Dave began his music career at a very early age. From the moment he picked up a guitar, he knew that he had found his instrument. He studied jazz and music theory while at Riverside-Brookfield High School and continues to surpass the limits of his musical knowledge.
Dave has been playing live on stage for over a decade and has performed with bands such as: Everfix and Rob Post Band. Dave has also collaborated with Grammy nominated artist Jenny Frank, John Marella, blues guitarist Pistol Pete (Benjamin Newell), Monk 9, and Lonno Rampa.
Currently, Dave is the founding member of independent band, Dave Wolak and The Drastic Plastics. He has recently performed at the 2016 Villa Park Summerfest, and continues to play with local musicians throughout the Chicagoland area.
Jeff decker is an experienced drummer who has been teaching and performing for over 30 years. He is well- versed in all styles of music including rock, jazz and Latin. Bands such as Chicago, the Beatles and Blood, Sweat and Tears influenced Jeff at an early age and inspired him to join band in junior High and High school. He continued his music education at Triton College and Roosevelt University and studied under musicians such as Tony Caselli, Joel Spencer, and Joe Morell. A fan of big band jazz groups, Jeff has played with Chicago Grandstand BB, Barrett Deems BB, Jazz Community BB, and the Moonlighters BB. He has also opened for Foghat, and the Byrds and played along side Bill Murray and Joey Bishop. Jeff continues to tour with his current project SODA.
Heidi Volk became a music teacher for a very simple reason – to make a difference.
Her musical background began while studying at college as a music education major at West Virginia University. After graduating, Heidi became a high school marching band director, while teaching private clarinet, flute and piano lessons on the side. She also played flute and clarinet in a large music ministry at her church. After relocating to Chicago, Heidi joined the Sam Ash team and the experience allowed her to revisit the many benefits of music education.
Heidi believes in the importance of granting both children and adults ample opportunity to explore a great love for music.
Ron Johnson first started learning music theory on the piano as a young child and in elementary school he picked up the trombone and has been playing ever since.
In high school, Ron learned the tuba and euphonium and joined not only the Freshman Band, but the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, the Orchestra Winds and also sang in the school’s Chorus. Ron also took the time to teach himself the tenor horn, trumpet, and Eb tuba and what ever instrument he could get his hands on.
Outside of school, he has played the guitar and bass with several small bands, and the trombone/tuba with the Chicago ska band ToneZone.
Ron believes that knowing the techniques of an individual instrument and its role in music is the key to learning.
Oscar Darden’s influence began with his father in the basement of his family home.
By listening to the likes of James Brown, Grover Washington and Parliament, Oscar developed his ear and became an advanced musician at an early age.
His formal training was enhanced in high school where he was recognized as one of the top jazz soloist in the country. He later earned a scholarship to Northern Illinois University where he studied jazz performance under Columbia recording artist Steve Duke.
Oscar has a unique propensity for evaluating the groove and then creating a blend of melodic interpretations that complement any ensemble.
Terry Finnigan has been teaching guitar and playing professionally around the Chicago-land area for the last 10 years. He has studied music extensively since the age of fourteen.
Terry has a uniquely comprehensive approach to teaching guitar with years of experiential education under his belt. His specialties include rock, rockabilly, blues, jazz, swing, Celtic, bluegrass and country.
Michelle Parker has been playing the violin for 20 years and counting. She holds a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in English Studies although her focus is on strings. Michelle began teaching violin in high school and has continued her passion for education ever since.
While at U of I, Michelle played with the Music Major’s Orchestra Philharmonic along with a two year position as the Illini Strings’ Concertmistress.
Outside of school, she has played with the Classical Symphony Orchestra, the Wheaton Symphony, the Muscatine Sympony in Iowa and many others across the Midwest.
Lisa Anita Baker formed her musical roots at a very early age and she knew from the moment she picked up a guitar that this was going to be her instrument.
In 2011, Lisa became the first female to graduate from Northern Illinois University with a Masters in Music and an emphasis on Jazz Guitar.
Over the years she has played on numerous shows with five-time Grammy winner, Victor Wooten and for the last five years she has played with Bill Dickens, an award winning bassist and hit songwriter at the Winter NAMM show. Lisa has been a warm-up act for Tina Turner, Rodney Dangerfield, Poco, Ricky Skaggs and Alabama. Lisa has played music across America, Europe, Japan and Canada.
Eitan Bernstein has been playing piano since he was a child and since then has turned his abilities into a full blown music career. With an emphasis on theory, jazz, world music and improvisation, he has been teaching as a career since he was 20 years old.
Throughout his experiences, he has developed the wisdom and insight of not only teaching, but also preforming and how to transform someones music abilities into something larger, more creative, and more applicable to developing skills as a musician
Eitan has also spent years touring with various musical acts like guitar legend Trevor Menear and the Chicago based indie rock group Company of Thieves. These experiences allowed Eitan the opportunity to tour the entire country playing music professionally for large audiences in almost every city imaginable.