milford music

Milford Music
206 West Highland Rd.
Highland, MI 48357


Monday - Thursday
12 PM - 9 PM

12 PM - 7 PM

9 AM - 2 PM
Follow Us On:
THE $10.00 
Bring in your acoustic* 
guitar and this coupon for a crisp, new set of strings installed.

*12-string and classicals not included

milford music instructors

Milford Music instructors consist of highly trained, educated, and experienced musicians/teachers. Each of our instructors are hand picked for their skill, talent, teaching abilities, and professionalism. 

Meet our instructors below.  

marianne murphy | piano, vocal, guitar
Marianne Murphy teaches piano, voice, and guitar and has been a professional musician for 30 years. Marianne is a singer/songwriter, who plays piano, guitar, penny whistle, and sight reads proficiently. 

She has performed on WJR, WDET, (Wayne State University), at U of M, Ann Arbor Library Concert Series, Center for Creative Studies, Rochester Library Series, Oakland County Brown Bag Lunch Concerts, Comerica Park (Tigers), Huron Valley Council for the Arts, "Tunes for Tots", Martin Luther King march "Kids for Peace" just to name a few. Marianne has recorded three CD's of her original material, as well as being a vocal guest on other artists' albums.

Marianne currently teaches  pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary music in several Montessori schools, designing a curriculum to include theory, history, and performance outlets. She worked for "Milford Memories" art festival as both a performer and organizer of music. Each year she organizes a Veterans Memorial concert with her students from Milford Music to benefit the Veterans of today. She is also one of the founding members of the "Kettle Concert Series".

teaching philosophy
"Music brings joy to my life and I try to give to my students. I also provide a well-rounded approach with theory, ear-training, history and appreciation depending on your genre."

Oakland Community College: Associates Degree -  Education
Eastern Michigan University:  Dramatic Art & Music Scholarship

tamara whitley | vocal, piano
Tamara Whitley has 20+ years with her instruments and has been at Milford Music for over 16 years.

She has performed for Celebrity Cruiseline (lead jazz vocalist), Disney World (stage show characters), Michigan Opera Theatre, local churches, and numerous local community theatre companies. Tamara has performed  abroad in Vienna, Salsburg, and Munich. 

Her awards include:
  • Recipient of the Muriel Gilbert awared from Eastern Michigan University.

teaching philosophy
"I tailor my teaching to each students' individual needs, as I teach a variety of vocal and piano styles."
VOCAL:  "I'm firm about students becoming not just exceptional singers, but outstanding performers and musicians. I stress strong stage  and sight singing skills. Whether the student is pursuing classical training, polishing a musical theatre audition or auditioning presentation. I also stress not harming the voice for rock or heavier styles of singing." 

PIANO: "For piano and keyboard students I try to make lessons as fun and enjoyable as possible."

OVERALL: "I strive for each student to become as comfortable and versatile as possible with his/her instrument and to have a wide repertoire of "performance ready" pieces for any opportunity that presents itself."

Eastern Michigan University: Bachelor of Music - Vocal performance. Minor: Piano performance
Schoolcraft College: Associates Degree - Liberal Arts

kathie kifer | piano
Kathie Kifer has 58 years experience with piano, 50 years teaching, and 21 years at Milford Music. Kathie's experience includes being a Church organist, church pianist, musical theatre orchestra pit pianist, accompanist for Solo/Ensemble Festivals, touring choir accompanist, played bass drum in college band, musical arranger, member of the Detroit Concert Choir, and recorded 2 albums.

"Students regularly stay with me as a teacher for a long time. I have a high level of parental satisfaction"

teaching philosophy
"I use a multi-book system and incentive program that motivates students to succeed and enjoy doing so"
tim twiss | guitar, electric guitar, bass, ukulele
Tim began teaching in 1977. He has been playing professionally since high school and continues to this day. With diverse experience in studio sessions, pit orchestras, solo guitar performance, night club and wedding bands, he most recently added church praise teams. He is a "jack of all trades" type musician, bringing vast real world experience into the teaching studio for a well rounded and practical approach to learning.

teaching philosophy

Be prepared to provide a window into music from any number of angles. The information is the same, but the path to is different for each individual. I have a vast pallet of musical tools and years of experience. And, I remain a student of music myself, which is invaluable when it comes to trying to understand the impossible.

