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OUR INSTRUCTORS

REW Music has a long standing tradition with Music Education excellence. We take pride in the success our teachers have with teaching students the fine art of making music and being successful on their instrument. Our students perform with top marks are area and state festivals and competition because our teaching staff is the most qualified in the city! Our instructors are top rated in the Kansas City area! We offer lessons on site at either of our convenient locations in Lenexa, KS and Olathe, KS. 

Meet our instructors below!

Click on your instrument family shortcut to jump to those instructors: 

 

WOODWIND - Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, English Horn
BRASS - Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium, Tuba
ORCHESTRA - Violin, Viola, Cello
PERCUSSION
PIANO
GUITAR - Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Ukulele


WOODWIND INSTRUCTORS
Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, English Horn

REW Music is actively seeking qualified flute instructors


BLAKE JOHNSON - Oboe & English Horn


 

Blake Johnson has taught and performed as an oboist throughout multiple states and in Ecuador. He is currently pursuing a DMA and an MM in performance and musicology, respectively, from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. He uses varied approaches to fundamental techniques to make this area of study fun and give his students the tools needed to study any music in which they are interested. He hopes to motivate his students to love playing the oboe and continue their love of music throughout their lives.


RACHEL KEIRN - Clarinet & Saxophone


 

Hi, I'm Rachel Keirn! I teach clarinet and saxophone at REW, and I am currently pursuing my doctorate in clarinet performance at UMKC. The most exciting part of teaching for me is when everyone gets what they want out of a lesson: students get to improve, learn, and have fun; parents get to watch their child progress, and I get to share my joy and knowledge of music with others. My goals as an educator are to maintain open communication with both the student and parent, and to build a strong technical foundation in music. Once this foundation is built, students are able to express their own creativity and personality through the outlet of music. My students appreciate the empathy, enthusiasm, and undivided attention I bring to lessons.


KAITLIN MCFADDEN - Clarinet & Saxophone

Kaitlin McFadden: Clarinet

Kaitlin McFadden: Saxophone


Hi, I’m Kaitlin McFadden and I’ve been playing the clarinet for the past 15 years and the saxophone for 9. To say that music changed my life sounds dramatic, but it’s true! Being a musician for most of my life has helped me to form friendships and bonds that I know will last a lifetime. I graduated from Friends University of Wichita, KS in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and am returning to school for my Masters of Music Therapy from the University of Kansas. My whole life I’ve felt called to help those around me, and given my passion for music, I wanted to find a way to combine those two things. I am so excited to be teaching private lessons with REW music and look forward to sharing the joys of music with my students.


TIM TIMMONS - Saxophone & Clarinet

Tim Timmons: Saxophone

Tim Timmons: Clarinet


TIM TIMMONS is a professor emeritus at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance where he served as professor of saxophone, Division Chair, Associate Dean and an Olson Professor. He has performed many times with the Kansas City Symphony (including their Grammy Award winning recording of Benjamin Britten), Lyric Opera, and Kansas City Ballet. He has performed throughout Europe and the United States as a soloist and clinician. He has premiered and recorded works written especially for him by major composers. His students hold positions at universities and in top military service bands. I try to get to know the goals of each student and the family. I strive to give each student the embouchure and technical skills needed to meet goals and perform the music that is interesting to them. I find it important to challenge each student with goals that they will be able to obtain and create confidence and a feeling of accomplishment.


JEFF ACHESON - Saxophone & Clarinet


 

Music is fun! When I started playing the saxophone at the age of 10, my instructor inspired me to learn many different styles of music and to learn in many different ways. 37 years later, I still have the passion that was instilled into me from my musical experiences. It is my ultimate goal to teach all of my students to love music and be as successful as they can be.




BRASS INSTRUCTORS
Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium, Tuba

MICHAEL JOHNSTON - Trumpet


 

Hi! My name is Michael, and I recently graduated with my MM from the University of Wyoming. I love to share my passion for both jazz and classical music with my students, and strive to instill that passion through collaboration and interaction. I make a priority to learn my students personal goals, and find a clear path to help them achieve those goals through collaboration and individual practice.


DENNIS BALL - Trumpet


 

I grew up and attended public schools in Salina, Kansas. I attended and recived my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. After serving a short time on active duty as a member of the Army National Guard I married, then began my teaching career as a school band director. I taught 1 year in South Haven, Kansas, 2 years in Deerfield, Kansas, 23 years in Dighton, Kansas, and 16 years in Minneapolis, Kansas. I taught private lessons on an "as needed basis" while teaching band. I have played with the Salina Municipal Band, Salina Symphony, Lindsborg Community Band, Heart of America Band, Cloud County Community Band, and am presently playing with the Olathe Community Band.


