MEET MI’S ACADEMIC TEAM

DONNY GRUENDLER

President of Musicians Institute

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Donny Gruendler was born and raised in the diverse musical surroundings of Detroit, Michigan. At age 20, Gruendler graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree. At age 21, he earned his Master of Music Degree from Wayne State University.

CREDITS
Gruendler has performed, programmed, toured and recorded behind such artists as Kenny Burrell, John Medeski, DJ Logic, the Funk Brothers (Motown), DJ A-Ski (Unique 74), Art Bleek, Charlie Sputnik, Rick Holmstrom and Kirk Fletcher. He has composed and/or played on jingles for Axe Body Spray, RE/MAX on the Boulevard, and NPR. His select lm/TV credits include Last Holiday, Father of Invention and the Showtime feature Chicago Overcoat.
Donny is also a noted producer under the pseudonym Inc, as well as one half of the funky-jazz-soul-electro duo Rhett Frazier Inc. Okayplayer describes their productions as “cosmic brilliance delivered via a well-stirred pot of soul, jazz, rock, funk and gospel.”

SPECIALTIES
Donny’s broad range of influences includes soul, funk, pop, hip-hop, traditional swing, hard bop, techno, house and blues.

He is also a member of the Modern Drummer Education Team and fax a frequent columnist for the magazine. Donny has released many instructional books, DVDs and online content. For more information, please visit www.donnygruendler.com.

JONATHAN NEWKIRK

Dean of the School of Industry Studies
Program Chair: Audio Engineering

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
As a 17-year veteran of the music industry, Jonathan started out engineering for such clients as Dishwalla, Carmine Appice, Epitaph Records, Slash and Roger Daltrey. Leveraging his studio experience, Jonathan purchased and built out a major two-room facility, Studio Atlantis, in the heart of Hollywood, and for ten years presided as the President and Owner. The studio’s client base included countless engineers, producers and songwriters; artists including Janet Jackson, Motorhead, Snoop Dogg, Usher and several American Idol contestants; as well as multi-platinum-selling labels Interscope Records, Bad Boy Entertainment, Sony Records, Capitol Records and Universal Records.

Jonathan also earned an Executive MBA from the University of Southern California.

CREDITS
Jonathan’s studio was also credited with the soundtracks for Sex and the City, About a Boy and Rush Hour II. After selling Atlantis to Michael Jackson’s producer, Rodney Jerkins, Jonathan became Executive Director of the Power Chord Academy, a nationwide summer rock-n-roll institute for aspiring teenage musicians.

SPECIALTIES
First joining the Audio Engineering department at Musicians Institute, he currently serves as both AE Chair and the Dean of the School of Industry Studies, where he presides over the Guitar Craft, Independent Artist and Music Business programs.

RACHEL YOON

Dean of the School of Performance Studies
Pro Tem Chair of the Bachelor and Keyboard Programs

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Rachel started playing the piano at the age of 2, taught by her mother, a concert pianist and professor. Rachel began composing at the age of 7 under the tutelage of her father, a classical composer and professor. She entered Seoul National University as the top-ranked student and earned a BA and MA in Composition. Rachel then received a Ph.D. in Composition from UCLA.

CREDITS
She regularly consults for jazz ensembles—including The Yellowjackets—as well as lm composers. As an arranger and keyboardist, Rachel has performed at some of the premier venues in Los Angeles, such as Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In 2014, she was commissioned by the city of Seoul to compose and direct an hour-long show for a traditional Korean performance group, which ran for 250 days.

SPECIALTIES
Rachel is an administrator, educator, developer, composer, arranger and performer. Rachel’s compositional and arranging style is based on a diverse range of contemporary genres, influenced by minimalism, impressionistic harmonies, ethnomusicology and commercial music.

As an administrator and educator, Rachel created, designed and developed brand new curricula for MI’s Bachelor of Music in Composition (Scoring for Visual Media) degree program. Currently, she is developing an innovative Multiple Perspective Contemporary Music Learning System (MPCMLS).

Rachel is dedicated to helping students gain extraordinary experiences, pursue their passion for music and achieve their dreams.