Easter Michigan University: Classical Guitar
Musician's Institute: Los Angeles, CA (formerly called GIT (Guitar Institute of Technology, now called Musician's Institute) .

Visit Tim's website:
travis aukerman | percussion

Travis Aukerman is a drummer, percussionist, composer, and arranger based in Ypsilanti, MI. He has studied drum set and percussion under Dr. Olman Piedra and Jonathan Ovalle, as well as composition and arranging with Tad Weed. 

Travis performed with numerous school ensembles including; the UT Latin Jazz Ensemble, UT Jazz Ensemble, UT Percussion Ensemble, UT Wind Ensemble, and Jazz combos. He has also shared the stage with distinguished musicians including Jon Hendricks, Gilad Atzmon, Clifford Murphy, Jeff Halsey, Vic Juris, and David Bixler. He performs regularly with the Estar Cohen Project, Talking Ear, Dragon Wagon, Stonehouse, and many local groups around the Greater Toledo area. His playing can be heard on the Estar Cohen Project's debut album entitled Waiting for Dawn.

During his time at UT, Travis received a strong musical foundation in Jazz and Classical percussion as well as exposure to music and culture from the Caribbean Islands, South America, Northern India, and West Africa. He furthered these studies while away from school last summer when he traveled to New York City to study with acclaimed drummer Henry Cole. 

In 2013, Travis was one of two recipients of the Deans Award from the College of Communication and the Arts for his outstanding achievements in composition and performance. That same year, Travis received the Bernard Sanchez Scholarship, which awards students for excellence in musical performance.

Travis is currently endorsed by Bosphorus Cymbals, based in Istanbul, Turkey.

University of Toledo: Bachelors in Music Performance (Jazz concentration) magna cum laude

Visit Travis' band website:
lisa austin | piano, vocal

Lisa teaches many styles of voice focusing mostly on Broadway and show tunes. She incorporates the fundamentals into her every day teaching style and helps the student grow in their technical ability through application in each song they study. Lisa teaches the student how to use their voice correctly as well as how to have good stage presence and performance ready ability.

teaching philosophy

Lisa teaches beginner piano students from age five through adult using method books first and transitioning to Classical styles or Contemporary styles as skill level progresses. Some students have the desire to be concert pianists or to teach piano themselves, others just wish to play with a band or play songs which they can sing to. Both styles are valuable skills to learn. Lisa will discuss with the student which direction they would like to go. 

galen bundy | piano

Galen Bundy is a pianist, organist, synthesist, composer, and arranger based in southern Michigan. He has studied jazz with Tad Weed, David Bixler, Jeff Halsey, Kevin Bales, and classically with Dr. George Lucktenberg. Galen received his undergraduate degree in jazz piano from Bowling Green State University in 2015, where he created BGSU’s first and only jazz organ combo, and  performed at the San Francisco Jazz Education Network conference.

Galen is now keyboardist for Hope United Methodist Church (Toledo), and a pianist for the Art Tatum jazz society of Toledo. He plays Rhodes and synthesizers in Groove Plexus, Hammond B3 organ in the Galen Bundy Organ Group, and composes for large ensemble. Galen also organizes improvised music events with the goal of bringing both classically and jazz trained free improvisers/composers together. As an educator, Galen teaches privately, and is a substitute teacher for Forte music school.

teaching philosophy

"I generally adjust my teaching methods for each individual student in order to best bring out their strengths, and comfortably work through their weaknesses. One of my own strengths as a teacher and something I've had great success with is teaching improvisation. I use several ideas and techniques from Kenny Werner’s book "Effortless Mastery: liberating the master musician within,"combined with gently applied theory concepts to help introduce my students to improvisation. My students always greatly enjoy learning this new skill, and their playing improves across the board because of it."  

