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...where music education is a Sound Investment.

Golden Strip School of Music is committed finding, hiring, and keeping the very best professional music teachers in the Upstate.

Call us at 864-626-3330 to schedule a time to meet your teacher.

Kevin Heuer


Kevin Heuer has been playing drums in the Upstate for more than three decades, having moved to the area from his native North Tonawanda (Buffalo), N.Y., in 1979.

Now, a longtime resident of Greenville, SC, Kevin has been a private drum teacher at several teaching schools in Greenville. Not only has he been teaching privately (1988- present), he has also instructed marching band drumline (Mauldin High School 1988-1997, Morristown West High School, Tennessee 1993-1997).

Kevin has played with such local pop-rock outfits as Evan’s Dilemma from (1990 - present) and he’s notably worked with acclaimed artists ranging from Danielle Howle (Columbia/Charleston SC) to the Vigilantes of Love/ Bill Malonee (Athens, GA) and has toured the US, Canada, UK and Europe.

He is also a longtime participant in the area theater scene. He has/is performing with The Greenville Theatre, The Spartanburg Little Theater, Centre Stage, and The Warehouse Theater, to name a few.

Kevin has also been active in the regional recording scene as a much sought after session player, having recorded in Greenville, Atlanta, and Knoxville, TN

Kevin presently plays for Berea 1st Baptist and subs at the Simpsonville 1st Baptist trio of campuses.

He also has 2 wonderful, married step kids that live nearby.

Kevin is so excited about the new chapter in his life and teaching at Golden Strip School of Music and really bringing the community into our lives!

Cara Horn


Cara received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Houghton College. After graduating she spent several years supporting herself by teaching piano lessons in Rochester, NY. She has also played and sung on worship teams since age 12. Since moving to the Greenville area, besides teaching piano lessons and homeschooling her three children, she has been playing piano for the evening services at Christ Church Episcopal, as well as subbing at other churches. She is well-versed in classical music, hymnody, and “praise band” styles of piano playing.

Cara’s philosophy of teaching centers on the idea that children are born persons and respond well to cheerful respect, the beauty of good music, and gentle discipline. Students learn to play beautifully from their first lesson, using both black and white keys, and moving up and down the piano to enjoy the whole range of possibilities of this remarkable instrument in a gentle and accessible way. Learning to read music and basic theory concepts will be emphasized because it opens up so many opportunities for creativity and growth that would otherwise be impossible. These ideas are taught with common sense and logic instead of rote memorization. Students will understand how the notes on the page translate to beautiful piano music in much the same way that you are translating these scribbles and lines into ideas and words that make sense. (Hopefully!)

Students of all ages are welcome, although knowing how to read is a huge help. Adult students will benefit from a faster pace of learning and can usually move from learning to read music and basic keyboarding skills to working toward more personalized goals (whether it be more classics, chords, hymns, or playing by ear) fairly quickly.

Shawn Allen


Shawn Allen is one of the most versatile and sought-after guitar teachers in the State of South Carolina. No matter the musical genre from classical to rock Shawn has the experience and ability to help his students not only meet but exceed their goals, all while fostering a love of music.

No matter your skill level Shawn will challenge you to learn and improve while also assisting you in any way possible to thrive as a musician. Shawn has over 25 years of private instructor experience, and with that experience he has produced guitar students that have never failed an audition.

Shawn earned his Bachelor’s of Music in Guitar Performance for the University of Southern California and is an Honors graduate of Musician’s Institute.

When Shawn isn’t teaching, he is an active veteran of the Upstate musical theater scene, as both a performer and musical director. He has also toured nationally with the acclaimed classical guitar duo Spatha.

Shawn’s many years of teaching experience, his ability to teach students of all levels and his creativity have led him to not only teach here at Golden Strip School of Music but he also accepted the position of Director of Student Curriculum.!

