Music for Everyone
We come to you! This keeps you from having to drive to yet another location.
At Ampersand we believe in music. We believe that music has the power to change a person’s life. We believe that Music can inspire great ideas, heal the mind, and even feed the soul. Music is everywhere, in every culture, part of every creed, and community. Music my not be the universal language, but it is a universal human need.
The word ampersand comes from the Latin phrase “and per se,” meaning “and by itself.” At Ampersand Music we use the word “ampersand” as our company’s name as if to say “Music in and of itself.” We believe that by bringing music to people of all ages we can actually change lives through enriching their minds.
Director of Operations
Ethan began the pursuit of music at a young age of 9, playing guitar in a Bluegrass Gospel band from ages 9 to 15 at festivals and concerts across Texas and Arkansas. The band had many accomplishments including Recording a full length studio album, appearing live multiple times on a Dallas based radio station, and sharing the stage with Grammy nominated acts like The Isaacs Family. In 2008 Ethan started an Alternative Rock band encompassing all original music. In 2009 the band was able to appear as the opening act for the Grammy nominated rock band After Edmund. In 2011 the band signed a management contract with a Dallas based booking agency. That same year the band released a studio single on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. August of 2014, Ethan graduating from the University of North Texas, with a bachelors degree in Finance.
June of 2013 Ethan co-founded Ampersand Music School along with his brother Benjamin. Together they operate Ampersand as business partners bringing music lessons to students throughout the Denton County area. Ethan’s passion is to inspire students with a love for music and to give his students the tools they need to create music on their own
Director of Curriculum
Benjamin Shirey began performing music at the early age of 9 playing double bass. He later went on to study voice, guitar, piano, drums and music composition. First and foremost Benjamin considers himself a composer. He received a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition in 2010 from University of North Texas and later received his Masters in Music Composition from the same university. His mentors include composers Jon Nelson, David Stout, Cindy McTee, Andrew May, and Panayiotis Kokoras. His compositional work explores acoustical phenomenology, art teleology, and the epistemology of music itself, expressed through a variety of forms such as installation art, experimental opera, textural counterpoint, intermedia performance and music for film.
In June of 2013 Benjamin co-founded Ampersand Music School along with his brother Ethan. Benjamin is very passionate about teaching the next generation musicians and composers. It is his hope to impart a love for music and a thirst for creativity in music.
Marcus Kester has been playing guitar since 2008, and piano since 2011. He has played in church bands in DFW and southern Texas. Additionally, he has played with the Fort Worth guitar orchestra conducted by Michael Dailey—playing in venues such as the Fort Worth and Arlington Library where he has played solo and in ensembles. He has also played master classes with big names like Adam Holzman, Emma Rush, Isaac Bustos, and Grisha Goryachev. Currently, he serves as stand-in electric guitarist for Dallas native Jackson Eli’s band Those Cats.
Accomplished as a teacher, Marcus has taught various age groups ranging from elementary age children to adults. Stylistically, he likes teaching jazz, rock, and classical genres on both acoustic and electric guitar, One of his passions for teaching is helping his students beter understand how to read and interpret both music notation and rock/jazz charts, as well as how to write their own music.
Frank began his love and pursuit of music at the age of fourteen through a guitar class during his freshman year in high school. Having had no prior experience in music, he quickly became intrigued with the study of classical guitar. Since then, he has competed in local, state, and collegiate level guitar competitions and has taught guitar lessons throughout his years of playing. Frank is currently enrolled at the University of North Texas pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance in Classical Guitar. His passion for music has inspired him to try and expose music to those who are not granted the opportunity to study the arts. His ultimate goal is to become a high school music teacher, in order to reach out to students and show them the world of music, the way his music instructor was able to do all those years ago.
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Ethan attended The University of North Texas and studied jazz guitar under Fred Hamilton and Clint Strong. While studying at UNT Ethan also worked full time musician playing various styles of both original music and cover groups.
Ethan has toured as a lead electric, acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, lap steel, and pedal steel player. Ethan has been a studio musician for many years and has had the opportunity to work with many artists including Blake Shelton, the Eli Young band, and Zane Williams.
As a music instructor Ethan’s teaching philosophy is to inspire and connect with each student. It is his goal to find what drives them towards music and help mentor that.