DEBRA BYRD

Program Chair: Vocals

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Byrd studied opera and piano from age 12 and sings in five languages. As a teenager, she co-founded and sang in church choirs, performed in a band and narrated children’s concerts for the Cleveland Orchestra. She studied at Kent State University, Karamu Theater and Dobama Theater, and is now an Artist-in-Residence at the renowned Berklee College of Music.

CREDITS
Debra Byrd tops an elite list of vocal coaches in the music, television and film industries. Oprah Winfrey named Byrd “America’s Top Coach For Best Vocal Advice.” Byrd’s “Star School” includes Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jennifer Hudson, Margaret Cho, Bette Midler, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and hundreds of singers from The Voice, American Idol, Canadian Idol, The Next, the Grammy Awards, High School Musical, Majors & Minors, Operation Rising Star and The Winner Is. She has coached, judged and mentored on ABC, NBC, FOX, MTV, CW, Disney, The Hub Network, ITV, CTV and the Pentagon Channel.

Byrd is an entertainment renaissance woman, a road warrior performing around the world with artists including Kelly Clarkson, The Eurythmics, UB40, Lyle Lovett, Roberta Flack, Patti Austin and Bob Geldof. She was a recording artist on RSO/Polydor Records; and recorded, toured and performed duets with Bob Dylan and Barry Manilow–in addition to being vocal arranger on Manilow’s Emmy Award-winning DVD, Music & Passion. As an actress, she received outstanding reviews for her leading role as Da Singer in the national touring company of Broadway’s Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk and was nominated for a 2001 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Could It Be Magic. Byrd’s Broadway credits include The Human Comedy, Barry Manilow on Broadway, Haarlem Nocturne and Ain’t Misbehavin’. She has worked in movies for Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal Studios, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and Miramax. Byrd can be heard on the film soundtracks of the Lion King 2 1/2 and Sister Act II, among many others. She was vocal coach for the 2010 Grammy-nominated national tour of Ain’t Misbehavin,’ as well as the special 30th anniversary production in Los Angeles, and for Holland America Cruise Lines.

SPECIALTIES
As an educator, Byrd co-authored and edited MI’s Vocal Technique Textbooks. Byrd can be seen and heard on the 2015 Academy Awards performing with Lady Gaga, John Legend & Common’s Oscar winning song “Glory” and the Lego Movie production number.

She is currently a vocal coach on NBC-TV’s “The Voice” and was head vocal coach on “American Idol” for 10 + years.

In addition to performing, Byrd has produced a successful product line that incorporates her Star School Live! vocal seminars, her instructional DVD “Welcome To Star School.” She is currently developing an exclusive line of herbal products that will protect, soothe and maintain vocal health.

CHARLES CHEMERY

Program Chair: Independent Artist and DJ Performance and Production

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Charles studied Jazz at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2000. He has performed live and/or DJ’d in various cities around the world such as L.A., New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, Zürich, Cannes, Miami, Geneva, Helsinki, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Casablanca and more.

CREDITS
Charles has shared the stage with Gnarls Barkley, Jody Watley, Evelyne “Champagne” King, Jurassic 5, Lionel Loueke (Herbie Hancock), Jada Pinkett Smith, Dresden Dolls, Camille and Emilie Simon among countless others.
Charles has worked on music for corporate clients including the American Film Institute, Audi, American Airlines, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, E! Entertainment, Disney, Taschen, The French Consulate in Los Angeles, West eld, University of Southern California, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

As a DJ, he performed at the of cial Hollywood premieres of movies such as 2012 Best Picture Academy Award winner The Artist, as well as Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and The Adventures of Tintin, Blood Diamond, and many others.

SPECIALTIES
As a Los Angeles-based DJ, vocalist, guitarist and record producer, Charles has collaborated with music producers Groove Armada, DJ Sneak, Art Bleek, Manuel Tur, Trevor Loveys, Af e Yusuf, Larse, Magic Touch, Round Table Knights, Hervé and Jesse Rose. He has released broken beat and vocal house music on vinyl on prestigious labels such as True Romance (DE), Loungin’ (UK), Good Mood Music (UK), Wagram (FR), Cheap Thrills (UK) and Sick Trumpet (UK), among others.

