Welcoming you to music lessons in Rochester, Minnesota!

Music Excellence during Covid19

Stuck at home? Sign up for online music lessons through the Academy!

Online lessons are a safe social distancing activity for adults & kids.

Contact our office to get started.

Why is Rochester Academy of Music the #1 choice for music lessons in southeastern Minnesota? Because RAM offers much, much MORE than other music schools in the area! We offer you:

  • MORE instruments. No other music lesson provider teaches as many instruments as we do! With over twenty different instruments, you’re sure to find a good match. Our versatile faculty can teach you or your child: piano, voice, guitar, drum set, bass  guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, baritone horn, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, string bass, band percussion, banjo and mandolin.  
  • MORE lesson days to choose from. RAM is the ONLY music school that’s open seven days a week. We’re open on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to weekdays, to fit your busy schedule.
  • MORE student recognition. We are the ONLY music school in southeastern Minnesota licensed to use the  new, cutting-edge Musical Ladder System ®. Every three months, all of  our students take a test with their teacher for cool awards such as certificates, wristbands and trophies. All included in tuition! 
  • MORE  learning opportunities. We are the ONLY music lesson provider in the area authorized to offer free, unlimited, one-hour music enrichment classes for when  students have to miss a regular, weekly lesson. Students may even make up their lessons before they go on vacation!
  • MORE ways to take lessons. Going away on vacation, or moving out of state? No problem! Take lessons via the latest technology. Skype or FaceTime are viable options ONLY at Rochester Academy of Music.
  • MORE safety. For your peace of mind, we are the SAFEST music school in the area! All teachers undergo a state, federal and national sex offender background check, in addition to a Social Security number verification. We have installed observation windows in each studio door. We have gone to the extent of installing  a security camera in each studio, with the monitor in the lobby for you to watch.

Who We Are

The Rochester Academy Of Music is the most complete music school in Rochester, Minnesota. We teach almost 200 students in a week, ranging in age from 4 to adults. If you want to learn an instrument, the chances are we teach it; we offer piano, guitar, drums, brass, woodwinds, voice, and ukulele for starters! We do this all in one location in NE Rochester.

We have the distinct honor to be endorsed by world-famous flutist Sir James Galway. Owner/flutist Cathy Arhelger knows him personally because he reviewed her “Rejoice!” CD in 2008. He was delighted to write a letter of endorsement for the accomplishments he knows our students are achieving.


We offer private/one-on-one music lessons to get the most our of your lesson time.

We offer half-hour or hour long private music lessons, and bill once monthly (automatically) on a credit card on the 1st of each month. Our pricing is as follows:

30 minute lessons; $32 per week

60 minute lessons; $64 per week

Our lessons are private, one-on-one lessons held at the same day and time each week. Call today to find out more!

We do ask for 30 days notice to stop charges in regards to withdrawals.

You might’ve seen us on KTTC, The Post Bulletin and KAAL before.

Winner of more awards than any other music school in the area! 

  • Nominated Best Music School in 2019 in Post-Bulletin Best of the Best Contest.
  • Finalist in the 2016 School of the Year international contest.


We teach private lessons on classical guitar, electric and acoustic guitar,  piano, singing, voice, drums, bass, ukulele, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, and banjo.

14 Benefits of becoming an Academy student:

1. Piano, guitar, drums, voice, singing, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, ukulele and banjo in ONE location!

We are the only school in the area to offer all of these popular instruments: piano, guitar, drums, voice, singing, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, ukulele and banjo in one location.

2. The most qualified teaching faculty in Rochester.

We have 20 music teachers, all with either college training or professional performance experience. Some have masters degrees and credits towards their PhD in music. Our music teachers are dedicated to learning about your personal musical goals and helping you to achieve them. With at least three music teachers for every instrument, we are confident that we have the right teacher to meet your music lesson needs. In addition to their teaching credentials, our teachers have warm personalities, are extremely friendly and dedicated to teaching you the style of music that you want to learn in your music lesson.

3. The widest range of music lesson times available seven days a week!

We are the only music school in the area that offers music lessons seven days a week from early in the morning to late at night, to accommodate your busy schedule.

4. A proven track record of excellence since 2011.

Visit our testimony page to see what our students are saying. Every year, aspiring music teachers start their own studio, and a year or two later it’s closed. The Academy has a proven track record of offering quality music lessons on piano, classical guitar, acoustic and electric guitar, voice, singing, drums, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, ukulele and banjo year round. Our full-time mission is teaching music lessons trusted by hundreds of families for eight years. 

