Rhapsody Arts Center

Chris Collins

Piano, Composition, Electronic Music Production
Master Level Teacher



S. Christian Collins grew up in central Wisconsin. He began taking piano lessons at the age of four and has been composing since he was six. As a youth, Chris won numerous awards for both performance and composition, including first place in the WMTA annual piano and composition competitions and sixth placing in an international music composition contest hosted by Creative Labs, Inc., an industry leader in computer audio production.

After graduating from a home-schooled environment, Chris received his Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2001 and then went on to complete his Master’s degree in the same field at the University of Minnesota where he studied piano with Alexander Braginsky, pedagogy with Dr. Rebecca Shockley, and composition with world-renowned composer Judith Lang Zaimont.

Chris has composed music for many different instruments from piano to full symphony orchestra (incl. a full-length ballet). He also has experience in electronic music production and currently works as a virtual instrument designer for the music software company Acoustica. This technical background allows Chris to introduce modern compositional techniques to his students, and his extensive background in composition, improvisation and electronic music creation provides a solid resource for burgeoning young composers, whether they want to write simple piano pieces or produce their own record.

Chris has been a teacher at Rhapsody since 2003. In addition to private music instruction, Chris also coaches the School of Rock bands that run yearly at Rhapsody.


As a piano teacher, Chris helps students to have:

  • Relaxed, natural technique
  • Less anxiety in performances
  • A better-developed ear and heightened sensitivity to gesture and nuance in music (this is what makes the pro sound different from the amateur!)
  • An understanding of music from the perspective of the composer (e.g., what is it the composer is trying to communicate?)
  • Fun! Learning music is a journey to be enjoyed, and while there are expectations for each student’s practice habits, the goal is for music to be a fulfilling, rewarding and joyous experience.


As a composition teacher, Chris helps students to have:

  • A solid foundation in the building blocks (theory) of music
  • The ability to understand and analyze music by ear
  • An understanding of the creative process and how to maximize its efficiency
  • As much or as little technical knowledge as the student wants to learn (you want to know how to use that multi-band compressor?)
  • Access to top music technology and software in lessons including digital audio workstations (incl. Mixcraft 6) and notation software (incl. Finale 2012).


Hear some of Chris’ music:


Sky Runner, by S. Christian Collins

Nocturne, by S. Christian Collins

What People Are Saying About Chris:

  • “Helped my child become very motivated. He’s a perfect teacher for my child!”
  • “With Chris’s extensive background, he has been able to instruct my daughter and guide her musical skills far better than her previous teacher.”
  • “Chris is a fabulous teacher. Chris’s enthusiasm for the piano is contagious-my son is having so much fun, enjoys his lessons, and has blossomed as a pianist.”
  • “He has successfully connected with my daughter! He knows how to effectively help her with mistakes without embarrassing her. He also is crazy and fun-loving! These qualities help her stay interested in lessons!”
  • “Chris is fabulous. I can’t imagine a better teacher. He has inspired an enormous level of confidence and enthusiasm in my daughter. We are so pleased!”
  • “Couldn’t ask for a better teacher. Helped instill confidence with my daughter and encouraged creativity with my son.”
  • “I truly appreciate the dedication and high standards of your teaching staff. In 6 months Chris has taught me more than the other teachers and consultant I have hired to help me regain skills. I am beyond delighted to have him as a teacher.”