MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS

 
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RYAN UTTERBACK

FOUNDER, OWNER, & DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Born in New Hampton, Iowa, Ryan grew up as a trumpet player before discovering his love for rhythm and percussion. At age 18, he began playing professionally in the Midwest. His passion for drumming grew and eventually led him to Los Angeles, CA, where he attended Musician’s Institute. After graduation, Ryan worked as a studio drummer and performed live with multiple acts in the LA area. During this time Ryan also discovered his love of teaching music.

At age 25, Ryan began teaching music lessons full time at multiple lesson facilities. Then at age 28, along with two colleagues, Ryan created Pure Rock Studios located in Whittier, CA. The goal was to give students an opportunity to learn alongside working professionals and perform in a live-band setting. After 3 years and hundreds of students taught, Ryan decided it was time to take what he had learned, and head back to the Midwest.

Now 36, Ryan is the proud owner of Pure Rock Studios of Rochester, and is fast becoming one of the premier percussion instructors in the area. Ryan brings a unique combination of experience, patience, and passion when it comes to teaching drum lessons. Ryan can also be seen playing around the area with his band County Line Drive.

DREW MEDIN

STUDIO MANAGER, GUITAR, MANDOLIN, UKULELE, & BANJO INSTRUCTOR

Originally from Northfield MN, Drew graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music/Liberal Arts and a minor in Business Administration from Winona State University in December 2012. He has over a decade of live performance experience with his band Breakthrough™, as well as a few others.

His combined education and performance experience has taught him many lessons, including; instrument and musician roles in a modern band setting, group dynamics, the performance of various genres, learning new music quickly and accurately both by ear and through written music, building and memorizing a repertoire, how to recognize and adapt quickly to unexpected or unpredictable changes in the performance environment, and how to develop a personal playing style.

Drew believes that each of these traits is essential in fostering the growth of a well-rounded musician.

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BLAKE BONDE

BASS INSTRUCTOR

A 2004 graduate of Mayo High School, Blake holds a B.A. in Double Bass Performance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with an M.M. in Double Bass Performance pending. In addition to his formal classical training on Double Bass, he has also has over 15 years of experience on Electric Bass Guitar. He has been active as a Private Music teacher for over 10 years and has taught courses in Music Theory as a graduate instructor at the University of Minnesota.

Presently, he is active as a performer across a wide variety of musical styles. As an orchestral musician, he performs as a member of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. He also is a member of several local bands, covering styles including Acoustic Americana (Root River Jam), Country (County Line Drive), and Blues (Chaser Straight). In addition, he is an avid jazz musician with several years of experience playing locally and in the Twin Cities.

 
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COLE EBERTOWSKI

GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Cole is a guitar player, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has been actively playing music and performing for over a decade. He is currently a member of The Shift, a local pop rock band and is also a music director at Christ United Methodist Church. Cole holds an Associate Degree in Fine Arts Music Industry from Rochester Community and Technical College. As a strong believer in music as a universal language that all humans speak, Cole believes that nurturing and developing our innate abilities for rhythm, pitch, and melody is a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor for all. 

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Noah Broring

DRUM, PIANO, & VOCAL INSTRUCTOR

Noah received his bachelors of Science in music with a vocal emphasis at Crossroads College in Rochester Minnesota. In addition to his bachelor's, he has had eleven years of classical singing experience. One of these experiences included singing with the University of Northwestern College choir for a year and participating in their tour to the Baltics. Noah also sang in Eric Whitacre's first high school honors choir which sang at Orchestra Hall under Eric's direction. Noah has also had eight years of piano lessons and ten years of playing piano with the worship team at church. Noah lives in Rochester Minnesota with his wife and three daughters.

Zac Barbieur

DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Over the past 15 years, Zac's drumming has entered the ears of thousands of listeners. He studied Jazz and Improvisation at Winona State University under the direction of Rich MacDonald and currently tours the Midwest and Southern United States with his band, The Heavy Set.  Zac also performs with a variety of dance bands throughout the Driftless Area. His additional experience as both a live sound and studio engineer make him an expert in the subtleties of dynamic drumming.

