Our Instructors

JC’s prides itself on the caliber of our instructors at both of our locations. Our instructors have diverse backgrounds and years of experience in music and/or education. Many of our staff members have been with us for over ten years, and all of our instructors have or are working towards a degree in music and/or education or have a performing background.

Abby

Piano
Abby has a genuine passion for music. Her love for music began in kindergarten with piano lessons, and it has since blossomed into a life long goal. She quotes, “I study music because it brings me peace, comfort, and pleasure. In performing music, I hope to bring that same experience to my audience.” She is an active orchestral musician, solo performer, and chamber music recitalist in the Fox Valley and Chicago areas. Most recent piano performances include participation in the American Grands XVIII Piano Showcase, Teachers and Performers level; and she played as keyboardist for Rising Star Theatreworks pit orchestra for their Wizard of Oz and Legally Blonde productions. Along with her instrumental pursuits, Abigail studied voice and has participated in the Fox Valley Homeschool Chorus and the Bolingbrook Fine Arts Chorale. In October of 2013, she had the unique opportunity and privilege to perform with the Midwest Homeschool Fine Arts Chorale at the Illinois Capitol Building.

Andrew

Guitar
Andrew offers many years of experience to his students. He has twelve years of guitar performance, four years of bass performance and four years of teaching experience. Music became an early interest from his parents both playing piano and his father owning a stack of Motown and Country Western records. Andrew’s music education started in grade school and continued throughout college at Elgin Community College. Aside from his ventures into Blues and early Jazz, Andrew’s interest in guitar also includes various other styles ranging from Finger Picking Country to Punk. Andrew’s passion for music extends outside of the realm of teaching. He has previous experience in a professional recording studio, has been in various bands and has amassed a music collection of 500 records and 600 cds. He has also traveled to Nashville and New Orleans to further his informal music education.

Austin

Guitar & Bass
Austin began learning music at the age of 6 while taking piano lessons and attending children’s music theory courses at a local community college. At age 10 he switched his primary instrument to guitar which would eventually lead him to a career as a professional guitarist. After high school Austin moved to Chicago and studied jazz guitar performance under John Mclean at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Living and studying in Chicago gave him the opportunity to perform with many world renowned jazz artists such as Jeff Hamilton and Lawrence Hobgood, and the opportunity to perform at local jazz clubs like the Green Mill and the Jazz Showcase. Since college Austin has had the opportunity to tour the world as a professional guitarist and also work extensively as a music educator. In addition to touring and educating, Austin has found himself in many recording studios composing and tracking for various recording artists, films, and commercials. Austin is a firm believer that music education is not only fun, but valuable in its ability to hone mathematical skills and build confidence in the student.

Breanna

Piano & Voice
Breanna began formal piano lessons at the age of five. She continued her music education throughout her college career. She has an Elementary Education degree from Providence Baptist College in Elgin, IL. Breanna is active in her church where she is one of the regular pianists, accompanies vocal groups and sings. She has also performed with the college tour groups as both a singer and a pianist. Breanna has an energy and passion for both piano and voice and it shows strongly in her teaching style. She works with children, teens and adults of all ages and music levels and brings a positive, upbeat attitude to her lessons and the studio.

Breda

Piano & Voice
Breda is one of our amazing piano and voice teachers and comes to us with over twenty years of private music instruction experience.  She attended the National University of Ireland at University College where she earned her Bachelor's of Music and has participated in multiple continuing education training courses to further her studies.  In addition to private instruction, Breda has taught music education & performace and theatrical performance for a K-8 private school in the area and previously taught music education for grades 7-12 while in Ireland. Breda enjoys teaching students of all ages and can be found performing at Chicago-area events throughout the year.

Chris

Piano & Flute
Chris comes to us with over twenty years of performance and teaching experience and is one of our longest-tenured instructors here at JC’s. She is a graduate from DePaul University and holds a Bachelor’s of Performance in flute and piano. She has performed with many organizations, including the Rochester Symphony and the Portland State Wind Ensemble, and is an active member of the Music Teacher’s Association. Chris has a serious dedication to the education of her piano and flute students and works with both children and adults in both instruments. If you are looking for an instructor who will challenge you to raise the bar with your music education through instruction and regular practice, Chris is the instructor for you!

Christa

Piano
Christa is an experienced pianist who began lessons at the age of five and has been playing for over fourteen years. At age 12, she began playing regularly in services at her church. She has a deep love for music and piano and enjoys teaching and sharing it with others. She is currently attending Providence Baptist College working towards a degree in Elementary Education and also furthering her own music studies.

