Private Lessons

Private lessons are strongly encouraged for all members of the band program due to their tremendous value to a student's musical growth. A private teacher can provide students with individualized attention to instrument-specific concepts and skills that are not effectively addressed in a large ensemble setting, such as advanced tone production, vibrato, intonation tendencies, solo repertoire, and more.  In addition, private teachers can be an important resource for students interested in purchasing new instruments and equipment, and can help guide students toward a setup that will be most beneficial to their long-term musical growth.


Ms. JoAnn Snyder
Phone: (630) 306-0938


Mr. Russell Kerns is on faculty at the Merit School of Music as a saxophone instructor. Mr. Kerns also teaches at several middle school band programs in the Chicago Public School system. In the summer, Mr. Kerns teaches at the MPULSE saxophone institute at the University of Michigan, which calls upon the best young saxophonists nationwide to study for a week with Dr. Timothy McAllister and himself. Aside from his teaching, Mr. Kerns is also an active chamber musician and soloist. Recently, he appeared as a soloist with the Saratoga Wind Symphony, premiering Jim Stephenson’s saxophone concerto. He has also recorded ‘An American in Paris’ and Rachmaninoff’s ‘Symphonic Dances’ under the NAXOS label with the National Orchestral Institute.

Mr. Kerns studied saxophone performance and music education at Northwestern University under Dr. Timothy McAllister and Dr. Frederick Hemke. After his studies at Northwestern, he attended the University of Michigan for his Master’s degree in saxophone performance under Dr. Timothy McAllister.

Phone: (708) 715-9212


Mr. Matthew Lee is adjunct Professor of Trumpet and Brass Department Chair at Elmhurst College. In addition to his duties at Elmhurst College, Mr. Lee is an active freelance musician in the Chicago area and performs as principal trumpet of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta. Mr. Lee frequently performs as an extra and substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, and Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Mr. Lee attended Western Illinois University, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, studying with William DeJong. He received his Master’s degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University, where he studied with Vincent Cichowicz. Mr. Lee’s other primary teacher was the legendary Adolph ‘Bud’ Herseth.

Phone: (312) 330-7868


Mr. Zach Siegel
Phone: (708) 285-3184


Mr. Daniel Beckwith is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. While at UNT, Mr. Beckwith was active in the world-renowned Jazz Studies and Percussion programs. His primary teachers at UNT include: Ed Soph, Paul Rennick, and Mark Ford. Currently, Mr. Beckwith is pursuing his Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University, where he studies with Dana Hall. In addition to teaching private lessons, Mr. Beckwith serves as the instructor of the Willowbrook Drumline.

Phone: (847) 814-2296