Bowling Green State University: Undergraduate degree - Jazz Piano

Visit Galen's website:

kathy smith | piano
Kathy has been teaching music for 40 years and teaching at Milford Music for over 15 years.She is currently on staff and the music director at West Highland Baptist Church where she sings, plays piano, and leads worship. Kathy is also the Chairman of the Milford Michigan Music Festival. Kathy accompanies her students for Solo & Ensemble, performs weekly at a senior facility, and plays piano and sings for weddings, banquets,and parties. She is the former music teacher and band director at West Highland Christian Academy. Kathy enjoys teaching to any age!

teaching philosophy
"I love music and learning to play music should be fun! As we explore music together we will set goals and find creative ways to accomplish them. Each of these small goals will give the student a new adventure and skills they can use throughout their life. My goal for each student is to leave them wanting more..."
sarah bauerle| piano
Sarah Bauerle has been teaching piano at Milford Music for over five years. She started taking piano lessons at six years old, and during her high school years, she studied under Marianne Murphy (Milford Music) and Tony Viviano. She studied general music and piano at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, taking lessons with Dr. Larisa Simington. In 2010 she studied abroad in Vienna, Austria for three months, which sparked a deeper appreciation for opera and classical music. She received her Master's degree in music composition from EMU, where she studied piano under Dr. Garik Pedersen and composition with Dr. Anthony Iannaccone and Dr. Geoffrey Stanton. Her thesis orchestra piece, "Joan," was premiered by the Livingston Symphony Orchestra as part of their May 2016 concert. 

Sarah is currently the organist and choir accompanist at the First United Methodist Church of Warren. She is also a cake decorator and cookie maker, and enjoys writing and making crafts in her spare time.

teaching philosophy
"I believe lessons should be different for every student, since each student comes with different goals and different personalities. Even as we strive for musical excellence, I want to make sure the students are enjoying themselves and that their needs are being met and their questions are being answered. As someone with experience and interest in many different areas of music, I try to incorporate music theory and history into my lessons when possible, as well as composition when there is student interest."

Concordia University, Ann Arbor: Bachelor's Degree in Music, graduated 2011
Eastern Michigan University: Master's Degree in Music Composition, graduated 2015

mark mitchell | guitar, electric guitar, bass, banjo, drums
Mark Mitchell has more than 25 years of teaching and real world education. He has played in orchestras, bands, and performed solo. Mark has also written transcription, had interviews for magazines, and has been published with Hal Leonard.

Mark has the ideal combination of professionalism and personality along with expertise, versatility in skills, and never ending patience and kindness, making him a phenomenal instructor.

teaching philosophy
"Find music you love. Learn to play it."
rick moore | piano
Rick Moore has been playing the piano for 48 years and teaching it for 39 years. He teaches all ages and styles of music. Rick teaches from the approach of a positive attitude, fun, and personal achievement. Over the years he has taught hundreds of folks to play piano.

Rick is currently the church organist at Milford Presbyterian Church. Rich has also performed as a concert musician and night club entertainer.

teaching philosophy
"To provide the student a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of music, while instilling principles that will help them throughout their lifetime."

Indiana University - Bachelors - Piano and organ performance
jared bentley | guitar, electric guitar, ukulele
Jared has been teaching guitar at Milford Music for 4 years.  He started lessons at Milford Music and has now expanded his music career professionally since high school.  He began studies on guitar with Tim Twiss, and later with John E. Lawrence at Washtenaw Community College.
Jared enjoys performing with his band, The Social Bandits.  The band is busy playing many local and distant concert venues, recording original music, playing wedding and corporate gigs, and hosting music seminars that educate about playing in bands and writing music.  

Jared also works at Rust Belt Studios in Royal Oak, where he is part of recording sessions and also builds audio equipment. 

Jared is also part of the West Highland Baptist Church praise team where he plays guitar and bass.  He enjoys working with students of all ages and also coaches bands at the store.   

Washtenaw Community College. 

dylan walsh | percussion
Dylan Walsh began playing the drums at the age of 10. At age 13 he began studying with Michigan drummer Mike Shea, who exposed him to many different styles of drumming. Over the next 6 years Dylan Studied with notable drummers such as Mike Johnston, JP Bouvet, Sean Dobbins, and more. Dylan is fluent in many styles ranging from jazz, to metal, and is capable of teaching drummers of all levels. Dylan currently resides in Metro Detroit, MI

Dylan is also the drummer for The Social Bandits


jesse medawar  | guitar, vocal
Jesse grew up in a family of musicians playing guitar, bass, piano, and singing. Jesse got his start taking lessons from his father at the age of 10, learning blues and rock guitar. After Jesse turned 14 he started taking private vocal lessons and has continued to study with jazz vocal teacher, Kate Patterson. 

