In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s current recommendations, Merit School of Music has closed the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and suspended all in-person activities. Virtual options are now available for summer camps, private lessons, Early Childhood classes, and small group classes. We thank you for your understanding and continued support during this unprecedented situation.

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Faculty & Staff

Brandon Podjasek

Department Chair: Percussion; Ensemble Director: Percussion; Faculty: Percussion

Chamber Music Coach: Sticks and Stones Percussion Group


Cleveland Institute of Music
B.M., Performance


Brandon Podjasek confesses to a life-long obsession with music. Born in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Mr. Podjasek says even his early childhood involved music. Pursuing his obsession, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music in percussion performance.

An active musician, Mr. Podjasek performs in the Chicago theater scene, having played in such shows as Wicked, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein and Evita. In 2015, he played drum set for the Chicago Lyric Opera’s Lyric Unlimited world premiere production of The Property. He frequently performs with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Elgin Symphony, and the Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble, among other groups.

Positivity, structure and technique are the guiding tenets of Mr. Podjasek’s approach to teaching students. In addition to teaching percussion for Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory, its in-school Bridges music education program, and the school’s Instrumental Music program, he coaches Merit’s Sticks and Stones percussion ensemble. He also serves as Chair of Merit’s Percussion Department and conducts private lessons.

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