Minneapolis and St. Paul Music Teachers

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MEET OUR TEACHERS

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EMILY IRELAND, Director of Brighter Minds Music, early childhood music and piano teacher

Emily Ireland has helped hundreds of families discover the joy of playing and sharing music. She has been a full-time piano and early childhood music teacher since 2002, and delights in bringing new and familiar musical experiences to students. Ms Ireland has been trained in the Kindermusik, MacPhail Center for Music and Musikgarten curriculum, and has received training in Kodály and Dalcroze.

With a a master's degree in music education from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor's degree in music and German from Gustavus Adolphus College, Ms Ireland's educational background will ensure that you receive the best in music education.

In classes with Emily, you and your loved ones will create special friendships and have fun learning and making music together. In piano lessons with Emily, you or your loved one will learn to play quickly - and more importantly, correctly – with her guidance. Emily is committed to making sure her students discover the joy that comes with making music.

Ms Ireland is actively involved in the music community, a member of music teacher organizations such as Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA), St. Paul Piano Teachers Association (SPPTA), and Association of Professional Piano Teachers (APPI).

Please contact Emily to discuss how Brighter Minds Music teachers can help you or someone you care about discover the joy of making music.
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Miles A., Piano, Guitar, and Ukulele Teacher
Miles is a multi-instrumentalist and educator from upstate New York. He studied music at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and in 2018, he relocated to Minneapolis, where he is active as a bandleader, performer, composer, and teacher.

Miles believes in exploring the interests and personalities of his students. Music is a birthright, and students of all ages should have the opportunity to engage with the music they love. He has been teaching private lessons since 2012, and has led group music classes at several schools, including his alma mater, Lawrence University, and the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School in his hometown of Ithaca, NY. In these lessons and group classes, Miles has taught many aspects of music, including performance, composition, and music theory. He has taught classical, jazz, rock, and pop styles, to name a few, and he is especially passionate about helping his students connect with their own voice, guiding them through writing their own music or combining their interests in new, fun ways.

Miles has been sharing his music as a bandleader since 2012. He has performed with different projects throughout upstate New York, in New York City, and in the Midwest, including Madison, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. He brings an array of past performance experience into his creative work, including solo and chamber classical performance, rock, funk, and pop bands, and jazz big bands and combos.

Miles has been lucky to work with many outstanding teachers, from private lessons as a kid to college professors to valuable experiences with professional mentors. He strives to pass on the same passion and depth of knowledge his teachers shared with him to his students, always learning from them as well.

 
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Matt B., Piano Teacher

Matt has performed across the United States in a variety of venues and festivals including The Bay View Jazz Fest, Chicago’s Park West Theatre, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, Milwaukee’s Jazz Estate and historic Pfister Hotel, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, The Trout Museum of Art, The Fox Valley Performing Arts Center, and Lawrence University’s improvised music festival Improvisationalu.

He has had the honor of performing with many great improvisers including John Christensen, Devin Drobka, José Encarnación, Jonathan Greenstein, Christopher Porterfield, Hal Rammel, Dane Richeson, and Chris Weller. As an interpreter, Matt has also premiered new compositions by Patrick Marschke, John Mayrose, JP Merz, Chris Misch-Bloxdorf, and David Werfelmann.

Matt received a Bachelor of Music degree with a self-designed major in contemporary improvisation at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. His mentors include Tim Albright, Bill Carrothers, Patty Darling, José Encarnación, Michael Mizrahi, Anthony Padilla, and Matt Turner.

As an educator, Matt teaches both classical and jazz piano lessons to beginners and advanced students of all ages. He has given workshops or performances at Drake University, Interlochen Center for the Arts, University Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Middleton High School in Middleton, WI, Appleton Public Montessori, Clovis Grove Elementary School in Menasha, WI, Nicolet Elementary School in Menasha, WI, and Wilson Elementary School in Neenah, WI. He has also had the opportunity to intern at the New York Jazz Academy in New York City helping teach jazz piano lessons, jazz theory courses, and coach small ensembles.

