Teachers

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’ll work with you to create a custom plan that includes the musical styles, songs, and techniques you want to learn.

Our Teachers A-Z

  • Lila Ammons

    Instruments: Voice
    Lila Ammons has forged a path in music that at once honors tradition and her own expressive impulses. Beginning her vocal career in opera houses and concert halls, she later returned to her familial roots in jazz, classic blues and the boogie woogie tradition (she is the niece of tenor sax titan Gene “Jug” Ammons and the granddaughter of the great boogie woogie pianist, Albert Ammons). For the past seven years, she has gained popular and critical acclaim touring Europe and Brazil with German pianist Axel Zwingenberger, and as feature vocalist with the ABC&D of Boogie Woogie Quartet, which includes Zwingenberger and Charlie Watts. Ammons has performed at some of the Midwest’s and Europe's largest Boogie Woogie, Blues, and Jazz Fests. While she still performs internationally with her traditional/roots music project, she has happily returned to performing in her home-base of the Twin Cities. She has sung in the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Red Stag, Hell's Kitchen, and several other area venues with some of the Twin Cities' premier musicians. Ammons holds a B.M. from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and a M.M. from the Manhattan School of Music (New York City). She has taught voice at the McNally Smith College of Music (St. Paul) and teaches privately in her own studio.
  • Tasha Baron

    Instruments: Flute, Keyboards, Piano, Trombone

    myspace.com/blackblondiemusicmyspace.com/ourhipsdontliemyspace.com/sfericwitch

    Tasha has experience teaching people of all ages and abilities in diverse settings .She teacTashahes 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.

  • Bill Cagley

    Bill Cagley is a full-time musician who bought his first guitar the day he graduated from high school. Bill learned music in Waterloo and Iowa City, Iowa, by  listening to recordings and playing with such masters as Al Murphy and Bob Black. He became a full-time musician in 1987. In 1992 Bill recorded Cagley, Schafer, Black, and Njoes, a collection of old-time fiddle tunes with fiddler Tom Schaefer, banjo player, Bob Black, and bassist Sandy Njoes. He also appeared on Greg Brown’s recording “Down in There“. Bill is a regular solo performer operating with the motto, “Music of all ages for all ages.” He entertains at historic sites, senior centers, and family outings, among others.  He also hosts a musical showcase at The Coffee Grounds in St. Paul on the second, third, and fourth Thursdays of each month featuring some of the best acoustic musicians in the area.

  • Dale Dahlquist

    DaleDale 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.

  • Elizabeth (Liz) Draper

    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. Her improvising has led her to The School For Improvised Music in Brooklyn,New York. Elizabeth has performed and recorded with such groups as the Grammy Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, The Cactus Blossoms, Black Blondie, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, The Rose Ensemble, Ben Weaver, Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, and Dakota Dave Hull just to name a few. Elizabeth has taught privately since 1998.
  • Jim Feia

    Instruments: Keyboards, Piano
    Jim studied classical piano, music theory, and piano pedagogy at St. Cloud State University. He is a founding member and keyboardist in the PACHANGA SOCIETY (a Minnesota Music Award Nominee, Latin, Afro-Carribean, rock, original roots, world-beat dance band), and he has shared the stage with some of Minnesota's finest singers and players. Jim gives his students the fundamentals needed to perform the style or genre they wish to learn. Jim's approach to music theory is dynamic and fun, providing students the best learning tools for understanding critical music concepts and broadening musical appreciation.
    www.jimfeia.com
    www.pachangasociety.com
    www.jimfeia.wordpress.com

  • Jason Fladager

    Instruments: Guitar (Electric)
    Guitarist/singer/songwriter Jason Fladager is a veteran of our Twin Cities community of musicians. Jason has toured extensively in the United States/Japan, recorded twelve albums and performed hundreds of live shows. Currently he hosts and produces the weekly "Fladcast" series which showcases the best in Minnesota musicians and songwriters. Jason's guitar playing is featured every year in the annual local tributes to "Led Zeppelin", "Talking Heads" and "The Who".
  • Paul Fonfara

    Instruments: Clarinet, Saxophone

    www.paintedsaints.net

    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.

  • Mike Hedding

    Instruments: Banjo, Mandolin
    Over 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.

  • Abe Hunter

    Instruments: Keyboards, Piano
    Abe Hunter is an active collaborative pianist, performer and teacher in the region. He has studied music at the University of Manitoba and Bemidji State University. Abe has performed in recitals throughout Austria and Italy and founded the Loon Opera Company. Abe bases his lessons on a strong foundation of music theory, piano technique and piano repertoire. Students also receive instruction in practicing, sight-reading, memorization & performance, ear training and music appreciation.
  • Lauren Husting

    Instruments: Euphonium, Trombone, Tuba
    http://www.laurenhusting.com/

    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 Joyner

    Gary 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 “one of our favorite teachers on the planet.” 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’s 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 Kemperman

    Instruments: Drums, Percussion (Hand)

    www.willkemperman.com

    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 Kolarov

    Instruments: 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.

  • Siama Matuzungidi

    www.siama-music.comSiama

    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 Miller

    Instruments: Voice

    BobbiBobbi 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” 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 Mueller

    www.karenmueller.com

    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.

  • Adam Gabriel Napoli-Rangel

    Instruments: Rap/Hip-Hop
    Adam Gabriel Napoli-Rangel, known as the artist SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, is our newest rap and hip hop instructor.  He has been described as a “Chicago Institution”, “Walking creativity” and “The hardest working, most  unjustly slept on artist in the Twin Cities”....This award winning hip hopper is a Twin Cities Native, Chicago transplant, MC, Poet, Producer, Engineer, Visual Artist, Actor, Educator, Thinker, Lover and one heck of a cook. He is also a recipient of the 2013 VERVE Grant from Intermedia Arts and a semi-finalist of the Saint Paul Challenge for the Million dollar idea to make Saint Paul Great.

    SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE has done years of youth work through hip hop and spoken word dealing with social justice, identity, and community engagement issues, has performed at countless venues and festivals and spoken at and facilitated workshops at various social justice conferences and retreats.

    SEE MORE aims to inspire, uplift and open doors to possibility and imagination with an invitation to self discovery through meditations on community, history, and the expression of pure imagination. He has shared stages with the likes of Brother Ali, Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Michal Franti, Atmosphere, De La Soul, The White Stripes and many more.
  • Jim Ouska

    www.jimouska.com

    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’s 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.)

  • Jim Plattes

    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

    www.paulrenz.comYouTube Video

    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 Simenson

    Instruments: Trumpet

    www.billsimenson.com

    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.

  • Paul Storms

    StormsLong 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.

  • Dan Turpening

    Instruments: Accordion

    DanDan 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.