Owner/Jam Band instruction, group or private
John graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1984 with his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. While there, he studied jazz history and performance with the legendary Richard Davis
. After a fifteen year career in the corporate world, John became Betsy's part time business partner in 1999 and joined her full time in 2003, bringing a large clientele of guitar students to the business.
As the school expanded through the years, John created his own Jam Bands program, giving students the vital experience of playing with others in small group settings. He has six jam bands ranging from 5th graders, to high school seniors. Being a uniquely well-rounded musician, he gives students a solid foundation of musicianship, yet adapts his teaching to various students' tastes in different musical genres.
In addition to running the business, teaching guitar, bass, and Jam Bands, John has been active as a jazz guitarist and arranger for many years, and can be seen performing with his trio at several venues in the Charlotte area. Examples of his music can be found here
Betsy received her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a double major in clarinet performance and music therapy in 1982. Afterwards, she worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in music appreciation and clarinet. She was quick to discover that empowering others through music was much more gratifying for her than performing. She then began her progressional career doing music and activity programs in geriatrics, while also teaching piano and clarinet privately.
Like many Kindermusik educators, she came to Kindermusik as a parent in the program. Licensed in 1993, she was very fortunate to have her child enrolled in Kindermusik at Queens College with Carol Penney, which was the first early childhood music program in Charlotte. Carol subsequently became the Director of Education at Kindermusik International, and left the Charlotte program in Betsy’s capable hands. Betsy has sustained her work as a Kindermusik educator at various sites throughout the city of Charlotte, being recognized as a maestro producer by Kindermusik International, and as a maestro in outreach to special populations for many years. It has been her deepest honor to have shared paths with thousands of Charlotte’s children and their families.
In 2009, she and her husband John founded music.4.life where they are proud to provide music education services for newborns through adulthood, and to an expanding number of people throughout the Charlotte community who wouldn’t typically have access to a studio based music school.
Kindermusik Educator and Coordinator
Valerie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lander University in Theatre Education with a minor in music. Her artistic journey began with violin lessons in elementary school which led to participation in choir, orchestra and musical theatre productions. She spent several years touring with the Missoula Children's Theatre in Montana then moved to Charlotte to join the teaching team at Children's Theatre of Charlotte. She went on to serve as the Director of Education at the Theatre as the organization moved into ImaginOn. After an 18 year tenure at Children's Theatre, Valerie left full time work to become certified in Kindermusik. She currently teaches and coordinates the Kindermusik program at music.4.life as well as the Matthews Community Center.
Meg Kimmel is a native North Carolinian who has always been actively involved in music and the arts. She took piano for 8 years, has taken dance lessons since the age of three, grew up involved in her church's youth choir, and also enjoyed performing in musicals during high school, college and into adulthood. Meg graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from North Carolina State University. She then worked at Muzak/Mood Media as a Music Designer for thirteen years. As a young mother herself, Meg loves sharing her passion for music, and her heart for mothers, young children and their families. In addition to her classes at our studio, Meg takes the joy of Kindermusik to Hemby Children's Hospital and Winterfield Elementary each week.
Percussion/ Band Instruments
"Mr. Artie" is a general music teacher and band director. He is also busy with an after-school drumming program at the Community Charter School in the Cherry neighborhood. We met Artie when our school became a community partner with the charter school in 2012. Artie is one of the most relaxed people you will ever meet! He has over 25 years of percussion study, and has his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Music Education from James Madison University. He continues to enjoy diverse experiences by performing with several local Charlotte musical groups. Artie lives with his wife, who is also a teacher, and three daughters.
Erwin graduated from Salem College with her Bachelor of Arts in Piano, and has taught privately and through the Community School of the Arts for forty years. "It's pure joy to share the gift of music with students one on one! I especially enjoy getting students started in piano through theory, exercises and great repertoire, plus music they particularly enjoy. My training is classical, but I love all forms of music!" In her early forties, Erwin indulged her desire to study art, and became a visual artist. She's a painter, printmaker and fiber artist. She has a wonderful family with two children and four grandchildren. "I'm really thrilled to be a part of music.4.life. The Gurskes' philosophy of music pedagogy and mine couldn't be more compatible."