Our Music Teachers

Our teachers require that the potential student be at least  7 years of age.

If you are interested in finding out about the lessons we offer, the prices, or available times/days, please call our store (847) 623-8565 or e-mail us for more information.


Lauren Moldenhauer - Flute & Piccolo

Principal Flutist of the Lake County Symphony Orchestra, Lauren is a highly respected flutist who has years of professional experience as both a performer and educator.  Lauren earned her degrees in flute performance from the Catholic University of America and Northwestern University, where she studied with the renowned former piccolo player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Walfrid Kujala. Her flute students have won positions in top university flute programs, performed as members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Midwest Young Artist Conservatory Orchestras, performed as soloists with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, been selected for ILMEA and WSMA district and all-state ensembles, and have won prizes in the Chicago Flute Club Student Competition. Outside of her accomplishments as a flutist, Lauren is the Executive Director of the Illinois Council of Orchestras, the Orchestra Director of the award-winning music program at Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest, and co-director of the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory annual summer flute camp.

Andrew Carpenter - Saxophones & Clarinets

Described as “…an artist of great skill and rare sensitivity,” Andrew Carpenter has performed as a saxophone recitalist and soloist throughout the Chicago area and the United States. He has presented recitals on Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series broadcast on WFMT-FM and on Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Noontime concert series (which was “recommended” by the Chicago Tribune). Mr. Carpenter has performed on several Chicago-area concerts featuring new music, including a recent performance of a concerto for alto saxophone and wind ensemble by Stacy Garrop with the Carthage College Wind Orchestra.  He performs frequently with orchestras in the Midwest, including engagements with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed and recorded for Naxos with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. As a clarinetist, Mr. Carpenter has performed in numerous orchestral, chamber music, and musical theater engagements.  A committed educator, Mr. Carpenter is the saxophone instructor at Carthage College, and teaches private saxophone and clarinet students of all ages. Andrew Carpenter earned a bachelor of music from Ithaca College and a master of music from Northwestern University. His primary saxophone teachers are Dr. Steven Mauk and Dr. Frederick L. Hemke.  He has also studied clarinet with Leslie Grimm.


Paul Hefner

Trained in music education and performance, along with 11+ years of college teaching experience, Paul Hefner brings the highest level of quality instruction to his brass lessons. His extensive knowledge of classical and jazz literature is incorporated into his instruction. Paul's music work often includes judging junior high and high school solo and ensemble contests as well as band, orchestra and jazz contests. In addition, Paul taught music for 11 years as adjunct faculty at the College of Lake County. There he instructed low brass, concert band and jazz band. Also, Paul has been a featured soloist with national groups including Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and Windjammers Unlimited in Florida as well as local groups including Lake County Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra. Paul's students have successfully auditioned to become members of the CYSO (Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra) and have gained entry to well regarded colleges studying music performance and education.

Here's a video of Paul in action:


Joe Varhula

Not only has Joe attended both the University of Illinois and Roosevelt University, but he has performed professionally with several big bands including Wes Covington and has played for such greats as Bob Hope, Connie Francis and numerous other personalities.  While he was an instructor at the College of Lake County for over twenty years, Joe also taught percussion ensembles at Riverview School in Silver Lake, WI and Christian Life School in Kenosha, WI.  He still freelances in the Chicago area and frequently performs with his own band, a jazz quintet.


Jaime Rukstales

Jaime earned a Bachelors Degree both in music from the School of Music and in Elementary Education from Illinois Wesleyan University.  In addition to being a founding member of the Silver Strings Quartet, she has over 25 years of experience in violin and ensemble performance.  Over the years, Jaime has performed with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, the North Suburban Symphony, the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, and the Racine Symphony Orchestra.  She continues to perform with the American-Croatian Waukegan Tamburizans and her quartet, the Silver Strings.

Guitar, Bass & Ukulele

Joe Cropin

Having studied guitar under Robert White, Frank Ramoro, and Frank Portolese, Joe is professional working musician in the Chicago area.  Besides performing professionally, Joe has recorded at the Chicago Recording Studios, the Comtrack Studios, and performed on the Grammy winning album by Pops Staples at Sonic Arts Studio.  He has performed with Mitch Rider, Erik Scott, Dave Bickler, Dennis Johnson, and Paul Wertico.


Tara Singer

On the music faculty at McHenry County College since 2000, Tara Singer has been a professional pianist and music educator in the Chicago area for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University as well as a Master's Degree in Jazz Piano and Pedagogy and a Post Graduate Performer's Certificate in Jazz Piano from Northern Illinois University. Well-versed in classical, jazz and popular styles, Tara enjoys teaching students of all ages, beginning through advanced.

Angie Ashmore

Angie has a Bachelors Degree from Carthage College with an emphasis in performance.  She has been a church pianist and choir director for various churches including being the music director at Assemblies of God.  Angie has over 35 years of experience teaching piano.

Meileen Van Diggelen

Since first teaching piano at the age of fifteen, Meileen went on to earn a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Millikin University.  She has taught both general music and chorus at Abbott Middle School in Waukegan.  Besides teaching for us at A-major, Meileen teaches both voice and piano from her home.