Learn from the pros.
All our teachers are professional musicians and include some of the top artists in the Twin Cities. Most have music degrees. Several have received major awards or grants, and tour nationally or overseas. A number of them have taught at the school for two, three or even four decades.
You can benefit from their talent and experience. Our teachers will help you reach your musical goals in a supportive environment. They‚Äôll work with you to create a custom plan that includes the musical styles, songs, and techniques you want to learn.
Our Teachers A-Z
- Tasha Baron
- Dale Dahlquist
- Stephen Dewey
- Elizabeth Draper
- Milo Fine
- Paul Fonfara
- Chris Granias, Dr. G
- Mike Hedding
- Lauren Husting
- Gary Lee Joyner
- Will Kemperman
- Nickolai Kolarov
- Peter Lang
- Siama Matuzungidi
Tasha has experience teaching people of all ages and abilities in diverse settings .She teaches a range of styles from jazz to classical music, to pop, rock,r&b, soul, blues, and more. She can help you learn to read music as well as how to improvise/play by ear, and she can help you to acquire knowledge of jazz and/or classical theory. Her music studies credits include a B.A. in Music from the University of Minnesota, where she studied jazz piano and classical trombone. She also attended the School for Improvised Music in Brooklyn, NY and the Tanglewood Institute for the Arts in MA. She plays keyboards with Black Blondie (a band that juxtaposes soul, hip hop, dancehall and jazz) and Hips Don't Lie (an instrumental trio centering on original song writing and improvisation in the styles of jazz, hip hop and drum'n'bass). She has also played with and/or recorded with such bands as Atmosphere, Sferic Witch (an electro-acoustic improvisation two piece), Heiruspecs, P.O.S. of Doomtree, the Omaur Bliss band, Traditional Methods, Edupoetic Enterbrainment, Brother Ali,Oddjobs and Kill the Vultures.
Dale Dahlquist has had a long career of music performance and teaching with a "side" of music recording and sound reinforcement. His first professional stint was in the mid 70's touring with June Apple recording artist Dakota Dave Hull, playing bass as a sideman in concerts at upper-Midwest colleges and universities. Since then, public venues have included folk festivals, county fairs, art festivals, TV and radio shows, the Minnesota State Fair and numerous bars and music clubs. His teaching experience at WBSM spans three decades and thousands of students. Dale teaches and has played professionally in a number of genres: bluegrass, jazz, rock, pop and dance band music. Blues, swing and ragtime guitar are specialties.
Stephen DeweyStephen welcomes aspiring piano students of all ages. He is open and willing to help a student accomplish their personal goals, be it playing Misty to impress friends at a cocktail party or aiming for Carnegie Hall! Stephen attended the University of Iowa, majoring in piano performance. He has worked extensively in the musical theatre as a conductor/musical director/keyboardist. His credits include national tours of Oliver!, Some Enchanted Evening & Gigi (starring Louis Jourdan & Betsy Palmer). He has worked regionally across the USA in various theatrical venues, including the National Jewish Theatre, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and Opryland. Stephen has served as the musical director of the Bloomington Civic Theater and also for the Jewish Community Center of St.Paul's teen drama program.
Elizabeth Draperwww.myspace.com/blackblondiemusic ‚ÄĘ www.myspace.com/ourhipsdontlie
Elizabeth Draper received a Bachelors of Music in Double Bass Performance from the University of Minnesota in 2004. It was there that she studied under St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Chris Brown and Minnesota Orchestra's Peter Lloyd and James Clute. Her classical endeavors have found her performing both as a featured soloist and as an active section member in a number of orchestras and chamber ensembles. Elizabeth has been a professional gigging jazz bassist since age 16. She performs regularly in the big band and jazz combo circuit around the Twin Cities. Her improvising has led her to The School For Improvised Music in New York and a European tour with Ireland's Nick Roth. Her eclectic background has found her performing in indie rock bands, casino stints, musicals, and studio jingle work. Elizabeth is a member of the group The Ditch Lilies, a string band whose style ranges from honky tonk, 1930s swing, bluegrass and country. She is also a member of the touring band Black Blondie, a trip hop, dub influenced, alternative R&B project. Elizabeth has taught privately since 1998.
Milo FineInstruments: Drums
Milo Fine, a lifelong resident of the Minneapolis area, is the son of well-known percussionist, Elliot Fine, with whom Milo studied informally as a child. Milo started teaching drums in the late sixties, and specializes in beginning to intermediate levels of snare drum and drum set reading and technique, covering classical, rock and jazz styles. He has been on the WBSM faculty since the mid-seventies. Milo's focus as a musician is improvised music, a field he has submerged himself in since 1969. Further information about his music, including details on his ongoing concert series at the WBSM, can be found on his website.
