In-Person Lessons

Meet Our Instructors

At MiMusic, we provide unparalleled quality private music lessons in Traverse City Michigan. Our program includes lessons in a variety of instruments such as piano, voice, guitar, bass, ukulele, cello, mandolin, and violin. We offer amazing introductory private music lessons for all ages and welcome all members of the family to join our program.

Our heart for helping others succeed is what drives us to continually improve and implement an innovative and enriching music program. As soon as new students step through our doors, they can sense that we are different. Our gorgeous and comfortable lobby and lesson rooms, friendly front desk staff, and remarkably talented team of professional instructors create a welcoming and energizing environment that brings the learning experience to life from day one.

At MiMusic, we believe that music is a magical language that inspires growth and achievement, and our contagious energy and motivation are sure to ignite your passion for music. Join us today and discover the joy of learning and creating music with our exceptional program.

Offered Lessons:  Guitar – Acoustic/Electric, Mandolin, Cello, Violin, Bass, and Ukulele

My name is Karine Pierson, owner and educational director of MiMusic Studio and scholarship program. Born in Michigan, I’m a music educator, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and recording artist. I began learning violin from my Suzuki method teacher, Shu, as a toddler. Supported by my parents, I immersed myself in music programs.

At thirteen, I toured Europe with the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Choir. With scholarships, I attended Interlochen Arts Camp.  After earning my bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, teaching in Detroit, I pursued a full-time career in music, forming bands and performing nationwide.

In 2023 I purchased Vokey Music which later became MiMusic Studio and TC Violin Co, which provides lessons and instruments for hundreds of students.  My passion is helping people to discover their motivation for learning music.

My name is Rose Coe, I am the former owner of Vokey Music Studio where I teach voice and piano lessons. I was born and raised in beautiful Traverse City. I learned how to read and play music as a young girl and sang in public regularly starting at age eight. I joined Northwestern Michigan’s Children’s Choir at age ten. In my later years I participated in various local choirs and ensembles. I studied classical vocal music and Opera at Butte College and Chico State University in California. I sang in numerous Operas at Chico State University while studying with Dallas Opera Star Marilyn Curtis and China’s most praised soprano, Dr. Ying Yeh.

I was a music teacher in California before relocating to my home town of Traverse City. I’m pleased to offer you a variety of lessons in a fun and stimulating atmosphere at my studio. Vokey is about learning to make beautiful music, I teach my students the fundamentals and most importantly to enjoy the music they make. Music is my greatest passion, it’s my goal to share that passion with others. Watching my students learn to love music and be excited about performing well is the most fulfilling reward. I have students ranging in ages from 6-60, so if you’re an adult considering taking lessons for the first time or continuing lessons you’ve had in the past I assure you, it’s never too late to learn. I customize each student’s lessons based on their goals, as well as follow up assessments confirming student progress satisfaction.

Vokey music does not discriminate on any style of music, we offer lessons in any genre our students are interested in learning.

Drew has twenty years of experience in the music industry. He’s taught musicians in churches, schools, and master classes at all ages and experience levels.  He is a seasoned veteran of the stage and studio, performing in venues all over the country with 2 full length albums, 3 EP’s, and a handful of singles released under his name.

As a teacher, Drew takes an eclectic approach to guitar, both acoustic and electric, focusing on solid rhythm, playing in the context of a band, and being fluent in chord voicing and alternate tunings allowing you to paint with a vivid musical spectrum. His major expertise is in the genres of Rock, Country, and Blues with a minor in Jazz guitar and Latin Jazz styles (Bossa, Rhumba, and Brazilian finger style).

Jay Laura is an exceptionally talented musical artist who graduated from Berklee College of Music, in Boston. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Production and Engineering. Jay embarked on the music scene in Southern California performing with his band the Phantom Image, along with many groups. While playing live shows, Jay has produced various albums, singles, and array of projects in his studio, Black Smoke Gallery.

Jay is a singer/songwriter, pianist, keyboardist, percussionists, drummer, and most importantly loves to inspire others, an all music teacher. Having now over 20 years of experience. He has licensed several of his songs to television, film and commercials. Along with his own work, Jay continues to teach and share techniques, to all ages, his knowledge of music. Jay encourages his students to be creative and to use and discover their own unique rhythm and intuition to create and play music.  

He also continues to record and produce talented artists and musicians. Currently, Jay is located in Traverse City and is excited being part of this beautiful community.

Steve Stargardt

Steve is a piano instructor and  jazz performer.  He graduated from College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati with a B.M. and B.S. degree. Was an educator for 48 years; music teacher, middle school math, middle school counselor, elementary school principal.  He has taught Jazz workshops, adjudicated jazz festivals, mentored  jazz pianists.

Private lessons in both classical and jazz improvisation. Steve is currently active in performance with many local jazz musicians.

​Dawn is our Advanced Piano Instructor.

Experience:

  • A fifteen year history of one-on-one instruction of all ages, 6 yrs- retired, using a wide range of curricula to teach not only repertoire, but also technique, theory, and the ability to read music.
  • Church pianist at a variety of churches for the past 28 years; roles including choir pianist, special music accompaniment, wedding music, holiday music, etc.
  • Comfortable and experienced with creating individual approaches to a student’s personality, temperament and gifts.

Affiliations: Currently affiliated with and provide piano music for the following churches:

  • Traverse City Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • People’s Church of Kalkaska
  • St Matthew’s Lutheran Church of Mancelona

Kerrie Schendel

Kerrie started her musical career at a very young age. At four and five years old she would sit at the piano and play to the television advertisement jingles. Her mother and grandmother knew she had a gift and started her in piano lessons at six years old. Kerrie’s grandmother, a classical pianist and a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, was a wonderful teacher, influence, and mentor through her childhood musical development. Kerrie sang in the school choir, and played the piano and some violin in the school Orchestra. She attended the Honsinger Conservatory of Music, Western Michigan University, and transferred to Northern Illinois University where she received a Bachelors of Science in Business. After graduating she did correspondence work at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and obtained certification for the Kelly Kirby Piano Method. This course is excellent for early childhood piano. Kerrie then opened her own private studio teaching both private and group piano lessons to early childhood through retirees. She also spends a day in Traverse City teaching and is currently enjoying her teaching at MiMusic Studio. In the last couple of years, she has had great success teaching virtually. Kerrie has been teaching piano for 27 years and feels extremely blessed that her work is what she loves. She is the main accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfort, where she also sings in their choir and is a member of the Trinity Band. In addition to teaching, Kerrie plays at many events including funerals, weddings, and parties.
“Learning to play the piano is a cherished lifetime enrichment.”

Jarad Selner – AKA The Saxsquatch – is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, arranger, composer, and producer from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Having been a touring musician for the better part of 2 decades, The Saxsquatch has played hundreds of stages and dozens of studios with a myriad of bands, giving him a great deal of experience with what it means to be a working player.

Jarad has contributed to records as a producer, arranger, and performer in a range of styles including hip hop, jazz, R&B, funk, blues, country & western, American folk, Classical, rock, fusion, pop, and experimental & soundscape music. As such, he boasts a long list of musical partners, bandmates, and collaborators.

Jarad is also a guitar and bass technician, and has a great deal of experience with setting up and maintaining drums, as well as some experience with woodwind setup and repair. These skill sets give Jarad special insight into issues such as fitment and playability, which can help reduce unnecessary challenges for musicians that are just beginning their musical journey.

The Saxsquatch has been a music educator for over 15 years and teaches saxophones, clarinet, guitar, electric bass, and drum kit. His lessons are specifically tailored to the wants and needs of each student, with a focus on practical theory, body mechanics, contextual history, and, most importantly, having fun.

A List of links to some of his recent contributions, collaborations and works can be found at http://linktr.ee/saxsquatch

Jess achieved bachelor’s degrees in Voice performance and Psychology from the University of Michigan, studying under world-renowned George Shirley, the first African American tenor to perform a leading role at the NYC Metropolitan Opera. Her career post-college spans advertising roles at publishers like Hearst & AutoTrader as well as software testing and web development, but her passion in life surrounds work with children of all ages, most recently in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as family support at Child & Family Services of NW Michigan. While happily teaching guitar, piano, voice, and ukulele at MiMusic, she is working toward a Master’s degree in Social Work with a goal to incorporate music in a clinical setting with children.

Earlier in life, Jess grew up in Manistee, MI, where she started singing into perfume bottles as a toddler, watching Star Search & listening to groups like The Cars, The Human League, and The Pointer Sisters. She started guitar lessons at the age of 7 and piano lessons at the age of 10, giving concerts at local venues, leading music for church services and jamming with local bands. In high school, she performed at weddings & community events, learned choral directing, participated in voice competitions & traveled statewide performing with various musical groups, most notably using music at schools to teach resiliency skills through self esteem, healthy coping mechanisms & positive peer networks. She’s excited to bring her background & experience to kiddos & adults at MiMusic!

Skyelea Martin

 

My name is SkyeLea, and I bring a blend of passion and expertise to my teaching. With 6 years of teaching experience, and having grown up in the performance world, I have developed a deep understanding of how to effectively engage and educate my students. Alongside my teaching career, I have pursued my own musical journey studying Piano, Guitar, and Audio Technology at NMC, and refining my vocal abilities to sing professionally. My dedication to music and teaching is evident in my enthusiastic approach and commitment to helping my students reach their full potential!

Chris Charnes

Chris Charnes is a Michigan native, born and raised in the Mount Pleasant area. Chris has been excited about music since his youth, participating in band and orchestra as early as he was able. He actively played all percussion instruments and the Bass (orchestra) during his school years. Chris attended CMU as a music major briefly before jumping into raising his own family and supporting them. No matter where he’s lived or what he’s done for work, Chris has always tried to stay in tune with the local music scene; You’ll always find him playing with a local band or involved in local workshops.

Chris moved his family to the Traverse City area in 2014 and has 3 school aged children, the youngest of whom he serves as a full-time caregiver for as she is neurodivergent. Caring for his children has provided Chris an exceptional level of patience, and a unique passion for sharing music to children at any educational/functionality level. Currently Chris plays with the TC local 5th Gear Band and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family when he has down time.

Kevin LaRose first came to northern Michigan as a student at Interlochen Arts Academy. After graduation, he majored in tuba performance and music education at Michigan State University and completed a Master’s in performance at The Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut. His primary teachers include Phil Sinder, Scott Mendoker, and Tom Riccobono. Since then he has taught privately and performed/toured with multiple ensembles up and down the East Coast.

Kevin moved back to Interlochen in 2018 and is actively freelancing on low brass and bass. In addition to NMBB, he also plays with the Northwest Michigan College jazz ensembles, the Encore Winds, and StoneFolk is a band based in Traverse City.

Kevin LaRose is an active freelance musician and teacher based in Traverse City. A native of Marshall, he first came to northern Michigan to study at Interlochen Arts Academy. Following graduation, he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in music education and performance from Michigan State University and a Master’s in tuba performance from the Hartt School. His primary teachers include Phil Sinder, Scott Mendoker, and Tom Riccobono.

Kevin performs frequently throughout Michigan, largely on tuba, sousaphone, euphonium, bass/tenor trombones, and electric/upright bass. He regularly participates in jazz ensembles at Northwestern Michigan College, the Northern Michigan Brass Band, the Northern LOWER Brass Quartet, the Encore Winds, Song of the Lakes, and StoneFolk, as well as musical theater work for area schools and Old Town Playhouse.

Christopher Stefanciw

Christopher Stefanciw has been performing and teaching finger style guitar for the past 25 years.  He attended the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the early 2000’s, and his areas of expertise include creative and technical instruction for finger style playing on steel string acoustic,  classical, and electric guitars.  His passion is in assisting others with unlocking their creative potential as composers, songwriters, and improvisers. 

He is able to teach creative approaches with guitar, voice, and piano.  Allowing for spontaneity within these processes helps to lighten the experience of learning challenging concepts, and it improves confidence and trust in one’s own musical inspirations.  These tools also are relevant to managing the unexpected occurrences in life.

Nick Veine is a singer-songwriter and composer born and raised in Manistee, MI. He grew up playing rock and blues before he started singing, pivoting to acoustic music without losing that electric flair.

His passion encouraged him to attend Berklee College of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and production and eventually pursued and completed a Master of Music in Classical Composition at Belmont University.

He performs an eclectic mix of his own music and traditional blues/folk as a solo act and with other phenomenal musicians across the state.

Nick is very comfortable teaching guitar and music theory, with a heavy emphasis on composition and arranging. Music production and composing are other passions of his, along with beginner piano and voice. He’s well-versed in blues, jazz, Western swing, samba/bossa nova, bluegrass, country, folk, Celtic, acapella music, and classic and progressive rock.

If you’re interested in a creative approach to music theory, harmony, composition, and performing—especially in rootsy styles—Nick is your guy 🙂

Alex Dies has been teaching music for over a decade now and teaches all ages/styles. Alex took lessons from a Juilliard graduate in an intensive learning program.  Alex has gone to great lengths to make a comprehensive reference note guide, which is used as a lesson plan.

Alex specializes in chord construction and unique chord voicing, and he is fully versed in all the modes as well.   Alex uses a “don’t play it if you can’t say it” rule that helps the student know scale degrees and key placement at all times, but at the same time he makes sure to keep it light and have fun with it as we learn.

Alex also loves doing virtual lessons!

Nick VanMaren

Nick is a Michigan native, born in Ann Arbor. At age 10, he began his journey learning Cello. Instantly he was enamored with the instrument that was bigger than he was. Throughout his 15 years of experience, Nick has written multiple orchestral pieces while also playing in both his elementary and high school orchestras. This experience combined with his knowledge in music theory gave him motivation to begin teaching.

In high school, Nick had also completed AP Music Theory and also extensively studied music theory in his free time. During this time, Nick began nurturing his new growing passion of teaching beginning with orchestra in 2015. Almost immediately, Nick realized that he had a passion for teaching and aiding others in learning new things.

After high school, Nick chose to continue cello as a hobby, choosing to focus on expanding his repertoire and variety of instruments. He has since taught a multitude of hobbies of his own over the past 7 years, garnering him skills that can give a unique approach to learning styles or habits that require specific nurturing. Upon moving to Traverse City in March of 2023, Nick decided to begin teaching cello so that many could learn the innate beauty of the instrument and hopefully aid the students in their learning the same way his teachers had done for him.

Steve ‘Steev’ Potov

Steve ‘Steev’ Potov of Interlochen began learning the violin around age ten, his mother and grandfather were both violinists. Chris Williams was his teacher for nearly a decade, exposing him to Cajun, Irish, French-Canadian, bluegrass, and old-time music. After watching an old rerun of Hee-Haw in 2009, Steev suddenly wanted to play old-time music with an unquenchable passion. After attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and watching the movie, “Music of the Heart,” Steev was also inspired to teach and pass on the rich tradition of old-time fiddle music to others. Steev also studied with Bob Saddler, a well-known fiddle contest judge, as well as many other teachers and musicians of note including Dr. Jeff Cobb, Dr. Scott Sorensen and John Thompson of Lester Flatts and Earl Scruggs fame. Steev plays lead fiddle at many old-time fiddle shows, barn dances and square dances. Steev teaches traditional Suzuki violin as well as old-time fiddle. Steev is also our banjo teacher and he teaches and plays other instruments including piano and cello.