Ray Turner

Trumpet / Guitar / Singer-Songwriter

Ray Turner is a Greenville, SC, native who grew up surrounded by a family of professional musicians. Ray started playing Drums at the age of five and then Trumpet in middle school at the age of 12. He excelled, later receiving numerous awards and accolades at Easley High School. Winning a music scholarship to Lander University, he continued to pursue music education, ultimately transferring to Winthrop University where he received a B.A. in Music/Trumpet. He has performed in every type of ensemble including Concert Band, Jazz Band, Small Groups and Orchestral. Ray has taught Trumpet over the past 30 years in Nashville and Florida and after recently moving back to Greenville, Ray is very excited to bring a wealth of performance and structured teaching experience to Golden Strip School of Music.

In addition to Trumpet, Ray is a seasoned singer-songwriter and guitar player with years of experience and knowledge of songwriting. Ray has constructing an extensive catalog of original songs as well as a unique approach to teaching creative songwriting. Ray learned songwriting, solo and band performance in Nashville through collaborations with hit songwriters and his own personal inspiration for writing songs and performing. Ray possesses a vast pallet in artist development with emphasis on performance in every stage setting from small venues to large festival stages.

Ray’s goal is to assist the student to achieve a high level of expertise so they may pursue a career in trumpet, singer-songwriting, artist development and performance. A strong focus on teaching to the individual student to develop and enhance the student’s unique skill set and needs sets Ray apart. Ray is a product of private lessons and is a firm believer in the value of one-on-one instruction and feels many attributes create a great musician. Strong fundamentals, commitment, a good attitude and being able to work with others is the cornerstone of Ray’s instruction.

Josh Tennant

Guitar / Bass

Josh Tennant grew up in Spartanburg, SC and began playing the double bass in elementary school. Electric bass and guitar soon followed. He was playing professionally by age 15. Josh is a graduate of the USC School of Music where he was a member of the USC Symphony Orchestra, Left Bank Big Band, and the South Carolina All College Jazz Ensemble. During his college career he performed with artists from many genres including Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch, Mark O Connor, Louis Bellson, and Chris Potter.

Josh has extensive musical theatre experience and has played dozens of shows on the bandstand and in the orchestra pit. His educational experience includes public and private school as well as individual private lessons and spans over 20 years. A feature on the local music scene for many years, Josh is the Music Teacher at Westminster Day School, a member of the West Main Artists Co-op, and a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Praise Team. His current project is The Low Stakes, a genre-bending quintet blending influences from prog to power pop with hook-laden originals and some surprising covers.

Ryan Kouvolo


Ryan Kouvolo has been playing the saxophone for over 30 years, and instructing students for the past 8 years. A 1999 graduate of Clemson University, Ryan was a member and featured soloist with Clemson's Jazz Ensemble, and has been involved with the alumni jazz group, the Jungaleers. He has performed locally with Hot as a Pepper, RazzMaJazz, Rendition, and even appeared on stage with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. In addition to the above, Ryan has been part of the stage band for Happy Days the Musical at the Foothills Playhouse in Easley, as well as Smokey Joe’s Café and Groovin’: Hits of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s at the Youths Centre for the Performing Arts in Fountain Inn.

Hannah Riley

Cello / Violin / Viola

Hannah Riley is a graduate from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s of Music Education. She moved to the Upstate 2 years ago and currently teaches at Beck International Academy Middle School. Hannah has been playing the cello for 15 years, studying with teachers like Amy Williams, Dr. Christopher Hutton, and Dr. Robert Jesselson.

While at the University of South Carolina, Hannah also gained experience coaching and playing in chamber music groups. She has worked with the Grammy Award-winning chamber group, the Parker Quartet, being coached in chamber music and in solo repertoire by the quartet’s cellist, Kee Kim. Hannah has worked with many distinguished professors from around the world while attending the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont on full scholarship.

Hannah has been teaching violin, viola, and cello for 7 years, gaining 5 years’ experience at the University of South Carolina String Project. Hannah is passionate about providing high-quality music education to all students while keeping the love of music at the forefront. Her goal is to instill a love of music in all her students by keeping lessons fun and engaging, helping students to meet their goals and find their passion. She hopes to help all her students become life-long learners and musicians.

