Private Music Lessons

Is your student ready to take their music-making to the next level?  Private music lessons give students and families a special one-on-one relationship with mentors who look at each student individually and then tailor a musical approach specifically to match their musical abilities.  Did you know that some of the best professional musicians still take private lessons?  That’s because music is a lifelong art; there’s always something new to explore.  And, a well-matched private mentor/student relationship can leave a lasting impression on a child’s musical life!

Private lesson times and days are scheduled through the private teachers according to their availability and location.  You can find out more about private teacher options by contacting them directly (information is listed below).  Each private teacher coordinates their own studio and can tell you about their philosophy, expectations, schedules, teaching locations, and fees.  We encourage students to take outside lessons to further enrich their music learning experiences!

Click below for a detailed profile:

GUITAR (Al Clausen)

[email protected]262-498-3710

Al Clausen holds a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Master of Science Degree in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Al Clausen has held directing positions at many parochial as well as public institutions. Some of these include: Racine Lutheran High School and combined Lutheran grade schools, Kansasville and St. Mary’s, Prairie School and Grace Lutheran Church.

Al Clausen has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as well as the Racine Symphony along with countless continuous performances throughout the Midwest within a diversity of musical styles. Al has also been awarded the Music Excellence Award from the American Federation of Musicians. Al also has been inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Educators Hall of Fame.

After having been music director at Walden III for 27 years, Al co-founded and co-directed the R.E.A.L. charter school for 7 years. Currently retired, Al continues to be involved in musicals, performances, productions, education, and enjoys working part time at The Prairie School. Al is also composer-arranger, Author Collaborator and Contributing Editor for various articles, methods and publications through Hal Leonard Publishing Company. Al is well known for his performance abilities, compositions, and arrangements, publications and wide teaching experience.


VOICE (Instructor: Ami Bouterse)

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Contact Information –

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AB Voice Studio can help a student at any age or level improve their singing in any style. Since 1992, Ami Bouterse has been teaching private voice and holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music respectively from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Carnegie Mellon University. She was awarded Level III Certification in Somatic Voicework, which focused on contemporary singing in belt and mix styles using the LoVetri method, at Shenandoah University. Ms. Bouterse is an Associate Professor of Music at University of Wisconsin – Parkside and a frequent solo performer, in addition to being a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) organization, which hosts a yearly voice competition for students of members. Studying voice not only improves a student’s singing ability, it also bolsters their confidence with public speaking and presentation skills. Ami works on both the vocal and dramatic aspects of singing, and always grounds the work in foundational technique. At Prairie, Ami is proud to work in tandem with Julie Fraleigh, an accomplished collaborative pianist. This team approach allows students to work through their material swiftly and to be the utmost prepared for NATS, WSMA, auditions or recital experiences. When not teaching voice, Ami enjoys going to museums or the movies with her family, and taking walks with their dog, Rusty. For more information and to contact Ami, visit:


VIOLIN & PIANO (Instructor: Kim Jensen)

Contact Information –  262.456.0179 / [email protected]

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Kim Jensen is a former Prairie alumna and graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduating, Kim worked at Lakeview Neuro-Rehabilitation Center in Waterford, Wisconsin, where she initiated a music therapy program for adults with brain injuries. Kim’s mission or musical philosophy is largely influenced by the violin and piano instruction she received as a child: Foremost, to foster the love of music; furthermore, to provide students with the skills needed to create and compose music (even in the most basic sense) and to appreciate and recognize the possibilities the study of music possesses, ultimately, enriching the lives of each student.

For the past eight years, Kim has been giving private piano instruction to children and adults at the beginner to early-intermediate level. She serves as the accompanist for Racine Christian Reformed Church’s Children’s Choir and church services.


