INSTRUCTORS

WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PLAY,
OUR TEACHERS HAVE YOU COVERED

Our private lesson instructors will get you playing what you LOVE.

Rock (classic to current, ballads and bashers), jazz, funk, country, funky country, popular bops and deep cuts.

Matt Devore

drums, percussion, guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, theory, songwriting, voice, and piano

Hey there, my name is Matt. I am a local musician, college professor, private lessons instructor, and video game enthusiast. I became obsessed with music and learning how to play any instrument I could get my hands on at an early age. I have always felt music was my calling. As a child of the 90’s my musical inspirations first began with alternative/grunge music. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam captured my full attention, and flannel shirts took over every inch of my closet space. Though my musical beginnings started with me making lots of racket in the garage, I eventually learned to appreciate all types of music. I joined the school band program, refined my skills, and inevitably made my way through college obtaining two degrees in music. I now have a Bachelor’s in Music from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s in Music from Austin Peay State University.

In my time studying music, I’ve had the good fortune to learn and explore various styles from orchestral, metal, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, reggae, blues, country…. you name it, I’ve tried it.

I love to share my experiences and teach all that I have learned in music. I am lucky to have maintained a private lessons studio for over 15 years, and on average get to work with 60 plus students a week. I teach a wide variety of musical instruments and music classes. I’ve always loved helping students of all ages and skill levels learn how to play and enjoy music. You are never to old or young to learn how to play music! When I’m not teaching music you can catch me playing in several different local bands, including Opossum Holler, The Daddy Sisters, Veils, The Jamie Resch Band, The DeVore, Weiss & Hall Trio, The Boystie Beas, and Gabagool.

Jordan Weiss

guitar, bass, piano, harmonic theory, songwriting, ear training, performance

Hi, I’m Jordan Weiss and I was 12 years old when Eddie Van Halen changed my life. Sounds dramatic, it was. I was a (middling) tournament tennis player with lackluster grades; I became an obsessive guitar student with a set plan to be surrounded by music the rest of my life. 

I studied at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and Wayne State University (Detroit). I went on to be a career musician, playing and teaching throughout Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, and finally our beloved BG KY— rock, funk, blues, reggae, jazz, popular and otherwise.   Local bands have included Felonious Funk, Doc Weiss & U Tall Pelicans, The Jones, and DeVore, Weiss, and Hall. 

I’m proud to have built premier lesson programs, first at Royal Music Co. and now at our very own Bowling Green Rock Band Academy. 

I teach all ages, styles, and levels, lessons tailored to each student’s process and interest: guitar, bass, piano, harmonic theory, songwriting, ear training, performance. I get very Proud Dad about all of my students, from those who earn their local livings as journeymen musicians or in nationally touring acts, to those who have furthered their studies (musical or not) at programs such as Interlochen Center for the Arts, Gatton Academy, Oberlin College, NYU, Berklee, Belmont, UK…I could go on.

Kristy Helit

piano

Hi, I’m Kristy and I am a Kentucky resident but originally from the outskirts of Nashville TN. My musical studies started at the age of 7 with my primary focus on piano.  I began teaching private piano lessons on a small scale in 2006. Since then, I’ve grown my musical studio to welcome many more students. I have taught locally in Bowling Green for the last 9 years.  I enjoy teaching both kids and adults of varying skill levels. 

 My goal is to share the love of music and pass that along to students. I strive to take a well-rounded approach to help students learn and create music.  That in turn hopefully inspires them to take their music to the stage and share it with others.  Through the years I have played in a variety of venues including banquets, weddings, rodeos, and local spots such as The Derby Piano and Dessert Bar. When I’m not playing music, I love hanging with my dogs and my cat.  I love cars, the great outdoors and I would really like to surf.

 I currently offer virtual and in-person private piano instruction. All ages welcome.

Murf Adams

guitar: slide, electric, acoustic

Hey hey!  My name is Murf Adams.  I grew up in Greenville, KY and was raised in something of a football family.  I played every sport that was offered to me as an elementary school student.  I got a lot of experience keeping benches thoroughly warmed.  Suffice to say, I spent much of my childhood feeling out of place.  That is, until I decided to join band in 6th grade.  I had finally found something I excelled at and something I enjoyed: the trumpet.  

I started playing guitar in middle school and at age 14, I had my first rock band, Hephaestus (good luck pronouncing that correctly.)  Performing at ag centers and church basements, my friends and I started our very own scene in rural Kentucky that lasted throughout our high school years.  

I went on to study trumpet at Western Kentucky University and graduated with a degree in Music Education in 2009.  Since then, I have divided my time between performing and education.  Music has taken me all over the world.  Throughout my musical journey, I have come to appreciate all styles of music.  My go-tos however are funk, rock, jazz, soul, and blues.  I have played both trumpet and guitar in several Bowling Green bands including Fat Box, Billy Swayze, Felonious Funk, Pineapple Jones, and more.  I currently teach music at Lost River Elementary in Bowling Green and I’m excited to say now, at BG Rock Band Academy too!  Let’s Rock!

Cody Beck

guitar: fiddle, violin, mandolin

Yo, Hi, Hello.. I’m Cody Beck and I’m your fiddle in the band. I have been playing for 21 years, professionally for 15. I earned State titles in Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. I have been teaching for 8 years and have helped my students prepare for a professional life in music, including the Opry stage. 

My history as a performing musician includes a range of styles from bluegrass and country to folk rock and punk. I am currently active as a founding member of Ghost Ranch and have done studio work and live touring shows with The Josephines as well as a number of other local projects. 

