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Music Instructors at Hix

AnDréa Lené James - Voice

AnDréa Lené James has recently moved back to the Chicago suburbs from Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, Rev. Aaron James and two young children. She graduated from Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) in 2004 with Bachelors Degrees in Vocal Performance and German. She then moved to Connecticut and was an adjunct professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College where she taught private voice and piano as well as founding an opera program in 2005. After a move to Des Moines, IA in 2007, she taught private voice and piano at Rieman Music for 2 years. Throughout, she has also been an active soloist and accompanist. She looks forward to continuing her teaching career at Hix Bros. Music!  (Teaches at the Batavia location)

Agape Montero - Piano

Agape Montero is a currently a college student at Northern Illinois University, majoring in nursing and minoring in music. She recently graduated from the North Central College Piano Academy in Naperville, Illinois. She plays piano and organ for her church and choir in Plainfield and accompanies various school bands and choir performances. She teaches with an eye aimed towards technique in order for students to start off right and can teach a variety of styles from classical, modern and jazz music. Each student learns differently and Agape welcomes every type of personality that is willing to commit themselves to the keys. She had grown up living, breathing, and learning music and only hopes that she can help teach any student to grow in the same way. (Batavia location only)

Ed Breckenfeld - Drums

Ed Breckenfeld is one of the top drummers in the Chicago area. A former major-label recording artist with Epic Records, Ed has been a member of and performed with many premiere Midwest bands over the years including The Insiders, Jim Peterik's World Stage, The Cathy Richardson Band, Pride Of Lions, Off Broadway, and the Dooley's. His recording work includes albums for the above bands and many other Midwest, national and international artists, along with radio and television commercials. Additionally, Ed writes a monthly column called "Off The Record" and other technique articles for Modern Drummer, the most widely read drum magazine in the world. Ed's over 35 years of drumming include 25 years as a well-known drum instructor, specializing in beginning, intermediate, and advanced drumset and snare drum technique. One of Ed's more illustrious students was Kevin Clark, the young drummer in the movie "School Of Rock". For more information, visit (Teaches at the Batavia location only)

Check out this video of Ed! 

Zach Petritsch - Guitar - Mandolin

Hi, my name is Zach Petritsch. I teach guitar and mandolin at Hix  Brothers music in Aurora Illinois. Over the last 15 years I've taught hundreds of students and tens of thousands of lessons. My teaching method blends traditional content, (chords, scales, Music Theory, and reading music), with the musical interests of each individual student. Each lesson is tailored to the students needs and goals. This helps to keep the lessons fun as well as maximizing results. Whatever your musical desires, my goal is to help make your musical journey as enjoyable as mine has been.

 (Teaches at the Aurora location only)


Jeremy Schmidt - Guitar - Bass

With ever growing years of experience, I have adopted a step by step, kinesthetic approach to teaching beginners. Selecting level appropriate materials for beginners is of crucial importance. We will start with what you can do and build from there. Can you count to 4? Great! Let the fun begin! For students who are not beginners and have a good physical grasp on the instrument, learning about the building blocks of music, music theory, will take your playing and musicianship to the next level. To cultivate this knowledge we will deconstruct, analyze, and play some of your favorite songs as well as monumental pieces from other genres.  (Teaches at the Aurora and Batavia locations.)

Check out this video of Jeremy! 

Another video of Jeremy!

Marco Saporito - Guitar

Marco Saporito has been teaching guitar since 2001 and has taught at Hix Bros Music since 2005.  He has over 10 years of experience performing in the Chicagoland area.  He currently studies jazz guitar under Frank J Rumoro at the fine arts building in Chicago. He will help you to become a better player by focusing on proper technique, theory and reading.  These skills will help you to understand the fundamentals of music, making you not only a better guitarist, but a better musician as well.  Whichever genre of music you prefer to play, Marco will help you to play your best!  (Marco teaches at the Aurora and Batavia locations.)

Nate Greene - Drums

Nate Greene is a high demand percussionist in the Chicago land area known for his performances with a wide variety of bands and his busy teaching schedule at Hix Bros Music in Naperville. In addistion, Nate is an active studio recording musician. Some of Nate's recording and performance credits include Dead Stock Audio, The Jin and Tonic band, and Rock Ridge Records recording artist Painkiller Hotel. On the road Greene has shared the stage with several national touring acts including: The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Sister Hazel, Tonic, Train and many more.  (Teaches at the Aurora and Batavia locations.)

