Faculty & Staff

Tamara Trutwin

Ensemble Director: Beginning & Advanced Bands; Faculty: Band and Saxophone


VanderCook College of Music
Bachelors & Masters, Music Education

Columbia College
B.A., Arts, Entertainment and Media Management


A middle school band director’s love and enthusiasm of teaching led 11-year-old saxophonist Tamara Trutwin to pursue a career in music education. By eighth grade, she had decided to become a band director and never faltered from that vision – taking great pride in passing along her passion and love for music with her students.

Ms. Trutwin conducts two concert bands at Merit and teaches in the in-school Bridges program, providing instruction to students at Chicago area schools. She stresses solid foundations and personal discipline to enable every student to achieve their personal best. Her mantra is “With hard work and a positive attitude, anything is possible!”

During her time at Merit, Ms. Trutwin has developed and presented numerous workshops on building teaching skills and best practices in classroom management. She also designed and managed a federally funded grant proposal project designed to prepare young musicians for careers in music education.

A native of Michigan, her prior teaching experiences include director of bands and other roles at various high schools and numerous elementary and middle schools in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Oregon. Under her direction, the Franklin Middle School band in Wheaton, Illinois, received perfect ratings at the Illinois Grade School Music Association competition.

Ms. Trutwin earned her Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago; and a Bachelor of Arts in arts, entertainment, and media management from Columbia College in Chicago.

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“I love the diversity of the students I work with at Merit and through its Bridges program.”