About Us

Our Mission

music and the brain

Exhaustive research reveals that music education has beneficial neurological effects.  In addition to teaching music, our goal is to improve cognitive and emotional development by increasing neuroplasticity. It's not enough that our students master music, they also engage their senses, psychomotor skills, emotional intelligence, and intellect.

Our Team

Valerie Kasmir, M. Ed.,  Master Teacher

Master Teacher, Valerie Kasmir, founded Lessons On The Lake Music Arts Academy in 2000. Her mission is to enrich lives through the majestic effects of music. She holds a BA in Music Education and a Masters degree in Education. 

She has been teaching, performing, recording, and writing over 25 years. Her public school teaching experience  includes three different school systems. Music is her passion, which exudes through her teaching.

Caroline Beaver, Office Assistant

Caroline is here to help you with all of your enrollment, scheduling, and administrative needs during your education at Lessons On The Lake Music Arts Academy. If you haven't found answers to your question, please call us.


Victor Payton, Guitar Teacher

Victor has been performing over 20 years. He's studied music over 15 years before joining the Lessons On The Lake Music Arts Academy Staff. He can also teach bass, drums, piano.  Genres include pop, contemporary Christian, and jazz.


Shanka Pettis, Vocal Coach 

Shänka is a national recording classical recitalist, vocal coach and vocal producer.  She is married to pianist and producer Brian Pettis and they have one son, Brian M. Pettis, II. Native of Gastonia, North Carolina, she began studying at the age of seventeen with the late Frances Shafter of Charlotte, North Carolina. She continued her studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Voice Performance and continued studies for a Master's in Performing Arts. She also has master's credit in Music Education from the Early Childhood Education from Concordia College in Forrest Park, Illinois.


Shänka is the Co-Founder of Freedom Faith Life, a non-profit, that provides services for local churches, community outreach programs, and organizations.  She is the founder of David and Mattie Smith Performing Arts Center which houses an Entertainment and Fine Arts Development program that serves aspiring performing artists, actors, and dancers. She served as the Voice Director of Ravinia Family Music School in Lawndale area of Chicago, and a teaching artist in residency at Ravinia Music Festival for the Music Discovery Program for many years. She has been a part of the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago and the music department at Living Word Christian Center in Forrest Park, Illinois. While residing in Chicago, Shanka also maintained successful private voice studios on both the west and south sides. She now, has a private voice studio in the Mallard Creek area in Charlotte, NC. She is the vocal coach at The Park Church, Charlotte, and consults with several churches and community organizations in the Charlotte land area.


Shänka recorded  her debut album, self titled “Shänka La-Verne Falls” in the Spring of 2012, and is currently working on her second album to be released July, 2017 with her very first book entitled "Beautifully Redeemed".  She also recorded "Covenant Experience"  with her husband in December of 2015. She and Brian will record again in September of this year, “Free Worship”.

Patty Wasylna, Piano Teacher

Patty's been teaching beginner through advanced piano students since 1992. She believes strongly in teaching a comprehensive method of technique, theory, and skill with a strong emphasis on early note recognition and reading.  She also believes music should be fun and rewarding and strive to create a balance of perfection, diligence, and fun.  She teaches young children through adults and thoroughly enjoys the relationships that develop and the reward of seeing students advance and grow to love playing the piano. Teaching piano is not just a job for me it is a passion that I love and never grow tired of.


Ryan Lippard, Drum Teacher

Ryan has been playing drums over 10 years. He's performed professionally in various cover and original bands. His genres include rock, funk, country, blues, and jazz. To further his teaching expertise, Ryan is attending UNC Charlotte as an Elementary Education major. 



Anne Neely, Violin and Viola Teacher

Native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Anne has been playing the violin since age 10. While in high school  she performed at Carnegie Hall and was awarded the Carnegie Medal.

Anne attended Edinboro University and has a degree in Music Education. While in college she was the Concert Mistress for the University's Symphony.

Family brought her to North Carolina in 1997. Continuing her love of music, Anne has taught in private schools and is the Concert Mistress for the Lake Norman Orchestra. She also founded a string quartet, The 4 Bows. This group traveled to Washington DC and played twice at the White House. The quartet also performs at weddings, local and private events.

Anne has also traveled to Austria with the Lake Norman Orchestra, performing in Salzburg and Vienna.  Anne continues to teach private violin and piano lessons. 


807 Williamson Road, Suite # 202, Mooresville, NC, 28117

(704) 799-0504

Mon-Thurs 10am - 7:30pm

© 2017 Lessons On The Lake