ALYSSA WATNEY - French Horn & Beginning Trumpet


 

Alyssa Watney is a local educator and performer in the Kansas City area. She has worked at REW Music since March of 2020, teaching French horn and beginning trumpet. Additionally, she has worked in the Shawnee Mission school district as an educational aid and substitute, providing support for teachers, students, and administrators. Alyssa performs in a variety of bands and orchestras, and does freelance music teaching at camps and schools across Kansas. Instrumental music is not her only passion though! Theatre, dance, and vocal music are also major parts of her life. She believes that incorporating all elements of performing arts into her teaching makes her students more well-rounded musicians and people. The best musicians are ones that have a large arsenal of tools to call upon to create. Her goal as an educator is to invest in her students' lives and talents, give them ownership over their work, and inspire them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.


EMREN AKDAMAR - Trombone, Euphonium & Tuba
Emren Akdamar private trombone euphonium baritone tuba music lessons teacher

Emren's Video Coming Soon!

Emren Akdamar is a first year Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in trombone performance at the University of Kansas, where he studies under Dr. Michael Davidson and works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the KU School of Music. He has been playing trombone for 13 years. Originally from Arkansas, Emren holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Henderson State University, where he studied trombone with Dr. Jamie Lipton. He is also a McNair Scholar alumnus. Recently, Emren earned his Master of Arts degree in trombone performance from Washington State University, having studied under Dr. Sarah Miller. Emren has performed with numerous ensembles and had the unique distinction of being named to intercollegiate honors groups for both band and choir. In recent summers, Emren has worked as a counselor and unit director at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Emren aims to create an environment that makes learning fun and rewarding for his students in lessons.

When not playing the trombone or in class, he enjoys science fiction, video games, Lego, and 3D printing.


ERIC CHAPMAN - Trombone & Beginning Baritone, Euphonium

Meet the Teacher: Eric Chapman

Eric Chapman: 2022-23 KMEA Jazz Band Trombone Audition Tips


Eric Chapman is a composer, arranger/orchestrator, trombonist, educator, and advocator of the life-long benefits of fine arts participation. Eric earned a Doctorate in Musical Arts from University of Missouri-KC in music composition, a Master's of Music from Western Illinois University, and Bachelor's of Music from Eastern Illinois University. He produced and published an album of all original compositions for large jazz ensemble titled 364 Days. From this album compositions won awards from The Global Music Awards for composition and jazz. Eric has been published by Really Good Music, LLC. In 2015/2016 he was invited to participate and was a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's workshop in New York City working with top-tier jazz artists in the NYC area. Eric has performed with many ensembles in the KC area including The New Jazz Order Big Band under the direction of Clint Ashlock, Son Venezuela, Kerry Strayer Big Band, and various other jazz and popular music ensembles.

Eric is originally from the St. Louis area. He is a big fan of baseball, enjoys cooking and learning about aspects of culinary arts, is passionate about experiencing new music, and has a very handsome black cat named Wesley.




ORCHESTRA INSTRUCTORS
Violin, Viola, Cello

POLINA KRASNOPOLSKAYA - Violin & Beginning Viola


 

Polina is a dedicated musician, who is finishing her Bachelors in Music Education at UMKC. She has been a member of Kansas All-State Orchestra and State Solo & Ensemble Festivals, so she feels like it is her duty to give back to the local musical community that treated her so well in her formative years as a violinist. She actively participates in community music, Lenexa Community orchestra being her favorite summer gig. She has been teaching privately since 2017 and her main goal is to take each student's ability and to guide them to new horizons in terms of technique and knowledge about the vast world of music that's available to them. Her favorite pastimes are translation and photography.


KARIANNE WATERLAND - Violin & Viola


 

Karianne Waterland has a Music Business degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Karianne is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed Books 1-3 Teacher Training in the Suzuki Method. She also plays in the Northland Symphony and is Executive Director of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City. Additionally, Karianne assists with the REW Homeschool Orchestra ensembles.


BRANDON LAY - Violin & Beginning Viola (virtual lessons only)


 

Brandon picked up violin at a small fiddle shop at the age of nine and has been loving playing ever since. While attending grad school, he achieved his childhood dream of playing with his teachers in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Each of his teachers and professors has been deeply impactful, both personally and professionally, and Brandon wants to be able to give back the same way to his students. At the end of the day, music can be challenging, but is fun and rockable, hence why he has Shostakovich and Lizzo on the same playlist.


