Wow! What a great 10 days. I just concluded a whirlwind tour of Northwestern Montana and Eastern Washington, with my non-profit: The Institute for Creative Music. Last summer, my drummer friend Chris Teal and I decided to put our heads together to formalize some of the educational clinics/touring that we had done between 2007 and 2010 and the Institute for Creative Music was born!  You can check out the IfCM at

Thanks to a generous grant from the Plum Creek Foundation, we were enabled to travel to Kalispell, Montana and work with five high schools there, as well as with the surrounding music community. We presented workshops, clinics, and performances for almost 1400 students, and taught for a combined total of 37.4 hours! We had two appearances in the local papers (with a third on the way), and a big hit was of course, free IfCM stickers! After our time in Montana, we traveled west to Spokane, WA (Chris’ hometown) and had a day of whirlwind visits to Mt. Spokane HS, Eastern Washington University, and Whitworth University. It was a productive tour for sure!

It is an amazing thing to spend time with energetic and passionate music students. Their energy and willingness to try new things (even if they are foreign or challenging) is truly inspiring. We worked with concert bands, orchestras, jazz combos, big bands, and choirs. Each and every one of the students we worked with was improvising and participating in creative music making.

Spending time teaching with the co-director of IfCM Chris Teal, and our teaching artists: Mike Kaupa (trumpet), Chris Ziemba (piano), and Matthew Golombisky (bass) was a real treat. We are excited to be moving ahead with a number of projects to continue the momentum that was started this past week!