Instructor Bios

Gary Joseph Potter Jr
Guitar/Management
 

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music. Since graduating I have immersed myself in the world of music and entertainment across all mediums and genres. I have worked as a touring guitarist for over 20 years having performed nationally and internationally with bands that include: Daughters, The Midnight Renewal, Imprint, The Jessica Lewis Band, The SOS Swing Band, The Coastline Swing Band, The New Providence Band, and the Australian rock band Bellusira.   In addition to touring I have numerous recording and live theater pit orchestra credits. As an educator I have created stylistically diverse instructional content for Guitar World magazine and the app Guitar World’s “Lick of the Day”. In addition to these published instructional applications, I am the owner of Amped Music School in Rhode Island where I not only teach guitar in a private one-on-one setting but I manage the instruction of other guitarists along with drum, bass, saxophone, flute, clarinet, violin, keyboard and vocal professionals. Rounding out my true commitment to the world of music I have created a one-of-a-kind web-based guitar instructional site that promotes my unique instruction techniques and allows me to work with a worldwide audience (www.PracticeTheGuitar.com).

Samantha Shriner
 

Piano

Hi! My name is Sam Shriner, and I am a Sophomore Music Therapy Major with a concentration in classical piano at the University of Rhode Island. I have worked as a summer camp counselor. I love working with kids and think piano should be a fun and exciting way to learn and engage with music and develop a strong music theory basis. I use a dynamic teaching method catered to development stage and personalized to my students. 

Tommy Garcia
Guitar, Piano, Vocals

Tommy is a Teacher and Composer for Film/Media. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he has spent nearly a decade teaching Guitar students of all ages and skill levels in various styles. Using a holistic and flexible approach, he seeks to guide each individual student toward their own personal goals while building the basic skills they will need to accomplish those and other future ambitions. When he is not teaching, Tommy composes music and makes sounds for Film, Movie Trailers, and other things.

 

Mich Muller - Drums

Mich is grateful to have had the opportunity to perform with many of the top musicians in Rhode Island. Having played professionally across New England as well as regularly performing at venues near his southern Rhode Island home, Mich is building a reputation of reliability and great enthusiasm. As a first call substitute drummer and percussionist for a variety of local professionals, Mich has the opportunity to perform everything from Jazz, Rock, Latin, Classical, and more. His undergraduate studies at the University of Rhode Island connected him with teachers such as Ron Stabile and Keith Aleo on percussion, Steve Langone on drum set, Dave Zinno on bass, and Manabu Takasawa on piano. 

 

Mich is the percussion instructor for the Drum and Bugle Corp at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London. Having taught and performed alongside the competitively selected cadets, Mich has developed new teaching methods and compositions for such academically oriented individuals. 

 

Mich is excited to expand his teaching studio and will use his experience and love of music to help create a new generation of well rounded musicians.

Jameson “JJ” Ward
 

Percussionist - Pianist

 

Jameson “JJ” Ward is a multi-faceted instrumentalist, with over 10 years of experience playing percussion instruments and piano. He studies percussion at Rhode Island College as a music education major, and has worked under the instruction of Piero Guimaraes, Mike Dequattro and Charlie Kalajian. He has also studied piano at Rhode Island College under the instruction of well-known pianist Lila Kane, and has studied outside of Rhode Island College with Anne Hart, Josh Martin and Enrico Garzilli. JJ has performed in many ensembles such as the Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble, Concert Chorus, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and percussion ensemble. He has gigged all around Southeastern MA and Rhode Island, playing in many musical theater pits, and gigging with his band “Straight 8ths”, a pop and classic rock cover band, all mostly on piano. He has also played for various community orchestras, wind ensembles, and accompanied community choirs.  He has been teaching at Cranston High School East for three years as a percussion instructor / arranger for the Marching Band and the Percussion Ensemble. The percussion ensemble currently holds the title of NESBA Local AA scholastic champions. JJ’s heart and soul is in teaching, and believes that the best way to impact youth is through education, and looks forward to teaching every student!

 

Tara Gozaydin

Voice

I began my journey here at Amped Music School from 2013-2017, learning on guitar, piano, vocals, and even home recording! Currently, I’m a double major in Music and Psychology at URI. Singing is my main passion, but I also enjoy writing music with guitar and piano in my spare time. I’ve appeared in concert at several venues, including South Kingstown Farmer’s Market, Richmond Smoke, Tetrahydro Club, and The Pumphouse. I have had a knack for bringing music into most things I do, from leading a percussion circle in a nursing home, adapting popular music into camp songs, singing karaoke with elementary students, and accompanying on piano for elders with dementia in a daycare setting. I was the singer for the URI Big Band last year. I have over 3 years of professional training in jazz, classical, and theatre. To this day, I continue to take lessons to further my development as a performer. I have studied music with the following professors and teachers: William Longo, Margaret Frazier, Emmett Goods, Grant Maloy Smith, Paul Bettencourt, Steve Skop, Rachel Mackenzie, Jennifer Armstrong, Jonathan Audette, Marina Ferri, and Emilia DiCola. I am a strong advocate for empowerment and equality in my writing. As an empathetic listener and experienced soloist, I hope to inspire my students to follow their dreams through development of their personal voices.

 
James Himmelmann
Piano
James Himmelmann is a Rhode Island based pianist, composer, and educator with years of experience playing and teaching a variety of music styles. As a pianist, James' performance experience includes playing at the Newport Jazz Festival, WaterFire, the Pumphouse Music Works as well as many restaurants and smaller venues across the region. As a composer, James has written and arranged works for large ensembles at the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, as well various High School groups. James currently is the Director of Performing Arts at the Rocky Hill Country Day School where he teaches Pre-K-5 general music as well as Middle and High School Chorus.
 
Jakob Hood 
Guitar

Jake is an awesome guitar teacher!