Northwestern Student Instructors
Lindsey Dammar is a senior at Northwestern College and is in the process of completing her General Music degree. Lindsey started taking piano lessons when she was seven years old, and except for a brief break, she has continued to take them. She has studied piano with Dr. Richard Lange for two years and is currently studying with Kim Lange. She absolutely loves music and helping others to understand and enjoy it. With the Lord's blessing and guidance, she hopes to help each of her students succeed, as well as be a good influence on them.
Joshua De Leon is a junior at Northwestern College. His plan is to graduate with a degree in Music Composition. His musical journey began when he was six years old, writing some of his own compositions. He began private lessons at fourteen and now currently studies piano with Dr. Richard Lange and music composition with Dr. Leonard Danek. Joshua loves the creative expression that music affords and is very excited to see others share that passion. He believes musicians should strive for excellence in their knowledge of music theory and technique. With equal importance, he emphasizes the creative and imaginative aspects that each individual musician possesses. His mission is to draw out the talent and creativity that God has gifted each student of music.
Kirsten Den Hartog is a sophomore at Northwestern College working towards her Bachelor of Science in Music Ministry; piano is her primary instrument and voice is her secondary. She has taken private piano lessons since she was six years old and is currently studying piano with Dr. Richard Lange. Kirsten values the opportunity to teach piano because she believes music provides students with an additional means of glorifying God. As a teacher, she understands that every student has a unique learning style, so she looks for new ways to help students discover musical concepts and engage in learning. She believes music is an essential part of one’s education because it helps us grow mentally, emotionally, physically, and creatively. Kirsten desires that, by helping her students learn how to play piano to the best of their abilities, her students gain a greater love and appreciation for music.
Victoria Kopp is a senior student at Northwestern College, studying for her Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in piano. She has been studying the piano since she was 7 years old and is now currently studying with Dr. Richard Lange. She loves seeing the potential in everyone and using the gifts God has given her to help foster that potential. Victoria believes that knowledge of music theory and a solid foundation of technique are necessary for her students as they strive for excellence. Her goal is for students of all ages to be able to play the piano to the best of their abilities to the glory of God. Victoria is sensitive to the fact that all students are unique and thus every lesson is customized to meet the needs of every individual student. She is driven by the belief that music is a gift from God and is a beautiful art form which is meant to be shared with others.
Susanna Lim is a senior piano performance major at Northwestern College. She has played piano since she was six. While she lived in various Central Asian countries, Susanna went to several different Russian music institutions. She has been accompanying numerous choirs including ACSI Honors Choir, NWC Varsity Men's Choir, Women's Choir and College Choir. Susanna is also a collaborative pianist and a worship leader who actively plays at many different churches in the Twin Cities. She has been teaching piano privately for seven years and encourages her students to perform for the glory of God. Susanna strongly believes that music should be shared with people. Her main goal is to teach students to enjoy performing for God and for people. She seeks to provide a solid foundation of technique and skills for her students so they will become well-rounded musicians as well as pianists.
Ben Osterhouse is a senior cello performance major at Northwestern College where he studies with Sachiya Isomura. He began piano lessons at age 7, cello lessons at age 8, and when he was 16 he developed a passion for composing music. When he was 17 he began taking organ, voice, and composition lessons at Concordia University in addition to his private piano and cello lessons. Throughout high school Ben played cello in the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and in various chamber groups, and in his first year at Northwestern he studied piano with Dr. Barbara Rogers. Currently he is a collaborative pianist at Northwestern, where he enjoys working with vocalists. Ben knows from experience how profoundly music can affect a person's life and aspires to share his love of music through teaching. He is dedicated to giving students a solid foundation in technique as well as a passion for music.
Brienna Rossiter is a sophomore piano performance major at Northwestern College. She has played piano since she was six years old and has taken private lessons for thirteen years. She is currently studying with Dr. Richard Lange. Brienna has accompanied Kennedy High School’s show choir Rhythm in Gold and Northwestern’s Women's Chorale and works as a student accompanist at Northwestern College. She is currently a member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. She desires to provide all her students with the foundational training and technique necessary for them to appreciate and perform music to the best of their ability. Her goal is for them to be able to enjoy performing and to glorify God with their talents.
