Our Instructors

We’ve got ’em, and they’re good.

Whether you want to learn how to rock out with electric guitar, drums, or bass; brush up on your country or folk with banjo, mandolin, or lap steel; belt out a tune with voice lessons; or if you tend toward more classical instruments like violin, cello, or piano, our instructors have you covered.


Nan DeStafney
Founder of the Blues Angel School of Music

Nan has been playing piano for more than 50 years, and teaching for more than 40 of those years. Among other things, she studied piano at the University of Texas and also at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She has taught all over the country and describes her teaching style as participative, involving the student in every aspect of the process to make a more engaging lesson. Nan enjoys playing classical, blues, and jazz, though she has been known to rock out to some Led Zeppelin during the school’s annual rock concert which features Blues Angel School of Music students from every level of learning.


Bobby Butterfield

Bobby has been playing drums for more than 45 years, and teaching drummers for more than 30. Bobby comes to us from New Jersey where he studied under teachers including Charles Maresca, who taught Danny Seraphine of Chicago, and Joe Morello. He taught privately and as faculty at several music schools while living in New Jersey. Bobby tailors his lesson plan around each student’s needs. He plays rock, jazz, Latin, funk, fusion, and R&B drums, but he has been known to fill in on other genres as well.


Jimmy Cross
Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Mandolin, Lap Steel, Upright Bass

Jimmy is quite a versatile musician. He has been playing guitar for 35 years, bass for 22 years, lap steel and mandolin for 10 years, and banjo for 8 years. In addition to his on-the-job training while touring with several professional bands, Jimmy studied with jazz guitarist Ari Lehtela and also completed online courses with the Berklee College of Music. “To listen to what the students’ needs are and to help them achieve their goals” is Jimmy’s teaching motto. Jimmy plays in the popular band Cadillac Attack. He likes to play rockabilly, rock, honky tonk, and country music, but his experience includes all genres of music.


Daniel Kern

Daniel started playing piano nearly 20 years ago, and has been teaching others to play piano for the last 7 years. Before joining the staff at the Blues Angel School of Music, Daniel could be found teaching at the Time to Shine Center for Performing Arts. He earned an associate’s degree in Piano Performance from Chipola College and a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from the University of West Florida, where he studied under Dr. Hedi Salanki-Rubardt. Daniel uses method books in his teaching up through the intermediate level, and then gradually introduces repertoire to expand his students’ horizons. He enjoys playing classical music.

Mitch Smegelski
Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo, Mandolin

Mitch has been playing guitar for 22 years and has a background in metal, rock, and blues. His other instrument specialties include mandolin, banjo, and ukulele. Mitch spent the last 15 years devoted to classical guitar and performed at colleges across the country. In 2008, he won the Artist Award in Classical Guitar from the Florida Community College Activities Association. Mitch continues to perform original and cover acts all around the southeast.


Cindy Stewart
Voice & Piano

Cindy began her teaching career by studying music education at Pensacola Christian College and gained experience through church ministries at Trinity Baptist College. She also attended the University of West Florida and the Baptist College of Florida. She began teaching at the West Florida School of Music in 2005, and has continued her teaching career at various other schools of music. She began teaching at Blues Angel Music in October of 2019. Cindy is an accomplished mezzo-soprano singer, pianist and composer. Her published CD, Sacred Tapestry is an orchestrated arrangement of peaceful worship songs woven together.

Erin Toler

Erin has been playing brass instruments since joining band at her middle school in 2001. She studied trumpet at Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida, graduating from UWF in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. Erin served as the Band Director at Woodham Middle School in Pensacola for 3 years before making a career move into full-time web development. She now performs actively in the greater Pensacola area, both as a gigging musician and as a member of the Polyphonic Brass Quintet.