Christian Ferrer

Christian is a native to the western suburbs. He graduated early from Willowbrook High School, with music as his driving force. Christian is self taught, with extensive knowledge in technology based programs such as Serato, FL Studio, Premier Pro, as well as other adobe products which are gaining popularity.

In 2017, Christian and his brother started their own business. They began performing for various colleges, and opened up shows for renowned hip hop artists, such as Curren$y & members of the Wu-Tang Clan. They have traveled across the country, and have worked with Grammy Award winning engineers and platinum-selling producers.

Christian is currently pursuing a career in film, and has had work featured on popular sites, including WorldStarHipHop. He plans on continuing his DJ career, and enjoys sharing his versatile knowledge and extensive experience with students of all ages.

Sam Hight

Sam is a Midwest band clinician, music producer, & private educator in the studies of clarinet, flute, piano, & saxophone. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University with an emphasis in Jazz Studies, as well as a degree in Psychology, Neuroscience.

Through the lens of jazz, classical, blues, pop, & more, Sam exhibits his teaching style from the core of each student’s passion to learn and eventually, foster their own voice in musicianship. He is focused on helping students of all ages find their personal success in the musical fields, including education & performance. Sam’s area of extensive mentorship lies in music theory; where his students regularly secure top scores for college-level AP testing, placing in competitions for original composition, or simply furthering their musical endeavors. Sam is also an annual Band Judge for the ILMEA State Auditions.

He performs regularly on the Chicagoland music scene with jazz ensembles, original bands, & his own special solo act in Chicago nightclubs. In addition, Sam produces & manages Midwest wedding band, The Groove Cartel. Some of his musical inspirations include: Sarah Vaughan, Frank Zappa, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane, & Fleetwood Mac.

Ron Reis

Ron Reis has been playing guitar for 40 years, taking his first lesson in 1978. After starting his first band in 1983, primarily as a drummer, he made the decision to switch back to guitar permanently. His interest in furthering his education in music theory began at the age of 17, hightening when he discovered The Blues, specifically learning guitar licks by musicians such as SRV and Duane Allman.

In his late twenties, Ron started a band called Turtle Hurd, a band that was influenced by jam bands. In the wake of that band, he started a trio names HeadRush-which independently released a CD named “What We Did Last Summer”.
Ron began teaching guitar in 1993 within a wide range of various large and small scale lesson programs, as well as in-home private lessons.

In 2015, Ron made the decision to follow his passion for music education by going back to school, and will receive an AFA in music in May of 2019. Ron also continues to play professionally around the Chicago area as a guitarist, as well as a bass player.

Frank Palermo

Frank has been performing and teaching drum set for 40+ years, while also performing both locally and on the road at the same time. He has taught and played all styles of music-specifically focusing on Jazz, Rock, Funk, Blues, Latin, Pop, Country, and studio recording. He has experience instructing all ages, as well as years of experience working with special needs students. He believes that students should be taught strong fundamentals, proper technique, and good musicianship from the start.

Frank specializes in the instruction of The Gladstone Technique, The Moeller Technique, Speedstroke, and Improvisation. His musical education incudes studying at The Chicago Drum School under Ernie Gadzos and at The Bobby Christian School of Music and Percussion, under the world famous percussionist, Bobby Christian. Frank has contributed to the educational world, having his articles published in the Jazz Drummers Workshop section of Modern Drummer Magazine.

Frank currently performs regularly with the band JAZZ CENTRAL, which features all styles of Jazz, including Mainstream, Be-Bop, Funk, Fusion, Jump Blues, Smooth, and Latin. He also performs around Chicagoland with Tony Morrison, Rose Colella, and other freelance work.

Emma Baar

Emma has been playing violin for over 15 years. She attended St. Charles North High School, and participated in string orchestra. Her experience in full performing ensembles also moved further to the Elgin Youth Symphony, where she was Concertmaster for one season. Throughout college, Emma performed with community orchestras such as the Kishwaukee and Wheaton Symphonies, as well as the “Non-majors Orchestra” at UW-Madison. She loves to play and listen to Mozart and Mahler, and is influenced by Andrew Bird.

In addition to violin, she is classically trained in choral music, and enjoys playing Ukulele. She has played with MAUI, a community ukulele group of Madison, and has taught ukulele in group and private settings. Emma enjoys singing in church choirs and taking her ukulele to perform on stage at Open Mic Nights in the Chicago area.

Byron Allen

Byron is a freelance trombonist and brass instructor that performs regularly with local Chicago Bands. He studied jazz performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the direction of Jim Pugh.
While studying music in college, he performed with the top jazz ensemble, the award-winning U of I Jazz Trombone ensemble, and formed his own brass band that performed in the Urbana-Champaign area.
Awards received in college include; The Division Achievement Scholarship, National Jazz Trombone Competition Finalist, and The International Jazz Trombone Competition Top Three Finalist.

Byron has performed professionally across the United States- including in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania, as well as working as a professional musician for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band.
His influences in the industry include big names, such as Wynton Marsalis, Count Basie, Carl Fontana, Hans Zimmer, Maynard Ferguson, Trombone Shorty, Al Grey, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Jeff Decker

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

Heidi first joined the Sam Ash team as an instructor, teaching piano, clarinet, flute, and vocal lessons. She holds a Music Education degree from West Virginia University. During her years teaching a variety of instruments to a broad range of age groups at Sam Ash, she built a lesson curriculum which began with a focus on the styles of music which interested each individual student, while utilizing the methods generally taught in the commonly used method books. Starting with this approach kept motivation high for both children and adult students. There will always be teaching moments in every level of learning. We as musicians never stop learning.
As Lesson Coordinator, Heidi is committed to the success of all students in the program. She is proud to watch students, families, and instructors grow together and form a strong bond created through music education.

Terry Finnigan

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.

He also teaches bass guitar and the mandolin.

Michelle Harn

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 Baker

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.