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 MEET THE TEACHERS 
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  Rachelle Swank     

My name is Rachelle Swank and I have over 23 years of teaching experience, a Master Degree of Music Education K-12 from Boston University, a Bachelor of Music Education from Grand Valley, and a former music teacher K-12. 

 

I have taught private lessons in the Grand Rapids area since 2001 and cater to students of all ages. My forte is establishing a firm musical foundation for beginning through intermediate students. I have a keen understanding how young and adolescent brains learn and the importance of connecting learning to familiar concepts being taught in other academic studies. My specialty is preparing students for school band, orchestra, and choral programs through piano. 

 

I am passionate about music lessons being for life, real life. I believe in the practical application of private lessons. The investment parents make in their children is, in part, to aid in higher confidence and higher self-esteem that will hopefully evolve into the creation of leadership opportunities in the school music classroom. I aspire for all students to feel confident enough to take on a leadership roll if the opportunity arises, big or small!  These moments and opportunities are invaluable for students. 

 

I believe strongly in the importance of music education and take great pride in offering high quality private lessons that supports local band, orchestra, and choral programs. This is where students will be spending most their time making music!  I believe teaching from this perspective serves students the best, for life. 

 

My main instruments are french horn, trumpet, trombone, and piano. However, I work with beginning band students regularly.  Currently play french horn with the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band as well as around the greater Grand Rapids area with various other ensembles or quintets.

 

 

Rachelle's Qualifications:

  • Master of Music Education K-12 from Boston University

  • Bachelor of Music Education K-12 from GVSU

  • 23 years of teaching experience

  • Professional Teaching Certificate

  • Completed 4 credits beyond Masters Level

  • Former general music, band, choir teacher K-12

  • Work with 65-75 piano students annually

  • Work with 20-25 band students annually

  • GR's annual Michigan Music Conference presenter 

  • Member of Music Teachers National Association

  • Para-pro grades Preschool-5th grade

  • Tutoring grades Preschool-8th grade

  • Urban & Suburban teaching 

  • Member of the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band

Meredith Mulder holds a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Early Childhood Development. She plays many instruments, but her main instruments are violin, viola, cello and piano. She has been teaching privately in West Michigan for 14 years and enjoy teaching to all ages. In her free time Meredith is an active Pokemon player. 

Meredith's Qualifications:

  • 14 years teaching experience

  • Active Musician in West MI

  • Member of Grand Strings

  • Member of Grand Rapids Symphonette

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  Meredith Mulder  

Hi! My name is Jared and I've been a musician and performer all my life. From "special music" in church as a child, to starting a band in high school to a degree in Music Education from Cornerstone College, I've spent most of my life on a stage or in the practice room. 

I have experience performing, leading and directing in a wide range of styles and contexts from musical theatre to church, to classic rock cover bands. While my favorite genres include Soul, Funk and Jazz Fusion, I'm excited to help students pursue whatever avenues of music strike them. I find the most important thing is to teach and explore the building blocks of music and then apply them to the instrument. My goal is to give my students the tools they need to continue to grow and develop long after they stop taking lessons with me. 

 

I'm currently offering lessons on acoustic and electric guitar (with additional guidance on gear and tone production), electric bass, tutoring in music theory and composition and coaching in musical ensemble leadership (how to rehearse and manage a band :-). 

Jared's Qualifications:

  • Bachelor Music Education - Cornerstone College

  • Experience teaching band, choir, orchestra, and music theory in local public and private K-12 schools

  • 8 years as adjunct Faculty of Music at Cornerstone University

  • 22 years of private instruction on guitar, bass, trumpet and voice

  • 22 years of leadership in large church music programs - including arranging and composition for contemporary and classical instrumentation, conducting,  technological leadership in recording and production, and performance on acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and drums

  • Co-founder of River Grand Guitarworks - custom analog effects pedals and general maintenance and service on guitars and basses

  • Stage Performance Musical Theatre - The Fantasticks, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Secret Garden and more

  • Pit Performance Musical Theatre - Little Shop of Horrors, Suessical the Musical, 1940's Radio Hour, and more

  • Vocals and Guitars in local bands

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  Jared Heddens  

For decades, music, guitar in particular, has been my passion. I have performed guitar, bass, and vocals with a wide range of music genres over the years: Blues, funk, classic rock, prog rock, new wave, country, Latin rock, and ambient. I have also taken on guitar students of all different levels over the years. I like to talk with new students, discover their musical interests, and help them learn a few favorite songs as a starting point. My hope is for students to find enthusiasm and joy as they progress playing music. You will find a bit of music that I have composed and recorded on my YouTube. 

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  Eddie Killowatts  

 

Vanessa Heuck received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from GVSU (2008) with honors in Clarinet Performance, Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting from Central Michigan University (2014), and Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Band Conducting from Texas Tech University (2017).

Dr. Heuck is a K-12 certified music educator with teaching experience across the state of Michigan. She has taught private music lessons for over 15 years, her resume includes Band Director and General Music teacher of Hillsdale Community Schools, High School Band and Choir Director of Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools, Assistant Pep Band Director at Davenport University, Music Director of the Saginaw Eddy Concert Band, and has been a guest conductor and clinician for middle, high school, collegiate, and community bands.

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   Dr. Vanessa Heuck    

Vanessa's Qualifications:

  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting, Texas Tech 

  • Master of Music in Conducting, CMU

  • Bachelor of Music Education from GVSU

  • 17 years of teaching experience K-12

  • Extensive Collegiate Marching Band experience

    • GVSU Drum Major​

    • CMU Assistant Marching Band Director

    • Texas Tech Assistant Marching Band Director

  • Marching & Wind Ensemble Conducting Emphasis

  • Choral teaching & a capella experience

  • High Level Music Theory 

  • First Chair Clarinet of Grand Rapids Symphonic Band

  • Urban & Suburban teaching experience K-12

  • Co-Founder of first female a capella at GVSU, Midnight Snack

  • Michigan Music Conference Participate and Clinician

  • Active musician in West Michigan

  • West Michigan native who strongly supports local music programs

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