CONTACT US: 919-878-3338
4720 Hargrove Road, Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27616

Paul Warren

Guitar instructor

Paul Warren is the owner and director of the Raleigh Music Academy, LLC. He has been instructing guitar since 1990, with the last 23 years being in Raleigh. He has studied guitar and music theory on a University level and has performed in numerous bands and has taught clinics, group classes, as well as private lessons. He teaches chording, theory, improvisation, technique development and more while specializing in rock, pop and metal. He is happy to endorse Ernie Ball electric and nylon strings, Jim Dunlop guitar picks, Dimarzio pickups and straps, Xotic Pedals, and Port City guitar cabinets.

Paul Warren performing rock covers at the RMA

Paul Warren playing rhythm guitar for Andy Wood at guitar clinics:

Clips of Paul Warren playing some blues and rock:

Robert Horne

Guitar, bass instructor

This honor graduate of Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, Ca. has over sixteen years experience as a formally trained music instructor. He teaches guitar and bass to students ranging from children to adults, from beginners toadvanced players. Robert’s teaching style combines formal training with his experience of more than 20 years as a professional touring musician, playing a wide variety of musical styles including Rock, Blues, Country, and various Acoustic styles.

Robert’s private lessons are tailored to each student’s individual needs. Instructional materials are provided as part of his lesson package. The play-along CDs or tapes for home practice included in this package are custom-recorded for each individual student.

Robert teaches Rhythmic Skills, Improvisation (lead guitar and slide guitar), Ear Training (transcribing and playing by ear), Ensemble Playing, Sight Reading and Theory.

Hank Smith

Banjo, guitar, mandolin instructor

Growing up in rural Florence, SC–where summer heat indices top 120 degrees–a teenaged Hank Smith could only find respite by locking himself up in his room and playing banjo for hours and hours. Here he readily consumed and thrived on a diet of banjo music from a variety of sources. Making its home in a nearby state park, the Southeastern Bluegrass Assoc. would meet the first Saturday of every month for a jam and concert. Hank attended these local meetings and by hiding in the back of jam groups, watching fingers, and listening for changes, he figured out how to operate the instrument that was to be his lifeblood. After a year and a half, Hank went to college at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC where, finding no one with whom to play bluegrass, he instead discovered a diverse community of musicians with a far reaching body of influence and absorbed all manner of rock, jazz, reggae, folk, blues, classical and anything in between. In that time, he earned a BA and eventually an MA in Middle Eastern History. Upon earning his MA, he went on tour full-time with Raleigh, NC jamgrass juggernaut, Barefoot Manner. Hank toured the country extensively with Barefoot Manner until the band left the road in 2009, and he has since played in a variety of projects such as The Hotwires, The Kickin Grass Band, and No Strings Attached. Currently, he plays and tours with duo partner: Lindsey Tims, original band: Morning After Music, and the world’s first and only tribute to Bela Fleck & the Flecktones: Blu-Bop. Hank continues to train an army of banjo students and will soon unleash them upon the world…when no one expects it.

To see Hank performing banjo, click the following Youtube links:



Mary Ann Madison

Guitar instructor

Mary Ann Madison teaches private and duet guitar classes. She’s sensitive and resourceful to the needs, goals, and interests of every student, from young beginners to adults. She believes that learning to play guitar should be fun and stimulate creativity. Musicianship skills are developed with a logical and structured course of study, enabling students to become proficient in solo playing, chord accompaniment, and chord-melody styles. Mary Ann has numerous copyrights on original compositions ranging in style from country, blues, rock, and folk. Currently she’s working on a recording project of her songs.

Sarah Bilowus

Piano/Voice Instructor

Sarah S. Bilowus, holds a master’s degree in Music and Journalism from the University of Texas at Tyler. She has taught piano and voice for over 25 years. She is an accomplished pianist and vocalist and has performed a variety of Broadway, contemporary, classical, and original solos.

In addition to musical endeavors, Mrs. Bilowus has served as the promotion and development director at a radio station in Texas. She was also a 1994 recipient of an arts administration fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she assisted the music program with the administration of grants to arts arts organizations throughout the country.

Passionate about children having access to music education, Sarah and her husband, David, founded Keyboard for Kids & More!, a music school established in northern Virginia over 15 years ago.

In addition to serving as a voice and piano teacher at the Raleigh Music Academy, Mrs. Bilowus also serves as a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Advantage in Raleigh.

John Cashwell

Piano/Voice Instructor

John Cashwell is originally from NY where he graduated with a Bachelor of Vocal Performance from SUNY Purchase’s prestigious Conservatory of Music. Recent performance reviews stated “his tenor voice is remarkable for its great range, power, flexibility, and expressiveness.” and “with clarity, perfect diction, and velvety texture, his voice is commanding”. On the stage, Mr. Cashwell has performed several roles in operas and musicals, such as Matt in the Fantasticks, Candide in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, the Caliph in Wright and Forrest’s Kismet, King Caspar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Captain Silvio in Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle, Rodolfo in selected scene’s of Puccini’s La Boheme, Le Remendado in Bizet’s Carmen, Goro in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, and Tom Harris in the international debut of Strange Fruit. Mr. Cashwell won the GMA International Songwriter of the Year in Nashville. He also appeared as a finalist on FOX 50’s “Gimme the Mike” TV show. John is currently the lead singer, keyboardist, and guitarist in a local cover band. Before that he played and sang with original rock bands in NYC and Nashville.

Ron Thal – Bumblefoot

Honorary RMA instructor

Before joining Guns-N_Roses, Ron Thal became a regular guest instructor at the RMA and visited periodically to do clinics, workshops and performances. He has been a valuable consultant and mentor to our academy.  To be informed of his next appearance at the RMA, please make sure to sign up for our email list on the events page.