UMC Instructors

UMC’s educators are university trained musicians who are dedicated to teaching.
UMC only partners with confident and accomplished professionals who believe in making a difference in people’s lives through the gift of music!

Mark Woerpel

Main instruments taught at UMC: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Native American Flute, Ukulele, Banjo, Piano, Beginning Harmonica, Trombone, Saxophone and more. Mark is UMC’s studio recording engineer, and also teaches Voice, Songwriting, Recording Techniques.

Education: Mark holds a Bachelor in Music Performance from Wisconsin Conservatory of Music/Marquette University.

Additional Experience: Mark has toured worldwide, wrote and recorded as a member of Blackfoot with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke. He has also recorded with Ozzy Osbourne guitarist, Zack Wylde. Mark’s collaboration with Rickey Medlocke won a Native American Music Award for Best Instrumental in 2013. Mark’s original music and CD Warp Drive is available for purchase.

Presently Mark is an active staff writer and studio musician for Minneapolis based company In The Groove Music where his work is heard on NFL programs, CBS Sunday football games, NFL Tonight, ESPN and various commercials and national TV shows. Mark can be seen locally as a member of 80’s era rock band Them Pesky Kids performing throughout Minnesota. Mark teaches a modern, progressive style of guitar instruction at UMC and maintains an enthusiastic, dedicated roster of students.

Susan Forsythe

Main instruments taught at UMC: Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello.

Education and Studies: Susan is a highly trained violinist who has studied at the University of Minnesota under Shirley Santoro and Oliver Steiner. Susan studied pedagogy under Jonathan Strasser, Conductor of the New York City Orchestra, School of Performing Arts Orchestra, School of Music and Arts Orchestra, and the Manhattan Youth Symphony. Susan trained in Suzuki with Pauline Barryman and Eleanor Stanliss.

Additional Experience: Susan’s teaching background includes String Art – Birmingham, Alabama; Community Music School – University of Alabama; Atlanta Music School – Atlanta Georgia; Rock Valley College – Rockford, IL; The Music Academy – Rockford, IL.

Susan’s performance experience includes symphony, string quartet, classical and contemporary church music. She has performed with countless live bands including world class acts like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Michael Card.

Susan’s depth of experience makes her a reliable player and an excellent coach for both individual lessons and ensemble experiences. She said, “The excellence of all the great musicians I’ve had the privilege to play with has rubbed off on me and I would love to share with you what I know to help meet your music needs. How can I help you?”

Michael Allen

Main instruments taught at UMC: Drums

Military service: U.S. Army (8 years), and toured with the Army Band and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) International Band

Education: Michael attended the Armed Forces School of Music where he focused on big band drumming. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education – Instrumental Music K-12 from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire where he majored in percussion with a special emphasis on classical marimba.

Additional Experience: Michael was born in Eau Claire, WI, and began teaching private drum lessons in 1976! During his military career, Michael was initially stationed at Fort Sill, OK, with the 77th Army Band. In early 1986, he received an invitation to join the newly-formed Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Band (stationed near Mons, Belgium), where he served alongside musicians from several NATO member nations, as well as a core group of U.S. Army musicians. In Michael’s five years with the SHAPE International Band, he toured throughout central & Northern Europe, performing in public-relations concerts, as well as troop morale support.

Michael’s knowledge of musical styles ranges from symphonic, to big-band jazz, to rock, to country. After leaving the Army in 1991, he began a career in computer-aided drafting (CAD), retiring from Skyline Displays in 2020.

Michael is extremely happy to be a part of the instructional staff at Universal Music Center, finally returning to his chosen career as a music teacher. And we are thrilled to have him share his depth of experience and knowledge!