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meet the Teachers


Mary Spencer KnapP, founder of The Nightingale Fam, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor and Brooklyn mom with over ten years experience in early childhood music education. She is also founder of cabaret soul band Toot Sweet (with whom she has released three albums of original music) and avant punk band Death Sneeze. Mary was an original Broadway cast member of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and has toured South and Central America with Dominican artist and healer Irka Mateo. 

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Isaac Gillespie Having spent a decade both as a teaching artist at the Children's Museum of the Arts and in preschools across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens teaching music, yoga and mindfulness with Yo Re Mi, Isaac brings a unique and multi-faceted approach to story and music time. We will explore the world of sound using lots of different musical instruments. Join the community of families who make music class with Isaac a part of their weekly routine!

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DOUG BERNSA maestro of bass and face, Doug Berns has been grooving the bass across a multitude of musical outfits since the age of 14. As an educator, he has led ensembles from across a wide range of ages, including spearheading the Rock Band programs at the Dalton School and the Browning School in New York City. He has 15 years of experience as a private teacher on bass, guitar and music technology. He has toured the world with afro-beat heavyweights Antibalas and EMEFE, and his songwriting has been featured on television, screen and even virtual reality. You can catch him week in and week out keeping the party going as a member of the historic Cafe Wha? house band.

Akim NdlovuFrom the streets of Bali to Carnegie Hall, from meditative throat singing to high-energy Hip Hop rhymes, Akim Funk Buddha creates borderless performance art, fusing sounds and movements. An avid world traveler and self-described old-school B-boy MC, he is known for his holistic approach to Hip Hop, drawing from a full spectrum of cultural traditions and artistic disciplines. Akim is an advocate for alternative methods in learning. Over the years of teaching in school programs, residencies, festivals, he has developed innovative teaching methods that utilize both movement and sound for kids of different learning modalities. Akim believes that through the power of music and performance, we break barriers and build bridges. As a result fear and ignorance is conquered and the world is brought a bit closer together.


Teagan Tayloris a singer, trumpeter, songwriter, performer, recording artist, and educator from San Diego, CA. They have written, recorded, and performed their original projects, Adequate Fur and Kleptokrat and have many years of teaching experience in special education and general education classes, including positions as Learning Supervisor and Associate Kindergarten Teacher at The Dalton School, paraprofessional work in San Diego, and music programs at The Dalton School, Chickpeas Co-Op Preschool and Little Flowers Daycare. In 2020 Teagan was a teaching artist for the Rock and Roll Playhouse’s online show “Live From the Playroom,” and continues to perform live concerts with The Rock & Roll Playhouse and The Nightingale Fam. Teagan is very excited to be singing, playing, and dancing along with Mary Spencer Knapp and The Nightingale Fam!

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Katie Battistoniis a jazz-trained guitarist and composer living in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. She has been teaching music lessons and coaching rock bands for over a decade. She performs her own music as Katy the Kyng.

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