Faculty: Performing Arts Academy

Teacher Instrument Level Phone Number
Ms. Bethany Cothern


piano Level 3
Dr. Olivia Ellis

Faculty Liaison

Piano Level 3 423.775.7282
Ms. Laurel McLaughlin

Student Intern

Cello Level 1 lmclaughl1761@bryan.edu
Mrs. Linda Barger Piano Level 2 423.775.0758


Dr. Zeb Balentine Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Songwriting Level 2 870.820.4436
Ms. Ally Underwood Flute Level 2 423.605.2134
Dr. Kimberly Keck Level 3
Ms. Laura Neff Piano Level 2 423.653.3136
Ms. Katelyn Novak

Student Teacher

Piano Level 1 859.481.3692
Mr. Bobby Eaton

Student Teacher

ukulele Level 1
Ms. Abigail Ferrell

Student Teacher

Piano Level 1 aferrell8871@bryan.edu


Teacher Biographies

Dr. Zeb Balentine

Zeb Balentine

Dr. Zeb Balentine is Assistant Professor of Worship Arts at Bryan College where he teaches worship leading, songwriting, electric guitar, and directs various worship teams. He holds a Doctorate and Master of Arts in Worship Studies from Liberty University. Before coming to Bryan in 2018, he was a worship pastor in Arkansas. Dr. Balentine has spent 25 years playing guitar, writing songs, and performing in various venues, settings, and genres.

Mrs. Linda Barger

Linda Barger

Mrs. Linda Barger has been teaching piano students for 40 years. She studied piano and organ with Dr. J. James Greasby, receiving her Bachelor of Music in organ performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1989. Linda is a staff accompanist for the Bryan College Music Department.  She lives with her husband, Roy. She holds the Colleague certificate from the American Guild of Organists.

Ms. Bethany Cothern

Bethany Cother

Ms. Bethany Cothern, owner of BC Piano Studios in Chattanooga, TN, has eleven years of piano teaching experience in private, group, and classroom settings.  She holds an MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Louisville as well as an MM in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique from Salem College.  She teaches a piano technique draws from neuroscience for brain-based learning, from biomechanics for healthy body movements, and from sports pedagogy for building a basic form for this life-long motor skill.  Her teaching of piano technique also always prioritizes expression and the student’s connection to the piece being studied.  She is excited to be back in her home state of Tennessee and is enthusiastic about her role as both the Director of the Bryan College Performing Arts Academy and as an instructor of the piano!

Mr. Bobby Eaton

Bobby Eaton

Mr. Bobby Eaton is currently an instrumental music education major at Bryan College as well as a ukulele instructor through BCCMS. During his time at Bryan College, Bobby has been a part of the Bryan College Piano Ensemble, Chorale, and Chamber Singers. In addition to teaching music, Bobby has also served as an accompanist and worship leader at his church.

Dr. Olivia Ellis

Olivia Ellis

Dr. Olivia Ellis is faculty liaison and teaches both traditional and Suzuki piano. In addition to teaching piano lessons, she is also Associate Professor of Music at Bryan College and directs the BC Piano Ensemble. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma and is active in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), currently serving as Southern Division Certification Commissioner. She is certified to teach Suzuki Piano Books 1-4. She loves to help students reach their goals and thinks that music study is essential to holistic education. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, crafting, and drinking tea.

Ms. Abigail Ferrell

Abigail Ferrell

Abigail Ferrell is a student at Bryan College. She is double majoring in Music and Biology, Pre-Med, and will graduate in May 2023. The piano has been an important part of her life since she was young and has fostered in her a love for playing and teaching music. She has enjoyed playing piano and violin in the church over the years. For the past couple of years, she has been involved in the Bryan College Piano Ensemble and Bryan College Community Orchestra. Currently, she is participating in Bryan College Chorale and Chamber Singers groups. She has loved teaching piano to beginner and early intermediate students for a year and is excited to continue teaching. Introducing children to the world of music and developing in them an appreciation and passion to learn is one of Abigail’s greatest joys in her own music career.

Dr. Kimberly Keck

Kim Keck

Ms. Laurel McLaughlin

Laurel McLaughlin

Ms. Laurel McLaughlin is a student at Bryan College. She is double majoring in English and Liberal Arts with a minor in music and plans to graduate in May 2022. She has been involved in music most of her life, beginning with piano at a young age. She has also been involved in the school choir in the past, as well as playing with the Saline Symphony Orchestra and the Bryan College Community Orchestra as a cellist.

Ms. Laura Neff

Laura Neff

Laura Neff holds a degree from Bryan College in piano pedagogy. She has studied piano for seventeen years and has enjoyed teaching beginner to early advanced students for the last four years. Her desire is to help her students develop an appreciation for music as well as a passion for worshiping the Lord. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Human Services with a focus in lifespan development from Bryan College.

Ms. Katelyn Novak

Katelyn Novak

Ms. Katelyn Novak has been involved in music from a young age and is passionate about using music to impact the people around her and point others to the beautiful and redemptive glory of Jesus Christ. She has been privileged with opportunities to serve as a music educator, performer, accompanist, and ensemble director throughout her time as a musician. Ms. Novak is currently finishing her studies in Music Education with a focus in voice at Bryan College, taking additional classes in piano pedagogy during her time there as a student as well. In addition to teaching private lessons in both voice and piano, Ms. Novak loves exploring new and creative ways to bring a well-rounded educational approach to the private lesson setting.

Ms. Ally Underwood

Allyson Underwood

Ms. Ally Underwood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Bryan College in 2010 and has been teaching private flute lessons for 15 years. In the past, she directed the Bryan College Flute Ensemble, the Bryan College Community Children's Choir, and was the Band Director for Bledsoe County Schools. She has performed with the Cadek Flute Choir, the Carluke Primrose Orchestral Flutes in Carluke, Scotland, the Chattanooga Youth Symphony, the Bryan College Flute Ensemble, the Bryan College Chorale and Chamber Singers, and a variety of other orchestras, choirs, community bands, pit orchestras, church ensembles, weddings, and solos.

The Performing Arts Academy of Bryan College is pleased to have affiliate students with the following teachers:

  • Mr. Roy Barger — Classical Guitar
  • Ms. Mary Brown — Harp/Piano
  • Mrs. Jane Barnett — Piano
  • Dr. Nicole Doran — Composition/Woodwinds/Piano/Voice
  • Mrs. Kristen Gfeller — Violin
  • Mary Blackburn — Piano, Voice (virtual lessons only)
  • Mrs. Allison Hall — Piano
  • Mrs. Rachel Jones — Piano