Player's Bench Music Store - Call Us (815)459-8614
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It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced player or a beginner; there is always more to learn when it comes to music. That’s why The Player’s Bench offers private music lessons taught by experienced teachers who are also professional working musicians. Our instructors come from a wide range of backgrounds, and teach many different styles of music. If you want to learn music theory, or simply how to play the basics, Player’s Bench Music has the perfect instructor for you.

Lessons are currently available Monday - Saturday. Give us a call to arrange yours!

(815) 459-8614


 

Don Yurisich 

 

Drums, Percussion

Don Yurisich (Devereaux) has been teaching drums and percussion for 14 years in the Chicago area. Don has teaching studios at Minstrel Music in Niles and Consolidated Music in Barrington and is "very much looking forward to working with students in the Crystal Lake area" through his upcoming association with The Player's Bench. One of Don's proudest accomplishments is having several students go on to successful performing and teaching careers as well as giving all drum students an idea of how to play drums in a band.

Don Yurisich (Devereaux) has been teaching drums and percussion for 14 years in the Chicago area. Don has teaching studios at Minstrel Music in Niles and Consolidated Music in Barrington and is "very much looking forward to working with students in the Crystal Lake area" through his upcoming association with The Player's Bench. One of Don's proudest accomplishments is having several students go on to successful performing and teaching careers as well as giving all drum students an idea of how to play drums in a band.

After earning his degree at Roosevelt University, he began pursuing his performance career. Over the years, he has toured the country with many local and regional acts performing a wide variety of music. The highlight of Don's touring to-date has been a performance with Billy Childers at Soldier Field in 2009 as well as a yearly performance in Las Vegas with Country Singer Susie Dobbs. In 2006, he continued his music education by studying with world renowned jazz drummer Isham "Rusty" Jones and credits Rusty with helping him "really understand jazz drumming with all its intricacies and nuances." He currently tours with Susie Dobbs, Billy Childers, Kim Thomas & Wildcard, and Pirates over Forty.

His recording credits include The Kimi Hayes Band, Susie Dobbs, Billy Childers, Elston, So What, and Magnaphonic just to name a few.

Websites:

The Pirates over Forty: www.piratesover40.com

Kim Thomas: www.kimthomasandwildcard.com

Omar Garcia

Drums, Percussion

Omar Garcia has been playing percussion for over 10 years. He started in 4th grade, and hasn't stopped playing. During high school, Omar had the opportunity to play drum set with the Elgin Community Youth Jazz Band. After high school, he played drum set in the Elgin Community College Adult Jazz Band. He also had the opportunity to play in the Elgin Community College Steel Band. He played tenor pan and double seconds. Omar furthered his percussion studies out at Northern Illinois University where he was in the Northern Illinois University Percussion Ensemble, the Northern Illinois University Concert Band, and both Steel Band groups at NIU. Omar has also played in his own groups and has opened for some national touring bands like Westbound Train, Bullets Over Broadway, and Big D and the Kids Table. Omar has been teaching lessons in the fox valley area for about 5 years. He is patient and comfortable in teaching many genre styles and attempts to set a solid foundation while bringing fun into the lesson for an overall positive experience.

Pat Gaughan

Guitar & Ukulele

Pat Gaughan has a Bachelors in Music from the American Conservatory of Music and a Masters of Music from N.I.U. Pat has been teaching guitar for over 25 years,

and presently teaches guitar at Players bench in Crystal Lake and at Mchenry County College where she also teaches World Music, American Music and Music Theory.
Pat performs throughout the Midwest as a singer songwriter and also performs Blues, Folk and Celtic music. Her teaching covers the basis of music theory and guitar technique essential to all styles of music.  She also has experience teaching through N.I.S.R.A. and S.R.A.C.L.C. where she taught the physically,emotionally and mentally challenged. Pat enjoys teaching students of all ages and backgrounds. Visit her
website at: www.patgaughan.com.

Paul R. Graf

 

Guitar & Ukulele

Paul Graf graduated from Purdue University in 2002. He has over 10 years experience professionally teaching the guitar to students of every age. He has a lifetime experience in band, duet and solo performance settings. He has performed as a singer and guitarist at various venues in Woodstock, Illinois and Northern Illinois.

Paul enthusiastically engages students of any age, skill level and potential. He motivates students toward setting goals, accomplishing goals and bolstering self-esteem. Paul has a firm knowledge of music theory with the ability to teach it plainly and make the information relevant to transcribing, song writing and improvisation.

Mike Knauf

Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute and Oboe

Mike received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He has taught instrumental music at the Elementary, Junior High, High School, and College levels in the Chicago area. Mike’s performance credentials include performances with Billy Eckstein, Jimmy Dorsey, Tom Scott, Milton Berle, Las Vegas Rat Pack Show, Frank Mantooth, and the Ringling Brothers Circus. In the Chicago areas he has also performed with the John Burnett Orchestra, Bill O’ Connel Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, and the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. Mike has also performed in Europe, the Caribbean, and a USO tour to Cuba.

Mike is currently active as a freelance woodwind artist in the Chicago area and leading his own jazz quartet. He is also a member of the Park Avenue Orchestra, which performs for many private and corporate events in the Chicago area and the Midwest. In addition, Mike is a woodwind instructor and directs the jazz program at St. Giles School in Oak Park, Il.

Mike has been teaching at the Player’s Bench since 1989. He continues to keep a very busy teaching schedule and accepts students of all levels, beginner thru advanced.

Please check out Mike’s website: www.mikeknaufmusic.com

Virginia Moore

Classical Violin

Virginia has over ten years experience teaching violin to students ranging in age from 4 years through adults. She has taught in public schools, grades 4-9 in the United States and Germany.

