Cincinnati’s West Side home for quality music instruction!


Our teachers come from advanced professional music backgrounds,

and offer lessons on a variety of instruments, including:


Piano and voice

Guitar, electric bass, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo

Percussion and drum set

Violin, viola, cello, and double bass

Clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and flute/piccolo

Trumpet, trombone, euphonium, and tuba.


The most important part of our mission as teachers is to ensure that music holds a special place in the life of every student.

For more information, contact:



Todd Brower


Todd teaches guitar and bass.

Alex Cook

Alex Cook is a Cincinnati native musician who has been performing around the area for over 10 years. He began teaching music privately in 2009.  His primary instruments are electric bass, 5 string banjo, and guitar. He graduated from NKU with a BA in Music in 2012.  In his time at NKU, he performed with a variety ensembles, including Big Band, Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Band, as well as various smaller Jazz, R&B, and Salsa combos.

In 2013, Alex began teaching bass and guitar at School Of Rock in Mason.  Besides being a lessons instructor, he is also a show director at SOR.  He has directed nearly a dozen seasonal shows, including Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Prince, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Soul Revue, Weezer, and No Doubt to name a few. Besides the seasonal shows, Alex teaches weekly Rock 101 classes at the school, instructing young musicians how to play in a band setting for the first time.

You can find Alex performing around the Cincinnati area with his original Alt Folk band Cookin’ Hearts.  He also works regularly as a freelance bassist, and has performed with many different artists and groups such as Kelsey Mira Band, Mixtape, Cincinnati Frequency Band, Swampthang, Brian Goins Trio, ZIG, Charlie Miliken, and more.

Marissa Dike

Marissa Dike is a DMA graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, focusing primarily on music composition and music technology. She also has an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the University of South Florida and has been teaching private music lessons in piano, guitar, and voice since the age of 16. She loves working with students of all ages and skill levels and believes that with dedication and hard work, anyone can be a great musician!

Nick Federinko

Nick Federinko has been playing guitar half his life. From the oldies he was raised on, to inescapable 90’s radio, music was always crucial to getting through life’s fluctuations and feelings. At fourteen, he picked up a guitar and cut his teeth in youth group band, jazz band, pit orchestra, and finally, leading a band through covers and originals. A transplant from Michigan (fear not, he roots against the Wolverines), Nick’s studies in English and religion took him from Ada, Ohio, to a Methodist seminary north of Columbus, to Cincinnati in search of excitement and meaning. He finds those things by playing in multiple bands and teaching, wanting to help others find joy and affirmation through a musical outlet- no matter the skill level or music preference. Nick mostly listens to classic rock and under-appreciated alternative music (on vinyl when possible), but relishes the chance to play any and every style, from vintage-flavored rock, to pop reggae, to neo soul, to the occasional praise song. In addition to teaching and playing music, Nick does audio/video work, church communications, and social media work!

Danny Groh

Danny Groh has been playing drum set ever since he was tall enough to climb onto the throne as a child. He began studying guitar at 11 years old, and later the bass at the age of 13. Throughout adolescence drum set was always his main focus, playing his first professional gig at the age of 13. This led him to study at the prestigious College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He majored in Jazz Studies on drum set, and worked under the tutelage of Cincinnati legend John con Olen and took private lessons with the formidable Art Gore. After a few years at the Conservatory, Danny pursued playing and teaching throughout the city. Since then he has amassed a deep background as a performer and educator. He began working with Western Hills Music in 2012, as a drum set. guitar, and bass instructor.

Aside from his experience on drum set, Danny’s passion for performing is deeply rooted in the world of marching percussion. Danny began his marching career with Connexus percussion in 2014, an Open Class, indoor drum line based out of Delaware, Ohio. After a fantastic first season in WGI, Danny went on to World class with Cap City Percussion. He recently completed his third season with the group, aging out of the activity as a World Class Finalist in 2017. Danny entered DCI in 2016, playing his snare for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corp. During his time at the Conservatory, he played snare for the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Marching Band for two seasons, ending his time there as center snare and section leader. These seven seasons in college band, WGI, and DCI were crucial in forming the percussionist and educator Danny is today.

Because of this experience, Danny is an in-demand educator and currently holds four teaching positions at local high schools. He spent a short period with the Moeller High School Band as a battery instructor in 2014. He is in his first year as Battery Coordinator and second year on staff at La Salle High School, a BOA Grand National Semi Finalist program. Danny also teaches the Junior Percussion Program La Salle offers. 2018 will mark his fifth year as the Percussion Director and Arranger for Reading High School. He has been on the percussion staff of Deer Park High School for 3 years, a consistent OMEA State Finalist, and just began a new position at Taylor High School as Percussion Director and Battery Arranger, also a State Finalist program.