Connie

Piano
Connie joins us with several years of teaching and performance experience. She has been a pianist since high school and continues to perform on a regular basis. She has accompanied many church and school choirs, other vocal ensembles, soloists and instrumentalists. Connie has taught children and adults of all ages and her lesson plans are adaptable to each student. She wants to build upon each student’s strengths and interests. She continues to study music in an effort to offer more to her students.

Danny

Guitar & Ukulele
Danny joins us with over ten years of playing and performance experience. He has a deep love for music from all around the world. Dan has a strong background in composition and improvisation and shares this passion with his students. He is a valuable member of a local band and can be seen playing in the Chicago area as well as the surrounding Midwest. Dan is currently attending Elgin Community College.

David

Guitar
David joins JC’s Guitars & Music Lessons with over ten years of teaching experience and world-wide performance recognition. It is David's incredible knowledge and expertise in playing as well as teaching guitar that has brought many guitarists from around the world just to do lessons and learn from him. David was a member of MANOWAR and DSG (David Shankle Group). He is well known for playing 7 string over-the-neck scales and arpeggios, string skipping, and a master of many guitar techniques. He is considered one of the top 10 fastest guitarists in the world. After setting out on his own, David attended Roosevelt Music University in Chicago to improve his jazz and classical guitar skills. Having refined his craft, David brings years of experience and hard work to the table. David has played in front of some of the biggest rock and metal crowds all over the world, including 70,000+ people at Earthshaker Fest 2005 and 40,000+ people with his band DSG at the First Annual Magic Circle Festival in 2007. David is a well respected and talented Composer and Guitarist who enjoys sharing his passion for music of all kinds to his students. He looks forward to meeting and teaching all of his new students.

Dylan

Guitar & Voice
Growing up in the DeKalb area, Dylan was introduced to many instruments at a young age. He showed a strong interest in Guitar, Bass, Drums and Ukulele. As he grew more serious in music, he focused his music education on Guitar and Vocals. Dylan is a member of the Illinois Music Education Association and was a valued part of the All State Honors Mixed Chorus. He is currently majoring in Music Production. Dylan is actively writing music for a local band where he is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player. He is a fun, energetic and ambitious instructor that enjoys sharing the love and knowledge of music, not only to his students but to residence of a local retirement community.

Elaine

Piano & Voice
Elaine comes to us with over 20 years of musical experience, and a strong background in teaching and performance. As a student teacher she has taught in the DeKalb and St. Charles School District. She started teaching piano in 2008, and has accompanied multiple collegiate ensembles. She also served as rehearsal pianist for Rising Star Theaterworks production of Wizard of Oz and Into the Woods Jr., and Music Director at ARIEL, Theatrial for multiple shows including Seussical, TYA. She has vocal experience in choir, opera, and musical theatre. She received second place in the Tuesday Music Club Competition. She most recently played Fredricka and Mrs. Anderson in Soundheim’s A Little Night Music, Zita, in Puccini’s Gianni SchicchiI, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. She is currently cast as Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. Elaine currently studies Music Education and Vocal Performance at Northern Illinois University.

Esther

Piano
Esther joins us with several years of teaching and performance experience. She is a graduate from the American Conservatory of Music, where she received the highest honors during the Concerto Competition. Esther has participated and won several Illinois & National Association of Christian School contests in solo and dual piano. She has a strong focus in classical music, improvisation and music theory. Currently, in addition to being an instructor here at JC’s, Esther teaches piano and music theory at the college level at Providence Baptist College.

Geanne

Piano
Geanne was introduced to piano at a very young age and has been playing ever since! She is currently studying music education at Providence Baptist College. Geanne is excited to share her love and passion for music with her students and looks forward to teaching a new generation of musicians to excel in their piano playing and studies!

Joe

Guitar & Bass
Joe has been a bass & guitar instructor for JC’s since we opened our original store in 2004. With over 11 years of teaching experience, Joe’s knowledge and technical skills have helped students excel in their guitar and bass playing regardless of experience level. His positive and encouraging teaching style are just a few of the reasons why many of Joe’s students have stayed with him for more than 3, 5 and even 10 years! With his songwriting and performance experience, Joe is able to give our students real world skills as well as a music theory background. Joe also specializes in teaching guitar to our youngest and most delicate new guitar players.