5. A comfortable parent’s lounge for our clients.

Instead of waiting in a music retail store showroom or the teacher’s living room, our clients enjoy a spacious, professional parent’s lounge with comfortable chairs, a toy box, Wi-Fi, children’s books, a coloring table, TV, a train table and water cooler. We also provide observation windows in every door so that you can watch your child’s lesson while you wait. Or if you prefer, you may sit in on their lessons anytime you like. 

6. The safest music school in the area.

Safety of our students is a top priority. We have a family safety program in place, for your peace of mind. This includes having teachers undergo a four-way background check: national, sex offender, state and Social Security number verification. Every classroom has a security camera. You may watch your child’s lesson in the waiting area. There is an observation window in each door. 

7. Free music recitals twice a year with NO participation fees!

We are the only music school in southeastern Minnesota to hold free recitals with a grand piano at exciting venues. Every parent wants to know how their child is doing and if they are really progressing. The best way for a parent to understand if their investment in lessons is really worth it, is to have their child perform in a recital.

In June and November many of our students choose to perform in our biannual recitals. 

8. Professional office staff seven days a week to serve you.

We are the only music school in Rochester that offers professional customer service for their students seven days a week.  Many music studio desks are staffed by the teacher/owner or more commonly an answering machine. We have team members who are available at the front desk to assist our clients quickly and professionally.

9. Trophies, certificates and wristbands to celebrate achievement, included in tuition!

We are the only music school in Rochester that gives its students the opportunity to earn special color wristband bracelets (kids and teens love them!), trophies AND certificates for passing musical tests. Do other schools offer trophies and certificates? A few. But none of them inspires their students with smiling faces (see pictures to the right) by giving them full-color, really cool “Musical Ladder System ®” wristbands that they can show off to their friends. The Musical Ladder is our unique method of music education that you can only get here.

More importantly, when our students have a test coming up, they practice more, their parents are proud, their teachers are proud, and everybody wins. You can only get the Musical Ladder here. 

10. Student discounts on music books, instruments and accessories.

We are the only music school in Rochester that gives student discounts for their students which saves them money all throughout the year.

The Academy also sells music books, instruments and accessories. All of our current students receive 10-40 % off on all their music supply needs. 

11. Tax-deductible lessons.

All of our teachers are qualified, so all lessons taken here, music books and instruments are tax-deductible as an educational expense for minors, on Minnesota state tax returns. Each January, you will receive a statement for tax purposes. 

12. Located conveniently in northeast Rochester near 37th Street and Broadway.

We are one block south of 37th Street NE, and six blocks east of Broadway North. Find us across the street from Jenpachi Japanese Restaurant and  Whistle Binkies. Close to our school are Kwik Trip, a hair salon, and HY-VEE grocery store.

13. Picture Day

We are the only music school in the area that offers a picture day for their students. Every Spring and Fall we host a free picture day with a professional photographer. This is a service that our student’s parents love, as they all want quality photos of their children. Adults are welcome, too! Students can bring their instruments to the photo shoot and wear whatever they like. Everyone gets a free 4×6 framed photo.

14. Month-to-month lessons.

The Academy does not require semester minimums for lessons. Every student is here on a month-to-month basis. 

If you are ready to start, you have nothing to lose as we only want students who truly want to be here and we will not commit you to a long-term contract. 

It’s easy to take the first step. Enrollment is easy and parent-friendly, with helpful staff at the front desk seven days a week to serve you. Because we only offer lessons on a month-to-month basis, there are no large upfront payments, no complicated contracts, no annual material or performance fees, and no semester minimums. 

Lessons are first come, first served, so contact us today to arrange your first lesson! Call or stop in person to pick a day and time for weekly lessons, set up billing on a credit card and sign the paperwork. 

meet the director: cathy arhelger

Cathy Arhelger, Director

Cathy Arhelger is a nationally recognized flutist who has played in local orchestras and recorded two solo albums. She has taught flute privately for four decades. Cathy won three national competitions (landing first chair twice) in the Professional Flute Choir of the National Flute Association.

A native of Detroit, Michigan area, she earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Wayne State University. She continued private study with members of the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and international soloist Linda Chatterton.

Passionate about passing on the love of music to our youth, she developed a vision to open a music school.

In 2011, she hired her first piano teacher, and rented space at a local church. This was the beginning of the Rochester Academy Of Music. Today, we welcome almost 200 students to our new location on Wellner Drive NE.

Proud sponsor of Southeastern Minnesota’s Youth Orchestras, and Channel One Regional Food Bank.

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Now Scheduling “Meet-and-Greets” Want your child to meet the teacher in person before enrolling in weekly lessons? We’re happy to schedule a 5-minute appointment during a gap in the teacher’s calendar. Call 507-316-0732.

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