MEET YOUR SOULFUL, COMPASSIONATE TEACHERS:

+ Stephanie Carlin

Hi! I'm Stephanie Carlin, and I am so damn committed to creating a world where kids can express themselves without getting derailed by fear or self-doubt.

This program a gift for the right child. It's not for everyone - just for the right people.

Before I founded Free Spirits Music I taught at countless music schools. The staff was underpaid and overworked. The locations were often a beat up church or the basement of a school, with little to no aesthetic or equipment. Teachers did their best to squeak a couple chords out of the kids, but they had limited training on how to comfort, encourage, or nourish the profundities of their students' thoughts.

At Free Spirits Music, I've changed all that.

My classes are taught in high-performing studios built for rockstars. I create rock shows with packed crowds overflowing with excitement. Our prices are higher than other studios because we offer a heightened experience. I pride myself on paying our music educators a competitive wage - something that is severely lacking in today's industry.

I stand for every child being fully self-expressed in their artistic spirit. I created Free Spirits Music to give voice to exactly that.

I cannot wait to meet you.

+Mel Johnston

My name is Mel Johnston and I'm a musician, writer, and educator based. I am committed to cultivating a love of music with my students that they will always carry with them.

The first song I can remember performing onstage was Frank Sinatra's "All the Way" at the age of six. From an even earlier age, though, I always had a love for singing and experimenting with my voice. As I grew older, I immersed myself in classical voice and music theory, skills that I use each day as a teacher, even if at the time I preferred belting my face off over the sounds of the rock and jazz bands I played with through high school and college.

While a student at New York University, I ditched my studies in classical voice in favor of studying literature and poetry, but still found myself making music every single day, on and off-campus. Now, as a teacher and performer, I've unified my deep loves of music and storytelling in order to empower the people I teach.

+Sam Decker

My name is Sam Decker, and as a versatile multi-instrumentalist, I perform and teach keyboard, drums, composition, and woodwinds.

Originally from the Chicago area, I attended New England Conservatory in Boston, where I studied with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Ken Radnofsky, John McNeil, Frank Carlberg, and Cecil McBee. I also studied contemporary classical composition and improvisation with Katarina Miljkovic. During my time at NEC, I was selected to perform with John Hollenbeck, Dave Holland, Jason Moran, Lee Konitz, and under Christian Wolff during residencies, and was featured on New England Conservatory’s Jazz 40th Anniversary CD.

I am a member of the band Green and Glass and I co lead the Decker/LoRe Quartet with Alex LoRe, which released its first EP in 2012. I'm also a part of the Logan Strohsal Group, and our first record Up Go We was recently released by Sunnyside Records.

I currently teach at the Woodside Music Studio in Park Ridge NJ and I am a Teaching Artist with Arts Connection. I am a proud member of the Free Spirits Music family.