Brett Blakemore is an accomplished guitar player who is well versed in many different genres. Brett first showed an interest in music when, at age 12, he discovered his mom’s old guitar in a closet under the stairs. After learning his first song from a neighborhood friend he was hooked. From that point on, he followed a path that led him to a B.S. in Music technology from Missouri Western State University and a diverse career as a composer, recording engineer, performer, and educator.
While at MWSU, Brett studied classical guitar under the direction of world-renowned classical guitarist Anthony Glise and jazz improvisation under Jason P. Riley. “I feel like all my experiences — recording, film-scoring, performing, all of it — make me a better teacher,” says Brett. Teaching is a craft that Brett has been perfecting for over 10 years. The classroom isn’t the only place you’ll find Brett. He can be seen and heard on the Kansas City music scene most weekend nights as both a solo performer and as a member of all kinds of well-known bands.
Thomas M. Pender has held various positions as a guitar teacher and professional performer, with his teaching skills specializing in jazz and classical guitar. He also teaches all areas of guitar as well as bass and ukulele.
He holds a B.A. degree in Music Composition from UMKC Conservatory of Music and has a Professional and Studio Music degree from the Musician’s Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA. He is currently a guest lecturer for the University of Kansas School of Music, where he teaches Advanced Guitar Class and Private Guitar. Tom is also a faculty member for Music Matters of the Upper Room in Kansas City, teaching classes as well as providing private instruction on guitar and bass.
Tom also taught at Longview Community College for 22 years. His courses included Private Guitar, Bass, MIDI Music and Music Appreciation Writing Intensive. He also facilitated the use of technology in the Music Department and served on the Cultural Arts Council and participated in professional development and received Awards of Appreciation. As a technologist, he was an audio engineer and studio musician, producing high energy, high impact radio spots. He was an audio engineer and studio musician at Dillman Sound Studios in Kansas City. At Audio Vision in Overland Park, he provided accurate and reliable services and products for the Kansas Bar Association, including audio production, editing, music arranging, composing, audio-visual support and script writing.
As an independent agent and contractor, he has managed personnel as band leader for Fox 4 Love Fund for Children, Midland Theater, Folly Theater, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City Parks Commission, North Kansas City Parks Commission, Kansas City Homes and Gardens and many other concerts, club dates, events and fundraisers in and out of the Kansas City Metropolitan area.
He has received the following academic awards from UMKC: Golden Key National Honor Society, Sapientia Es Potentia Honor Society and Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. He also received the Appreciation of Dedication of Service Award from Longview Community College.
David grew up with a musical family in Independence and began his music training at an early age beginning in preschool on violin. However, he finally settled on the piano at the age of 6 and now he is an accomplished pianist. He also joined the Music Arts Institute children’s choir, where he developed his passion for choral music. He has been a member of the MAI family ever since. He started playing the guitar when he was 11, and later began training under John Svoboda as a classical guitarist when he was 14. He picked up the ukulele in high school and took it with him everywhere he went. He has also became proficient with the bass guitar as well as many other obscure instruments.
Currently, David attends the conservatory at UMKC majoring in vocal music education. He studies voice under Dale Morehouse and guitar under Douglas Niedt, famed classical guitarist and head of the guitar program at the conservatory. David loves all kinds of music: classical, blues, jazz, rock, and especially choral music. He also enjoys many different instruments, and owns a dynamic collection of them.
David wants to be able to share the gift of music to as many people as he can because he believes he can make a positive impact on the world through music teaching.