His latest record with Zoowax is a project featuring vocalist Novena Carmel (Sly Stone’s daughter) and Art Bleek, which mixes house music and Dixieland jazz. Zoowax is signed on Germany’s Chin Chin Records and UK’s Loungin’ Recordings, and is available on CD, Spotify and iTunes.

MAURICE VERLOOP

Program Chair: Bass

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Maurice has been a proud resident of Hollywood since 1998. He is an Honors graduate of MI, having earned a Development Award in his rst year as well as the Outstanding Student award in 1999. He has often said that his experience as an MI student was life-changing. His musical background also includes piano, guitar and trombone.

CREDITS
Maurice continues to perform locally and internationally, having shared the stage with artists including Carl Anderson, Zakk Wylld, Alessandro Cortini, Nick Menza, Shannon Larkin and Virgil Donati. Maurice proudly endorses Sadowsky Guitars, Ashdown Engineering, Moollon Guitars, D’Addario and Colossal Cables.

SPECIALTIES
In April 2013, Maurice Verloop was appointed Chair of the Bass Program at Musicians Institute. Prior to this, he was a full-time faculty member at MI, earning the Instructor of the Year award in 2003 and 2009. His recent academic contributions have included designing the innovative curriculum for the Bass Program’s core and elective courses, which was introduced in Fall 2014.

PAUL ROBERTS

Program Chair: Guitar Craft

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
A Los Angeles native, Paul got his start studying at the Guitar Craft Program at Musicians Institute in 2001. Certified in the eld of Guitar Craft, Paul Roberts promotes reliable methods of craftsmanship through instructional courses and various publications.

Paul’s first professional experience was gained while working for master luthier John Carruthers at his custom guitar and repair shop in Venice, California. His responsibilities included performing all types of repairs and modi cations on a wide variety of stringed instruments. He also served as a guitar tech for local bands. Paul then worked at the custom shop of Los Angeles guitar builder James Tyler, where as part of a four-person team, he built over 300 guitars a year. More recently, Paul has worked at Truetone Music doing repairs for many of L.A.’s professional and amateur musicians. Today Paul continues to refine his craft by working for a variety of personal clients that he has met over the years.

CREDITS
Paul has worked on instruments for many different musicians. Some of these notable artists include Ry Cooder, Fleetwood Mac, Andy Summers, Uli Jon Roth, Ben Harper, Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Izzy Stradlin, Norman Brown, Vince Neil, Ziggy Marley, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Seal.

SPECIALTIES
Paul specializes in guitar repair, restoration, and customization. Paul builds upon old-school craftsmanship and adapts contemporary techniques to meet the needs of the modern day player. Paul has repaired, customized, restored, and built thousands of instruments, ranging from electric and acoustic guitars, classical and amenco guitars, electric and upright basses; to mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, bouzoukis, lutes, charangos, sitars, ouds, guitarróns, bajo sextos, and cellos.

Paul is respected for his dedication to detail and honest practical approach to guitar craft. He is committed to helping students understand craftsmanship, and to ultimately achieve their goals in the industry.

RON DZIUBLA

Program Chair: Common Course Development

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Ron Dziubla is a graduate of the University of Miami, FL Frost School of Music. His professional affiliations include The American Federation of Musicians, Local 47 and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

As an educator/guest artist, Ron has taught and performed for such entities as the University of Missouri, Sonoma State University, Coral Park High School (Miami, FL), The Help Group, the U. S. Department of State, and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.

CREDITS
As a saxophonist, Ron has performed and recorded with artists such as Duane Eddy, Joe Bonamassa, Nick Waterhouse, Los Straitjackets, Waddy Wachtel, Robert Cray, Kid Ramos, Royal Crown Revue, Leeann Rimes, John Mayall, Chris Isaak, Raphael Saadiq, John Hiatt, Beth Hart, The Crystal Method featuring Martha Reeves, Ricky Martin, Richard Hawley, Christina Aguilera, John Fogerty, Jimmy Buffett, Jarvis Cocker, Ellie Goulding, Link Wray, Kim Wilson, Nikka Costa, and many more.