Frank Check - Drums

Frank Check was raised in a multicultural area outside of Chicago where he was exposed to Rock, Jazz, Funk, Gospel and World music. He began to play drums by the age of two and by the end of third grade he was performing with his church choir and his grade school jazz band. At age twelve Frank had his first gig with Elliot Wimbush at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago and knew that he wanted to be a musician for the rest of his life. Throughout high school he participated in all of the school bands where he earned many awards including several as a jazz soloist, the First Chair Award from Instrumentalist Magazine, three Woody Herman Jazz Awards, The John Phillip Sousa Award and the prestigious Semper Fidelis Award from the United States Marine Corp. After high school Frank was privileged to have the opportunity to play with The Shadows of Knight, the 1960s rock group famous for their rendition of the song Gloria. As a drummer Frank has played across the United States, as well as Canada, England, France and South Korea. Frank was the drummer for the world renowned Northern Illinois University Steel Band from 2001-2008 and has worked as a teaching assistant at the Birch Creek Music Center since 2003. Frank finished his Master of Music degree in World Percussion at Northern Illinois University 2008 where he also earned his Bachelor of Music in 2006. He is performing with Junk in the Trunk, The Rockerfellers Orchestra and teaches at Cougar Media Music, Hix Bros. Music and Waubonsee Community College. (Teaches at the Aurora location only)

John Swickert

John Swickert - Guitar - Ukulele

John has worked for Hix Bros Music since 1996, starting just after the great flood. His responsibilities include: Guitar Instructor, Shipping and Receiving Manager, Data Entry, Website manager, Sales, Inventory manager, Boss Baiting, Dog Catcher, and employee flogging. John has been involved in music since birth, hearing his father Jerry and Mother Mary Lee sing and play various instruments including piano, guitar, banjo, sax and others. His first paying gig came before the age of ten playing guitar and singing with his Dad and Sister at a local pub. John has had professional instruction in Guitar, Piano and Voice. In 1981, John had his first guitar lesson with John Hix, the founder and original owner of Hix Music. After just 2 lessons, he was shipped off to the evil Carl Hix for intense lessons, from the Hix "who knows experience". As an Aurora High School student John was a State finalist in voice and sang in organized choral groups all through school and after. John generally no longer sings as a result of an unfortunate chipmunk watching expedition that went horribly wrong, scarring his vocal chords forever. He has played in various bands, but no longer plays out as work and life with his lovely family of four keeps him very busy. John has an Associates Degree in an Applied Science from Waubonsee Community College and another year and a half of schooling at NIU, when in the middle of school, he was dragged kicking and screaming to teach at Hix Bros Music. Teaching Music to his daughter, and instructing Guitar, Uke and the occasional Bass lesson give John much pleasure today.   (Teaches at the Aurora location only)

Adam Bockman - Bass

Adam Bockman is an electric bassist who teaches lessons three days

a week at Hix Bros Music (Aurora location.)  He can help you with

almost any kind of bassing you wish to do: jazz, Beatles and Motown,

prog rock and fusion, Jaco-esque-fretless, Wooten-type thump, various

latin styles, and pretty much any kind of rock from Allmans to

Zeppelin, Led.  Adam studied with some of Chicago's finest teachers,

has worked with a long list of notable musicians, and can pass this

knowledge on to you!  Check out Adam's website for music, video, and

where you can see him play next...  (Teaches at the Aurora location only.)





Jeff Swanson - Guitar

A transplant of South Bend, guitarist Jeff Swanson has since been living in and learning from Chicago. After graduating Northern Illinois University’s Jazz Studies program in 2010, Jeff relocated and has been performing regularly throughout the Midwest and beyond ever since. Whether playing guitar and writing for the Whirlpool trio or performing in his other projects as a sideman, he is finding versatility and sensitivity to be rewarding traits in his new location. While maintaining an active performance schedule Jeff has also been an active and devoted teacher since 2008. There is a heavy emphasis on listening, playing and thorough comprehension of the instrument. Students can look forward to learning not just how to play and read but also how to listen and internalize music in a fun and creative environment.  (Teaches at the Aurora location.)

Joe Marinacci

Joe Marinacci - Guitar

Joe Marinacci has been studying the guitar since the age of ten. After playing in jazz band throughout high school, he received a scholarship to study jazz guitar with Fareed Haque (Sting, Garaj Mahal), at Northern Illinois University's highly acclaimed music school. Joe studied under Fareed Haque for two years. He has been teaching professionally for four years and finds great joy and responsibility in educating. Joe enjoys all types of music and enjoys teaching jazz, beginner guitar,blues, music theory and rock/r&b. (Teaches at the Batavia location)

Matt O'Brien

Matt O'Brien - Guitar-Classical Guitar-7 String Guitar-Ukulele-Tenor (4-string) Banjo

Matt O'Brien has 25 years of playing experience, and 10+ years of teaching experience.  His teaching style concentrates strictly on proper technique, rhythmic control, and note reading.  With consistent practice, his students are empowered with the concepts and tools to perform successfully in front of any audience.
He graduated from Roosevelt University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in music studying classical and jazz guitar.  His musical style is influenced by metal, classic rock, blues, country, classical music and various other genres that his students enjoy.
Matt was in various bands throughout the years that included performing heavy metal, hard rock, blues, and other forms of music.  Although currently not in a band, Matt is working on music production, independent song writing, voice over, and strengthening his teaching and playing through daily practice.
Matt specializes in teaching students with movement disorders such as essential tremors, and focal (musician's) dystonia.
He also instructs students who have special needs and utilizes a patient and steady approach to keep the student rewarded and engaged.
(Teaches at the Aurora and Batavia locations.)

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Jeremy Reeves - Guitar - Ukulele

I enjoy working with guitarists of all age, skill, and experience levels. My lessons are focused on 3 main areas of musical ability- rhythm, reading, and performance. My main goal is to get people playing the music they love.
I also have a strong background in theory and ear training and can help you not only play but understand music.
I love every kind of music and am excited to work with you and the music you enjoy. Thanks for reading.  (Teaches at the Aurora and the Batavia locations.)

Ken Mandat - Guitar

Ken Mandat began playing the guitar at 8 years old. Over the next 10 years, Ken took private lessons from Michael Konopka, a renowned Chicago guitarist and producer, who owned and operated Seagrape Studios and Thundertone Audio in Chicago. During his teenage years, Ken played in, and recorded with several Chicago bands, including the local heavy metal band Damien Thorne. Ken spent 2 years studying Music Theory at Triton College, and then moved the LA to attend Musicians Institute. At age 20, Ken signed a contract with CBS/RoadRunner Records and spent much of the 1980's and early 90's touring the US and Europe opening for such acts as Metallica, Motorhead, Slayer and many more. Ken has four worldwide releases to his credit, with album sales of over 200,000 copies, and also has producer credits on three releases for the A&M/Cobra Record label. Ken now works for the Hix Bros as a salesman, website manager, teacher, instructs the Rock Around an Hour Bands and is really the "Brains" of the whole operation. Currently plays locally with the bands CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY, and 24Seven, and still tours the U.S. and Europe with THE MOB RULES and DAMIEN THORNE.  (Teaches at the Batavia location only)

Check out Ken at: 


Hershyl Edwards - Drums - Voice

Hershyl Edwards has been active in music for over 20 years. As a multi-instrumentalist (vocals, drums, guitar, bass, & keyboards), he has been a professional performer since age 17. He attended the University of Illinois as a music composition major. After college he continued pursuing a professional music career, performing in both original and cover bands. He has performed with a multitude of bands at venues all around Chicago and the Midwest including the Metro and Buddy Guy's Legends. He has been teaching music to students of all ages for more than five years now. As a drum instructor he specializes in classical percussion as well as rock, funk, blues, reggae, dance, and hip-hop styles on drum set. As a voice instructor he specializes in classical, soul, blues, rock, and jazz singing. He also provides instruction in theory, ear training, and improvisation to all of his students.(Teaches at the Aurora location only)

Frank Loria - Guitar - Banjo - Mandolin

I have been playing guitar for 21 years, and studied with Frank Rumoro at the Fine Arts building in Chicago. I have taught in the Chicago Public Schools, private lessons out of my home and am currently in my 8th year of teaching at Hix Bros. I play out and record on a regular basis with various groups. I have been performing live in the Chicagoland area for about 12 years playing at downtown clubs opening for big name artists, headlining venues, as well as performing at private and corporate parties in Chicago and the suburbs.(Teaches at the Aurora location only)



Sam Hubbell
Sam Hubbell - Guitar - Mandolin - Banjo

Sam has been a working Chicago mainstay for over 30 years for many of the midwest's premier artists as a go to Guitarist, Mandolin and Banjo player.  Starting at the age of 6 on Cornet and progressing on to Guitar. By the age of 14 he is an accomplished musician with years of experience both onstage and in the classroom.  Steeped in Country, Rock, Jazz and Gut Bucket Blues, he has a hands on approach to teaching Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo with reading, technique, humor and style.

Brian Tredup pic
Brian Tredup - Guitar - Bass - Mandolin - Ukulele

A lover and student of all genres of music, Brian Tredup has been teaching guitar around the Chicagoland area for the last ten years. In 2010, Brian graduated from North Central College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in jazz studies with an emphasis on jazz guitar. Brian has studied under renowned jazz guitarists John McLean and John Moulder. Outside the teaching studio, Brian has been active in Chicago’s diverse musical community both as a performer and as a listener.  As a performer, he has played in various musical settings which include everything from small and large jazz ensembles, folk/country duo acts, and leading worship bands on Sunday. Brian’s current musical project is a jazz fusion collective shared with drummer Carter Stirtz and vibraphonist Matthew Miller dubbed “MST”. In the teaching studio, Brian stresses the importance of technique, reading, theory, and creativity. It is important to be creative with how one goes about working and developing new concepts and sounds on the instrument. Brian also strongly encourages students to seek out music that motivates and inspires them. Half of playing music is listening to music and, as far as live music goes, not enough can be said of what the city of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs have to offer. There is simply so much to hear and see. For Brian, the idea of learning music goes hand in hand with creating music which will open a student up to endless possibilities. As the late Frank Zappa said, “Music is the best!”  (Teaches at the Batavia location).