Meet Our Staff

Natasha Marsalli
Executive Director

Starting with private violin lessons at age three, Natasha has developed as a successful performer of solo, chamber, and orchestral literature. Following her solo debut with the Naples Philharmonic at age 14, she has gone on to win top prizes in competitions across the state of Florida. She has studied under Patrick Neal of the Naples Philharmonic, Carol Ruzicka of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Corinne Stillwell of The Florida State University. Natasha graduated summa cum laude with B.M. and B.M.E. degrees from The Florida State University in violin performance and instrumental education. She currently holds positions with orchestras across the Southeast, including Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast, among others.

Natasha is also an active music educator, and is state-certified to teach K-12 music with additional training in the Suzuki and Orff-Schulwerk methods. She is currently the General Manager at Music Lessons Express, where she heads the Suzuki Pre-Twinklers program and oversees program development and day-to-day operations of the studio. Natasha’s violin students have won state music competitions, attended nationally-acclaimed music festivals, and gone on to study music and music education at The Florida State University and Coventry College.

Dr. Ben Lougheed
Program Manager

Dr. Ben Lougheed has performed as a guest soloist at guitar societies, universities, and concert series around the United States and has been featured on several radio and television programs. Ben has been awarded numerous prizes including the Charlie Byrd Memorial Endowed Scholarship in guitar and has been invited to present by the Guitar Foundation of America. He was one of only two musicians chosen for the Knight Foundation’s inaugural Tallahassee Arts Entrepreneurs Institute.

Ben began his guitar study at the age of six with the esteemed Suzuki teacher Marylou Roberts. He then earned his Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, studying with department chair Julian Gray. Ben completed his formal education under celebrated pedagogue Bruce Holzman at Florida State University, earning his Master of Music and Doctor of Music in Guitar Performance along with a certificate in Music Education and Leadership, all while serving as a graduate teaching assistant.

Ben has worked at Music Lessons Express for six years and is now the Program Director for the Guitar Department as well as the head of the Suzuki Guitar Program. Bens’ students have earned top marks at Solo and Ensemble, and other similar festivals as well as been accepted to the All-State and All-National Ensembles.


All of our instructors either hold a college degree in music or have extensive performance/teaching experience. Our instructors work well with both children and adults, and are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Our instructors are friendly, patient, and strive to get to know each student and his/her parent(s) on a personal level. Community and trust is very important to us; therefore, we require every MLE instructor to successfully pass a criminal background check.


A list of some of our instructors:

  • Jeremy Avalos (guitar)
  • Randall Closson (guitar, woodwinds, mandolin, banjo)
  • Yessenia Collins (piano)
  • Dr. Nicholas Hatt (violin)
  • Dr. Erin Heidrick (violin, Suzuki violin)
  • Sarah Heuermann (violin, viola, cello)
  • Alaundre Jefferson (drums)
  • Dr. Frank Kuhny (piano, Suzuki piano)
  • Brianna Martin (voice, piano)
  • Christopher Minami (guitar)
  • Dr. Samuel Peliska (clarinet)
  • Alyna Salgado (voice, piano)
  • Hunter Sanchez (viola, Suzuki violin)
  • Ryan Snapp (cello)
  • Lyndon Thacker (keyboard, drums, guitar, rock band)