ABOUT US

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The staff is encouraging and flexible enough to work with all ages. My kids are all smiles when they walk into Piano Tunes Music Academy for their lessons. They are excited to learn more and show their instructors that they’ve been working on their music. I love the staff at Piano Tunes and all the opportunities that are provided.
— Jon H.

We get our humble beginnings from piano lessons being taught in Susan Gorman’s home in 1997. She was able to grow her home studio to also offer voice and guitar lessons. Piano Tuning was added as a service in July 2003, while Susan was finishing her Piano Tuning degree from American School of Piano Tuning. She also interned for a local tuning technician.

The studio continued to grow and in 2007, we launched our first store front. We had four music theory computers, four electronic pianos, one clavinova and a baby grand piano. Little did we know that we would expand three times within the next six years!

By 2009, our piano, violin and voice lesson programs were full. Four more pianos were added to our piano studio to accommodate our growth. Group ensembles were added to our offerings and quickly became a popular way for students to continue to push and grow their musical abilities. In 2012, we launched our first summer music camp.

It wasn’t long before we outgrew our small studio location and moved into a larger space. We were able to add vocal ensembles, violin ensembles, drum and guitar lessons, a larger computer lab, book and music supply store, tot classes and regular summer music camps.

In 2013, we made our biggest move yet! Susan Gorman, her husband Steven Gorman, as well as friends and family members, completely gutted and renovated a 5,000 square foot building. We have five private teaching rooms, a piano studio, drum studio, ensemble area as well as our own stage area for hosting recitals and open mic nights! We also have a lobby waiting area for family members that have couches, chairs, tables, and a play area for younger children. Our upstairs has a multipurpose area that is used for our ensemble practices, yoga, tot classes, art classes, camps and more!

To date, we have had several students receive music scholarships to different universities. As we continue to grow, we appreciate each and every one of our students and their families for making PTMA into what it is today.

 

OUR TEAM

Our instructors are talented and have experience teaching students from a variety of musical backgrounds and learning styles. Hand-picked and trained by Susan Watts, the owner, each of our staff team members have the knowledge and teaching abilities to rotate throughout our students interchangeably. This ensures that we can offer a flexible schedule in an enriching, positive environment for our students. 

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SUSAN Watts

Owner and Master Instructor

Susan Watts is a trained vocalist and performer and plays sixteen different instruments - most of which are taught at PTMA.

She has her Tuning Degree from the American School of Piano Tuning and her Certified Masters in Music Theory, Harmony and Ear Training through Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

As a child, she performed as part of an orchestra for Macomb Western Illinois University, who then turned it into a record for public consumption. As a young adult, she was blessed with the experience to be able to travel with Loretta Lynn, the "Queen of Country," and her band and learned the logistical ropes of set up, tear down and sound control.

She has received orchestra training through Pensacola Christian College and was a Worship Director in churches in the stateline area for over 20 years - 10 years of which she was also a teen and youth counselor.

"Miss Suzie" - as her students call her - is a well-loved figure and favorite teacher who genuinely gets to know each and every one of her students. She has a smile for everyone and the passion that she has for music is evident in the programs that she has developed.

She loves children and ran her own daycare for 10 years before she started teaching music. With the child psychology coursework that she completed through Rock Valley College in mind, she has shaped Piano Tunes Music Academy into a service that is unique to our community.

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DANiel NOWATARSKI

Lead Piano Instructor, Alto/Tenor Saxophone

Mr. Dan has been with PTMA since 2013. His patience and enthusiasm has made him a much-requested instructor for our students. His passion for music is evident during his lessons and in his time outside of work - he plays in a jazz band and on his church's worship team every Sunday.

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DAVID OKIC

Piano Instructor

Mr. David has been with PTMA since 2009. He has been a member of several ensemble groups, performed in multiple recitals and has performed on stage, representing PTMA at community events many times. He performs as a solo pianist on the weekends at an upscale restaurant in Rockford. A member of the National Guard, he is attending Rock Valley College for an Associates of Science with plans to become an Engineering major at a larger university. He keeps lessons active and fun, even for the littlest pianists.

anja arvesen

Piano Instructor

Coming soon!

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megan mcdonald

Voice, Piano, Summer Camp, After School Care

"Music is fum. Chum is fum (Patrick Star) but music is better than chum. #spongebobforever." As evident in her staff bio, Ms. Megan M. enjoys life and has a lot of fun with her students. She always has a smile on her face and can brighten anyone's day. She has been in several choirs, two musicals and a pentatonic ensemble.

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max dreher

Lead Drums Instructor

"Watching kids grow to love music at Piano Tunes is very fulfilling and feels like an experience come full circle for me. I also love playing the drums and teaching allows me to pass that passion on." Born in Nashville, TN, Mr. Max has been a part of PTMA since 2012. He has been a member of several ensemble groups, performed in multiple recitals and has performed on stage, representing PTMA at community events many times. He plays with his high school jazz band and in a Christian Rock band called Grace Rain. He also plays the piano and ukulele and regularly studies and writes his own music.