Instructors who teach: Music Production

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Alex Costis

Alex Costis

Alex started playing music at five years old, and he has never wanted to do anything else. As he progressed, he explored numerous instruments and genres. He naturally found himself participating in improvised and rehearsed groups, teaching lessons to peers, and honing his sight-reading skills as a church organist.

Alex continued his musical growth at the esteemed Berklee College of Music, where he earned a degree in jazz composition. Since graduating, Alex has played with touring groups across the world, as both a writer and instrumentalist.

With over a decade of teaching experience, Alex aims to cultivate creativity while building technique. By incorporating his students’ interests in a comfortable setting, he fosters structure, routine, and confidence.

To see Alex’s current availability, click here.

 

Casey Cross

Casey Cross

Casey is a musician with a rich and varied background. He began playing piano at five years old and quickly found a passion for music (especially boogie-woogie!). He grew up studying classical music, playing piano and guitar in church, performing with his high-school jazz band, and taking on a brief stint as a lead guitarist in a metal band. He later earned his bachelor’s in music from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a master’s in piano performance from the University of Washington. But that was only the beginning of the fun.

While studying, Casey discovered a love for musical theatre and ballet. With a firm grasp of classical and contemporary technique, he spent several years as a vocal coach, in styles ranging from opera to modern Broadway. He has been a music director and conductor for multiple university and regional-theatre productions. Casey further developed his improvisatory skills as a ballet accompanist, a lead pianist and choir director in the Episcopal church, and a dueling pianist. Currently, he works as a class pianist with Ballet Chicago, and as a music director and audio engineer with Roosevelt University.

Casey is also an accomplished composer and arranger. He has written scores for two short films, is developing a feature-length score, and is a freelance arranger, composer, and producer for recording artists and singer-songwriters.

Moving among varied disciplines and instruments, Casey finds that passion for music isn’t genre-specific — it can come from anywhere. That level of engagement is what he seeks to foster in his students. The combination of open curiosity and inspired instruction can produce true magic.

To see Casey’s current availability, click here.

 

Doug Ferdinand

Doug Ferdinand

Doug Ferdinand

Doug’s teaching approach is relaxed and compassionate, while maintaining structure and high standards for his students. He challenges them to think critically about music and foster a unique voice in the process. Doug’s diverse musical spectrum allows him to relate to students across styles and genres, as he encourages each student to broaden their musical vocabulary.

Doug began his piano study with a classical approach. By high school, he started exploring jazz and improvisation, performing with other like-minded talented young Chicago musicians. Doug currently performs around Chicago with jazz, funk, and rock groups. He has played many notable Chicago venues, including Double Door, Mayne Stage, and Martyrs.

Doug is especially excited to work with Piano Power and to help his students enhance their love of music.

To see Doug’s current availability, click here.

 

Jacob Fisher

Jacob Fisher

Jacob was born and raised in Lake Forest, where he started playing music at the age of eight. While receiving his bachelor’s in music performance at Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, he was principal bassoonist in the university symphony orchestra and wind ensemble. With his woodwind quintet, he was a winner of the Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition and performed live on Wisconsin Public Radio. Along with his classical endeavors, he also regularly played guitar in jazz ensembles, improvisational groups, and funk bands.

Jacob frequently collaborates with musicians in Chicago and Minneapolis, performing in modern classical chamber groups and his own experimental rock band, Perennial. He also composes and records music for multiple podcasts, including his own show, Wake & Jake, for which he improvises ambient music on a weekly basis.

Jacob aims to share the joy he gets from music with his students through a positive and enthusiastic teaching style. He loves teaching music of all genres and is especially passionate about discussing the theory behind songwriting.

When not teaching or making music, Jacob enjoys walking his dog, McBain, around the boulevards of Logan Square and watching a lot of movies with his wife and cats.

To see Jacob’s current availability, click here.

 

Egan Franke

Egan Franke

An Indianapolis native, Egan has studied at both the University of Toronto and Columbia College Chicago. While hailing from a family of performers, Egan has focused in his own work on original composition. During his college years, Egan also coached youth soccer all over the greater Chicago area. He’s excited to combine his passion for music with the joy of teaching students.

Egan is well-versed in multiple genres, with experience composing and performing jazz, blues, pop/rock, and musical theatre, to complement his native classical background. Egan is active in the composing and freelancing scene in Chicago, currently concentrating on musical theatre.

To see Egan’s current availability, click here.

 

Noah Haines

Noah Haines

Noah began his life-long love affair with music at an early age, singing every word to “Hey Jude” while still in diapers. From there, he spent most of his childhood playing various sports (in a mediocre fashion) until a guitar landed in his lap around age 10. Immediately, the world began to make sense in new and different ways, and he traded in the baseball diamond for the stage.

A background in classic rock and folk music merged with a developing love for musical theater, and, somehow, someway, over a decade later, he finds himself as a full-time teacher, composer/lyricist, and music director! Noah now has a couple handfuls of original theatrical musicals under his belt, and a career highlight of an original show playing in an NYC off-Broadway theater.

A gifted, personable, and committed teacher, Noah has an enduring love for helping his students find the stories and feelings in every note they play.

To see Noah’s current availability, click here.

 

Andrew Hawk

Andrew Hawk

Andrew Hawk is a pianist, percussionist, and producer who performs and writes music primarily in electronic and pop styles. He studied percussion and music production at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor’s of music.

Beginning piano and drum lessons at a young age, Andrew eventually gravitated toward keyboard instruments and music composition. He performs in various contemporary ensembles using electronic percussion instruments and synthesizer, merging his skills as an instrumentalist and audio engineer.

Andrew is passionate about teaching, and he enjoys instilling creativity and music appreciation in his students. He plays to his students’ strengths, while also encouraging them to venture outside their comfort zones. His students thrive on the combination of structure and exploration.

To see Andrew’s current availability, click here.

 

Andrew Jaicks

Andrew Jaicks

A native of Milwaukee, Andrew has lived in the Chicago area since 2013. He earned a bachelor’s of music in composition, as well as a minor in piano performance, from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Andrew has performed in rock bands, youth symphonies, jazz ensembles, choral groups, and everything in between. Through an internship at legendary Chicago studio Rax Trax Recording, he trained in the best practices of music production.

In recent years, Andrew has fallen in love with teaching, and he loves finding new and creative ways to explain musical ideas. His approach is student-led. He knows this “music stuff”, and his job is to make sure his students know it too!

Andrew loves customizing the experience to his students’ long-term goals. If a student wants to master Lady Gaga’s catalogue, bring it on. If they’d prefer a deep dive into music theory, Andrew (a self-described “big music-theory nerd”) is ready for that journey too. And if the student has no preconceived objective, he loves guiding them to potential musical interests.

With a focus on fundamentals and a genuine passion for all things music, Andrew is committed to giving each student an engaging and customized musical journey.

To see Andrew’s current availability, click here.

 

Pat Leary

Pat Leary

From childhood memories of his mom playing Ennio Morricone and Jackson Browne while making pasta, to playing in high school bands, to discovering jazz in college, music has always been front and center for Pat.

A native of the Chicagoland area, Pat started his musical journey at age four with the Suzuki piano method. Guitar became his passion during high school. After studying engineering physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pat refocused on piano in his early twenties. He dove into his piano reeducation through Bach, jazz, R&B, and everything in between. He also discovered a love of improvisation.

Pat is passionate about teaching music to any and all who have music in their hearts, as well as developing his students’ critical thinking about music and life.

To see Pat’s current availability, click here.

 

Joe Meland

Joe Meland

Joe is committed to instilling a lifelong creative spirit within his students, catering to their individual interests while also introducing new and exciting ways to approach music-making. In addition to fostering technical skills, he also emphasizes “thinking like a musician,” giving his students real-world applications for what they learn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the University of Illinois.

A pianist, guitarist, composer, and producer, Joe’s original music covers many genres. In 2015, he premiered his concerto for rock band at the prestigious Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking home a BMI Student Composer Award. He has also received awards from the Wisconsin School Music Association and the National Federation of Music Clubs, and he was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards.

He is an active performer, playing everything from folk, pop, and rock, to soul, R&B, and hip-hop. On weekends, he can be found playing in Chicago or traveling to play across the Midwest. His band Boycut was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. Joe looks forward to sharing his love of music and creativity with more great students in the year ahead.

To see Joe’s current availability, click here.

 

Nicholas Olynciw

Nicholas Olynciw

Nicholas is a pianist, vocalist, and educator from Long Island, New York. He earned his undergraduate degree from the esteemed University of North Texas, where he was a member of the Grammy-nominated One O’clock Lab Band. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Western Michigan University, where he was a teaching assistant and assistant director of the Gold Company jazz ensemble.

In the meantime, Nicholas received some major honors, including Best Graduate Jazz Instrumental Soloist from Downbeat Magazine, the Bösendorfer Award from the American Jazz Pianist Competition, and first prize from the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition.

Nicholas combines his amazing musicianship with an affable, fun-loving personality. He establishes a relaxed environment where his students can learn and grow. Whether students want to learn to read music, play and sing songs by ear, write their own music, or improvise, Nicholas is ready to help them achieve their goals.

To see Nicholas’ current availability, click here.

 

Gillian Perry

Gillian Perry

Gillian Rae Perry is a composer, songwriter, and performer. She has taught piano and voice since 2015 and enjoys getting to share her love of music with students of all ages. She is currently a Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer with Chicago Opera Theater.

Gillian’s work has been performed by the Mostly Modern Orchestra, Euclid Quartet, Aperture Duo, and members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She was a Composer Fellow with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 2018 through 2020.

Gillian graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in both music composition and film. Her work is greatly influenced by film, dance, and theater. Gillian holds an MFA in music composition from the California Institute of the Arts.

To see Gillian’s current availability, click here.

 

Sam Wolsk

Sam Wolsk

Sam is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where he earned a dual major in jazz studies and psychology. He is the founder of DW Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble that plays in Chicago and New York. Sam also plays piano and trumpet for Honey Butter, a local R&B/pop band. He has composed and arranged dozens of jazz and pop pieces, and he loves teaching his students how to play their favorite songs.

Sam’s teaching approach is warm and interactive. He sees music as one of the most important avenues of self-expression and connection to others, and he loves equipping his students with the tools and techniques to participate in the conversation.

To see Sam’s current availability, click here.