Posts in Teachers
Welcome Teacher Andrew Norman to RiverCity!

Andrew Norman

We are pleased to announce that piano, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet teacher Andrew Norman has joined our RiverCity teaching staff. Learn more about Andrew.

Wild Ire Joins Forces With RiverCity!

Nick Turner

Nick Turner, drummer of Salem bands Wild Ire and Mandark, has recently joined the RiverCity team! Now, students are able to take private drum lessons from Nick and learn how to be a rockstar just like him. Nick is also helping with our programs such as Teen Rock Band Workshop and Summer Mix Tape. Nick is available for private drum lessons. Schedule your lesson now!

Taner Jones

Fellow Wild Ire band member, Taner Jones has joined the RiverCity team as well. Taner is our main retail repairman, meaning he fixes guitars, basses, amps, and anything else you need! Stop in today to our new Pro Shop to see Taner and get your musical instruments repaired or serviced.


Wild Ire & RiverCity Royals Free Show at Blast Off Vintage Friday Night!

To celebrate our new staff members, our own RiverCity Royals and Wild Ire are playing together on July 12th at Blast Off Vintage at 8pm. Come see this amazing show! Free and all ages.

Vocal Lessons: Find Your Voice At RiverCity

Vocal and Singing Lessons - All Ages, Abilities, & Types of Music

From first time beginner to advanced vocalist we have it covered all styles of music from choir, musical theater, rock, opera, pop, and more. Our experienced and professional vocal teachers will help you build your skills and confidence to sing. Learn more about our vocal and singing lessons.

Welcome Ronan Baker Our Newest Music Teacher!

Ronan Baker is a new instructor at RiverCity Rock Star Academy specializing in vocal performance, piano, guitar, and flair.

Recently, this musical troubadour has been making his way playing guitar and singing with multiple groups such as Sleep Millennium, Light Treason, Business Socks and formerly Allies From Nowhere, The Minute Hand Ballet, and Jackson Blair. 

Throughout the years Ronan has taken on quite a few different roles. Anywhere from band leader, to studio session player, a tribute performer with Heroes and Rebels: A Tribute to David Bowie to even roles as The Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and Feuilly in Les Miserables.

In 2010, after he graduated Cum Laude from Western Oregon University with a BA of Music with an emphasis in audio engineering and film scoring Ronan worked as a server for one year and saved enough money to start his own private recording studio. In December 2011 Humannequin Studios was opened and Ronan immediately set to work producing records for dozens of different artists  ranging from Jared Mees & The Grown Children, to the Western Oregon Singers, and even his own recording projects.

Ronan expanded his production company from simply studio recording to include live sound reinforcement in 2015 as he became partners with Nick Wixom and All That Sound.

His musical journey started during his teen years when Ronan’s father taught him how to play the viola and piano and it got to the point when it was not going well. There are tantrums, tears, and wailing... And eventually Ronan announced that he was going to teach himself how to play guitar and learn how to play music that he actually liked. “This is it! I am going off on my own and I am going to be a rock star!”

And at the ripe age of 14, Ronan got his first guitar, a silver Ibanez RG-220B Series Mik Floyd Rose Licensed 24 Fret Locking Nut Shredder. Later on he would prefer the sounds of thinline Fender Telecasters and the boutique grit from pedals by PettyJohn and Electroharmonix but this silver fox of an axe marked the beginning of a long musical journey.  

At age 18, Ronan sat in front of a classroom of 8th graders with a black acoustic guitar cradled in his lap ready to teach. He started with a D chord, the basis for the fingerpicking part to the song that a student wanted to learn by Creed.

And thus Ronan started down the winding road as a music instructor. A long thoroughfare that would eventually lead right to the doors of RiverCity Rock Star Academy and the amazing workers and students there. He knows there is much more on the horizon and he can’t wait to discover what he can find right alongside you.

Music is fun! Except when it is hard work... Then it is fun again! – Ronan

Ronan is available for private lessons in vocal performance, piano/keys, guitar, and bass (and flair). Schedule your free trial lesson and tour of RiverCity today.

Please Welcome Juliene Soltwisch Our Newest Music Teacher!
Juliene gutar violin lessons

An Illinois native, Juliene Soltwisch (pronounced SALT-WITCH) is our new Violin and Guitar instructor at RiverCity Rock Star Academy.  She has been playing violin since the age of 5 years old and has toured extensively with the Chicago Concert violin group in China, England, and France in the early 2000's and has performed in coveted recital halls such as the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois before the age of 16. 

At age 18 Juliene received a full-ride to Western Illinois University, to study violin performance and music theory.  She studied with Romanian Violin Competition prizewinner Dr. Julieta Mihai, who has won numerous other competitions, including the Concerto Competition of the Summer Festival Orchestra in Urbana-Champaign, Il and has sat as concertmaster for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra for 11 years.  In 2014, she shared the stage with Mark Wood, (Tran Siberian Orchestra Concertmaster), in leading the Orchestra in "Bohemian Rasphody". In the summer of 2008, Juliene was invited for a German tour with the school of music to perform the Opera "A Midsummer Nights Dream".  A few years later Juliene also acquired her degree in Music Therapy and is now a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) practicing in Salem, Oregon.  She has studied extensively in working with adults with various mental and physical disabilities and has completed a 6-month internship at Oregon State Hospital.  

A metal enthusiast, Juliene enjoys playing her Jackson Rhodes electric guitar (affectionately called "Ms. Jackson") and hosts her metal radio show DARK MATTER Thursday nights on 100.7 KMUZ.

Juliene is available for private lessons in violin and guitar. Contact RiverCity for free trial lesson and tour.

Juliene Soltwisch
Juliene Soltwisch guitar and violin teacher
RiverCity Staff Music News

We have said it before and we’ll keep saying it, we are so blessed to have a super talented, creative, and productive group of professional musicians on staff at RiverCity Rock Star Academy. Not only do our teachers work hard in our programs and private lessons but they work hard on their craft and passion for music.

sleep millennium

RiverCity bass teacher and co-music director Jarred Venti and his band Sleep Millennium released their first album this week titled "Let Us Begin the Future." Tonight at Venti's Cafe they’ll have an album release show starting at 6:00 p.m. with our own Rebecca McDade opening the show, followed by Masq, TENTS, and Sleep Millennium. You can purchase the album tonight at the show or can download at Spotify or Itunes.


Speaking of our guitar and vocal teacher Rebecca McDade, she was featured in this week’s Salem Weekly as Rebecca released her first album a couple of weeks ago called "To Call Home." Legendary Portland music producer Gregg Williams recorded the album at Trench Studio. Working with Gregg and accompanying Rebecca on the album was Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper. You can listen To Call Home on Spotify or Itunes.


Finally, our drum teacher Kaylee Bonatakis is about halfway through her national tour with the Dead County Gentleman and playing in Memphis tonight. You can keep up with the Dead Country Gentlemen here and take a listen on Spotify and Itunes.