HOLLY ANN REIF
Music has always been important to me. At the age of 6 years, if I wasn't singing to my cat or dog, you could find me dancing and singing to my favorite songs in the basement of my home.
Music also changed my life in middle school. I disliked going to school very much and was on the path towards poor grades and low self esteem. Not until a pivotal moment when I auditioned for the high school choir (to avoid getting a detention because I was late to school) did I find out how much it could fill a void that had been missing. My grades went up, I met new friends and for the first time felt like I was a part of something important.
After high school I wanted to have a career where music could help individuals the way it had helped me. Music Therapy was my first degree and after graduation I worked in various places with children and adults with a variety of special needs.
After 15 years of developing music programs, creating choirs with VSA, working in a variety of institutions and nursing homes I decided to go back to school and acquired a music education degree and teaching certificate. I continued teaching music in a private school in Madison, WI for 4 years and then decided it was time to start my own family.
After spending 4 years caring for my two boys and learning a lot about hard work as a stay at home mother and wife, I've decided, with the help and support of my loving husband, to create a safe space to teach, empower, inspire and instill a love of music in everyone, no matter their age or ability.
All of us at Holly Ann Music LLC have a genuine love for music and want to see everyone succeed and achieve what they are looking to accomplish. We will listen, be patient and hopefully inspire you to go beyond what you thought you were capable of achieving.
I've played piano since starting lessons at age 3 and since that time the piano has provided the foundation for my love of music. Learning to play the piano by ear in grade school allowed me to begin to understand and tap in to the power of applying music theory in a more profound way. Those early skills I learned helped me to have the confidence to teach myself guitar and take singing more seriously as a teenager in high school and years to follow.
Earning a degree in music composition at Hamline University lead to my studying and playing jazz piano with many great teachers and fellow musicians. After college I switched gears a bit and studied studio production, interning at professional studios in SanFrancisco, CA and Phoenix, AZ along the way. I also played keyboards professionally for three years performing throughout the southwestern U.S.
I also spent eleven years working in the music publishing industry at Musicnotes.com where I worked in marketing, copyright and product management for an Internet Retailer Top 500 company.
I have enjoyed the good fortune to have had many great mentors and teachers throughout my musical life; It is my mission and hope to give back and provide the same to other aspiring musicians. Thanks to my wife Holly for inspiring and encouraging this dream to become a reality.
Music has inspired me and given me joy since I was young. In fifth grade I picked up the flute (thanks mom and dad) and took private lessons (thanks Mrs. Bird). I had a dream to be in the orchestra pit for Phantom of the Opera. Ultimately, I applied to UW Eau Claire to pursue a Music Therapy degree, settling on a music degree in the end. What stuck with me from my time in Music Therapy was not only learning the science about the ways that music impacts the brain, but connecting with people of all ages and abilities through music.
After college, I took a job in Virginia as a wilderness therapist for at-risk teens and was immersed in the world of psychology. While I did not initially use my music degree, I still found immense joy in playing music. Mandolin and bluegrass music became a new avenue of musical discovery for me and I played in a small Irish band, learning from and creating music with wonderful people. The wilderness program I worked for encouraged me to implement drum circles and to teach private music lessons to students. My next adventure included moving to Boston, earning a master degree in Psychology, and taking voice lessons.
No matter where I lived or traveled, music was there. I found it on the streets of Haiti, in the heart of London, and the rituals of Belize. Now I find it outside in the woods and in the heart of my 3 year old son. And I have realized, I do not have to be the best flute player or in an orchestra pit to be a part of the joy of music.
I am truly grateful to everyone I have met along the way, those who taught me about music and life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work as a teacher at Holly Ann Music Studio. Thank you for creating this studio and being an inspiration to me, Holly and Matt. I am excited to teach music to anyone who wants to be apart of it, whether your dreams take you to the orchestra or to your own backyard.
I was born and raised in central Wisconsin, surrounded by music from an early age. While my mother and older sisters played the piano, I went a different direction, setting up a mishmash percussion set with Tupperware, metal pots, and wooden spoons for sticks. The summer before 6th grade I enrolled at the Wausau Conservatory of Music, and I got my first drumset shortly afterwards at the age of 12.
