Teachers

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    Tim O'Donnell : Guitar / Bass / Ensemble

    Tim O’Donnell is a native of Chicago and a veteran of the Chicago blues scene. He spent three years playing with Sammy Fender and the Blues Masters. He has also performed with Lil’ Ed, Jimmy Johnson, Felix Reyes, Michael Dotson, Charlie Love, Tom Holland and many more.

    In the rock scene, he has toured with Deep Cricket Night and is currently playing with Chris Forte and the Forte band. The past three  summers Tim has been a music instructor at CampJam USA and was featured on Mtv's 2009 series of "Camped Out"  working alongside artists that include singer/songwriter Jim Peterik (Survivor) Guitarist Peter Strout (Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Don Henley) Drummer Carmine Appaci (Vanilla Fudge, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart), Guitarist Jeff Carlisse (‘38 Special) Guitarist Ricky Bird (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) and Guitarist/singer Derrick Saint Holmes (Ted Nugent)

    Tim O'Donnell has learned from the best in the industry and brings his experience right to his students. His passion for teaching aided by his unending patience helps make his years of experience and knowledge come through to the class room and make it an experience like no other.

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    Susan Cua : Piano

    An accomplished musician and teacher, Susan Cua started piano lessons at the age of six. She is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music and DePaul University, where she studied Piano Performance and Music Therapy. Her classical piano teachers included Jose Regalado, Verna Trine and Christian Knapp. More recently, she took jazz lessons with Jack Hubal before his passing in 2007. At DePaul, she took classical guitar with Jack Cecchini. After she first graduated in Piano Performance in Chicago, she lived in Singapore for two years and while there, she taught private piano and guitar. Cua continues to play the piano for special occasions and organizes music events. Additionally, Susan Cua is also a self-taught artist and painter. As an adult, she took classes at the Evanston Art Center, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has completed paining workshops in Italy and Scotland. Gallery G in Glencoe, Simply Chicago Art in Evanston and Eneri Communications in Chicago currently represent her.

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    Dave Williams : Drums

    David was born in San Diego in 1969 where he began playing rock drums at age 15. His love for jazz music brought him to the task of learning the intricacies of jazz drumming, which has become a life long pursuit. He had the good fortune to play with many of the local greats in San Diego like Mike Wofford, Gilbert Castellanos, Bobby Gordon and Joe Marillo. In 1997 he moved to Chicago, where he continues to develop his craft by playing jazz gigs around town.

    As a teacher, David’s approach can be traditional/technical as well as open and abstract. Above all, David wants his students to enjoy the drums and have a positive experience playing music. Students of all ages and playing levels are welcome!

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    Jennifer McCormick : Voice

    Jennifer E. McCormick has trained in a wide variety of music, including voice in classical and music theatre styles, as well as piano, trombone, and F horn. Ms. McCormick has taught students age four to seventy-eight, in classical, pop, jazz, and music theatre voice styles, since 2005.

    A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) since 2008, Ms. McCormick is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at North Park University. She graduated from Carthage College, which she attended on a full academic scholarship and voice scholarship, summa cum laude in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts, All College Honors, Honors in Biology, and Honors in Music (emphasis Music Theatre).

    Her voice teachers have included Jeffery Ray, Corinne Ness, Nancy Henninger, and Lorian Stein-Schwaber. She has coached with Nico Castel, George Tenegal, and Kit Bridges. In 2010, she participated in the New York Opera Studio with Carol and Nico Castel. A versatile performer, Ms. McCormick’s most recent stage appearances include opera, music theatre, and theatre shows, such as Beauty and the Beast, The Beggar’s Opera, and Hansel and Gretel, and two solo recitals. Ms. McCormick is also an experienced stage director and music director.

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    Derrick Martens : Drums

    Derrick began playing the drums at the age of 8 in the elementary school concert band. He started out on just a snare drum but when he was 12, he got his first real drum set, and started a life of music.

    Fast forward a few years and Derrick had experience playing in jazz bands, marching bands, concert bands, steel pan calypso band, along with his local garage band. After high school, Derrick moved to California to attend the Musicians Institutes in Hollywood California. There he studied under some of the greatest professionals in the business, and was exposed to a wide variety of music styles ranging from, Latin, R&B, Jazz, Funk, Rock, etc.

    After graduating from school, Derrick moved back to chicago where he has been playing weekly gigs, and touring around the country with his bands. Derrick is a young, energetic, but most importantly, patient drummer, who loves to share his craft with the world.

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    Peter Schwendener : Jazz Piano

    Peter Schwendener has been part of Chicago's jazz scene for over 25 years, and has appeared at all of the city's major jazz clubs including Andy's, the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase and others. His critically-acclaimed album Kickstand appeared in 2011. He teaches both jazz and classical piano, and welcomes students of all levels and ages.

    "His style at the keyboard is understated, modestly allowing phrasing and an emphasis on melody to speak more substantially than decorative splash or virtuoso thunder can usually provide." --Jay Harvey, The Indianapolis Star

    "Schwendener excels as both a composer and improviser." --Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine

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    Mike Frost : Jazz Sax

    GRAMMY nominated recording artist and local jazz leader, Mike Frost is now looking to expand private lessons from his home-based studios to a few select outside locations/in conjunction with established programs. Saxophone, Jazz Basics, Improvisation, Creative Soloing, Mouthpiece and Reed Selection, Jazz Appreciation and History, Developing Repertoire, Audition-Festival-Competition Preparation, Music Business and more.

    "I offer individualized lesson plans and attention to each student as we all have different goals and different aspirations. I look forward to helping each student, whether at an intermediate educational level or a seasoned performer, enjoy the music, the instrument and their own musicianship to their fullest capacity. I also offer lessons in my homebased studio or in student homes. Discounts on several lessons booked in advance are also available."

    Mike Frost is a Chicago born saxophonist and a working musician for 30 plus years. As a student attending DePaul University he studied under jazz legend Joe Daley. After college he began performing professionally in 1985. For 22 years Mike was the Director of Entertainment for Premier Yachts Inc., providing and creating all of the entertainment for their dinner cruise ships at Navy Pier in Chicago to begin with, then expanding to their ships in Boston and Washington, D.C. He performed with his own groups on board the Odyssey cruise ship for much of that time.

    One of those groups, The Mike Frost Project, became nationally recognized with the release of itʼs first recording "Nothing Smooth About It" in 2004. The second CD "Cominʼ Straight At Ya" in 2006 made the first round nomination ballot for the Grammy Awards. In 2008 the group released "Live" a compilation of live recordings from their performances at clubs they make regular appearances at like Andyʼs Jazz Club, The Jazz Showcase, and Trioʼs Jazz Club. All 3 of the bands' recordings have received national airplay and were ranked in the Jazz Week jazz charts for several months respectively Learn Jazz.

    A Truly Creative Leader & Performer
    A Genuine Teacher & Mentor www.mikefrostproject.com