Elena Stavropoulos

Elena received her Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Illinois University in 2021 and graduated from the Performer’s Certificate program the following year. She studied piano performance, vocal performance, and composition. Additionally, she has been playing violin for over a decade and played both violin and viola in the Neuqua Valley and Northern Illinois Symphony Orchestras. Elena has worked extensively as a private teacher since 2014, when she founded her own studio at the age of 15. She also has been employed as a collaborative pianist for the Grammy award-winning District 204 high school music program and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She recently appeared as a soloist with the RYSO, NIU Philharmonic, and NVSO as the winner of their concerto competitions. Elena’s pedagogy focuses on technical and aural development as vehicles for artistry. She aims to provide a relaxed and safe environment for each student to learn and grow at their own pace, while also inspiring them to push the limits of their potential.

FAQ’S

Frequently Asked Questions

Please email or call for lesson prices as they vary by instructor and instrument. The current lesson fee is for a half-hour lesson at MiMusic Studio. Most students have 30-minute lessons weekly, though other lengths may be available depending upon your situation/ability/desire. 

For most students piano/vocal lessons are ongoing. The initial lesson is a consultation where we can get to know one another and decide together what your individual learning needs are and what you hope to achieve from taking lessons. The initial consultation lesson is chargeable at the standard rate but there is no commitment at this point to come back for further lessons.

Payments can be made by cash or check payable to MiMusic. Payments are due at the beginning of each lesson. Or can be paid in advance either weekly, monthly, or quarterly.  All lesson payments are non-refundable.  If you miss a class make-up lessons are available.

When you confirm your lesson time, that spot is reserved for you and will remain yours unless you confirm otherwise.  If you are unable to attend a lesson, you will still need to pay for that lesson as that time slot is being reserved for you.  MiMusic conducts a strict 24 hour cancellation policy and students are expected to give a minimum of 24 hours notice if a scheduled lesson is canceled. If 24 hour notice is not given full price for the lesson will be charged as that spot has been reserved for them. In the event an instructor is unable to make the regular lesson time they will contact the student directly and students will not be charged.  If you miss a class make-up lessons are available.

We recommend at least a half-size keyboard for beginners.  As the student progresses a full-sized keyboard will become necessary.

The minimum age is normally about five or six though this depends upon the child and their level of maturity. I do teach younger children as well though this tends to be on a less formal basis with lots of musical games with piano learning added.

A Practice is up to the student or parent – the more the student practices the better they will play and the quicker they will progress.  We recommend at least 15 minutes a day for younger students and 20-30 minutes a day for more advanced students. As the student progresses they usually find that 30 minutes isn’t nearly enough to thoroughly get through the lesson material.

In order to reinforce what you have learned in your lesson, improve upon it and perfect it for performance.  Much like an athlete, your muscles must be trained to respond in a way that will create the desired outcome of making beautiful music for you and others to enjoy.

Basic proficiency at the piano, or any instrument, depends upon the amount of time the individual student commits to practicing and perfecting their lessons.

No.  Basic music notion, note reading, ear training and sight reading skills are part of the lesson curriculum.

Contact Us

Learn music the fun way.

Address:

3003 Garfield Road N, Traverse City. MI 49686

Store Hours:
Mondays | 12 PM – 6 PM
Tuesdays |  11 AM – 7 PM
Wednesdays | 11 AM – 7 PM
Thursdays | 11 AM – 7 PM
Fridays | 12 PM – 6 PM
Saturdays by appointment, and Sundays always closed

Contact Us

Learn music the fun way.

Address:

3003 Garfield Road N, Traverse City. MI 49686

Store Hours:
Mondays | 12 PM – 6 PM
Tuesdays |  11 AM – 7 PM
Wednesdays | 11 AM – 7 PM
Thursdays | 11 AM – 7 PM
Fridays | 12 PM – 6 PM
Saturdays by appointment, and Sundays always closed