I joined BGRBA as a contributing instructor in 2021. I teach violin/fiddle: classical and bluegrass/folk styles, as well as mandolin, guitar, and bass. I am excited to be joining the BGRBA family and meeting the next generation of our local scene! 

Spencer Woods

Spencer Woods

Piano

Hello friends, I’m Spencer Woods and I’ve been fascinated by the piano for as long as I can remember. I spent my formative years in Paris, France where I began piano lessons with Karibay Narveaz from the Conservatory of Montreuil at 6 years of age. I was 9 when my family moved to Poole, England, and I was fortunate to study there with the award-winning pianist Douglas Gould. Having multiple great teachers has helped me to understand music from different perspectives, and somewhere along the way I began to develop my own.

My family moved again when I was 11, finally settling in the US (hello Bowling Green, KY), and I continued my musical journey here studying jazz and modern music with Jordan Weiss, and classical music at WKU, where I went on to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance. I’ve been performing in South Central Kentucky and in Nashville since the age of 14, and have collaborated with touring rock bands the likes of Dan Luke and The Raid, Young Romantics, and Billy The Droid. I’ve also toured with the Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble and had the honor of premiering music for WKU professor of composition, Mathew Herman. In the summer of 2017, I performed in the Jazzit festival in Feltre, Italy. I also performed in Florence, Italy, at the Accademia Europea Di Firenze, and took master classes with various maestros of jazz and classical music. It was in Italy that my love for jazz really took off, and since returning to the United States I’ve had multiple rock and jazz projects that have performed extensively and recorded at Thunder Sound and Erskine Sound recording studios.

I currently lead the Woods Menagerie and you can catch us live at venues such as Hickory and Oak and Gasper Brewing Co. I’ve been teaching lessons for a few years now, and I always approach each student as a new process, a new experience. I’m excited to help you along the path that has been so rewarding to me.

Spencer Woods

Shep shepherd

Bass/Guitar/Ukulele

Hey there! I’m Shep, and I am super pumped to be a part of BGRBA! I’m a local musician, college professor, middle school teacher, private lesson teacher, and UK Basketball fanatic. My passion for music started at an early age. My sister would play 80’s music loud for the whole house to hear. My father began teaching me guitar and singing when I was in elementary school. Growing up I started developing my love for music through listening to and learning all sorts of 90’s pop, rock, R & B, funk, and hip hop. Seriously, everything from Bryan Adams to Boys 2 Men and Nirvana to Incubus to the Notorious BIG! I joined the school band program and played the trombone and knew quickly I wanted music to be my career path. I continued music education at Eastern Kentucky University…..and that’s when my world got flipped, turned upside down.

I was offered a summer job with the local band turned national recording artist Black Stone Cherry! Those guys were great. What was a summer job turned in to 5 years going from merch guy to front of house engineer for my awesome friends! I was able to pick up numerous recording engineering certificates along the way.  After about 5 years I still felt a tug in my heart to continue my music education career. I ended up going back to school and getting a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music Education from WKU.  From there I have had the pleasure of teaching high school band and strings, middle school strings, choir and general music, and elementary music and choir. I have also produced numerous musicals. The kids I get to see all the time have been so awesome…. we’ve even brought home some state and national awards, and distinguished ratings for our musical works!

I absolutely love music. It plays such a huge role in bringing all of our worlds together. I am enthusiastic to teach what I have learned from my experiences to you and your family. During private lessons I have had the good fortune of teaching 4-70 year olds. I truly believe learning music is a lifelong journey and you’re never too late to take those first steps! I hope to catch you soon in the coolest place in BG, Bowling Green Rock Band Academy.

Spencer Woods

Heather Heim-Lawson

Voice

Hi! My name is Heather Heim-Lawson and I am incredibly excited to join the Rock Band Academy as an instructor for Vocal Workshops and Voice Coachings/Lessons. I hold both a Masters Degree (Campbellsville University) as well as a Bachelors Degree (WKU) in Vocal Performance. After teaching for over a decade, I decided to open The Lawson School of Music in Elizabethtown, KY where I currently teach voice, piano, and group music classes to all ages. I have also had the opportunity to teach adjunct voice for Indiana University Southeast and Campbellsville University. I love supporting the arts and so I am very involved with the arts community in Elizabethtown where I serve as Music Director for the Youth Theatre of Hardin County. In addition to teaching, I have performed professionally in both musical theatre and opera since 2012. My teaching style has been described as holistic in approach as I strive to cater to each persons individual strengths and goals while also incorporating pedagogical techniques. When not teaching or performing, you can find me  traveling with my husband, hanging with our two dogs, doing yoga, or cooking. I look forward to working with you soon!

Spencer Woods

Tanner Stuppy

Brass

Hi there friends,
My name is Tanner Stuppy and I’ve been sliding around as a trombone player for over 11 years. A Middle Tennessee native I grew up competing in honor bands my entire middle school and high school career. I moved to Bowling Green in 2016 to start my higher education at WKU as a musician and recently graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in December of 2020. During that time I had the honor to be in the top collegiate jazz band and orchestra in the state through KMEA. I also teach marching band at Barren County high school since 2016 as the low brass staff.

I’ve had a love for brass starting at a very young age, growing up I was a avid listener to Tower of Power, Parliament Funkadelic, Prince and many more iconic artists with heavy horn in them. That music has fed into what I do now as a instrumentalist playing with groups around town such as Billy the Droid, Fat Box, and the Menagerie. My love for music simply can’t be contained and I would love to share, help, and grow your musical mindset!