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New studio hopes to hit the right note with families

The owner of a new Cottage Grove business is passionate about music, and about teaching children.

At A Sharp Music Studios -- which offers piano, voice and Kindermusik classes -- La Rae Mills can combine the two.

"My true passion is about kids and working with kids and to be someone who can help them grow themselves and discover themselves," she said.

The studio, which had its grand opening Saturday, May 8, offers both private and group lessons in piano and voice to all ages -- babies through grandmothers -- she said, and summer camps for kids.

Mills, who has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master of divinity degree, had been using space in her Cottage Grove home for private lessons and at TheAlley Church for classes in keyboard and Kindermusik, where babies through 7-year-olds explore instruments, rhythms and movement. At her new location, Mills has room for six full digital pianos for group piano lessons.

"Doing a group setting can be a really good building experience for a child," she said. "They want to be with friends, they want to be with others."

Even students in private lessons participate in monthly group classes on subjects like composing, technique or a particular composer, she said. Mills said her desire to do more classes pushed her to open the studio.

"I was just getting a lot of students and seeing a lot of potential," Mills said. "It just seemed right to do it."

Mills and Cottage Grove resident Robin South will teach at the studio. Mills said she plans to offer guitar lessons in the near future.

A Sharp Music Studios is located at 8811 92nd St., Suite 111, in Cottage Grove. For more information, go to

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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