Charles Symphony Youth Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. He graduated from Missouri Baptist University in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Music Education, and from Webster University in 2012 with a Master's degree in music composition. Private cello instruction is his passion, and in addition to working with students in three different studios, he provides in-home lessons throughout the St. Charles area. He performs regularly, in the St. Charles Community College Orchestra, at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian, and in string quartets and other ensembles for weddings and other events throughout St. Louis. He believes that every student learns differently, and that learning to play the cello can empower an individual to gain many important life skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, and respect. It is his hope that the student will not only become a better musician, but that they will be able to share their joy of music with others.

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.

(636) 229-1904


4689 Highway K
O'Fallon, MO 63368


Mon. - Thurs. 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm