Learn to think about music the right way.

Our theory & composition teachers are all degreed professionals with years of training and experience that enhance the way they teach their students. In theory lessons, we focus on learning how and why music works the way it does, and how melody, rhythm, and harmony all work together differently from one style of music to the next. In composition lessons, we work on applying those concepts and tapping in to the students' creative voice to develop his/her proficiency as a writer. Whether you're 5 or 55, brand new to music or already a professional, our goal is to help you become not just someone who can hear or play music, but someone who can truly understand and create it.

You can also view our theory & composition teachers' bios below to see who's right for you.


Stuart Ross Johnson, B.A.

Instructor of Guitar, Voice, Composition, and Ukulele

Stuart Ross Johnson.jpg

Accepting new students: Yes

Centralized teaching area: Indianapolis (North)

Personal studio: Yes

Travel lessons offered: Yes

Stuart Ross Johnson is an experienced guitarist, songwriter and band leader who recently moved to Indianapolis from New England. He has been studying guitar for over 10 years and has a diverse musical background. Having lived all over the country, he has influences from the South West (country, americana), Appalachian Mountains (bluegrass, folk) and his father’s Delta Blues records. Stuart attended UNC Asheville where he studied classical guitar and general music under guitarist David Stevenson. He has been teaching music lessons for over 3 years both in private and group settings. In addition to teaching guitar, Stuart has experience with songwriting, vocal coaching, piano and ukulele.

Stuart currently performs around Indianapolis in a group called Ross Hollow, playing songs he has written and some covers. His influences go back as far as Van Morrison and James Taylor and reach to modern influences such as Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Brandi Carlile, Shakey Graves, Bon Iver, Andrew Byrd and more.


Shawn McGowan, B.A.

INSTRUCTOR OF PIANO, theory & COMPOSITION, AND JAZZ ORGAN

Accepting new students: Yes

Centralized teaching area: Indianapolis (North)

Personal studio: Yes

Travel lessons offered: No

Shawn McGowan is an Indianapolis based pianist/keyboardist, composer, arranger, and educator.  Shawn studied at the Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of David N.  Baker and Luke Gillespie, earning a B.A in Jazz Studies, minors in instrumental and choral conducting, and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. 

After graduating from Indiana University, he served as the Associate Instructor of Jazz Piano for the Jacobs School of Music and as a piano instructor for the IU Young Pianists Program, teaching classes and private lessons in jazz.   In 2013, Shawn won first prize for best musical score in the National Campus Movie Festival screened in Hollywood and Paris, France.  The following year, Shawn made his international debut performing a solo concert in Tirschenreuth Germany featuring his own compositions.  Shawn has played in the Jamey Aebersold Quartet and has accompanied legendary jazz vocalists Bobby McFerrin, Darmon Meader of the New York Voices, and Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer.