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Individual lessons and group classes for students at any level.
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Bringing accessible, high-quality music education to Chicagoland communities.
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The highest level of achievement for Merit students in tuition-free, audition-based programs.
Who we are and what we believe in.
How Merit makes a difference.
Merit's supporters remove barriers to music education, ensuring access for Chicago's youth.
Additional info for current and prospective students.
Cleveland Institute of Music, BM, 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.