Private Music Instructors


Lyn Assar (Guitar)

Lyn has studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and at The Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA. He has played in several local bands and currently plays in a band “The Machine”. He is familiar with all guitar styles from 70’s classic rock to today’s most cutting edge styles, and is passionate about teaching his trade to his students.


Stacey Bierman
(Voice, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Beginning Ukulele)

Stacey is a graduate of Greenville University with a B.S. in Music Ministry. She studied many styles of music, with an emphasis in Voice. She started guitar lessons at 7 years of age and studied voice and piano through high school and college.

During her college years, she also sang in the gospel group, Cornerstone, as well as the Greenville University Choir. Since then, she has performed with many variety bands, covering pop, country, jazz, and rock. She also recorded music in Nashville, TN. In high school, she started leading music and playing guitar at St. Denis Catholic Church. Since graduating, she serves as Music Director at St. John’s Catholic Church.

Marie Brown (Cello)

Marie Brown is an active cellist within the St. Louis area. Her studies started at the age of nine in Alton, Illinois under the teachings of Larry Crabbs, Victoria Voumard, Kim Shelley, and Laura Plummer. Through part of middle school and all of her high school career, Ms. Brown studied privately under the direction of Mrs. Fariga Drayton- Conway. Ms. Brown earned her two bachelor's degrees in Music Education and Music Performance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, studying under Marta Simidtchieva, Michael Mishra, and Lenora Anop. She has been on the faculty with Edwardsville School district and worked for Parkway Schools. As well as being a board member, Ms. Brown is the current cello sectional coach for the Alton Junior Youth Symphony and the Alton Youth Symphony. Marie also has a large private studio that spans the Greater St. Louis area, as well as teaching for Halpin Music Company. She is a member of the Landolfi String Quartet and Keough String Quartet. Ms. Brown is an active player with Greenville University's theater program, SIUE's Summer Showbiz program, and Blackburn College, as well as other area ensembles. Marie serves as principal cellist for the SIU-Edwardsville University Orchestra, as well as Forte Chamber Orchestra St. Louis. Currently, Ms. Brown teaches 5th grade orchestra for Kirkwood School District.


Chelsea Cater (Piano)

Chelsea graduated from Lincoln Christian University in 2016. She has been playing piano since 1999 and greatly enjoys teaching children and adults of all ages. Coming from a family of musicians (and 4 piano teachers!), Chelsea is following in the footsteps of previous generations and sharing the gift of music to others. Her approach to teaching is laid-back and tailored to each student. She has been trained in both classical and contemporary music, but has a particular fondness for classical composers and wishes to pass on her love of the classics to her students. In addition to teaching music, she also has a heart for children in the public school system and has worked with special needs children in the Alton School District since 2016. She has a passion for children and music and appreciates the opportunities she’s been given to be able to teach and serve both.

Ben Duke (Viola)

Ben is a student at Alton High School and has played viola for many years. He has been involved in many ensembles in and out of school under the direction of Laura Plummer and has studied privately with local string teachers, Caitlin Peach and Chris Banks. Some of ensembles in which he has participated include Fifth Grade Honors Orchestra, Alton Junior Youth Symphony, Alton Youth Symphony, Alton Youth Symphony Chamber, Jazzios, Schumann, Alton High School Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp, and the Illinois Music Education Association (IMEA) All District Festival.

Teresa Ferguson (Piano)

Teresa has been teaching privately for 13 years, teaching in the LCCC Music Preparatory Program from 1994 to 1999 as well as in the Continuing Education program at the college. She has also been involved in music therapy programs and played for worship services at Christian Care Nursing Center. Teresa's approach to teaching is individualistic in nature, placing emphasis on the student's aspirations and goals in piano study. She uses a well-rounded curriculum that includes scales, theory, sight reading and the all important aspect of fun. She teaches students of all ages, and has started children as young as age 4. Using duets, playing music that interests the student and through recitals and Guild Auditions, Teresa believes in maximizing the student's talents to realize their piano playing dreams.

Marcy Holub
(Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Beginning Ukulele)

Starting on piano in 3rd grade (1993), Marcy began clarinet in 5th grade band (1995) and added other instruments in college, including saxophone (2004), flute (2006), percussion (2008), and guitar (2012). She has performed in various ensembles at Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) and taught many private lessons on each of these instruments since 2004. In 2008, she earned an AAFA from L&C and a BME from Greenville College in 2010. She furthered her music education at SIUE (2011-2012) and studied Music Therapy at Maryville University (2012-2017). During the school year, she teaches for Providence Fine Arts Center, a homeschool organization in Ferguson, Missouri. Since 2013, she has taught and/or assisted in several classes, including Intermediate Orchestra, Advanced Orchestra, Percussion, Guitar, Stomp, and Ukulele. Through the years, she has instructed woodwind sectionals for both The Alton Youth Symphony and Orchestrating Diversity (in St. Louis). She has also participated in the annual spring musicals in Calhoun County since 2005, The Alton Municipal Band since 2005, The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Band in Clarinda, Iowa since 2006, and her own Key of Steam since 2014.


Marisa Johnson (Piano)

I'm Marisa and I have had the pleasure of working with all ages of music lovers for over 10 years. I majored in flute (which I've played since age 10) and enjoy learning new instruments, but my primary instrument is piano, which I began playing at the age of 8 and I have been accepted into the National Music Guild for piano with a superior rating since the age of 12. I love sharing what I have learned over the years. Music has power and brings connection to us as a whole in so many ways. Through learning an instrument, not only does one learn the basics such as note reading, theory, and performing. But it can help us develop patience, self-discipline, determination, and courage. It offers an outlet to express ourselves in ways that we may otherwise falter.  As a teacher, I learn so much from students.  And for that experience, I am very grateful.


Byron Sutton (Trumpet)

Byron has been playing trumpet for 46 years, taking private lessons until his graduation from SIU-E with a degree in music (emphasis on jazz). Byron has played professionally since 1967 in a number of different rock and jazz bands. He taught privately in the late 60's and early 70's, then traveled with his own band for about 15 years., and is still playing professionally.


Nick Zankl (Violin)

Hi! I'm Nick, one of Halpin Music's violin instructors! Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I've been playing the piano since around 1999 and the violin since 2004. I picked the violin up at the age of eleven, participating in local orchestras and violin competitions. I graduated from Lewis & Clark Community College in 2014 with my Associates in Music Performance, Education, and Fine Arts. I've been teaching violin and Dave Simon's KidzRock program ever since! I teach any age above four years, from basic bow holds and left-hand/right-hand postures to more advanced techniques, such as spiccato, vibrato, and positional accuracy when shifting. I also teach basic piano, viola, and guitar.


Contact Us

Halpin Music Company
Alton, IL
88 Northport Drive

Alton, IL 62002
Phone: 618-462-0661

Centralia, IL
139 Locust St.

Centralia, IL 62801
Phone: 618-532-8512 


Alton Location Hours:
Monday - Friday:  12pm-7pm
Saturdays: 10am-5pm

Centralia Location Hours:
Monday - Friday: 8am-4pm
Closed Saturdays

Both Halpin Music Company locations are closed on Sundays

Alton: 618-462-0661
Centralia: 618-532-8512