Fretted Strings

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We call them "fretted strings." These are the backbone of much of the American roots repertoire: bluegrass, old-time, folk and country. Well...mostly. Let's just put the ukulele in a category of its own.

Whether you're looking to play in a band, at a jam, or just by yourself on the front porch, we've got an instructor for you.

Brendan Franklin

Brendan Franklin


While Brendan makes his living these days as a musician and educator, his musical beginnings stuttered before taking off with rocket boots. Initially setting his guitar aside out of frustration, power chords and the promises of youthful punk rebellion were enough to rope a young, teenage Brendan back in. Teaching himself was great, but his desire to learn more about music beyond what he and his friends could figure out led him to study music at Edgewood College. While there, studied classical guitar under Nathan Wysock and jazz under Daniel Wallach before receiving his BS in Music in 2012.

In his tenure as a music instructor since 2004, Brendan has helped his students graduate to milestones ranging from playing in first bands, writing first songs, to even successfully auditioning for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. Brendan welcomes students of all ages and skill levels. He believes in not merely teaching students notes and songs, but also how to learn and apply their musical knowledge they an grow more well-rounded as musicians. He also recognizes that no single teaching approach works for everyone or even every song/concept for a single student, so he teaches in and encourages an open, friendly, and flexible style that best suits each student.

Brendan currently plays with award-winning Irish rock band The Kissers and Chicago's Last False Hope.

Kevin Knapp

Kevin Knapp


Kevin Knapp is a freelance multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator living in Madison, WI with over 30 years experience. Having grown up in a home full of educators and music, Kevin is passionate about music education. He focuses on keeping music fun and helping students explore music that excites them.

Kevin’s early accomplishments include acceptance to Interlochen Summer Arts Camp with an emphasis in composition and the Chopin Award for piano performance. Kevin graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition from University of Wisconsin, Madison. During his time at UW, he was awarded multiple scholarships, composed numerous pieces for performance by the UW Chior and UW Symphony Orchestra, and was awarded the UW Composition Prize.

These days, Kevin plays Hammond Organ and piano at multiple Madison area churches, provides dance accompaniment to the UW Dance Department, and teaches music privately. He also performs regularly with a variety of Madison-area ensembles with styles ranging from pop to classical.

Kyle Rightley

Kyle Rightley


Kyle Rightley is a Madison-based performer, songwriter, and educator. He has built a career out of a wide variety of genres spanning rock, folk, classical, jazz, and funk. His third acoustic solo release, Making Home, won the 2018 Madison Area Music Association Award (MAMA) for Country/Bluegrass Album of the Year. Isthmus described the album as “traditional Americana that resembles political forebears like Joan Baez or Willie Nelson.” Though his primary instruments are guitar, trombone, and euphonium, Kyle can also be heard playing ukulele, keyboards, mandolin, percussion, bass, and just about anything he can get his hands on. In addition to his solo exploits, he is a member of award-winning groups The Big Payback, Driveway Thriftdwellers, The Civil Engineers, Five Points Jazz Collective, Don’t Mess With Cupid, and other area ensembles. These groups have won various MAMA, Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI), and other local awards in categories as diverse as pop/R&B, rock, jazz, country, and folk.

Kyle holds a Master of Music degree in euphonium performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado-Boulder. As a music educator, Kyle strives to foster individual expression, collaboration, and communication through music. He has taught students from a large range of different backgrounds, ages, and skill levels. In addition to providing a solid foundation of fundamental playing techniques, Kyle focuses on music theory, improvisation, and composition in lessons.