Paul Fonfara graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998 with a BA studying clarinet and has since pursued a career as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter also playing Saxophones, Guitar, Cello and Bandoneon. Paul has performed with the Jefferson, Westminster, Centennial, and Littleton Symphonies of Colorado and toured nationally as a sideman with Jim White. He has taught private lessons for more than a decade at a variety of public school and music academy settings in Colorado and the Twin Cities. Paul is also very active writing original music performing with several local bands including Painted Saints, Spaghetti Western String Company, and Brass Messengers.
Chris Granias, Dr. GInstruments: General Music Instruction
Dr. Chris J. Granias received his doctorate in theory and composition from the University of Minnesota, a masters in piano performance from Northwestern University and a masters in Composition from Drake University. He has been a recipient of many awards. A native of Chicago, Dr. Granias has an extensive teaching background, and has worked in a variety of educational venues including the Perpich center for Arts Education, the Macphail Center, St. John‚Äôs University, and Eastern Illinois University. His most recent recordings were broadcast on MPR and Hellenic radio in Athens, Greece.
Mike HeddingOver the past 5 years, Minneapolis native Mike Hedding has established himself as a prominent teacher and sideman. While studying business at the U of M, Mike became obsessed with everything music and hasn't looked back. Mike studied music through transcribing old recordings and studying with mandolin master Mike Compton. Teaching in Minneapolis area since 2008, Mike has a variety of students on banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bass. You can see him playing with The Katey Bellville Band, Hey Lonesome or filling in with various local and regional bluegrass bands. Mike leads the monthly Bluegrass Jam at the WBSM.
Lauren Husting holds a Masters in Music from the University of North Texas and has lived in the Twin Cities since 2008. She has sat in with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Trombone Choir, the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band, and the Minnesota Symphonic Winds. She serves on the sublist for both the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. She has also been a trombonist in the orchestras on Celebrity Cruise Lines and has traveled the world playing everything form Classical to Jazz. Lauren has played with the Santa Fe Symphony, Denton Community Theatre, the Copper Street Brass Quintet, and numerous North Texas lab bands and ensembles. A champion of new music, she commissioned and premiered a solo work for trombone, Portal, by Dajeong Choi, in the spring of 2007. In the fall of 2009 she performed a guest artist recital and held masterclasses at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrigate, TN. Lauren's trombone trio, Trombone a Trois, performs both old and new music for trombone ensemble, and enjoys commissioning unique compositions.
Gary Lee JoynerGary Lee Joyner has developed his unique approach to music-making with the guitar during 40 years of teaching. He has successfully worked with players from every walk of life, playing level, and style; amateur and professional, ranging from college students to retirees, total beginners to Broadway stars. Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago has called him ‚Äúone of our favorite teachers on the planet.‚ÄĚ He has also been a popular teacher at Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco, Swallow Hill in Denver, and countless other schools and studios in the US. Deep involvement in other art forms also influences Gary‚Äôs approach to music. He is a performer of music and spoken word. He has written in depth for Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Teacher, Fingerstyle Guitar, Play Guitar, and other publications. He has taught writing at The Loft in Minneapolis. He worked in professional San Francisco theater for over 10 years. He is prolifically active in visual art activities. He encourages being in the moment with your guitar, as well as the value of ego-less simplicity and full exploration of skills and concepts already mastered. For more about Gary visit www.garyleejoyner.com. Photo credit: Victor Keller
Will KempermanInstruments: Drums
Since earning a Masters of Music in percussion degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, Will continues to be heard on numerous musical stages around Minnesota, and has developed a reputation as an exceptional teacher. Will has extensive percussion experience in many areas of music, performing in a wide range of styles: concert hall, musical theatre, blues and rock, jazz, Eastern European, and Latin music. He has appeared recently as a featured percussionist with the National Lutheran Choir and at the Art of Sweat Rhythm Festivals #1 and #2. He performs regularly with the rock, R&B, blues, and soul outfit, Blue Daddies, and the Klezmer and Eastern European band, Maritza. Will has made a name for himself as an accomplished drum teacher for students of all ages in beginning percussion, classical percussion, drum set, Latin drumming, and marimba. In addition to West Bank, he teaches percussion, percussion ensemble, and Afro-Cuban percussion at three area colleges: University of St. Thomas, Hamline University, and Normandale Community College.