With five years of teaching experience at both Western Hills Music and at the high school level, Danny has taught all ages from children as young as five, up to adult students. Fluent in jazz, rock, hip hop, Latin, and rudimental percussion, Danny is eager to add to his schedule of weekly students. As an instructor his number one goal is to have each student excel in their passion for music and their growth as a performer.

Jeannine Groh

Jeannine has a specialized piano teaching degree, Piano Pedagogy from the College of Mt. St. Joseph. She studied voice and piano with Atarah Jablonsky, whose accolades are numerous. Jeannine also studied Music Theory with prolific composer and professor Reverend Engelo della Picca, who held his doctorate in Sacred Music, and he appears in the Who’s Who in Classical American Music. While at Mt. St. Joseph, Jeannine tutored fellow students in Music Theory, and taught piano lessons in the Community Music Center. While still in college, Jeannine also taught for Buddy Roger’s Music, where she earned the Teacher of the Year award, and numerous other awards each year there recognizing her teaching skills. Jeannine left there to direct the Yamaha Music School of Willis Music. Here she acquired training to teach group piano lessons. Years later, Henderson Music stores sponsored the Yamaha Clavinova Festival for piano students where Jeannine coordinated these “monster concerts,” with 24 instruments on the stage.

Later she directed the Hand Bell Choir for St. Ignatius School in Cincinnati, and assisted the Parish Music Minister by conducting the Women’s Ensemble as well as Contemporary Music masses. In addition to the piano, Jeannine played mallet percussion instruments and the ukulele. The Jeannine Groh Jazz Trio can be found performing around the Tri-State. They opened the new Horseshoe (now called Jack) Casino for 3 years in the elegant steakhouse, the Diamond Lounge and the Ballrooms. Her performance career dates back to her college years when she played professionally in a Rock/Top 40 band.

Sarah Himsel

Sarah was inspired to take up guitar at 10 years old by a friend, the idea being that the two of them were going to start a band (just like all their idols). But while her friend’s interest in guitar faded away and no such rock star dreams were fulfilled, Sarah’s passion for music has carried on for 17 years, finding its creative outlet within teaching. She has been working with Western Hills Music since 2010, teaching electric and acoustic guitar as well as ukulele, ranging in genres from heavy metal to classical guitar and methods from tablature to notation and music theory. The most important thing to Sarah as a teacher is to cater her lessons to the student’s learning pace and style, as well as to focus on music they want to learn while also introducing them to new concepts that will improve their playing and musical portfolio.

Madison Herzner

Madison Herzner is a current senior at Northern Kentucky University where she is studying Music Education. While Madison’s primary instrument is the oboe, she is considered a woodwind specialist who also plays the trumpet and french horn extensively. Madison can be seen performing with the NKU Concert Band and Pep Band on various instruments. When performing with the NKU Symphonic Winds and the Philharmonic Orchestra- which had a tour across Ireland in June of 2018- she plays the oboe and english horn. Both in and out of NKU; Madison has performed in pit orchestras for various shows including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She has also performed with the Fillmore Wind Band on both oboe and english horn as well. Outside of performing, Madison follows her passion for teaching as a private lesson teacher in the Greater Cincinnati area and has taught beginning music to kindergartners.

Owen Hopper

Owen is a master’s student in composition at CCM and obtained a bachelor’s degree in guitar and composition from Otterbein University. At Otterbein he studied under respected classical guitarist Karl Wohlwend. He has been teaching for over six years and has worked with all levels of students on various topics and styles of guitar playing as well as songwriting, composition, and theory.

Greg Hurd

Greg Hurd began his formal music education with Mel Gillespie at West Virginia State College at age 16 and performed with the West Virginia State Jazz Ensemble at age 17.  During this time Greg began playing professionally with his own Jazz Ensemble. At age 18, Greg began studying Saxophone under Dr. Ed Bingham’s direction, studied Flute under Dr. Wendall Dobb’s direction and studied Clarinet under Dr. Don Williams at Marshall University.  Greg performed with Marshall’s Jazz, Wind, Chamber, and Symphonic Ensembles. While at Marshall he performed with Grammy winners Chris Vadala, Dave Valentin, and Eddie Daniels. As a teacher Greg focuses on having students produce a good sound, learning correct technique, and song repertoire. Students can expect to learn correct embouchure, breathing, and posture in their beginning lessons. Students will then learn scales and arpeggios while learning the importance of scales and arpeggios, and how they’re used in compositions. Students are encouraged to bring music they’re working on in School, as well as music they are interested in learning on their own to incorporate into their personalized lessons.  Greg will motivate the students and achieve results with his techniques and 10 years of private teaching experience.

Melvin Jackson

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Melvin Cortez Jackson has been playing the French Horn since he was 10 years old. He started learning the piano, music theory, and composition in high school. In April of 2018, he graduated with his Artist Diploma, specializing in the French Horn. Melvin has experience playing classical, jazz, blues, rock, and composing his own music. He frequently performs with the Dayton Philharmonic, and is personnel manager of the Queen City Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed with professional and student orchestras in Wisconsin and Maryland, where he obtained his Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degrees, respectively, both in French Horn

Heidi Johnson

Heidi Johnson, Teacher of Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano

Learned piano and music theory from her mom, starting at age 4 (Wichita, KS)
Started Viola at age 8 in school (Wichita, KS)
Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS  1981
Taught orchestra and general music in Hays, KS  1981-84
Attended CCM (UC College-Conservatory of Music) 1984-86  to earn her Master of Music Education degree
Directed the church choir at Good Shepherd Lutheran 1985-86
Taught orchestra in the Volusia County Schools (Daytona Beach, FL area)  1986-89
Returned to Cincinnati to teach orchestra and general music in the Finneytown Local Schools  1989-present  (K-12 except 1st grade)
Plays piano for the family worship service at Good Shepherd Lutheran  1998-present
Has 2 daughters, one at Ohio State majoring in Dance and one at Gamble Montessori High School.

Suzanne Lockwood

 I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that loved music. My parents are both singers and my dad plays the guitar. As a family we have spent many hours over the years playing and singing together. I knew from an early age that I wanted to teach music and help others make this wonderful gift a part of their lives.
     When I was 8 years old I was inspired by a friend to pick up the flute and began my first formal music studies, and I have continued to study and perform this instrument ever since!  I earned my Bachelors degree in Music Education with a vocal concentration and piano secondary from Wright State University in 1997, and I am certified in grades K-12.  During my studies I discovered a love for the violin and took on extra classes in order to build my skills with this instrument. After graduating I taught general music for 6 years, and then decided to open my own private music studio. In addition, I am now just 3 classes away from earning my master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Xavier University.
     As a musician I mostly use my talents for singing and playing at church, but also perform at weddings, and private events. I have directed many musicals with students in grades K-8, and continue to hold 2 or more recitals a year with my private students.
      Being a private music teacher is one of the greatest joys of my life. I currently teach piano, voice, violin, and flute. I have been teaching privately for a total of 20 years, and have been here at Western Hills Music since 2005. My main goals as a teacher include building relationships with my students, helping them reach their fullest potential as musicians, and providing performance opportunities for those who desire it.

Michael Nicolaci

I am a third-year Music Composition major at Northern Kentucky University. I have been playing classical piano for 13 years and jazz piano since my freshman year of college. I started playing percussion in high school and was the front ensemble section leader my junior and senior year. During high school, I was in Marching Band, Concert Band, Steel Drum Band, Stage Band, and Indoor Drumline. I currently take piano and percussion lessons at NKU and have played in NKU’s Steel Drum Band, Concert Band, and Philharmonic Orchestra. I am passionate about music and hope to someday compose for movies, television, and other forms of media. I am eager to teach piano and percussion lessons.

David Niemeyer

Since returning to school as a music major at Northern Kentucky University, David Neimeyer has sat as the principal chair French horn player in the NKU Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Winds band, and Brass Choir, as well as having played premiers for several pieces composed by colleagues at NKU. Outside of school, he plays guitar and sings in the Grand Champ String Band, playing bluegrass, American and European folk music, classic rock, early jazz, and even modern pop in an old-style mandolin/guitar/up-bass trio. He has experience performing in rock bands on guitar, bass, and drums; in jazz bands playing trumpet; in brass quintets playing French horn and trumpet; in marching bands playing trumpet and mellophone; in bars and restaurants playing solo guitar and singing; in vocal choirs as a tenor voice; and in percussion ensembles playing all kinds of different percussion instruments. David has had his passion and love for music nurtured by other passionate music educators throughout his life and he wants pass that along to the next generation of musicians. His greatest goal in life is to surround himself with the best musicians he can find, and what better way than to help make them!

Christian Robles

Broad Ripple High School for the Performing Arts
Berklee College of Music
Indiana University of School of Music

I currently play around 200 plus engagements annually and have preformed in 28 different countries across 4 continents.
I’ve played guitar with members of : The Eagles, Ce Lo, Al Green, Tommy Tutone, Journey, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Los Lobos, Kansas, Toto, Santana, P-funk, Elton Johns band, James Brown’s band, Kenny Chesney, Michael Bolton, Boston, The Romantics etc.

Justin Todhunter


Justin teaches Guitar and Mandolin.