 
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dylan hilliker

DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Dylan began playing drums at the age of 8 and has been involved in a variety of projects since then. His project, Dystonia, released 2 EPs, 2 full length albums, and was featured on the Local Current before heading off to college. Currently, he is a member of 3 bands based in both Rochester and Nashville.

Dylan is currently attending Belmont University in Nashville, TN pursuing a degree in Music Business with an emphasis in Production. He is also the curator of ROCKchester, a teen music and arts festival which will be held at PRS this summer!

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LISA DIXON

VOCAL, UKUELE & PIANO INSTRUCTOR

Lisa studied classical piano for over 10 years throughout grade school, where she also picked up voice, guitar, and flute. She began writing and performing her own music at the age of 12 and continues to this day. She started out at the University of Minnesota Duluth as a Music Major, but eventually changed course to graduate with a degree in Writing Studies. Lisa loves a wide-range of music, and throughout the years she has performed everywhere from classical competitions to her own live performances at local venues.

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DEREK HARLOW

DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Derek grew up in Mantorville, MN. In middle school he played trumpet and picked up the drums in 9th grade. Throughout high school he played in various bands eventually learning that he could sing so he picked up the guitar in order to write songs and front a band. He stayed active playing drums in church and jam bands with friends. Derek then attended Bethel University in St. Paul where he graduated with a Media Communications Degree and also began to take playing the drums seriously. He studied under Steve Goold earning his way into the jazz band his sophomore year. Currently Derek fronts the band the Jukes of Hazzard, a 70's rock/funk cover band, where he plays rhythm guitar and lead vocals. This has given him the skills to understand what it takes to front a band, to be a drummer, and how the two work together. He also plays drums for his local church and writes drum, guitar, and vocals for the band Leaving Neon.

 
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ZACH PETERSON 

DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Zachary has had 9 years of experience playing in several bands, jamming with others, and playing the drums in numerous musicals. He is currently expanding his knowledge of music by attending McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. He is majoring in Music Business and minoring in Percussion Performance.

Zach has performed at the Mantorville Theater Company, Rochester Civic Theater, Honors Choir Musicals, St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theater, and with the Rochester Swing Street Jazz Band and Uptown Jazz. He is experienced in many styles of music--from the drum set to auxiliary percussion--such as rock, jazz, country, punk, funk, Afro-Cuban, latin, and even drumline music. His slogan is “The more we know about music, the more we can appreciate it.”

joseph martin

PIANO & GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Joe, a Midwestern native, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Joe has had a passion and appreciation for music from a young age with 10+ years of musical experience. Joe started as a saxophone player and then became experienced in guitar and bass. In high school, Joe found his passion for the piano. 

In college, Joe studied jazz fundamentals and music theory. Joe has experience playing a variety of genres and has been preforming live for the last 5 years in Minnesota. 

Joe, now 24, is living in Rochester Minnesota, plays in two bands and has a drive to teach others to find their passion for music. Joe brings his skill set of love, patience and motivation to the PRS team. 

Lucas Horvath

PIANO INSTRUCTOR

Lucas Horvath began playing piano at the age of five.  His musical taste and influence is nothing short of diverse.  From classical, to rock, to pop, to R&B, even stemming to hip-hop.  His musical sound comes mainly from 70's and 80's rock and pop like Michael Jackson, Parliament-Funkadelic, and the Beatles. 

Lucas’s three main priorities are to: inspire people to learn an instrument, teach people how to play piano, and to support the local music scenes. 

As a student, Lucas was allowed to partake in the annual MMTA (Minnesota Music Teacher's Association) Piano Contest; a contest where piano students from all over the state compete to play in an annual Honors Recital at the University of Minnesota.  Lucas won that contest four times and played in all four Honors Concerts as a pianist. Lucas graduated from Mayo High School in 2013 and went on to pursue in music production and audio engineering at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis.  He has served a number of clients while at college and has arranged a few songs for his repertoire."

Lucas was a teacher's assistant for a Music Theory course in college and has exceptional music theory knowledge. He has a positive vibe and a hard work ethic.  He believes that hard work, practice, and dedication really do pay off. When you work with Lucas, you are guaranteed to have fun!

