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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

VanderCook College of Music

Faculty & Staff

Rick Palese

Adjunct MECA Faculty

Rick Palese is currently the director of instrumental music at KIPP Austin Collegiate in Austin, Texas, where he teaches Steel Band, Wind Ensemble, Classical Guitar, Modern Band and co-sponsors the Mariachi Club. Prior to his role at Collegiate, he served as a lecturer of instrumental music education in the School of Music at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where he taught woodwind techniques and methods, secondary general music methods, principles of music learning, and led the student teaching seminar. Palese has also served as the director of the Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education program and director of student teaching at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to administrative duties, Palese taught music technology and supervised field experiences for instrumental music education music majors. He has also served as adjunct faculty in the Division of Music Education in the College of Music at the University of North Texas.

Palese began his teaching career at Prairie Hill School in Cary, Illinois, directing 5th and 6th grade bands in addition to facilitating extracurricular opportunities for students to learn jazz fundamentals, popular music styles, and podcasting. He worked with the Cary Education Foundation to secure a grant, commissioning the work Colliding Visions by composer Brian Balmages.

Palese earned a PhD in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as a teaching assistant in the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, and also taught in the University of Texas String Project. Prior to his time in Texas, Rick earned both BMEd and MMEd degrees in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, where he was honored with the Esprit de Corps award on three separate occasions and graduated as Senior Salutatorian.



    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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