Meet our teachers!
Mary Flanagan has a Bachelor of Music degree from Minnesota State University where she studied with acclaimed violinist Lydia Miller and violist Tyler Sieh. Mary is a child of the Suzuki method, starting at the age of five. She has had excellent instruction from numerous teachers, most notably Paula Anderson of the New Ulm Suzuki School. In middle and high school Mary won positions in the Mid Level Honors Orchestra for three consecutive years and to the MN All-State Honors Orchestra.
At age 17 Mary won a position with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, where you can still see her playing first violin. Mary also began teaching at age 17 and has experience teaching players of all ages. She is a licensed Suzuki violin teacher, having received training in Wisconsin and Michigan with well known Suzuki trainers. She loves being a teacher because she agrees with Dr. Suzuki that any person can learn and because she believes that playing and teaching help her be the best version of herself!
Executive Director, Violin, Viola Teacher
Mary Flanagan B. A.
Assistant Director, Violin , Viola Teacher
Kathleen Goedtke, B. A.
Patti Tryhus has been teaching violin and viola at the Mankato School of Music since 1979 and been a director since 1988. After studying violin for four years with Marilyn Bos at MSU, she received training in the Suzuki method at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point Wisconsin and attended numerous workshops and conferences over the years. She observes that “the best Suzuki teachers follow Dr. Suzuki’s lead in setting a high standard for tone while having fun with the children.
Patti has fiddled and sang for many years in a band with her husband Steve and played violin for nearly 25 years in the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. She still performs with Steve for various occasions. They raised two musical sons, Peder and John, and Patti remembers, “In our family it all started with singing and listening to good music. That was the easy part, the mother tongue method. The difficult part was setting aside enough time to be patient and feel creative with our home practice. I know it’s not easy. But watching other parents through the years, I see evidence that with persistence and love, much can be accomplished!”
Kathleen graduated Cum Laude from Concordia College in Moorhead with a Bachelors of Arts in Music Education and has over 30 years teaching experience in both Suzuki and traditional piano lessons and plays regularly on the side.
Her students have won numerous awards and she has Suzuki training through the first 4 Suzuki books from various highly acclaimed Suzuki piano instructors. When she isn’t teaching her many students, Kathleen is a stay-at-home Mom and educator to her 3 children at home.
Ruth Greve followed her desire to become a piano instructor, trained at MacPhail Conservatory and began gaining experience as a teacher in 1968. She taught at Immanuel High School and College in Eau Claire, WI and then at her home studio after marriage and a move to Mankato. When she and husband Lloyd discovered the Suzuki Method and the Mankato Suzuki School of Music in 1984, they enrolled their three children in the program.
Joyfully, she embraced initial education for the method at the American Suzuki Institute in St. Point, WI. 1986 was the beginning of 17 years of teaching with the school, codirecting with Patti Tryhus for about 13 years and doing continuing education at Suzuki Institutes.. This was followed in 2003 by teaching in her home studio for 10 years. She again teaches students from the school now, still at her home. As Dr. Suzuki said, “When I am 99 I shall be a teacher." Her years since age 11 have been filled with playing organ for church, accompanying choirs, plays, playing background music at events and one of her favorites…. accompanying the Brown and Bigelow Chorus in St. Paul.
Michelle Sedivy is honored to be the new vocal coach for the Mankato School of Music.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocal Music from Mankato State University as well as extensive post secondary training in the mechanics of singing. She believes that the entire body is part of the singing experience which is why she uses both imagery and physical activities to help connect you to the language of singing. Whether you are a serious performer or just want to learn the basics, she is eager to be a part of your musical journey. She has experience teaching both kids and adults!
Michelle Sedivy B.S.
Mairin Bierer B.A
Mairin Bierer grew up in Mankato and has been playing cello for over 20 years. Before teaching at the Mankato School of Music, Mairin taught group and individual cello lessons at Blessed Jose Sanchez Del Rio High School Seminary. She takes pleasure in empowering her students to be skilled and passionate musicians who love making music and confidently sharing it with others.
Mairin first learned to play cello at Mankato Suzuki School, back when it was located in the Mankato Place downtown. She went on to study with Jessica Parker and Jacqueline Ultan at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, Dr. Joseph Rodgers at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Dr. Rebecca Arons at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
Mairin graduated Suma Cum Laude, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Music at MNSU-Mankato. As a young person she performed in Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (MAYSO) and attended Strings Camp at MNSU and Jazz Strings Camp at Shell Lake Arts Center in Shell Lake, WI. She served as principal cello and section leader in the University Orchestra at both UST and MNSU.
Mairin attributes her love for improvisation and alternative string method to growing up in a family immersed in jazz and creative expression. This led her to study improvisation for strings with jazz violinist, composer and educator, Randy Sabien at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. One of her primary passions is writing, recording and improvising cello with her singer/songwriter friends. Mairin regularly performs in the worship band at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato and enjoys jamming with her musician family members and friends. Her favorite cellists are Steven Isserlis and Jacqueline du Pré.
Luke Smith is a songwriter from Faribault, Minnesota. He started playing guitar at the age of 13, and has been writing songs ever since. He writes pop and folk music on his guitar, and EDM and hip-hop on his computer. In 2017 he was nominated for “Best Solo Performer” by Southern Minn Scene. Luke shares his thoughts on songwriting and the music industry in his blog, Alternative Student.
Visit his website here to listen to his songs!
Anja Scheidel is a trained Musikgarten teachers and has taught all levels of the Musikgarten curriculum for over 16 years. Her earliest trainers were authors, Lorna Heyge, Marie Louise Wilson and Jill Hannagan. She strongly supports the philosophy of starting music development through appropriate and fun musical activities in a classroom setting and expand these musical skills at home. Her classes provide families with a space where they can learn how to incorporate music into their own daily life.
Anja was born and raised in Germany and took classes at the so called "Musikschule für Musikalische Früherziehung, Dortmund" (Early Childhood Music Education) at the age of three, followed by private piano lessons at the age of six. She went to the Waldorf school where the curriculum emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of the young student. This unique education which also was carried on at home, shaped Anja's approach to life.
She studied Nutritional Science and Organic Farming in Germany while living and working on organic farms. Anja sang in choirs, taught piano and played piano at various events. She is a member of ECMMA (Early Childhood Music and Movement Assiciation). Anja is also a member of Tim Topham's "Inner Cirle", an international group for creative piano teachers, based out of Melbourne, Australia, where piano teachers from around the world share their knowledge and expertise with the emphasis in teaching in a group setting.
Anja believes that all children have musical aptitude and that early childhood is the opportune time to begin develop this potential in an active, joyful and developmentally appropriate way. Her classes promote music literacy, singing, rhythm skills, aural perception, language development, motor coordination, ensemble skills and social interaction while awakening the child's imagination. She believes that this program is the ideal way to prepare a child for later instrumental study or to be a more perceptive listener or thinker of the arts and in other disciplines. Indeed, studies have shown that children who learn music exceed their "non-musical peers" in all academic disciplines (not just in math as previously thought) and are socially more developed and mature.