Affectionately referred to as "Stolfe" by students, John is a teaching artist/performer/entrepreneur and the founder of Stolfe's Portside Percussion Studio which opened in September of 2005. He studied percussion performance/music education at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University while earning a B.S.B.A. in Management from the Heller College of Business - Roosevelt University. He has completed additional studies in music education at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. John has studied with notable instructors including: Edward Poremba - percussionist Chicago Lyric Opera; Bruce Carver - L.A. based studio percussionist/educator; Dom Famularo - international drum set educator; Jazz Studies with
Shelley Yoelin, and conducting with Dr. James Ripley.
As a director, clinician & percussion coach, John has taught groups that have performed at venues around the US including: Disney World, the United Nations and the USS Intrepid in New York City, the Bands of America Marching Band Championships, the Minnesota Percussion Association, the Indiana Percussion Association, Winter Guard International, the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships & the Illinois Marching Band Championships.
Since 1987, John has worked in school settings, and is experienced as a jazz band director, pit orchestra director, drumline coach, percussion ensemble director, adjudicator and clinician. He has provided educational/consultative services to schools and music programs throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. He has consulted on numerous percussion education publications including, A Fresh Approach to the Drum Set by Mark Wessels and Modern School for Mallet Instruments by Jim Sewrey, Ben Hans & Tom Schellner. Stolfe has taught hundreds of students of all ages private percussion lessons, master classes and group ensemble instruction. Additionally, he has coordinated, sponsored and facilitated various workshops with industry performing artists and leading educators in the field of percussion education.
As a performing musician, John has performed as a percussionist and drum set performer with numerous ensembles in the orchestral, concert band, jazz, and pop genres, both in live and studio settings. For 30+ years, he has performed in the pit orchestras of many music theater productions between Milwaukee and Chicago. Currently, John performs with the R&B/Blues/Rock group Timeless in the Wind, and the acoustic music project Mueller & Hill. During the summer of 2013, he performed with the World Stage Theatre group for their off-Broadway premiere at the historic Cherry Lane Theater in New York City...New York’s longest running off-Broadway theater.
John has been a long time student of life changing leadership concepts and principles. One of his professional goals is to incorporate those concepts into a learning experience combined with music based activities. John is a HealthRHYTHMS trained facilitator and has facilitated various leadership, team building and organizational development workshops. Utilizing drumming and percussion instruments as an effective teaching tool for delivering a memorable learning experience, John has led group instruction in corporate organizational settings, not-for-profit organizations and in academic settings for more than 15 years. Always the student, he has studied with top educators in their field the including: Dr. Craig Woodson, Arthur Hull, Christine Stevens, Dave Holland and Kenya Masala.
John is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) and the Vic Firth Education Team.
In addition to his work in music and music education, John is an active wellness entrepreneur and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC). In 2003, John founded a consulting group that is working on various projects to better the lives of children globally. For more information on these projects check out: Stolfe Group Consulting.
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