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Community Music Lessons

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new community Music Academy at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School!
The Academy will provide a communal learning environment for private music lessons that can accommodate ALL ages and ALL musical abilities. Whether you are a beginner who wants to learn how to play the guitar, a singer who wants to join a local choir, or an emerging artist preparing to join a Shattuck-St. Mary’s performing arts Center of Excellence, we have a teacher for you!


Dr. Benjamin Downs is a pianist, scholar, and teacher based in Minneapolis, MN, United States, and the current Director of the Pre-Conservatory Center of Excellence Program. As a performer, he has been a prize winner in numerous national and international piano competitions including the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Competition, the Chautauqua International Piano Competition, the Northwestern Piano Competition, and the Cincinnati Chamber Music Competition. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland as both a soloist, and with his wife, cellist Rebeccah Parker Downs. They have been featured performers at many venues including New York City’s WMP Concert Hall, the Bowdoin Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Linton Chamber Music Series. He has also collaborated with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Windsor Symphony Orchestra. He completed his DMA in piano performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where his primary teacher was James Tocco. He also studied with Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff and Michael Chertock.

Benjamin is also an active musicologist and music theorist. He earned a PhD in the History and Theory of Music from Stony Brook University in 2018, specializing in philosophies of listening and European avant-garde music since 1968. He has received many awards for his scholarship, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Scholarship, and two DAAD Fellowships. His work has been published in the Journal for Music Theory, Paul Sacher Stiftung’s Mitteilungen, and Music Research Forum.

Meet our Faculty