Ashlea Cadwell is a graduate of Northwestern College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. Ashlea has been playing piano for nineteen years and studying with Dr. Richard Lange for the past five years. Ashlea has received music theory, sight-singing, and piano pedagogy training through Northwestern College. She has been teaching piano lessons through the Academy of Music for the past 4 years. Throughout her time at the Academy, Ashlea has taught a wide range of students both in age and ability. Miss Cadwell is also currently teaching preschool at Primrose School in West Plymouth. She is excited to pass on her deep love of music, as she helps each student acquire an understanding of music and connects it with an ability and knowledge of how to play the piano.
Kevin Christopher began his musical journey through private piano lessons at age six. From there, his musical passion began to grow, and by age nine it would not be uncommon to find this young man in his bedroom waving a baton with his stereo blaring some of history's finest symphonies. Kevin studied piano under Sister Elaine Friar throughout high school and during his college years under Robert Gronemann and Dr. Richard Lange. In May of 2011, Kevin graduated from Northwestern College with a B.A. in Music, summa cum laude. He enjoys discovering each students learning style and integrating music into a student’s real-life passions through analogy and through the practical applications music can have on a student’s life such as self-discipline, gaining confidence through accomplishment of one’s goals, and an appreciation of the diverse perspectives art can bring to life. Kevin is the father of three precious boys, giving him invaluable experience dealing with the impressionable and sometimes sensitive psyche of a child. He has also recently served as the Pastor of Worship and Music at Grace Church in Gladstone, MI. Kevin offers classical piano training as well as instruction in chordal improvisation and playing by ear.
Michelle Emmel is a graduate of Northwestern College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. While in college Michelle focused her degree on teaching piano. She studied under Dr. Richard Lange for 4 years and Mr. Wold for 3 years. Michelle started her teaching career in 2003 and has been teaching piano ever since. As a teacher, Michelle wishes to pass on a love for music and piano to her students, providing them with a relaxed and fun learning environment. She believes the best approach to teaching piano is identifying how each student uniquely relates to music and tailoring lessons to fit the student’s strengths and weaknesses, rather than using a preset curriculum.
Katie Hagen is a graduate of Northwestern College with a major in History and Bible and a minor in Music. As a piano teacher with the Academy of Music, Katie gets the chance to share her love of music with students of all ages and abilities. Her piano experience includes private piano lessons for sixteen years, church pianist for five years, Music minor at Northwestern College, and she has been a teacher with the Academy of Music since 2005. Katie's purpose as a piano teacher is to create a positive musical experience for each student based on their abilities and personal goals. Katie is patient teacher and she loves getting to know her students beyond their interest in music.
Elizabeth Larson individualizes piano instruction to the student, using traditional materials as well as components of movement, singing, and games. It is Elizabeth's goal that each student become a well-rounded musician, understanding music in the context of art, literature, and culture. She uses music in a variety of styles and genres, teaching students to discover musical concepts on their own, practice and evaluate themselves effectively, and perform confidently. Students are given the opportunity to perform in ensembles such as duets and enrich their instruction through piano camp each summer. Students become strongly competent in music history, vocabulary, and theory as well as technique and artistry.
Elizabeth's primary goals are first to pass on the joy of music to each student, so that it might become a lifelong endeavor, and second to give students every skill they need to be the best musician they can be.
Mary Lee is a Northwestern College Graduate with a B.A. degree in Music. Her main instrument is Piano, but she also has studied and plays percussion. Out of college she has continued to study music technique. She played percussion for 4 years with a post-college group out of St.Thomas college and currently is using her musical skills and abilities within her church. She believes that music is a way to guide a student's artistic development, character, and a means for her students to serve others and glorify the Lord. She uses teaching as a means to share her love of music with others as well as develop life-long musical skills. She has been teaching private piano lessons for the Northwestern College Music Academy since 1998. She is currently a member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association and specifies in the training of theory, performance, technique, and ear training. She believes that there is more than one way to learn and focuses on each student's learning style.
Annabel Naglak recently graduated from NWC with a Bachelor of Arts in General Music. She began piano lessons at age 5 near her hometown of Story City, IA and participated in IMTA (Iowa Music Teachers Association) competitions throughout her childhood. In college, Annabel was active in the music department, participating in activities such as the Jazz Band, Orchestra, piano department, and the Concerto/Aria Competition of 2010, of which she was named winner of the concerto division; because of this, she had the honor of performing a piano concerto with the NWC Orchestra during the spring semester. Annabel loves to teach music because each student learns more than just the specific instrument he or she studies. Hard work, discipline, and confidence are among the many wonderful things that can be cultivated as one studies piano, trumpet, etc. As a teacher, Annabel has high expectations for every student. While taking into account the learning needs, weekly schedule, and body language of each student at each lesson, her deepest desire is that her students improve in an encouraging atmosphere.
Emily Nelson has been playing the piano since she was 7 and graduated from Northwestern College in 2009 with a degree in Piano Performance. She is pursuing her Master's in Music Education: Piano Pedagogy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Emily has considerable collaborative performance experience accompanying choirs, vocalists, and instrumentalists, and is currently teaching an extensive studio. Passing on a genuine, life-long passion for music to students of all ages and backgrounds is her number one motivation for teaching piano. Emily believes few things are as satisfying as developing a relationship with her students while watching them grow musically and personally. She enjoys tailoring her teaching style to meet individual students' needs while instilling a solid foundation in artistry, technique, and music theory.
Grace Peterson is a graduate of Northwestern College with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance, flute as her secondary instrument and a Spanish minor. She has taken piano lessons for sixteen years, studying for four years with Dr. Richard Lange at Northwestern, and is currently studying with Dr. Paul Wirth. She has completed Piano Pedagogy with Dr. Lange and is in her fourth year of teaching through the Academy of Music. Besides preparing solo music, Grace is active in a variety of musical venues: church music, chamber music, weddings and accompanying. She has participated both in piano tours throughout the Midwest and the concerto-aria competition at Northwestern. Grace believes music is vital for all ages and hopes to spread her passion for music to her students for the glory of God. She believes learning music should be a fun and enriching experience; skills developed in the process should be applicable to all of life.
Wes Ruelle grew up in West Bolton, Vermont. Starting at age 6, he began privately studying classical piano. His focus later shifted to jazz, and he started to play jazz at various venues around Vermont with a variety of groups. He was later accepted to the William Paterson University jazz program, internationally known as one of the most prestigious programs in the world. There he studied with such greats as Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Armen Donelian, Steve LaSpina, and many others. Upon graduating, he relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he plays in a variety of groups of several different genres. He has been teaching a variety of different students of all ages and walks of life since age 19. He specializes in teaching jazz piano and improvisation, but has a strong background in classical music, as well as rock and blues.
Andrea Needham is a graduate of Northwestern College with a degree in General Music. She has been playing both piano and flute for over twelve years, most recently studying piano with Dr. Lange and flute with Michele Frisch. Andrea loves performing, and enjoys participating in local ensembles as the opportunity arises. She has been teaching music lessons since high school and loves the challenge of tailoring lessons to each new student. Her goal in teaching music is to encourage each student to love music and to learn life skills such as perseverance, a good work ethic, and time management through learning and instrument. Aside from music, Andrea loves studying philosophy and theology and loves being outdoors.
Originally from Colorado, Lindsey Thompson is currently a second year Master student in Oboe Performance at the University of Minnesota, studying with John Snow on a full scholarship. Lindsey started her piano career at age of six, studying privately for 7.5 years. She passed out of all college degree required piano courses. Lindsey has been teaching private lessons for 3 years with students from ages 5-adult. Lindsey received her Bachelors degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Music Performance at the University of Colorado in May 2011. During her time there, Lindsey performed as rotating principal and second oboist with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble under the tutelage of Peter Cooper. Lindsey has appeared with the Colorado Symphony, Mahlerfest, CU Light Opera, and was a member of the Tempest Winds.