BEGINNING PIANO AND FLUTE (Instructor: Paula Braun)

Contact Information – [email protected], 262.994.5359

Paula Brown

Paula Braun is a Graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, with a BA in Music Education. Paula studied flute under Connie Meisner and Piano under Steve Swedish. She also studied music composition under August Wegner.  After graduation she went on to study with the principal flutist of the Verona Symphony in Verona, Italy.  Paula is currently the principal flutist with the Kenosha Pops Concert Band.  She is a former member of the Kenosha Symphony and has played with the Racine Symphony and Racine Municipal Band.

 For 35 years, Paula was the Early School, Kindergarten and First Grade general music teacher at The Prairie School, as well as Beginning and Intermediate Band Director. Throughout her years at Prairie, Paula has taught private flute and piano lessons, and it is an enduring passion for her to introduce new students to the joys of music.


PIANO (Instructor: Terri Seitz)

(Contact Information – Email:[email protected] , Phone: 262-554-7978)

Terri Seitz teaches private piano lessons to Primary, Middle, and Upper School students.   A native of Racine and student of her mentor Heinz Lutz, Prairie’s long-time piano teacher,  Terri earned a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude in piano performance from Northwestern University and her Master of Music from the University of Michigan.  Her mentor credentials also include a Rotary Scholarship for postgraduate study in Munich.  Professionally, Terri has served as Director of Piano Studies and Chamber Music at Luzerne Music Center in New York, Instrumental Music Director at Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia, and Piano Instructor at music schools in the Philadelphia and Chicago areas.  In addition having her own Racine piano studio, Terri enriches our community as the Music Director of St. Lucy’s Catholic Church and as an active soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician.

SUZUKI VIOLIN and CELLO (Instructor: Charlene Melzer)

Contact Information – [email protected], 262.880.2116

Charlene Melzer teaches Suzuki violin and cello lessons to Second Graders and violin to Middle School students.  She runs a well-respected Suzuki Program in the Racine Unified Schools.  Holding a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Colorado and a Master’s Degree from National Louis University, Charlene is an active professional musician, teaching and performing in symphonies and chamber groups in Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois for over three decades.Believing deeply that “music nurtures the whole child in each of us,” Charlene counts as a special privilege her opportunity to serve the Suzuki string families at the Prairie School.


TRUMPET (Instructor: Patricia Backhaus)

Contact Information – [email protected], 262.993.1834

Dr. Patricia Backhaus teaches private trumpet lessons to Middle and Upper School students. Pat earned her DMA in trumpet performance from the University of Minnesota where she studied with her mentor, David Baldwin.   In addition to running her Milwaukee trumpet studio, Pat has performed as a trumpet and cornet soloist in both the US and Europe.  Currently she is the Music Director of the Studio Orchestra in Madison and the Shorewood Concert Band.  Pat’s former students perform in world class orchestras, earn Downbeat magazine awards as outstanding soloists, are successful music educators, and perform for the sheer joy of making music in countless community groups.

GUITAR (Instructor: Aaron Sullivan)

Contact Information – [email protected]262-865-0161

IMGAaron Sullivan dedicates his life to music, from teaching others how to progress as a player to writing, composition, and performance and a complete mastering of the guitar.  Aaron is well versed in music theory and possesses over 5 years of teaching experience that began at Gary’s Music World and 15+ years of performing live.   By providing each student with the tools needed to achieve their goals in a fun environment, students progress at a pace that is tailored to their individual needs.  Students new to guitar begin with gaining a basic understanding of the instrument, chord theory, application (with songs chosen by the student), scale theory, and harmonizing a scale.  As the student advances, lessons include:  modal theory, sheet music, the CAGED system, expressing your identity in Improvisation, exotic scales, writing and composition.  Aaron’s passion and exceptional guitar skills paired with his ability to inspire students give each student the opportunity to learn how to play guitar in a fun and positive environment.

The effectiveness of private lessons comes down to what a student does between lessons, and this is when students develop the skills  that enable them to practice becoming self-directed and self-empowered.  Thus, they learn both about artistic creativity and life skills in their lessons.