 At the age of 17, Jesse began taking jazz guitar lessons with Tim Twiss as well as joined the rock group, The Social Bandits. Throughout the five years of being in a band with fellow teachers Dylan Walsh and Jared Bentley, he has studied genres such as soul, funk, R&B, jazz, blues, and rock. 

The band and his schooling, through Berklee School of Music, have given him a lot of music business experience. He currently makes a living playing both cover and original music, giving him a good understanding of the skills necessary to be a successful working musician. 

Jesse is the lead singer and a guitarist for the band The Social Bandits
tracy beauregard | violin
Tracy Beauregard has over 37 years experience with her instrument and over 14 years teaching experience. She is a co-founder and president of the Livingston County Orchestra. Tracy is also the the orchestra coordinator for the Community Theatre of Howell. She teaches home school group lessons for Greater Livingston Home School Music Association.

teaching philosophy
"I like to reach every child the way he or she learns best; either visually or auditorily. Everyone learns differently. The fun part for me is to achieve their goals. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing student's faces as they fulfill their potential."
lisa shipman | flute, cello
carly jakrzewski | clarinet

Carly Jakrzewski has been playing the clarinet for 13 years. She has 4 years of experience teaching private clarinet lessons to middle school and high school students. She studied with Caroline Hartig, Ted Oien, and Guy Yehuda while attending Michigan State University. From 2011-2015 she was awarded the Professor Richard L. Anderson Endowed Scholarship in Clarinet for clarinet performance. She performed with the MSU Clarinet Choir in Madrid, Spain at the 2015 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest. She marched alto saxophone with the MSU Spartan Marching Band. She has performed within the classical, jazz, and world music genres. 

She currently teaches kindergarten through fifth grade general music at Lakewood and Highland Elementary Schools. She currently sings with the Livingston County Women’s Chorus. Carly is the Associate Director of Performing Arts Workshop – PAW, a Southwestern Michigan based non-profit that provides vocal, dance, art, instrumental, and musical theatre experiences for elementary to high school aged students during the summer.

teaching philosophy

“I believe in student-centered teaching where I guide instruction to the specific needs of each student that I work with. I highly encourage dedicated practice and through practice you find what really inspires you as a clarinet player. I follow classical pedagogy; however, I teach sight reading, improvisation, composition, and extended techniques. I continue to grow as a musician through playing the clarinet, guitar, ukulele, and singing and I hope to instill the same love of learning music in my students.”


Michigan State University: Bachelor’s in Music Education, clarinet

Gordon Institute of Music Learning: Early Childhood Music, Level 1 Certification

megan wixom | violin, piano


Megan Wixom is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Music, where she recently received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance. She began her musical training on the piano and began studying violin shortly after, continuing with both instruments until late high school when she chose to specialize on the violin. She studied at MSU with Dmitri Berlinsky and I-Fu Wang, and her past teachers include Sonia Lee, former principle violin of the Toronto Symphony.

She began teaching private lessons to young students in her hometown of Oxford, Michigan several years prior to her studies at Michigan State University. Before attending MSU, she was honored in several regional competitions for both the violin and piano, including winning first prize in the Avanti MusicFest concerto competition, resulting in a performance in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.

Megan has also enjoyed collaborating with other musicians, performing in the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and participating in several music festivals. In 2013 and 2016, she was a student at Meadowmount School of Music, where she studied chamber music with Kikuei Ikeda and Patricia McCarty, and studied solo repertoire with Sally Thomas and Ann Setzer.

teaching philosophy

Violin- It is possible for any student to achieve proficiency on the violin if they are given a caring learning environment and effective pedagogical resources. It is necessary that parents of young students be active participants in lessons and in practice at home to install good habits that will lead to confidence and enjoyment in their playing. My goal is to install the basic elements of good technique, such as efficient movement habits and form, and to inspire students to reach their own goals, using methods tailored to each individual student.

Piano- The piano is a good instrument for students who are interested in becoming well-rounded musicians. My goal for piano students is to help them reach proficiency in note-reading and rhythm, basic music theory, knowledge of music history and styles, and good practice skills.


Michigan State University- Bachelors Degree, Violin Performance