Music Instructors

John Gurske

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 Gurske

Kindermusik Director/Piano

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 began her career doing music and activity programs in geriatrics, while also teaching piano and clarinet privately.

She has recently retired from a 27 year career as a Kindermusik educator. Began at Queens University in 1993, it was the first early childhood music program in the city of Charlotte. The program was repeatedly recognized as a maestro in outreach to special populations.
In 2009, she and her husband John founded, where it has been her deepest honor to have served thousands of Charlotte’s children and their families.

Artie Denman

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 Hinson


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 The Gurskes' philosophy of music pedagogy and mine couldn't be more compatible."