Her professional background includes orchestral experience with symphonies in Omaha NE, Syracuse NY, and with the North Carolina Symphony. She has been a chamber musician as well, with the David Majors Players and various professional chamber groups.

Virginia has a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Syracuse University, where she studied with world-renowned concert violinist Louis Krasner. She also studied at the Robert Schumann Konservatorium in Dusseldorf, Germany under the direction of Sandor Vegh.

Virginia welcomes all beginning students, and teaches using a blend of Suzuki and traditional methods. She prefers students over the age of 4 and especially enjoys bringing music to teens and adults.

Chris Ray

Electric & Upright Bass, Beg. Piano, & Ukulele

Chris teaches electric and string bass guitar. He specializes in jazz, pop, rock and funk.

Chris has a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance String Bass from Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. He has been performing in jazz, pop, rock and big bands in the area for many years. He also plays in musicals and does studio recording work. Chris teaches all levels and ages.

Bruce Waters

Guitar & Ukulele

Bruce has 35 + years of teaching and performing experience in all popular styles of guitar. He has performed as a guitarist, bassist and vocalist, in national venues, including Las Vegas, Nevada, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, The Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena), as well as The United Center In Chicago. He also plays in the praise and worship band for the First Baptist Church of Elgin and is currently a member of the tropical rock band Pirates Over 40.

Bruce's approach to teaching the guitar revolves around building a firm understanding of the basics. This includes, music reading, proper techniques, and a belief that all music should be fun.

Bruce accepts students of all skill levels, and prefers students 8 years old and above.

Rick Rattner

 

Guitar, Ukulele, & Beg. Piano

Chicago native Rick Rattner teaches guitar and bass guitar. He has been performing in various bands and composing music for almost 30 years. Rick attended Oakland University Music School and has a degree in Computer Science.

Rick is a session player and has composed music for numerous national commercial advertisements in television and radio, including Buick and National Kelly Services.

Rick teaches all styles and experience levels and prefers students eight years old and up.

Kristin Rock

Violin, Viola, & Cello

Kristin Rock is an experienced string player who has been playing for over 17 years. She is a graduate from the University of Iowa and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in String Performance. Kristin is experienced in teaching students of all ages. She has 10 years of private teaching experience, and currently works with beginning string players in School District 300. She enjoys sharing her love of music with students.

Vince Salerno

Alto & Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Harmonica

Vince Salerno has been playing and performing music for over 40 years. He as been teaching for nearly 30 years. Vince is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music, with extensive coursework in Jazz Studies.

Vince has studied music with such music greats as Joe Daley, Ron Dewar, and Bill Sears.

Vince has performed in various jazz, country, and society bands. He has also performed with various famous blues artists. Among them, Luther Allison, Eddie Clearwater, Vanessa Davis Band, and Liz Manville.

Vince also teaches and performs harmonica. He studied harmonica with Howard Levy and Jerry Portnoy.

Aside from Alto and Tenor saxophone, Vince teaches flute, clarinet, and harmonica. He teaches all ages and skill levels. Please visit Vince Salerno's website for more info.

Bill Sonoda

Guitar 

Bill teaches guitar, and has a music degree from Northeastern University. On top of the music education, Bill also has an AAS Aviation Mechanics Degree A+P license.

Bill has rocked with several bands and solo artists. He played in the band ‘Changes’ from 88-92. He was the guitarist for blues singer Eddie Burkes from 2001-2002, and currently plays with the band Random Access.

Born June 12th 1964, Bill grew up in Chicago and has played guitar since the tender age of 11 years. Yep, that’s almost 30 years of rocking experience! Bill enjoys teaching Rock, Blues, Country, Funk, and music theory. Bill has no age or experience requirements. All students are welcome.

Madelyn Srajer

Trombone, Baritone, Trumpet, & French Horn

Madelyn Srajer has been playing trombone since the age of 10. She found out that she not only had a great time playing it, but quickly developed a passion for trombone and music in general.

Madelyn, or Maddi for short, has been playing around the Chicago area since age 16. She has studied with Mark Bettcher (Chicago jazz artist and educator) and Jay Friedman (Principal Trombone Player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) primarily, with a smattering of other great musicians and teachers put in there for good measure.

While still a young person, Madelyn has accomplished a great deal. She has shared the stage with such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Tom Garling, John Allred, Wycliffe Gordon, and Rob Parton just to name a few. Madelyn attended the Chicago College Performing Arts and graduated in December 2009 with a degree in Music Education with a Minor in Performance.

As a well rounded musician that feels comfortable playing in nearly any situation, Madelyn has a lot to offer students. She has been teaching brass privately since 2003, specializing in trombone and baritone. She also offers beginning trumpet and French horn lessons. Madelyn enjoys composing and playing music in her spare time. She regularly plays around Chicago both as freelance trombone player and with her rock band, Shortstop From Tokyo.

Charis Bradley

Piano & Voice

Charis Bradley I teach Piano and Voice.  Graduating from a Nashville college in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, I majored in Vocal Music and minored in Piano and I have more than 30 years teaching experience.  My approach to teaching is to build a foundation, understanding the basics with music reading and techniques, but understanding that music is individual and can be fun.  I accept students of all skill levels and have started with children for piano as young as 4, voice around the age of 8.  The singer should come prepared to the first lesson with a list of songs that they would like to sing.  If you have material that you have previously been working on whether piano or vocal please bring that to the first lesson.  I encourage performance whenever we can whether at the recitals or Stage Left for open mic night.  Please contact the staff at Players Bench today for my availability.