Jim Berretta, owner and CEO of Berretta Drum Instruction and Berretta Music Academy, has been instructing since 1998. A graduate of University of Tampa and with honors from Musicians Institute. He has studied with David Coash (Florida Orchestra Percussionist), Joe Porcaro (Los Angeles Studio Legend), Ralph Humphrey (Frank Zappa), Ray Luzier (David Lee Roth/KORN), Richie Garcia (Phil Collins) and Phil Maturano (Barry Manilow) to name a few.
Jim has instructed over 650 students through his private instruction and his annual BMA Band Camp. On the performance side, he had made a name for himself for over a decade as the "go to fill-in drummer" with many of the top Tampa Bay area bands including Sweet Spot, Men From Mars, Category Three, Big Brother, Double Vision, Green Light Go, A New Divide, The Red Sunday, The Danny Brantley Band, Acoustic Thunder, Swipe Right, The Railway Kings, Mixed Signal and Slim Tippinz.
Since 2021, he has been the house drummer at Wiley House Concerts in Clearwater. playing sold out shows with artists such as Jeff Coffey(Chicago), Mikel Paris(O.A.R), Keaton Simons(Brett Young), Matt Ferranti(Brett Young), Matt Brown, TROY, Steve Everett, Brian Sutherland and Brett Wiscons.
Vocalist Emma Converse has been singing at a high level since her teenage years. Besides studying privately with Melissa Mulligan at MMVS Studios for vocals, she is also trained for vocal coaching. Emma has won an Emmy for melody writing for a WPIX 11 News promo in New York. She has been featured on Grammy Award winning new age producer Paul Avgerinos’s albums Devotion and Spiritual Warrior. Live performance wise she has sang at Lincoln Center in NYC in honor of Fred Hellerman’s memorial concert and has opened for members of Steely Dan. Her passion is singing jazz, soul and r&b and passing her knowledge to her students.
Eric is a multi-instrumentalist from Spokane, Washington. He is proficient playing and teaching piano, drum set, vibraphone and trumpet.
Eric's musical journey began on trumpet and guitar in 5th grade, both of which he received private instruction. He continued these throughout high school, where he then began percussion and piano. It was both through these instruments and his inspirational teachers that Eric realized he wanted to study music seriously. He then attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Percussion Performance under Dr. Miho Takekawa. He flourished as an orchestral percussionist, winning the Student Soloist competition as a sophomore and the PASIC Ludwig Industries Scholarship as a junior, which granted him a free ticket and flight to the convention. During this time he also began private jazz study with renowned pianist and composer Dr Cassio Vianna, where he honed in on jazz harmony and literature.
Since moving to St Petersburg in summer 2021, Eric has found many avenues to continue his passion for music performance. He is currently the vibraphonist/keyboardist for The Barker Project, led by bassist Johnnie Barker. He is also a performer in the Clearwater Jazz Holiday association, along with having performed on vibraphone as part of the Lake Wales Jazz Connection with local jazz artists Paul Gavin, Bryan Hughes, LaRue Nickelson, and Alejandro Arenas. Lastly, Eric records and posts regularly on YouTube and Instagram, where he not only plays vibraphone but keyboards, bass, and drums, often creating his own backing tracks. (Find the links here! - https://linktr.ee/eric.zabala.music). You can occasionally even find Eric in downtown St Petersburg busking!
Beyond performance, Eric is fortunate to have an extensive background in music education. The 2019-20 Pacific Lutheran University Percussion Studio assistant, Eric was also the acting beginning band teacher at Visitation STEM Academy and a substitute Percussion Teaching Artist for the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia the same year. Eric’s favorite genres to play and teach are jazz, RnB, and funk, though he is also experienced in classical, pop/hip-hop, rock, metal, blues, funk, and even bossa nova (among others)!
Eric is thrilled to join the Berretta Music Academy team and share his knowledge of music with students of all ages !
Joe Sanders has 20 years of teaching experience and has been playing professionally for over 30 years. Some of Joe's most impressive studies were 4 years of theory under world renowned performer and instructor Michael Fath(“If you love to scream when you hear Vai, Satriani and Yngwie, it’s time to be thrilled by a new scary guitar monster” - Guitar World Magazine) as well as 2 years of jazz studies with Grammy Nominated Mike Pachelli, seriously elevated his playing as well as his instruction. Joe also Has his own signature series guitar with Lowe Custom guitars.
His teaching genres cover all the bases : Rock,Blues,Jazz and Classical.
Lee Farber is a recent transplant from NYC to the Tampa Bay area. He has been teaching over 20 years in the U.S and abroad.
As a teenager Lee studied at the famed Drummers Collective in NYC with Kim Plainfield and later with Gregg Bendian of The Mahavishnu Project . To establish his expertise in hand percussion and world drumming , Lee took it on himself to train with a drum master from Ginea, Africa. Lee also has been trained from The Son- Rise Program for kids and adults with special needs .
