Meet our Teachers

 Allison Wilkins, Center Director is passionate about music and the importance of providing a rich musical experience for young children and their caregivers. Ms. Wilkins implements the Music Together® philosophy that serving as the model to engage parents in participation will foster growth and musical behavior by their children at home - The very best teacher and model being mom, dad, grandparents and caregivers. 

She offers a creative, fun, informal, social setting that spurs engagement and supports each child's musical development.

 

photo Allison Wilkins

  Singer/ Songwriter and Center Director Allison Wilkins,  known by her students as "Ms. Alli" has been performing and singing with children since her childhood. Granddaughter to the late James Bridges (conductor and founder of the James Bridges School of Music in Pittsburgh), Allison adheres to the Music Together philosophy that children are naturally "musical" from birth and recalls her fondest childhood memories were centered around "music making". She studied drama and voice at the Pittsburgh Playhouse for the performing arts. She holds a degree in psychology with an emphasis in special education from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her experience with children is extensive from raising her own children, to leading girl scout troops and working with children with special needs. Organizations that she has been privileged to provide classes for are the Manasota Buds, Special Olympics & Champions for Children in Tampa.  Allison completed the Music Together training program, developed by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey in 2001 and is a Certification Level I teacher of the Music Together program. As an author and songwriter Ms. Alli has two of her empowerment series books in print - " Monsters are Afraid of Music" and " Angels Watching Over Me".  Many families have reported that the delightful song and  story of "Monsters are Afraid of Music" have helped empower little ones to overcome the "things that go bump in the night"!  Her books are available for purchase in the studio and on the website. Ms. Alli has 3 other songs scheduled to be in print in the near future- " What is a Snore For", "Good night Family" and " The Low Hoedown". Her passion for music can be summarized in her philosophy that music empowers and is "the stuff of the soul", to be produced by the child within all of us.

     
photo Todd Lutes

For over 30 years Todd Lutes has been playing music professionally. Starting his professional career on drums at the ripe old age of 15, Mr. Todd quickly realized that music was his path. At 18 he was accepted into the Berkley College of Music but cordially declined to pursue his own musical endeavors.  After many years of playing drums and singing in bands such as Zepton Groove and The Brickyard Poets, Mr. Todd decided it was time to shake things up by switching to guitar. Mr.Todd taught himself guitar and for the past 10 years he has been happily playing solo and duo gigs with his duo Scratch & Dent. Mr. Todd caught the attention of Allisongs for Tots when he had a large gathering of children flocking around him at his Fresh Market performance in Hyde Park Village. His warm, engaging (and silly) style make him a natural fit for our team of music makers.

     
photo Melanie Baez

Melanie Baez is originally from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, but was raised here in Tampa. She grew up in a household surrounded by music, singing and dancing. She fell in love with singing and found a real passion for performing. All throughout school, Melanie immersed herself in clubs and music programs such as chorus, a show choir called Showcase, barbershop quartets and gospel club. She received an Associates in Arts from the performing arts program at Hillsborough Community College; her major being Voice with a minor in Classical Guitar. At HCC she received classical and musical theater training with her voice coach, Ruthie Nelson, and got the opportunity to perform the National Anthem two years in a row for their Presidential Awards Ceremony.

Melanie is so excited to be joining the Music Together team as a bilingual teacher in the fall of 2019. She has always loved working with kids as a nanny or part-time babysitter and can now combine her two biggest passions. As a new teacher, she canʼt wait to begin working with all of the incredible families in the Canta y Baila program as well as the Music Together classes. Bienvenida Melanie!