Professional Music Instruction for the Up and Coming Musician
The Instructors
Heather Bouton drum set & percussion

Heather's been playing drum set & percussion since the age of 10.  Heather started out like many of the students she teaches, in grade school band. Under director Gene Vanden Bosch she continued playing in high school marching and jazz band.  "Mr. Vanden Bosch brought out the best in me and helped me to realize that music was something I should consider as a career."  After high school, Heather studied at Elgin Community College, Northern Illinois University, and DePaul University School of Music where she has made a name for herself as a well-rounded percussionist.  Playing in various bands and combos of all styles, Heather encourages her students to be versatile and dynamic players.

An article about Heather, by writer and artist Christopher Cudworth

Heather's Studio of Drum & Percussion featured in Voyage Chicago Magazine
Michael Allen guitar, bass guitar, piano

Michael is a guitarist/songwriter who has been learning music since he was young. His parents enrolled him in piano lessons, and when he was old enough to start working, he began taking guitar lessons; immediately falling in love with the instrument. He went on to study jazz and classical guitar in college, while continuing his learning of the classic rock he grew up on.

His collegiate training in music, from theory to instrument technique and repertoire, has made him a strong and versatile teacher. He taught for several years in Rockford, Illinois, before he and his wife moved to Elgin. He is the guitarist for the indie trio In All honesty, and teaches his students everything they want to learn: speed, songwriting, technique, musicality, theory as it relates to the instrument, etc. A love and appreciation for the instruments and the music they create is fundamental to the learning process, and Michael makes it fun, exciting, and challenging to learn about one of the most mysterious and beautiful art forms we have.

What will a student learn taking lessons from you?
My students 
will learn essential skills to become a great guitarist and reach their full potential.  Students will not only learn how to play a particular song, scale, or exercise, but they will also learn why.  Theory answers the "why?" question. It teaches my students why certain notes sound good together or why something is played in a particular time signature.

Who are your influences?
Dimebag Darrel, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Michael Ammott, Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Alex Lifeson, Kerry King, Brian May, Mick Mars, Mikael Akerfeldt, Rob Barrett, Nergal, and Quinn Allman.

Who are your your favorite bands?
Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pantera, Megadeth, The Used, Senses Fail, Guns n' Roses, Cannibal Corpse, Opeth, Rancid, Arch Enemy, Motley Crue, Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rage Against the Machine, Johnny Cash, Devil Driver, and Journey.

What gear do you play?
Guitars:  Schecter Damien Elite FR, Taylor 214CE, Fender Telecaster American Deluxe, Music Man Sterling HS
Amps:  Marshall 1960AV cabinet, Marshall DSL100MLB 100W head, Ampeg BA115HP

Devin Kazmierczak drum set & percussion

Devin officially started playing drum set at the age of 6 with Heather as his first teacher. His mom says, however, that as a toddler he has always drummed on anything he could pound on. He started formally playing orchestral percussion (such as marimba, timpani, etc) with school band in 5th grade.  Devin was under the direction of Ms. Deb Shofner in elementary and middle school band. He is currently a junior in the Larkin High School Visual & Performing Arts Academy, under the tutelage of Mr. Brendyn Dobbeck. He's also been lucky enough to get one-on-one instruction from Mr. Rocco Zaccagnini and Mr. Brent Jordan through Larkin High.

This past summer Devin attended the NIU Percussion Workshop where he was able to

learn more about Jazz drum set, introduced to steel pan drums, and learned more about
drums in many cultures. Devin has also enjoyed participating and playing in many  
clinics with some fabulous artists through events with Larkin High and Mr. Dobbeck

What will a student learn taking lessons from you?

I will do my very best to help a student learn whatever they wish to learn. However, we start with the fundamentals, basic grooves, how to read music, and ear training.  I specialize in rock/metal, jazz, country, alternative/punk, and pop/hip hop. I will add that I am always learning and honing my skills, so I will pass that increased knowledge on to my students.

Who are your influences?

When I started I was very influence by Rick Allen from Def Leppard. I follow Jay Weinberg (Slipknot), Neil Pert (Rush), Anup Sastry, Art Blakey (Jazz drummer), Chris Turner (Oceans Ate Alaska), James Cassells (Asking Alexandria), Alex Van Halen (Van Halen), and many others.


Who are your favorite bands?

I am more often influence by genres than individual bands specifically. Right now I am focusing more on Jazz and Metal (working on more technical, faster subgenres, but love it all). I am always focused on techniques – increasing my skills & methods and adding new ones.


What gear do you play?

My current set is Pearl Vision series shells with Evans heads. I primarily use Sabian cymbals, but have also used Zildjian with good results. My favorite sticks are Promark by D’addario. My mallets are usually by Vic Firth and brushes are Regal Tip. I recently visited Vic’s Drum Shop in Chicago and it was
AWESOME! I really want to start using Axis Percussion pedals and am working on getting one of their double pedal sets. I prefer using double pedals for the ease, speed, sound/style, and genre preference.

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