As for the performance side, Lee has played and toured extensively in the US, Europe, And Australia. He has been a band leader and side man for over 20 years. He is also a singer and songwriter who's original music has been played on WFUV 90.7 in NY, NY1, Spectrum TV in Manhattan and on Spectrum TV Long Beach, California.
A partial list of the artists he has played and/or recorded with is as follows :
Bob Lanzetti ( Snarky Puppy ) David Johansen ( NY Dolls, Buster Poindexter ) Gary Lucas ( Captain Beefheart & , Jeff Buckley ) Dave Mullen ( Dirty Dozen Brass Band,Brand New Heavies) David Budway ( Stanley Turrentine ) & Karel Ruzicka Jr ( Michael Franks ) & Many More -
As a leader, he released his latest solo EP “Gratefullee” which you can hear on iTunes , Spotify and his website Mrleeanddiversity.com
Lee is very excited to be in Tampa Bay and start his Floridian teaching career here at Berretta Music Academy !!
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Phil Magallanes was born in New York City in 1970. He started playing piano at the age of four, adding guitar and bass to his musical arsenal at age six. A hard-worker and largely self-taught, Phil earned a full-scholarship to the prestigious University Of North Texas. He went on to tour, record and compose for many artists, including Al Di Meola, Arturo Sandoval, Blood Sweat & Tears, Gil Parris, Debbie Gibson, Engelbert Humperdinck and Spyro Gyra.
Since relocating to the Tampa Bay Area in 2010, Phil quickly established himself as an exceptionally capable, versatile and reliable sideman on all three instruments, within every imaginable genre...displaying a virtuosic command of blues, bebop, Latin jazz, funk, classical, Bossa Nova, gospel, rock, reggae, African music, and pretty much everything in between.
Phil also founded the award-winning Show Biz Kids 12-piece Steely Dan Tribute, a highly-swingin' jazz piano trio and Choosy Muthas, an exciting five-piece funk/fusion group. He was the Artist-In-Residence at Players School Of Music for several years, and continues to be heavily involved in music education. Phil currently teaches at Berretta Music Academy.
During the pandemic, Phil rediscovered his lifelong love for guitar, and decided to refocus and devote his creative energies exclusively to the instrument. He now leads jazz combos of varying sizes on guitar (duo to sextet), with a rotating cast of top Tampa Bay talent.
Regardless of style, Phil's powerful groove and love for all forms of music is infectious...and his upbeat sense of humor is sure to keep all who meet him highly entertained!
Born and raised in New York City, Eric began playing for dances, restaurants and other publicly social events at age 13. Through his teens in the tri-state area, he performed with some of the areas popular Top 40 dance bands. Most of these bands being comprised of some of todays recognized artists and producers. While attending college, ‘Ric’, as he is known by friends, became involved in New York’s Latin music scene which led to performances throughout the US and abroad. He later graduated from the City University of New York's Local 802 program with degrees in music. His diverse performance background and formal music training have enabled him to perform with acts ranging from Rock, Soul, and R&B, to Latin, Jazz, and Pop..
Over the years other associations, affliations, stints and media credits include those with Eric Darius, BK Jackson, John Purcell, David Sanborn, Jazmin Ghent, Jose Valentino, Marlon Boone, TheCadillacs, The Del Vikings, The U.S. Stones (a nationally marketed Rolling Stones Tribute Show), Stardust Memories (a nationally
marketed David Bowie Tribute Show) Millie Puente, Alex Bueno, A&CLa Banda, Fausto Rey and Jose Alberto to name a few. Since moving to Florida Ric has served the Tampa Bay communityas technician, performer, teacher, saxophone consultant and lifelong music and art advocate.
Miles Hanson is a versatile, professional performing bassist in the Tampa Bay area with over 25 years of musical experience. He teaches bass lessons privately as well as elementary school general music/chorus/strings in the public school system. He currently lives in Clearwater, FL, has two children, and leads the music ministry/plays drums at his church.
Miles started his musical journey by listening to his father's saxophone playing in a variety of groups during his childhood. In middle school, he started on the clarinet and then gravitated to the electric bass. He played in his garage with his brother (on drums), learning songs on the radio by ear, while also learning to read music at school. In college, he learned to play the double bass as a jazz performance major, which helped broaden his musical views and sharpened his natural gifts. He graduated with a music education degree and has taught in the Pinellas County school system since 2007.
His openness to all musical genres has led him to play a variety of styles, such as reggae, jazz, funk, country, rock, blues, soukous, and pop. He regularly performs with various cover bands, at church, at weddings/private events, and musical theater.
Miles spends his days as a father and music teacher and his nights as a bassist. This gives him the opportunity to share his love of all kinds of music with the next generation as well as
continue to perform at a high level.