Kelsey

Piano, Cello and Beginner Violin
Originally from Shillington, Pennsylvania, Kelsey first started studying cello in fourth grade, going on to participate in many music festivals throughout her years in grade school. After high school, she attended and received her B.A. in Music from Mansfield University. While attending Mansfield, she took string lessons on violin and viola, and was an active participant in the university’s string program, allowing community members to receive private lessons every week and participate in group lessons and orchestra every Saturday morning. On her summers off from college, she also taught privately and helped teach in non-profit summer string programs hosted in her community. She is currently attending Northern Illinois University to receive her Master’s degree in Cello Performance. Kelsey looks forward to passing along her knowledge of and love for music to her students!

Kristin

Violin, Viola & Cello
Kristin is an experienced string player, who has been playing for over 17 years. She is a graduate from the University of Iowa and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in String Performance. Kristin is experienced in teaching students of all ages. She has 10 years of private teaching experience, and currently works with beginning string players in District 300. She enjoys sharing her love of music with students.

Ken

Drums & Percussion
Ken has been teaching drums in the area for many years, and his styles range from jazz, rock, funk, metal to world grooves. He has been playing drums for over 20 years and has played in many local bands. If he’s not playing live music, he’s usually writing, recording and PRACTICING!!! Ken’s goal is to teach new students to read music and understand rhythm, and, after that, begin to learn simple songs. Further techniques will be taught so students are able to find their own percussion style. He believes consistent practice is key for students and looks forward to working with aspiring drummers and advanced percussionists alike!

Mark

Brass and Woodwind Instruments
After a 30-year career teaching band to elementary through high school students in Southern California, Mark relocated to Aurora, Illinois. As a school band director, Mark has started fifth and sixth grade students on most band instruments – from tuba to flute – and directed the junior high marching and concert bands. Mark’s junior high bands never scored below “excellent” at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association’s concert festivals, and three times his marching band won the sweepstakes trophy in all-level competition at the Imperial County Cattle Call band review. Mark has also been a practicing musician, playing tenor and alto saxophones and flute in semi-professional jazz combos and a “big band” style stage band in Imperial County, California.

Omar

Drums & Percussion
Omar has been playing drum set and percussion instruments for over fifteen years. He is formally educated from Elgin Community College and Northern Illinois University. He is well versed in many musical styles including Jazz, Reggae, Calypso, Soca, Salsa, Blues and Rock. He has played in several local ensembles such as the ECC Youth Band, ECC Adult Band, Northern Illinois Percussion Ensemble, Northern Illinois Steel band and the Elgin Community College Steel Band. Omar enjoys sharing his knowledge on drum set as well as many different percussion instruments of the Caribbean and Brazil. He strives to incorporate music theory and proper technique into music that the students enjoy in order to make this experience fun and educational.

Robert

Piano
Robert is a young contemporary composer who has won multiple American awards on the state and national level for his work, and has had several world premiere performances of his compositions featured on the radio. Due to Robert's array of interests, years of tutelage, and a vast contrast in experience, critics often remark upon his unique and original demonstration of harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary, and his defining synthesis of various musical styles. Robert has been sharing this passion for music and art with his students for over 7 years. He not only teaches his students how to play their instrument, but also provides them with a vast knowledge of music theory, aural techniques, music history, and improvisation methods, because he believes those elements are essential for a student to mature in their creativity as a musician.

Ryan

Piano & Voice
Ryan teaches piano, voice, songwriting, and music theory. Growing up in Batavia, Ryan started taking piano lessons at a young age and then switched to pipe organ in middle school. From there, he went on to deeply study musical improvisation and composition in high school. In addition to that, since 2007, he has been involved in various rock bands in different capacities including vocalist, keyboardist, drummer, bassist, song writer, arranger, producer, and audio engineer. In 2014 Ryan graduated with honors from Millikin University with a BFA in Music Business with a Vocal Emphasis. In his teaching style, Ryan prefers a more goal-oriented approach to curriculum and pedagogy instead of a one size fits all mentality. He is interested in setting short and long term goals that are attuned to what you want to get out of taking lessons. This, coupled with a strong emphasis on core technical skills and music literacy, creates lessons that the student will find exciting and fulfilling.

Tara

Piano, Clarinet, Sax, Trumpet, Baritone & Trombone
Tara was introduced to the piano at the young age of six. She quickly realized her passion for the instrument and began taking formal lessons. Tara’s love of the piano continued through college where she earned her Bachelors in Education from Providence Baptist College. She is an active member of her church, where she performs on a regular basis and accompanies several vocal groups.