Minghui Phebe Yeo graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis, MN in 2009 with a Bachelor's in Piano Performance and Conducting. She is currently attending University of St Thomas in St Paul, MN to receive her Masters in Music Education: Piano Pedagogy. Phebe is originally from Singapore, and began playing piano at the age of three and found she really loved playing. She played for the National Youth Festival in Singapore and has also performed with choirs internationally. She recently accompanied the North Central University Chorale in a performance at Carnegie Hall, New York and currently accompanies the Twin Cities Masters Chorale. Phebe is the acting director for WOVEN (an inner city kids music program at North Central University) and has been teaching piano for 8 years. Passing on a genuine, life-long passion for music is her goal for teaching piano. She believes that music is a way to guide a student's artistic development, character, and a means for her students to serve others, glorify the Lord, and succeed in their life endeavors.
Heidi Amundson has been playing piano for twenty years and violin and flute for 15. She has her Bachelors degree in violin performance from the University of Denver in Colorado (studying with CSO concertmaster, Yumi Hwang-Williams), and her Master's degree from Rice University in Houston (studying with Cho Liang Lin). Currently she is a DMA candidate at the University of Minnesota with Sally O'Reilly. Heidi has taken both traditional and suzuki lessons and enjoys combining the two methods to make a perfect match for each student. She has most recently served as faculty at Rice University's Preparatory Music School and loves teaching all levels and styles.
"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." J.S. Bach
A native Minnesotan, Paul has been playing piano and cello since elementary school. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cedarville University and a Master's degree from Houghton College, both in music composition. Paul is particularly interested in chamber music for strings and sacred music. He has extensive experience performing in orchestras, string quartets, and worship settings. Paul has been teaching since 2003 and enjoys working with students of all ages and proficiency levels.
Sonja Olson Grimes is a homeschooling Mother and a Master Certified Teacher of Piano with MMTA. She holds Masters Degrees in Piano Pedagogy and Piano Accompanying/Chamber Music, and a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance. She has 25 years of experience teaching and accompanying at Villanova University, The Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and at Northwestern College in St. Paul as well as maintaining a private home studio. She teaches Musikgarten classes and is a freelance accompanist in the Twin Cities.
B.M. Wheaton College
Kim Lange received the B.A and M.M. degrees with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Paul Freed. She has 26 years of teaching experience, including teaching at the Crystal Free Church School of Music, the Northwestern College Academy of Music and the Northwestern College Piano Institutes. Kim has studied the Suzuki approach with Maria Rantapaa and the Taubman Technique with Teresa Dybvig. She also has had extensive training in early childhood music, including the Yamaha, Musikgarten and Musical Trolley programs. Her teaching experience has included students of all ages, including both gifted students and students with disabilities. She is an active member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, the St. Paul Piano Teachers Association and Minnesota Music Teachers Forum, and has attended numerous workshops, master classes and institutes. A lifelong learner, she continues her piano studies with Dr. Paul Wirth. Kim resides in Crystal, MN with her husband who is her greatest support, Dr. Richard Lange.
Marlene Testa Lee, NCTM (National Certified Teacher of Music), is an Early Childhood, Elementary/Junior High Music Director, having taught in both public and private schools as well as directing church youth choirs. Currently she is on the Music Education Faculty at Northwestern College and a Piano Instructor at the Northwestern College Academy of Music. She has her Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano and Music Education from MacPhail College of Music, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas. Mrs. Lee is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the Choristers Guild and the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association.
Pam Sohriakoff is a versatile pianist and respected teacher. She has a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and is currently based in the Twin Cities area as a freelance artist, teacher and vocal performer and coach. She is an adjunct professor at Bethel University, with a primary emphasis on accompanying students. She recently completed her third solo piano album called "Reflective Beauty," which includes two of her own compositions. She specializes in hymn arrangements and improvisation for worship. She leads worship and performs at weddings throughout the area with her husband, Ken, who is an ordained minister. Their business, The Preacher and the Player, offers a unique blend of music and pastoral services. Pam's music can be obtained at her website: www.filledwithmusic.com.