Co-op Business Partner Profile: Moscow Music Academy

When you walk through the door of the Moscow Music Academy, at 207 South Washington Street in Moscow, instead of a bell, you hear the strumming of guitars announcing your presence. This is the tone of their business, playful and fun.

Michelle Karel-Ward is the director of the Moscow Music Academy. She is one of seven instructors who teach there. The instruments taught include guitar, bass, ukulele, voice, piano, trumpet and drums. Members of the Co-op who mention the Co-op Business Partner Program and sign up for a minimum of one full month of classes will have their registration fee waived and get their first lesson for free, a value of $40.

The Moscow Music Academy was previously called GTR Music Studio. With the rolling out of their new name, they are adding some fun programs, like a rock band class that will give people an opportunity for ensemble play. They will also be providing more performance opportunities to give their students a broader music experience beyond just lessons in a room.

Michelle talked about several educational benefits of music. She says studies have shown that when children learn to play a musical instrument their grades improve, especially in math.

Michelle has loved music since she was a young child growing up in Portland. As she got older she heard more stories from her parents about her aptitude for music. From an early age she was fascinated by sound, trying to figure out and mimic what she heard. After high school she moved to Pullman and began studies as a music major at Washington State University. Later Professor James Reid helped her find financial aid and other resources, and she transferred to the University of Idaho where she received both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music performance. Michelle has been formally teaching since 1993 and has taught students as young as five and as old as eighty.

Michelle plays in two local bands. Her band is the ColdRail Blues Band, and she was recruited to play with another band, Voodoo City Radio. Both bands have facebook pages if you'd like to look them up.

Michelle enjoys cooking, gardening, biking, camping, and traveling. She and her spouse, Emma, built their house with the help of local designer/builder Kurt Rathman. The house is oriented to take advantage of natural light. Their cousin, who does home design, helped them chose a soft yellow interior color that makes the home warm and inviting even on overcast days.

In the last five or so years, Michelle and Emma, and often Michelle’s parents, have gone on some fun trips. They have been to San Francisco, South Carolina, Washington DC, Boston, and New York. The farthest they have traveled is to Amsterdam.

To learn more about Moscow Music Academy, check out their webpage at