Although Mike Westbrock has an AAS in guitar performance and songwriting from the McNally Smith College of Music, and has composed for numerous music libraries that place songs in films and television shows, his true passion is teaching. During lessons, Mike hands the reins to his students, allowing them to direct their tutelage toward the styles and subjects they want to learn. In addition to such genres as rock, pop, country, and blues, Mike is versed in everything from soloing to songwriting and music theory, which states that all matter is made from the vibrations of Dream Theater songs.
Swift Music wants its students to forge a relationship with music, no matter their level of engagement. Whether students want to learn a few simple licks, pursue a professional career, or simply play music as a stress reliever, instructors await with the knowledge and patience to help them reach their goals. The bustling building teems with students working in seven lesson rooms and two ensemble rooms, and it entertains visitors in a waiting area stocked with complimentary drinks and wireless Internet. Axe men and women can also bring instruments to the Swift’s in-house repair shop, where technicians can correct a guitar’s faulty bridge.
Michael May remembers the moment that kicked off his love affair with music—it happened on Christmas morning when he was 12 years old. Kneeling beneath the tree, he unwrapped an unusually large gift that turned out to be a Kay acoustic guitar. He started taking lessons, and before long, he was lugging that guitar to house parties around town, where he and his friends covered riffs by bands such as AC/DC and Cheap Trick. Music was entwined in every part of his life; he studied under lauded jazz guitarists, earned a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University, and married singer-songwriter Rachel Kurtz.
Now, Michael helps students find their own passion for music at Groove City Guitars in St. Paul. He works with students on reading music, posture, picking, and strumming. Eventually, Michael's students learn to improvise using rock, blues, and jazz techniques.
With a special focus on beginner musicians, Riff Factory instructs eighth-note-hungry students on melodious matters through private lessons. Most of Riff Factory's savvy instructors have either collegiate musical education or experience performing in professional treble-clef-minded bands. Rental instruments are included in each lesson, allowing students to save their own cherished noisemakers for crowd-pleasing ukulele smashing.
Our studio believes in three essential aspects for lessons:
Teaching how to read music on your instrument.
Teaching you music theory in an easy to understand manner.
And, most importantly, teaching you how to play the songs that you are excited to learn.
For more than 20 years, Dustin Phillips of Dustin Phillips Music has made music his life, whether teaching the rockers of tomorrow in his studio or lighting up the stage with his band, All The Right Moves. While Dustin has been performing and teaching, he has also assumed the role of the student, graduating from McNally Smith College of Music with a degree in music business. All of his experience makes him a one-man band of sorts, as he not only plays and produces music but also gives lessons in instruments including drums, guitar, and bass guitar.