Thank you for visiting our page! You will find all sorts of information about the 21st CPS music room here and I hope that this will better aquaint you to the fabulous things that happen in our music classes.


Kindergarten and first grade students have been busy learning and performing steady beat, high/low sounds, and pianos! Our kindergarten and first grade students can identify quarter, eighth, and half notes and can also play them on middle C on the piano! We're off to a great start already and I cannot wait to see how much further they will go. 


Second through fourth grade have been reading rhythm patterns by playing classroom rhythm instruments and boomwhackers! They have been composing and improvising their own rhythms as well.  The 3rd grade just finished a unit on continents in their classroom and extended their knowledge about continents in the music classroom!  The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that was created by the Aboriginal people of Australia around 1500 years ago and it is still being played today! We learned about how the didgeridoo is made, how it produces a sound, listened to didgeridoo masters, and even made our own didgeridoo!


Fifth through eighth grade has been work on World Music Drumming.  Starting the year with drum circle activities has been a great way to foster community in the music room.  Our key words during drum circle are Respect, Focus, and Listen, and each day we are reminded how important those words are to our music classroom and our lives outside of music.  All grades have been improvising rhythmic patterns and composing drum circle ensembles with much success! Feel free to stop in some morning to hear the fun. 

It has been such a pleasure teaching at 21st CPS so far and I cannot wait to see our young musicians grow! Keep checking back for more information about our Christmas Concert. 


If you are interested in playing the violin, viola or cello, please make sure to fill out a student interest form. You may get a student interest form at the front desk, from your teacher or from Mrs. Hill. Filling out this form does not guarantee you a spot. Filling out this form will get your son or daughter on the waiting list. The process of choosing students is as follows:

  • All returning students have first priority.
  • The students that were on last year’s waiting list have second priority.
  • New students are selected.

There must be a minimum of 70 students in the program, but the school usually starts with 80 or 85 students. Please understand that if your son or daughter fills out the student interest form, they will be placed on a waiting list. They could be chosen this year. If they are not chose for the program this year, they will be in the program automatically next year.  There is a small fee that is paid to the school to be in the program. If you need to find out what the fee would be for your son or daughter, you would contact Michelle McGee at 262-898-7874. She would be happy to assist you.

Practicing is mandatory for students that are playing a string instrument. Students in grades K and 1st grade are expected to practice 15 to 20 minutes per day. Grades 2nd through 5th grade are expected to practice 30 minutes per day. Grades 6th through 8th grade are expected to practice 45 minutes per day. All students are to practice a minimum of four days per week. Dr. Suzuki states that each student should practice only on the days they eat. That is certainly food for thought.

Students that are in the program will learn how to play a violin, viola or cello in a semi-private setting and a large group setting. They will perform a minimum of four performances per year. The concerts are scheduled on two days with two programs per date. One concert will be an afternoon concert for their classmates and the other concert will be a performance for their parents. All concerts are mandatory. Every other year we perform at the State Capital in Madison, Wisconsin. We are looking to expand our performances this year and play at the mall during the holiday season.

Heidi Rutkowske
Music/Band Teacher

“Without music, life would be a mistake”-Nietzsche


I am ecstatic to be starting my 5th year as the Elementary Music Specialist, Band Director, and Choir Director at 21st Century Preparatory School!  I am a native of Racine, graduate of Park High School (90-90 92!) and have been honored to continue the strong musical tradition that is found in Racine.  I attended the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and graduated with a double major in Bible and Classroom and Instrumental Music Education K-12.  I attended the University of Idaho-Lionel Hampton School of Music immediately after college.  I served as a Graduate Assistant while at the University of Idaho and received a Masters of Music degree in Woodwind Performance.  I had many teaching opportunities before coming home to Racine which included a few years teaching at Pyramid Lake Jr/Sr High School on the Paiute Indian Reservation in Nevada and from being a founding staff member of a charter school in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. I have wanted to be a music teacher since my first organ lesson at the age of 6 and I have been fortunate to be inspired by amazing music teachers in Racine that instilled a love of music that permeates my life.


When I’m not teaching I’m spending time with my music loving husband and West Highland Terrier named Jack (named after Jack White of the rock band, White Stripes!). I am an avid Green Bay Packer and Brewer fan. I also love to travel and going to concerts.  I especially love traveling to see live music!


I have a passion for music education that stems from my belief that all children, no matter their background, deserve a quality education and especially a quality music education. Music education is for everyone and not just for the privileged. Music education builds upon skills that all children need to lead successful lives. Students learn self-discipline, cooperation, and teamwork. Students also develop a sense of community that will carry them throughout their entire life. Most importantly, music is the one academic subject that supports all academic disciplines.  Music is math, history, science, reading, and language.   Music encourages us to understand the world around us and enhances our lives in ways that nothing else can. My main goal as a music educator is to develop lifelong lovers of music because music education enhances the spirits of our children.  

Teresa Hill
Strings Teacher

I believe that all students are capable of learning how to play a musical instrument if they are given the proper motivation and the proper direction. I not only teach the students how to play a string instrument, but I teach them discipline. I also believe it is important to enjoy the students and everything they have to offer.


I understand that is important that I have a positive attitude along with a high energy level. I know that this is essential for a successful learning environment.


It is my opinion that the students I teach and their parents see me as someone they can easily approach. I must also be someone who is fair and non-discriminatory. It is also important that the students I teach feel safe in my room. If they do not feel safe, their learning will definitely decrease.


I am certain that I have built a rapport with my students. I will continue do this each new school year as new students come into the program. Building a rapport requires both words and deeds. I must be kind, caring, nurturing and supportive.


I am convinced that it is very important as a teacher to think outside of the box. Every student is a unique individual and not all students learn the same way. What works well for one group of students will not work well for another group of students.


I have always had a passion for music. I started playing the violin at the age of ten. Throughout grade 4 and 5 and middle and high school, I was always playing my violin. It was not until my early 20s that I started to play the viola and the cello. I am versed in playing the violin, viola and the cello.


I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Parkside located in Kenosha, Wisconsin in May of 1990 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. During the time that I was at the University,  I studied under Eden Vaning, Harry Strum and Elaine Skorodin.

I have taught at various places throughout my career in music. I have taught in Libertyville, Illinois at the David Alder Cultural Center. I have also taught at Wilson Elementary School, Whittier Elementary School and Dimensions of Learning Academy School. These schools are all located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This will be my eleventh consecutive year teaching at 21st Century Preparatory School. I am also a freelance musician. I play solo violin with piano, with string trios and quartets throughout the Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee area.