Nickolai KolarovInstruments: Cello
Nickolai Kolarov graduated from the Bulgarian State Academy of Music, Sofia and received his Masters degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis for his degree in Cello Performance at the University of Minnesota. In addition, Mr. Kolarov has studied with Igor Gavrish from the Moscow Conservatory of Music. Nickolai is a devoted performer both of solo and chamber music. He has given concerts across Bulgaria including the largest concert hall in Sofia - the National Palace of Culture. Since his arrival in the USA he has performed with distinguished classical and contemporary musicians on numerous occasions in Missouri, Kansas, and the Minnesota. He has been featured on radio and TV broadcasts both in the USA and Bulgaria. Nickolai Kolarov is the founder in 1993 of Art Salon Zora which promotes the work of various artists. He has taught cello both in Bulgaria and the U.S.A., most notably at the Heart of America College, Kansas City; St. Bernadette School, Kansas City; and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Peter Lang is one of the world's preeminent 6 and 12 string finger-picking guitar players. Along with John Fahey, Leo Kottke, and other Takoma-label guitarists, Peter is considered to be a founder of modern American finger-style guitar. He was one of a handful of artists to bring the guitar to the stage and redefine it as a serious concert instrument. Lang toured and recorded as one of the top acoustic players of his day. In the 70s he was in good company, having recorded or performed with the likes of John Fahey, Jerry Garcia, Chet Atkins, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Emmylou Harris, Leo Kottke, Freddie King and a host of others. The Takoma album he recorded with Leo Kottke and John Fahey is considered a classic. Steeped in early folk, blues, and country, Peter has kept those traditions alive through the old songs, and also his widely acclaimed original compositions. His most recent recording, Testament, was described in Guitar Player magazine as "The DNA of the American Musical Experience."
Siama has taught and performed many styles of African and Caribbean guitar, including soukous, mbetani, calypso and highlife. His life-long performing experience has taken him throughout Africa, Japan and the United States. Siama's music is a mixture of traditional music from his home in Mbetani and Soukous, and he composes and sings in Lingala, Kingo, Swahili, French and English. He has performed with Ibeba System, Shangoya, Cyril Paul, Kavin Furhman, and his own current band Marimba Africa. Siama welcomes all levels of interested students.
Bobbi MillerInstruments: Voice
Bobbi Miller is an accomplished singer, songwriter and producer with a wide variety of styles to her credit. She studied Theatre Arts and Music at the University of Minnesota, and went on to study Jazz Vocal Performance at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Best known as the lead singer for Twin Cities' electronic band Autonomous, Bobbi has been thrice nominated for awards by the Minnesota Music Academy, and has released two full-length albums. She is also the featured vocalist on many house, techno and downtempo tracks, produced by various Minneapolis and Boston DJs. She has served as musical director for productions throughout the Twin Cities and was Performing Arts Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Minneapolis. She wrote, directed, and produced the popular musical revue "Sin Cities 7‚ÄĚ that ran in 2006 and 2007. She believes that the most important parts of learning to sing are enjoying yourself, highlighting your strengths and finding your own voice.
Karen is a national-touring performer with over 20 years of teaching experience. An international autoharp champion, she has released 3 critically-acclaimed CDs and authored two books, published by Mel Bay publications. Karen is a teaching artist with Young Audiences of Minnesota, and performs in the band of Katie McMahon, the original lead singer from "Riverdance". She enjoys teaching many styles, including folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and more.
Jim Ouska has been teaching individual lessons in guitar and bass and leading ensembles at West Bank School of Music since 1987. He won a WBSM jazz composers grant and has received nominations from the Minnesota Music Academy for guitarist of the year in the jazz, R&B and bluegrass categories. Also a singer and songwriter, he recently released three CD‚Äôs of original songs. Jim performs regularly in the Twin Cities and throughout the Midwest and has been a featured guitarist on a number of recordings. (See above website to read reviews and hear samples from one of his most recent projects.)