As a session musician, you can hear Ron’s saxophone at work for such producers as Kevin Shirley, Darrell Brown, Mark Needham, Dominic Messenger, Linda Perry, Rick Krizman, JJ Blair, Rich McCulley and in such lms as Burlesque, Thirteen, and Contact. His television appearances include the 2007 and 2010 Latin Grammy Awards Telecast, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Today.
In June of 2011, Ron performed at the Glastonbury Festival in England with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Duane Eddy. He was also featured on Duane’s rst release in 25 years, Road Trip.

SPECIALTIES
Ron is also an artist in his own right, having released three records. Brian Parrish of KSYM in San Antonio called his release on Little Silver Records, Melenhead, “one of the best [instrumental] releases of 1999.” Dan Forte of Vintage Guitar Magazine called Ron’s record Some Strange Blues “a great self-produced collection of vintage/ timeless rock and roll and, yes, some strangely appealing blues.”

The Ron Dziubla Group was a featured artist at the Jazzmania Festival in Cairo, Egypt in October 2010. Ron’s third release, Nasty Habit, produced by Pete Curry of Los Straitjackets, was released at the end of 2011.

STEWART JEAN

Program Chair: Drums

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Stewart became interested in music at a very early age, gravitating towards drums and percussion after hearing Led Zeppelin in elementary school. Stewart excelled musically in high school, earning top honors in All State and All Eastern Conference Jazz Bands and Orchestras. He enrolled in the Studio Music and Jazz Program at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, earning a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance.

CREDITS
Stewart acted as Jazz Coordinator for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, working alongside prominent jazz educators such as Rufus Reid, Dave Grusin and Wynton Marsalis. As a performer, Stewart has recorded for many major record labels and artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Preston Smith, Bruce Kulick and Pedro Suarez Veritz. He can also be heard on the soundtrack to the lm Contact.

SPECIALTIES
Stewart is an administrator, author, producer, musical director and performer. Stewart’s diverse musical style draws influence from roots, rock, electronica, pop, jazz and blues. In addition, Stewart serves the drumming community as a lecturer, clinician and counselor.

Stewart is a dedicated educator who has developed his academic offerings towards the goal of providing clear and positive nurturing to young students. Stewart has created broad and cutting-edge curricula for the Drum Program, from drum set soloing to keyboards.

STIG MATHISEN

Program Chair: Guitar

BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Stig Mathisen is a guitarist and educator from Norway. He has a Masters and a Doctoral degree in guitar performance from University of Southern California, where he graduated with numerous awards for outstanding achievements. He studied Classical guitar at Tromso University for over 6 years, and was a faculty member at Tromso University College and Kongsbakken Junior College from 1998-2006, teaching studio technology and guitar. He has received the following awards: Fulbright Scholarship, The Norway-America Associations Graduate Study & Research Scholarship (twice), USC Studio Guitar Departmental Award (three times), Outstanding Academic Achievement Award by OIS/USC, Pi Kappa Lambda Award, plus Outstanding Talent Award by the Norwegian Jazz Association.

CREDITS
Stig has been involved in numerous musical situations, and has worked with artists and bands such as Alcatrazz, Peter Erskine, Lamont Dozier, Brandon Fields, John Jorgensen, Stu Hamm, Robben Ford, Jorn Lande, Patrice Rushen, and the Tromso Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, Stig held masterclasses alongside Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, Tosin Abasi, Eric Johnson and others at Steve Vai and Joe Satriani’s summer camps (“Vai Academy” and “G4 Experience”).

SPECIALTIES
An eclectic guitarist by nature, Stig is equally comfortable with rock, jazz and classical music, and has rubbed shoulders with numerous world-class musicians over the years. A passionate explorer and a relentless seeker of all knowledge pertaining to guitar, improvisation, composition, music history and music philosophy, he has been on a quest since his formative years to discover the inner mechanics and the deeper secrets of music.

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