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?”

Jay Mercado

Main instruments taught at UMC: Guitar, Drums

Military service: Served in the U.S. Navy (4 yrs), U.S. Marines (4 yrs), and toured with both Navy and Marine Bands.

Education: Jay is a graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music. He holds a BA in Sociology and Music from Edison State University, and a Master of Arts in Communication from Webster University.

Additional Experience: Jay has been an active musician and music educator for 30 years. His passion for music grew as a youngster while he performed throughout the Philadelphia, PA area as a member of Philadelphia’s All City Jazz Band. In the early-mid 1990’s, Jay was a touring member of the Navy Band and played jazz, variety, and concert productions. As a member of the Marine band in the early-mid 2000’s, Jay performed throughout San Diego, the Midwest, and the North Pacific US.

Jay has been active in various bands throughout Minnesota since 2005, and has played with notable musicians including Grover Washington, Jr., Kenny Simmons (Commodores), Martina McBride, Regis Philbin, and Lee Ermey. He owned his own music school from 2007-20011.

Presently Jay keeps busy teaching guitar and drums, and performing as an independent/on call musician. His approach to teaching is personal. “I learn about the student, their interests, and what they want to learn, while offering insight into what they might not know that they need to know,” he said. Students like working with Jay because he keeps things entertaining and upbeat!