A# Music Studios Teachers
LaRae Mills — Owner of A # Music Studios and Teacher
Degree: Bachelor of Music Education with Vocal Emphasis and Master of Divinity
Musical Abilities: Vocalist, Pianist, Amateur player of multiple instruments
Family: Married to Jeff Mills, who own an international boutique internet and search engine marketing company. Their daughter, Izabella, is in 7th Grade. She loves art and music and her dog Mickey. As a family, we love to travel to Hawaii, California, Florida and have cruised to several exotic islands and places aboard cruise ships.
Experience and Professional Involvement: Taught Kindermusik in South Dakota in 1995-1997 and joined A# Music Studios (formally KinderMelodies) in the spring of 2006. Over 20 years of teaching experience in many venues and ages. Member of: National Music Teachers Association and Minnesota Music Teachers Association, St. Paul Piano Teacher’s Association, and VoiceCare Network.
Mike is an accomplished musician with 28 years of experience playing the guitar. He has a background in fingerstyle acoustic guitar, rock, jazz, and classical guitar. Mr. Graebner has studied at Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, and the Smith McNally School of Music. While at Arizona State University he was awarded the Jazzbird Grant for Excellence in Jazz Performance. In 2002, Mike recorded a solo LP, “Corner of the World”, with Grammy award winner Mike Elliott as engineer. Mike has written music for film and radio, but nothing gives him more satisfaction than his passion for playing and teaching the guitar. Mr. Graebner has been teaching privately since 1996 in the St. Paul area.
Degree: McNally School of Music, Audio Production 1994
Music Abilities: Shawn was born with a song in his head! He started playing the drums at age 8 and picked up the guitar at age 11 studying rock, classical, jazz, etc. along the way. Shawn can play piano, guitar and drums and spends his free time writing, recording original music and finding ways to express his creativity.
Shawn’s favorite group is the Dave Matthews Band. His favorite guitarist is a toss up between Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen (extremely creative and made up their own rules). While Shawn’s main style is Rock, each private lesson is tailored to the individual to build a confident, creative and skilled student – a real ‘guitar hero’. Being a musician and a recording engineer has taught Shawn the importance of being balanced, dedicated and communicative with your music. He likes all genres of music and likes to introduce students to other styles that they may not have in their collection or repertoire. Music is universal.
The following are just a few of the skills that Shawn can customize for you or your group:
Exercises – left and right hand intensive to improve dexterity, increase strength and accuracy
Basic theory – Sight Reading, intervals, rhythm patterns, basic chords, ear training
Advanced theory – inversions, extended chords, scales, modes, secondary dominants
Techniques – finger picking, strumming, approaches to different styles
Songs and songwriting
Equipment – Guitars, amps, effects, recording techniques
Emphasis on creativity
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Music from Harding University, Master of Music in Vocal Performance from University of Missouri – Kansas City
Experience: Alex has performed a wide variety of choral, oratorio, operatic, and musical theatre performances. Most recently, Alex performed with Skylark Opera as the Pooh-Bah in their innovative production of The Mikado. Earlier in this year, he performed Polonious in Minnesota Opera’s production of Hamlet. He has sung numerous chorus roles with Minnesota Opera and Minnesota Concert Opera.
At the UMKC Conservatory of Music & Dance, Alex’s performance credits include Leporello in Don Giovanni, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, and Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen. In 2011, Alex was a young artist at Seagle Music Colony, performing the roles of Crespel in Les contes d’Hoffmann and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. His undergraduate performances include Jud in Oklahoma!, the eponymous role in Scrooge, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, the baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem, and two international chorus tours to South America and Asia.
Hobbies: Since moving from Arkansas northward, Alex has enjoyed awakening his inner Minnesotan! He enjoys exploring the land of a thousand lakes through hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. He also enjoys board games, occasional painting, and cooking with his wife Logan. Most recently, he has taken up learning how to be a father to his new son!
Solveig Mebust – Instrumental, Piano and Vocal Instructor
Degree: Bachelor of Music Education- specializing in both vocal and instrumental music from Augsburg College
Experience: Solveig’s voice part is soprano and her primary instrument is the flute, which she has played for 16 years. She has also played piano for 16 years. She is currently also working as a substitute teacher in Saint Paul and as a soprano section leader with a church choir in Saint Paul. In addition, she sings with two volunteer choirs, the Masterworks Chorale of Augsburg College and the Minnesota Chorale. She plans on pursuing graduate work in Musicology in the coming years.
Hobbies: When not singing, playing, or teaching, she loves to read, cook, knit, and run. Her family currently consists of two rescued cats, Fanny and Felix, named for the Mendelssohn siblings.
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Minnesota Morris; Master of Music in Music Theory from Northwestern University.
Experience: Molly has been playing the piano for over 20 years. As a student at UMM, she frequently performed as a soloist as well as collaborated on piano with vocalists, instrumentalists, and choirs. In addition to playing piano, Molly took organ lessons, sang in choir, and played percussion in symphonic winds ensemble. She has had the opportunity to travel to several US cities and European countries with various music groups. Molly leans towards a Classical focus in lessons, but enjoys
Hobbies: Outside of musical interests, Molly likes to spend time with her husband, Matt, and their two cats, Dula and Minerva. She enjoys trying new cooking recipes, solving crossword puzzles, reading mysteries, and kayaking on Minnesota lakes and rivers.
Deana Holst – Piano Instructor
I loved the piano the first time I watched my older sister play. I couldn’t wait to start lessons!! I studied piano for 10 years and began performing as a soloist and accompanist. I continued to perform music at Northwestern College, as a choir member and as an accompanist to the Male Chorus. After college, I began teaching piano lessons. I enjoyed serving my church as the worship leader and keyboardist for 6 years.
Playing piano and singing has opened up some great opportunities through the years! I had the opportunity to perform at Northrup Auditorium as a three-time finalist in the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Piano Contest. I have traveled to Japan, Austria, Romania and Hungary with various music groups. I have played at concerts, weddings and funerals. Learning and performing music brings me so much joy, and I am especially excited about teaching the details of technique and performance.
I live in Mahtomedi with my husband and five children. We enjoy getting out on the trails walking and biking. I love going to basketball, volleyball, soccer, and baseball games and cheering loudly for my kids. I belong to a book club, and though I do LOVE to read, I usually show up just for the conversation and the food!
Would you like to join us as a teacher or music instructor in the East Metro?
Just click on the contact us link, and send La Rae an email!