Our Teachers

All of our teachers are passionate about music and incorporating it into the development of children.

They create a fun, informal, social setting that spurs engagement and supports each child's musical development

Amy Ashley Despres



Center Director and Registered Music Together® Teacher
Amy Despres is the founder and director of Miss Amy's Music Makers, an early childhood music development program centered in Washington, DC. Amy has been singing and acting her entire life and is passionate about teaching and sharing music with young children and the community at large. Amy received her B.A.in vocal music and theatre from the University of Miami in 2002 and has since performed in numerous musicals and shows throughout the United States. Since living in Washington, Amy has sung with the Washington National Chorus, been a featured Washington Nationals national anthem singer, recorded several voice overs and commercials for local businesses and is a lead vocalist in the live bands Motorcade and Diplomatic Immunity. She completed her training with the Center for Music and Young Children in 2005 and began teaching with Music Together of Vienna and Little Steps Music in Washington DC. After two years of teaching, Amy discovered that her own neighborhood of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle did not offer Music Together classes so she created Miss Amy's Music Makers in 2007 to bring The Joy of Family Music® making to the Adams Morgan and Dupont communities. Amy has two little music makers in her family, Penelope and Holden who also enjoy coming to class!

   
Stephen Leroy

Steve’s musical training began with piano and trumpet lessons in grammar school. When he was 15 he fell in love with the bass guitar, and it has been his primary instrument ever since. He has played with a number of bands over the years, spanning a wide range of musical genres, and his recordings and compositions have been heard in films and on the radio. He gives private lessons to children and adults in guitar, ukulele, bass, songwriting, and music theory. Steve majored in languages and linguistics at Georgetown University, where he also took a number of music theory courses and sang in one of the school’s choirs as part of a course on choral literature. Upon graduating he moved to New York City, where he worked primarily in film and television production and development. In 2009, he moved back to DC, where he lives with his wife and two children, Eliza (4) and Ben (2). For a long time, Steve has been fascinated by how people of all ages learn and perceive music and language. He believes that the methods and song collections employed by Music Together hold uniquely powerful tools for enriching children’s musical development. He looks forward to working with you and your children and to having lots of fun in the classroom.

   
Ellen Kliman

Ellen has a B.Mus. from Oberlin Conservatory and an M.Mus. from the University of Maryland. She performs early music, cabaret, opera, operetta, musical theatre and chamber music throughout the Washington area, and can be heard weekly as a section leader and soloist at both All Soul’s Episcopal Church in Woodley Park and St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Her first love is education – she has spent more than 20 years running a private music studio, where she teaches voice, piano, music appreciation classes and sightreading. She went to her first Music Together class in 2008 with her oldest son, and was hooked right away; she completed Music Together teacher training in 2013, and continues to attend classes with her youngest child.

   
Sarah Jill Bashein

   
Jeremiah Goulka

Jeremiah is a writer, lawyer, and policy wonk who fell in love with children's and family music after becoming a father. Growing up in a musical household, he took piano lessons for years, picked up guitar and harmonica, and eventually took voice lessons and sang in a symphony chorus. 

After litigating with the Justice Department, doing Hurricane Katrina recovery work, and conducting research at a think tank, Jeremiah turned to full-time writing. When his daughter was born, he became a full-time writer and stay-at-home dad. He discovered that music was a way to connect with his infant child, and weekly Music Together classes developed that connection. Class became a highlight of each week, and after being introduced to the ukulele, he found himself spending more and more time making children's music. 

Today he teaches in two Music Together centers in Washington. Along with fellow Music Together teacher Steve Leroy, he also performs around the area in the acoustic family music duo King Bullfrog.

Jeremiah has traveled to all 50 states and all 6 inhabited continents, and lived in 11 cities and 4 towns in 8 states and 3 countries. Home is now with his wife, daughter (age 4), and son (age 1) on Capitol Hill.