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Sarah C., Piano Teacher

Sarah is a multi-instrumentalist in Minneapolis, MN with a background in Western classical music and free improvisation. Sarah started on piano early in her life and continued to explore her
passion for music through oboe, guitar, and bass. She graduated from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) in 2017 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

In addition to teaching, Sarah works as a Behavioral Therapist, implementing Behavioral Analysis techniques to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is an active performer in: Painting the Room, an improvised collaboration of musicians, dancers, and performers; an unnamed chamber group focusing on Eastern European Music; and Smile, a rock trio. She is also certified in Deep Listening, a philosophy founded by composer Pauline Oliveros, and leads a local Deep Listening group.

Sarah started her teaching career in high school through private lessons and summer musical camps. In college, she continued teaching private lessons and was a music theory tutor. Sarah believes in music as an extension of one’s personal voice and gears lessons towards students’ interests. She brings her diverse musical background into her teaching, helping to build students’ creativity through music games, improvisation, and introducing different genres of music.

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Benjamin H., guitar, ukulele and piano teacher
Benjamin grew up in Minnesota, and has followed music around the world. In the summer of 2014, while earning his BFA as a Performer/Composer at the California Institute of the Arts, he spent a semester in Berlin. Participating in the vibrant music scene, he went as far as Vang, Norway to play at a wedding ceremony.

After graduating, starting a record label, touring, and self-producing an album of original music with his fiancée, (“A Walk in Color” by Koimé) they moved to Minneapolis in 2017. He currently performs solo on his 7–string classical guitar, and in groups of many different musical styles.

Because music has helped him become a better person, Ben shares the joy of music through teaching as well. From his first students in Minnesota, to the many he taught in his California years, he is glad to continue his teaching career with Brighter Minds Music. While working as a full time activities assistant in a Los Angeles ventilator hospital for two years, Ben found confirmation that music can bring the best out of life.

 
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Dustin K., guitar and ukulele teacher

Dustin is a multifaceted guitarist with 19 years of playing experience and 10 years of teaching experience. He graduated from McNally Smith College of Music in 2013, receiving a B.M. in guitar performance. He has a diverse background, having performed with several blues, funk, jazz, metal, pop, and rock bands/ensembles.

Currently Dustin is lead guitarist for Minneapolis based progressive metal band, By the Thousands. Since their inception in 2012, the band has done several U.S. and Canadian tours. They’ve also opened for legendary national groups such as In Flames, All That Remains, and Between the Buried and Me. Dustin also works as a freelance composer and guest soloist.”

As an instructor, Dustin takes a more methodical approach to teaching all genres music. He tailors his lessons to the specific students needs and interests. He also shares his love of music through encouraging his students to find their own voice on the instrument.

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Kyle O., voice and piano teacher

Kyle is a native of Wisconsin who relocated to the Twin Cities after a year out in Washington D.C. where he studied Theatre Performance in the Honors Conservatory at the Theatre Lab School of Dramatic Arts. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse where he earned a BA in Musical Theatre Performance, he is currently working toward a Masters of Choral Education at Augsburg University.

Kyle has also spent several summers working as a music and theatre counselor at a sleep away camp in Maine. With every student, Kyle hopes to instill a love of music that will carry into their adult lives, and build up the skills to make music in a variety of setting. He truly believes that music is for everyone, and that music should always be enjoyable and FUN!

In addition to teaching voice and piano lessons, Kyle is a former competitive Show Choir choreographer and works as a Cardio Dance instructor at the YMCA. When not studying or teaching, Kyle loves baking, going on adventures with his partner around the Cities, and experimenting with new musical instruments.

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Alex R., piano and voice teacher
Alex is currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota as a masters candidate in choral conducting under Dr. Kathy Romey and Dr. Matthew Mehaffey. He is the co-director and teaching assistant for the forty voice University Gospel Choir and the seventy voice Campus Singers Maroon. This year Alex founded the Minneapolis Madrigal Singers— a chamber ensemble singing renaissance madrigals and new works.

