Eric Chrostoski (Music Education, 2011) is the Director of Music at Central Community High School in Breese, IL, where he teaches band, choir, and music appreciation. He also performs with the Concert Band and Jazz Band at Greenville College, serves as the visual and brass clinician to the Mater Dei Marching Knights, and has a private studio of brass students from surrounding communities. He regularly participates in conducting symposia, most recently at The University of Colorado with renowned wind ensemble conductor Jerry Junkin (see above). Eric also guest lectures at local teacher workshops and colleges on band repertoire, rehearsal strategies, and euphonium methods.
At SIUE, Eric studied euphonium/trombone with Prof. Jim Martin and composition and wind band repertoire with Dr. Kimberly Archer. He performed with the Concert Band, Wind Symphony, Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Jazz Lab Band. After graduating from SIUE, Eric attended The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied conducting with Dr. Carolyn Barber and euphonium with Craig Fuller of the Omaha Symphony, earning a Master of Music in Wind Band Conducting in 2013. While in Lincoln, Eric also served as the conductor of the Lincoln Home School Association’s Senior Orchestra.
Of his time at SIUE, Eric writes:
“SIUE was an ideal place for me to complete my undergraduate studies. The department is large enough to provide a wide variety of ensembles, but small enough that students can perform with as many ensembles as they wish. As a music education major, the Concert Band and Jazz Lab Band allowed me to develop my skills on my secondary instrument (trombone). Concert Band was particularly useful to me, as some of the repertoire played by that ensemble is accessible to high school bands. I have conducted several pieces with my high school band that I was exposed to during my time in Concert Band.
Another aspect of my experience that helped shaped me as a teacher was the opportunity to study with the university’s applied professors for my methods classes; I know from experience this is not guaranteed at all universities. In addition to learning from their expertise as pedagogues, I was able to experience their artistry up close. Having two full semesters of string methods in which I gained experience on the four orchestral string instruments was particularly useful to me; my first teaching position outside of university was with an orchestra.
In addition to the ensemble and pedagogy classes, the academic classes pushed me to become a deeper musician. Rather than treating the subjects of theory, aural skills, history, form, or orchestration, as mere graduation requirements, the professors of those classes taught me to look beyond the surface level of the piece to find the structures and ideas that generated the music. These concepts not only helped deepen my understanding of the inner workings of music, but also informed (an continue to inform) how I perform music and the qualities I look for when selecting repertoire. I could never repay the faculty of SIUE for all they taught me. I hope I am able to make a similar impact on the lives of my own students.”