Bill PhilippInstruments: Banjo
Bill has played bluegrass music throughout the Midwest for over 25 years, and has been teaching at WBSM for nearly seventeen years. Though his specialty is 5-string Scruggs-style banjo, he also plays Dobro, guitar, bass and mandolin (but not all at the same time). In addition to an active performance schedule, his most recent band Drivetime released a new CD last fall, ‚ÄėThe Bluegrass Road‚Äô, featuring two of Bill‚Äôs original songs. He has also performed in numerous theatrical productions with the Children‚Äôs Theatre Company, Old Log Theater and several other local groups. Bill is largely self-taught, having garnered much of his knowledge by jamming and trading licks with countless musicians at shows and festivals all around the country. When he‚Äôs not playing music, Bill spends his time building and repairing stringed instruments, renovating old houses, and maintaining his small fleet of British cars and motorcycles.
Jim PlattesJim is an accomplished jazz and classical violinist who is equally comfortable playing country, bluegrass and Irish fiddle. In his capacity as leader of the Larkspur Strings, he performs with and directs a jazz trio, string quartet and a strolling ensemble. Jim began his violin studies at the age of eight and studied with Richard Adams, Vassar Clements, Eddie Berger and Robert Paul. He has performed at the Guthrie Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, The Ordway among other well know venues. He won the WBSM Jazz Composer Series competition in 1989. Jim has been teaching since 1974. In addition to violin, Jim plays harmonica, piano and guitar.
Paul Renz, Director of Jazz Studies, started the jazz ensemble program at WBSM in 1993 and currently leads three adult jazz ensembles that perform regularly in the community. He also teaches guitar and bass, jazz theory, composition, sight-singing and improvisation classes. Renz has a Bachelor's degree in jazz composition and arranging from Berklee College of Music and a Master's degree in composition and jazz studies from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has been featured as a guitarist and composer on National Public Radio. Renz's works have been commissioned by Tidewater Performing Arts of Virginia, Tidewater Classic Guitar Society, Minnesota Center for Arts Education, MacPhail Center for Music and Roseville Area High School in Minnesota. Renz has recorded and produced several critically acclaimed CDs featuring original compositions and some of the finest players in the upper Midwest. He performs frequently in the Twin Cities and his quartet tours nationally every other year. Renz is a well-known clinician and presents master classes throughout the United States.
Bill SimensonInstruments: Trumpet
Bill Simenson has been teaching and freelancing in the Twin Cities since 1983. Has performed in a wide variety of styles and with such groups as the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, Latin Sounds Orchestra, at Mixed Blood and Guthrie Theaters, as well as with other groups and his own ensembles. Member of: International Trumpet Guild, American Composers Forum, American Federation of Musicians. Awards include: Bush Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition, Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant.
Long time WBSM teacher Paul Storms studied music at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Jeffrey Van, Charles Pedersen, and Paul Berget. He has also studied with Michael Hauser and Pedro Bacan. He was chosen to perform at Master Classes conducted by Christopher Parkening, Larry Coryell and Sharon Isben. With a versatile repertoire that covers rock, blues, jazz, classical, flamenco and more, Paul teaches students of all ages, but is particularly adept at working with younger pupils. As a performer, he has played concerts from retirement communities to TV studios, from private events to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board summer concert series with highlights including performances on WCCO and KTCA TV and radio stations KFAI, WCCO and KDWB. Recently he performed with the all star youth choir at the American Choir Director's Association Convention.
Barb TilsenInstruments: none
Barb Tilsen teaches Sound Beginnings, a creative children's music program, at West Bank School of Music as well as in child care centers, schools, community programs and recreation centers around the Twin Cities. Barb has been singing and working with children since 1985, and she has been writing songs and performing for audiences of all ages since 1971. She can work magic with young children. Her songs are rooted in her wonderful sense of what kids can relate to and how they feel. Her music, her classes and her performances are hallmarked by her great sense of fun, her respect for young children and her unique way of musically touching their hearts. Barb's performances for adults have brought her to gatherings both great and small from coffeehouses to concert halls, from living rooms to peace marches, labor rallies, and community events. As an activist and musician, her music is rooted in the rich history of grassroots movements for social change in this country. Her songs, whether for adults or children, celebrate this world and our capacity to change. They are all about sustaining hope, creating vision, and uplifting spirit. Barb has been published several times in Sing Out! Magazine as well as other books and publications. Her CD, "Make a Circle Like the Sun", received the 2001 Children's Web Award for Best Recording for Young Children.
Dan TurpeningInstruments: Accordion
Dan Turpening has enjoyed performing on accordion for more than 15 years, playing at parties, weddings, in theater productions, and in restaurants. He is a graduate of A.R.T.S. Accordion Repair and Technicians School in Duluth, MN (since moved to Superior, WI) and continues his accordion studies. He has been teaching at the West Bank School of Music for over eight years.