As a Pennsylvania native, Alex moved to Minnesota to attend Macalester College where he received a bachelor of arts in music with a minor in psychology and was the recipient of the Zenas Taylor Endowed Prize in Music. After graduation, he worked as the assistant conductor of the Macalester Chorale under the direction of Micheal McGaghie.

As a baritone, Alex has been active in the Minnesota choral community performing with Singers in Accord, Border CrosSing, Minnesota Renaissance Choir, Byzantine Choral Festival of Minnesota, and as bass section leader of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church and the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale.

Alex is a passionate educator and has worked as a co-teacher in the after school program ComMUSICation, a tutor in the Minneapolis Public School system, and a private lesson instructor at Brighter Minds Music.

 
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Krystal S., Voice, Piano,

Hello! I am originally from Kansas City, and went to Wichita State University for my bachelor's and master's degrees. I've spent the last 3 years on Alabama where I studied and graduated with my Doctorate in Education. During my time in Alabama, I taught pre-k music courses as well as worked in the teacher mentoring program at the university. I worked with pre-k service music teachers to set then up for success and prepare them for teaching in their own classrooms.

I'm excited to start my 7th year of teaching here in Minnesota! I love singing, playing instruments, dancing, and making music with people of all ages. I enjoy teaching piano and voice to students of all ages and skill levels. It's my passion to create life-long music lovers and musickers!

In my free time I love to make jewelry, paint, draw, and spend time with my two young children.

 
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DONNA S., piano teacher

Originally from Illinois, Donna has been teaching music since 1999 in Texas, in Northern Ireland, and now in Minnesota. She received her BA in music from St. Olaf College and her Master’s in Education from Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland, where she studied as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

Her experiences in music education include teaching pre-K through 5th grade classroom music in public and private school settings, conducting children’s choirs in school and church, instructing private and group piano classes for students of all ages (4 to adult), and teaching Yamaha group keyboard classes in Northern Ireland. Over the years she has been successful in facilitating the musical development of hundreds of students.

When she is not teaching or making music, she enjoys volunteering in church and in the community, reading, and exploring Minnesota’s beautiful parks and lakes. Donna enjoys helping each of her students discover that they can make beautiful music and have lots of fun in the process!

 
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Jason W., Violin and Guitar Teacher

Jason has been involved with music most of his life, starting violin at age six and guitar in high school. He has a background in classical and Suzuki violin, and also enjoys other styles such as rock, folk, and jazz. He likes to keep an open mind towards music, and gladly welcomes other's musical recommendations.

After high school, he studied violin at Lawrence University under Anton Miller for a year, then studied guitar at St. Thomas under Chris Kachian and Jeffery Thygeson; he obtained a B.A. in guitar performance in 2007. During this time, he began teaching students of all ages, with the goal of inspiring others to discover playing music. He likes to balance lessons with creative elements involving listening and improvisation alongside technical and theory aspects, keeping the student’s personal interests at the heart. He has over ten years teaching experience and is excited to be a part of Brighter Minds Music.

Jason enjoys playing live music, performing solo as well as with Morosity and Justin and The Way Out. Alongside performing, he enjoys recording and collaborates with others on side projects as well as his own.

Besides playing music, Jason enjoys biking, camping, diy projects around the house, and spending time with his wife Kaelly and their cat Bosco (the Boz Man).

 
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MICHAEL W., guitar teacher

Michael is an accomplished classical and contemporary guitar player. He has played for more than 20 years and studied classical guitar at the University of St. Thomas, where he studied with Dr. Christopher Kachian.

His musical experience combines both formal classical training and performances, along with many years writing and performing with acoustic and alternative rock bands. He truly understands and loves helping students quickly begin playing the type of music they want to play, without sacrificing the key musical concepts and techniques that will ensure they learn to play properly.

When not practicing one of his many beloved guitars, Michael can be found bicycling, gardening, traveling (when time allows) and developing historical skits with his cat Lucky.

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