Our Educators

Our teaching staff of music degreed, professionally trained teachers earns a salary which includes health and retirement benefits. Students can be assured of being placed with the most appropriate teacher since our teachers do not compete for students. The entire faculty works as a team with the best interests of each student in mind. If you are a prospective student, please contact the office: 314.469.6646

Ruth Brown Voice Instructor

Ruth Brown

Ruth recently graduated from Appalachian Bible College with a Bachelor of Arts in music with an emphasis on vocal performance. While in school, Ruth participated in the Chorale, Gospel Heralds, and Magnify traveling singing groups as a vocalist and accompanist. She also served as the Gospel Heralds music leader during the summer of 2016 and as the principle violinist in the school orchestra. Ruth has been teaching private lessons for three years and has taught voice, violin, and piano lessons to beginner and intermediate students from ages nine to sixty. Ruth enjoys exploring music through blending unexpected genres and composing new pieces of her own.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering in her church’s children’s ministry and music program.


Crystal Bittenbender

Crystal is a graduate from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she earned her Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in 2005. Since then, Crystal has made her mark working for multiple companies and schools such as Epstein Hebrew Academy, Emdeon, Enterprise Rent A Car, and more. Her gift to build relationships, create marketing ideas, and maintain organized businesses makes her the perfect fit for our Milder Musical Arts family. Crystal continues to involve music in her life with her beautiful voice. Milder is very excited to add Crystal’s input to our mission to provide outstanding music education to Saint Louis.

Shelley Dean

Larisa Morozova

Larisa was born in the former Soviet Union and received her Master’s Degree in Music from the Byelorussia State Conservatory in Minsk. As she furthered her career, she became the Director of the Piano Department at a leading music school where she oversaw 600 students and 30 piano teachers. Each year, Larisa enters numerous students into district and regional contests, many of whom have won and gone on to compete on the state level. A member of Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA), Larisa’s select students compete in the annual MMTA District/State auditions in addition to entering students in the St. Louis Area Music Teachers Sonatina Festival. Larisa has taught private piano lessons at our school since 1994. She accepts serious students who are committed to practice.


Sharon Kuhn

Sharon has a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance from Greenville College. Sharon is actively involved in her church and volunteers with various organizations in the community. Sharon has been a member of our faculty since 2000 teaching private piano and voice lessons and classes for several years. As a class teacher, Sharon restructured the current curriculum for the Beginning Piano Classes. Sharon is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and several of her students participate in Classical Voice and Musical Theatre competitions. She is also a registered, trained teacher with both Music Together® and the Harmony Road Curriculum. Sharon teaches Music Together®, Junior Jammers year 1 & 2, and years 1 – 5 of the Piano/Voice Curriculum for young children. In addition, Sharon teaches a few select private Piano/Voice students. When she has an opening Sharon accepts high school voice students only. CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING NEW PRIVATE STUDENTS. Email


Yulia Rife

Yulia received her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Degree in Piano from the former Soviet Union where she worked as an accompanist and teacher for 14 years. She then continued teaching in Europe for three years before moving to St. Louis. She is a member of the Missouri Music Teachers Association. (MMTA) Many of Yulia’s select students compete in the District/State auditions as well as the Sonatina Festival each year. Yulia has been with the school since 2002 and teaches private piano lessons. She teachers serious students who are committed to practice. Almost all of Yulia’s students participate in the Royal Conservatory of Music in theory and performance. Email


Matt Safley

Matt received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Truman State University. While at Truman, Matt participated in many ensembles, which include Concert Band, Wind Symphony, Franklin Street, and Cantoria. He was Cantoria’s principal accompanist for four years and accompanied many students, primarily voice, in college. He also took private lessons in trumpet, voice, and composition. Matt is an accomplished accompanist and soloist who plays at private gatherings and local piano competitions. Matt has been on Milder faculty since 2008 and teaches private piano and voice lessons. Matt is a member the Missouri Music Teacher’s Association (MMTA) and SLAMTA. (Saint Louis Area Music Teachers Association) Yearly, he enters students in the St. Louis Area Music Teachers Sonatina Festival. Email


Jason Weaver

Jason received a Bachelor of Arts in music with an emphasis in guitar performance from Southeast Missouri State University. He then went on to complete his Masters in guitar performance at Northwestern University. He is an experienced instructor who has taught beginner – advanced guitar students in Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Latin and Folk at Des Plaines School of Music and Kim’s International Music Academy in Chicago. He is an avid performer and has many recordings on his my space page. Jason has been part of the Milder Musical Arts community since 2012 and has proven to be an exceptional guitar teacher. Jason also teaches mandolin and banjo and has made his own mandolin and several guitars. Email


Shelley Dean

Shelley Dean is a certified Music Together instructor and teaches all the Music Together classes during the school year. In 2014, Shelley joined our faculty as an early childhood music specialist. Shelley grew up in a musical family where she had the opportunity to study piano for 10 years and violin for 13 years. She later added voice, guitar and drumming which she incorporates in her music classes.

Shelley was a parent in Music Together classes for over 5 years, participating with her four children, while music was becoming the focal point in her family. In addition to teaching at Milder Music, Shelley leads drum facilitation as well as music programs and yoga in the Jewish community. Shelley is an enthusiastic, lively teacher and is passionate about helping families make music an integral part of their lives. Email


Yaeram Jeong

Yaeram grew up in a musical family, learning violin from her violinist father since the age of four. She then added piano and voice to her musical journey. With music as her passion, she began teaching piano when she entered high school. After graduating from Parkway Central High School, she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition with a piano principle. She went on to complete her Master’s Degree at Cleveland State University. She is an experienced and loving piano and violin instructor who has taught all ages and all levels since she was a teen. In addition to teaching piano and violin, Yaeram also teaches singing to young singers. Email


Ruthie Carter

Ruthie started her musical journey at MMA in the Group Music class program in 2002. When Ruthie completed the class curriculum she began taking private piano and voice lessons. The teachers who nurtured her music inspired her to pursue music education. The musical knowledge, performance skills, and passion has carried on into her college career. Ruthie is a part of many musical ensembles at Missouri State including Concert Chorale, Wind Symphony, and the premiere all female a cappella group, A Cub Bella and served as the musical director 2016-2017. Ruthie is a certified Music Together instructor and also teaches private piano, private voice, Harmony Road Classes and Music Together. Ruthie has worked at Milder for the past three summers but is excited to join us as a part time teacher in the fall of 2017.