Throughout middle and high school, I was heavily involved in choir programs, jazz bands & the year end Pop Concert of Wausau West, which gave me rhythmic, melodic, and ensemble foundations and opportunities to showcase my talents. The chance to play for and share rhythms with hundreds of people confirmed that percussion and drumset was my true passion. After graduating, I participated heavily in open mics and formed lifelong musical relationships with countless people from the area.
In 2011, I joined my first gigging band that focused on unpredictable, partially improvised performances. This approach to music pushed me to find and break the boundaries of what a drummer’s role could be. I began implementing a wide range of non-traditional rhythmic instruments into my setup, creating a franken-set combining timbales, shakers, hand percussion elements, digital samples, a tree log, effects pedals, and even a Didgeridoo. All of these elements gave me the ability to express not only rhythm, but also mood, feel, and ambience.
In the last 3 years, I have expanded my resume to include several Wisconsin-based acts covering a wide range of genres, including Rock, Roots, Folk, Latin, Jazz, Funk, Pop. This includes Indigibliss, One Strong Army, Feed the Dog, The Local Heroes, Joe Bucher & The Young Guns, Zopel Jazz Project, Substyle, and Featherwolf. I currently perform over 150 shows a year with these and other projects.
I’m very excited to share my approach to percussion and drumset through Holly Ann Music. We are all lifelong students, and as I continue to dig deeper into the craft, my passion for drumming continues to grow deeper. I am thrilled to teach my students not just the techniques, but how to find your unique identity as a drummer and find true satisfaction in expressing yourself through rhythm.
MARY SHAFARIK, MT-BC, WMTR
I grew up in the area and became very involved in music and in theatre at an early age. I was always involved in a show, sometimes more than one at a time. I started taking voice lessons in 7th grade and haven’t stopped singing since. In high school, in addition to choir, I was active in band, including marching band and jazz band. I loved it! I was always carrying an instrument or two. I guess some things never change ☺
I am a board certified music therapist and own Life Rhythms Music Therapy, LLC. I enjoy working with groups as well as individuals and am rarely seen without my suitcase full of instruments and guitar. I love working with all ages and abilities. In addition to my music therapy business, I have experience teaching voice, piano and guitar. I have led Music Together classes and for many years I was a choir director for VSA.
In addition to my work, I enjoy spending time with my family. My husband and I have two very active daughters that keep us busy. In the summer, we love to spend as much time as possible camping.
I truly believe that music has power and should be available to everyone. I have always felt most comfortable when performing and have developed wonderful friendships through the arts. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if my 8-year-old self hadn’t auditioned for that musical. I feel so lucky that I get to make music every day and am grateful for the opportunity to be teaching at Holly Ann Music.
Levi is a singer-songwriter raised in central Wisconsin. He is a lover of all genres of music (funk, jazz, blues, and rock being some of his favorites). In addition to attending UWMC as a guitar and voice major, Levi keeps himself busy by performing in various theatre productions, both on stage and in pits, playing small acoustic gigs, playing with his band Dogs In Space, exercising, eating healthy food, and teaching lessons.
I began to show an interest in music when I was in 3rd grade. At that time, my elementary school music teacher recommended that my parents have me begin piano lessons. Those lessons lasted 8 years, in which time I discovered my passion for music theory, as well as singing.
Every year of school since 4th grade I was involved in choir, which lead me to study voice at UW - Stevens Point where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Applied Voice) and Communication. Although college was my first introduction to proper voice lessons, I had consistently talented choir teachers to make sure I, as well as everyone else, was using proper technique.
In 2008 I started a pop punk band with some friends which led me to learning the guitar. Primarily self taught, I began my journey with the guitar by learning how to play the songs that my band was writing at the time. Once in college, I started focusing more on developing my skills as a guitarist as well as a songwriter. In December 2015 I released a full length studio album of songs I wrote, in which I played every instrument aside from drums.
After graduating from UWSP in December 2014, I moved to Nashville, TN to further develop my songwriting skills. In the two years I spent in Nashville I was surrounded by incredibly talented musicians and industry professionals who all helped me grow as an artist.
I moved back to Wisconsin in July 2017 to be closer to my family again, but I haven’t stopped making music. I’m excited to share my knowledge of Theory, Voice, and my instruments, as well as maintain a fun environment that will foster confidence and growth as a musician.