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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

VanderCook College of Music

Faculty & Staff

Don Stinson

MECA Faculty

Don Stinson is the director of bands at Joliet Central High School in Joliet, IL, only the fifth director in the band’s 111-year history. He has the distinct pleasure of leading a program that serves a diverse population in socioeconomic status and cultural backgrounds. The band has appeared several times at prestigious state and national festivals. In 2021, the band was invited for a special performance at the 75th Midwest Clinic.

Don has received several recognitions, including the Yale University Educator Award, multiple citations of excellence from the National Band Association, and the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award. He is a 2021 Yamaha’s 40 Under 40 Music Educator and a recipient of the Dr. William P. Foster Project Community Development Award.

He is a member of the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster’s Fraternity, the National Band Association, the American School Band Directors Association, and the Illinois Music Educators Association. He is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Don hosts the music education podcast The Bandmasters Podcast. He is the author of High Needs, Monumental Successes: Understanding: Teaching Music to Low-Income and Underserved Students, available from GIA Publications. Don is the president of Legacy Fine Arts Inc. NFP, a non-profit that provides music mentoring and programs for underserved youth. His writings can be found on the Yamaha Education Suite. For more information, please visit


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    3140 South Federal Street
    Chicago, IL 60616-3731
    (312) 225-6288

    The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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