PIPER MYERS - Cello


 

I'm a student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music working towards my Bachelor's degree in Music Education. I started playing Cello when I was 10 years old and I feel that it has been a really big part of my life. Music is a really important subject. I found all of my close friends through music; I found an amazing community of people who were all so different but who all had one thing in common which I have always thought was amazing. Through music, I found something that I want to do for the rest of my life. I am currently part of the Overland Park Community Orchestra. I love it. I really enjoy playing in a group setting. As an instructor, my goal is, not only, to help kids learn how to play the cello, but to help create an environment that makes them able to enjoy playing as much as I do.




PERCUSSION INSTRUCTORS
Mallets & Drums

JOHN GARDNER - Percussion


 

After having studied years of the percussion instruments, I graduated from Paseo High School and attended the University of Missouri in Kansas City. I also attended Kansas City Kansas Community College, Ottawa University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Music Education. I'm formally now the Band and Choir director at Southeast High School in the Kansas City Missouri School District.

I have played percussion instruments for well over 30 years and have taught privately for 20+ years. I've played all different styles of music from Jazz, R&B, Gospel, Christian, Big Band, Rock and ensemble style music. My skills have taken me to Ghana, Bermuda and Cuba just to name a few. I have played with many local artists and musicians in the Kansas City Metropolitan area.




PIANO INSTRUCTORS

ERIN HOFMANN - Piano


 

Hi! My name is Erin Hall Hofmann and I grew up in the small town of Ash Grove, Missouri. I began taking piano lessons at the age 10. As I progressed in my lessons, I quickly fell in love and spent hours practicing in my living room. After graduating high school, I decided to attend College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO, and pursue a piano major. During my time there I performed in various student recitals, served as a student accompanist, played in jazz band, accompanied musicals and helped with the on-campus Chapel worship services. I graduated in May and am currently working as a Collaborative Pianist for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. I am enrolled to attend University of Missouri Kansas City in the fall of 2022, where I will be studying to obtain my Master's Degree in Piano Performance. My main goal in teaching is to foster and grow my student's passion for music. I focus on teaching the fundamentals of theory and technique, while also building relationships with my students and discovering what their favorite styles of music and goals are to keep them engaged.


MICHAEL JOHNSTON - Piano


 

Hi! My name is Michael, and I recently graduated with my MM from the University of Wyoming. I love to share my passion for both jazz and classical music with my students, and strive to instill that passion through collaboration and interaction. I make a priority to learn my students personal goals, and find a clear path to help them achieve those goals through collaboration and individual practice.




GUITAR INSTRUCTORS
Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Ukulele

TOM NELSON - Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Ukulele


 

Thomas M. Nelson is a guitarist and composer of contemporary music, born in Kansas City Missouri in 1978. Beginning music lessons at an early age, his formal music education comes from the Paseo Academy of the Fine and Performing Arts and the Conservatory at UMKC. Part of his education included his compositions performed by the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra and an educational exchange in Capetown, South Africa. Thomas has been a teacher and performer for over 12 years. In that time, he has performed and taught in a variety of musical genres including classical, jazz, folk, country and rock. Thomas teaches his own method which includes an education in note reading, chords, basic theory and composition. He strives to import a skill set which provides a student with access to music of all genres and an enjoyment of music which can last for the students’ entire lifetime.


JEFF SHIRLEY - Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Ukulele


 

My name is Jeff Shirley and I am thrilled to get to play and compose music professionally for a living, as well as assist people with their guitar, bass and ukulele goals and dreams at R.E.W. Music. I have been teaching at R.E.W. Music for over 10 years, and I certainly would not be where I am today without R.E.W. Sticking with R.E.W. has given me so many benefits. "Sticking with it" is probably 90% of growth. Right now, I am gigging, playing 5 nights/concerts a week at KC's hottest jazz club, the Green Lady Lounge, with my group, the Jeff Shirley Organ Trio, as well as R.S.S. Trio. We are playing all-original jazz music, and we are the "late-night" band. I just released my latest album, "Blue Gold" a few months ago, and you can find my music on the streaming services if you like.

Music teaches us so much, if we are humble and patient, persistent and open-minded, also very positive. So I am trying to help instill these qualities in my students. Having these qualities allows one to make further progress in whatever field they would like to pursue. So I have so many hints, tips and tricks, handouts, quotes and inspirations.

I originally grew up outside Liberty, MO, always loved listening to lots of music, and started with piano lessons in elementary school, took a year of trumpet in 6th grade, and my grandpa gave me a guitar before my 8th grade year, and I loved it. Found jazz band in high school, and graduated with a jazz performance degree from University of North Texas. Last year, I was voted in the top 3 favorite jazz guitarists in the city by JAM Magazine. In addition to the "fun-damentals" on guitar, bass or ukulele, I like assisting my students, as they like, with singing, theory, composition, transcribing and more.

 




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