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 until further notice. Virtual options are now available for 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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Masters in Clarinet Performance and Literature
Georgia State University
Bachelors in Music Education
Steven Gooden’s attraction to the clarinet was, self-admittedly, driven by non-musical ambitions. He says he selected the clarinet with “zero knowledge of what one looked or sounded like, but with the hopes of sitting next to a particular cute girl who played clarinet.” While this love interest may or may not have blossomed, Mr. Gooden’s career as a clarinetist and music instructor certainly did.
Mr. Gooden teaches clarinet in Merit’s Instrumental Music program and Bridges in-school program, along with private lessons. He enjoys the family-like atmosphere of Merit in working with the staff, faculty, students and their parents. He also is the band director at Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park and Hefferan Elementary School in Chicago.
An accomplished performer in his own right, Mr. Gooden is the principal clarinetist for the North Shore Concert Band. He has performed with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Lakeshore Symphony Orchestra. He is an avid chamber performer in Chicago and around the country. Mr. Gooden has been recognized with honors in a number of competitions, and performed on the album American Manuscripts with the Georgia State University Wind Ensemble.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Gooden earned a Bachelor of Arts in music education at Georgia State University. He earned a Master of Music in clarinet performance and literature at Northwestern University, where he studied with Steven Cohen.
“Through curiosity and exploration, music will bring a rich life, full of exciting adventures!”