Don Foster


Don Foster is an accomplished live performer, recording artist, songwriter and music teacher who lives in Easley, SC. He learned his first guitar chords from his mom and has been playing for more than 40 years. Whether at the reins of a blues-rock band or sawing fiddle in a bluegrass group, his passion for music has taken him all over the country.

Whatever the genre or style, he loves sharing his knowledge with others and encourages all his students to work hard so he can help them reach their goals as a musician. He started teaching in 1987 and currently offers lessons in guitar, violin, bass, banjo, mandolin and ukulele. Don is a certified violin instructor in the Sassmannshaus Method – from Starling University in Cincinnati, OH.

Don and some friends formed the rock band Excalibur while attending Crescent High School in Iva, SC, and over the years, Don has been lead guitarist with bands including Zagstrom, First Offence, the Switch Band, and the Leftovers who opened for such notable bands as Foghat and Kansas. He is a seasoned songwriter with a large ASCAP catalogue - as both a writer and a publisher. He has recorded several solo album on an independent record label. In 2009, the Leftovers album “Reheat and Serve” won a Grindie Award for best Rock CD.

Steven Pietrusza


Steven Pietrusza is an advanced piano and keyboard player that specializes in producing high quality performers. He started as a jazz player in Orlando Fl, but since then he has recorded and performed across all genres.

Steven is new to Greenville, but has already made a huge impact on the local scene. His accomplishments include performing with Zambi for the Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash; playing piano and singing at Jack and Dianes dueling piano bar; and founding the Gottrocks Wednesday Band Jam. On top of being an excellent pianist, Steven has a knack for getting musicians together and collaborating.

Steven's pedagogical technique is heavily influenced by the Kodaly method; although there are some important deviations that he personally makes in order to further advantage his students.

Put simply, Steven's focus is to generate good piano players who can hear, read, and most importantly, perform great music. Whether you want to be a professional keyboard player or just want to play songs you like, Steven is the teacher for you.

Laura Morris

Voice / Piano / Ukulele

Laura Morris has an impressive list of accomplishments, she not only teaches voice, but also piano, and ukulele. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Music Education from Furman University. She has enjoyed solo opportunities with Boston University operas and Furman symphonies and operas. She has also sung with various Boston-based choruses and opera companies. Since moving back to Greenville, Laura has sung with the Greenville Chorale and been a member and soloist of the Herring Chamber Ensemble. She is currently a staff singer at Christ Church in downtown Greenville.

Laura has been a high school choral and instrumental music educator in Greenville County for seven years, teaching at Blue Ridge High School and Mauldin High School. She also has experience as a middle school choral director, as well as teaching private voice and piano. Laura’s students have gone on to receive music scholarships at colleges and universities, record albums, and sing professionally.

Laura lives in Simpsonville with her husband Mike, their daughter Lydia, and their twin sons Barrett and Jackson.

If you’ve always wanted to learn to sing, or play piano or ukulele or any combination of the three give us a call at 864-626-3330 and set up a time to meet with Laura.

Katherine Trask

Voice / Piano / Violin

Katherine Trask is a Voice/Piano/Violin Teacher from Taylors, SC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance from Converse College and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from Peabody Conservatory. In addition to her voice training, Katherine has been playing both piano and violin for over 25 years. Katherine began teaching privately during her senior year at Converse College in 2007. Since that time, she has taught private lessons and masterclasses in Baltimore, MD and here in South Carolina. Many of her students have gone on to pursue music degrees in such prestigious programs as NYU, Peabody Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory and Converse College. She has also coached multiple pageant contestants who have gone on to win titles in the Talent category, as well as the overall pageant. Katherine loves bringing music to as many people as she can, teaching ages 4 and up. She is super excited to be here at Golden Strip School of Music!

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