 
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SARA CRISSINGER

PIANO, VOCAL, & GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

Music was a big part of Sara's family and childhood. She started with piano lessons at a young age, learning a variety of instruments throughout grade school, and always taking every chance she could get to sing. By the time she was in high school, she was taking private vocal lessons, playing the piano, leading children’s’ choirs at church, participating in multiple choirs herself, and learning to play the guitar on her own. She then attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. There, she continued with classical voice training and was a part of multiple touring choirs. Sara had the opportunity to sing all around the Midwest, including places like Orchestra Hall in the Twin Cities. Being a part of that musical community allowed her to grow as a musician and be inspired by other musicians.

In the past several years, Sara has found a passion in writing music. Music has allowed her to express herself and heal in ways that were never possible before. I began writing songs with friends and started to share music with more people. Eventually leading her to stages in Portland, Oregon, as well as here in Rochester, MN. Sara hopes to continue to share her love of music with many more people, and to teach the ways that music can transform us and connect us to one another. 

All the staff at PRS have been so approachable, professional and FUN!
— Parent of a drum student

alonzo molinar

DRUM INSTRUCTOR

Born in El Paso, Texas. Alonzo began playing drums at the age of 8 at his fathers church in the southwest. He played trumpet and drums (jazz, marching, concert) throughout high school until he was given a scholarship to U of A (Arkansas) where he played one year on the razorbacks drumline. He then found a passion for producing and recording, he has played professionally with several artists like, Circleslide, Rojo (Emmanuel Espinoza), Twila Paris, Logos, MR3, the Allan Morriv Band. He has owned his recording studio for 11 years strong. Alonzo's focus at pure rock will be to instruct on drums and percussion and teaching the art of audio recording and producing. 

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Clay ebertowski

Drum and Guitar Instructor
 

Growing up in a musical family, Clay has been involved with, and exposed to music, as long as he can remember. Clay has been performing live with a variety of different local bands for a number of years, as both a drummer and a guitar player. He brings a solid background and a strong grasp of song structure, and the elements that bring music together. Currently, he plays drums in the band The 9th Planet Out, which has received regional recognition. He also co-leads music at Christ United Methodist Church as a guitar player. He loves seeing passion for music and the foundations of great musicianship come alive in others.

Kyle schafer

TRUMPET LESSONS

My name is Kyle. I am originally from Wisconsin and moved to Rochester, MN in 2009. I have had the luxury of playing trumpet for twenty years now, and also have seven years of teaching experience in a variety of K-12th grade settings. 

I am a former Minnesota public school music & band teacher, which includes: K-8th grade classroom music, 5th-12th grade band, 7th-12th grade drum line, and private music lessons. I've also taught K-6th grade small group math & reading as well as a K-8th grade special education paraprofessional.

Personally, I enjoy spending time with my wife Colleen, daughter Vivian and our two dogs Waylon and Lillian. I like to golf in the summer and curl in the winter when I can. I also arrange / compose music on the side for fun some of which is on iTunes!  I'm glad to be apart of Pure Rock Studios!

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Alex Ortberg

Drum Instructor

Alex started his journey to the drums with taping on minnow buckets and banging on pots and pans, but that soon grew into a passion for music that would stay with him forever. So he started a band in 6th grade, and has been performing as much as he can ever since.

He went on to Iowa State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music, studying classical percussion under Dr. Matthew Coley. After that, he went to Berklee College of Music's Masters Campus in Valencia, Spain to earn a degree in Contemporary Performance (drum set) and Production, studying under Mariano Steimberg and Yoel Paez. While there, he got the chance to perform with players like Victor Mendoza, Gary Willis, and Casey Driessen.

Alex's drumming is featured on several albums by TC Ortberg, "Crisis" by the Iowa-based band Identity, the debut EP from The Righteous Wicked, and several of his own releases under the artist name Alexander. He has several hundred hours of studio recording experience, both behind the drums and behind the console. He has helped produce countless live music productions over the last 10 years, and has 10+ years of live performance experience.