With a diverse background in music performance, conducting, music education, and composing/arranging, Clark Chaffee has been widely recognized for innovation and excellence. He is an effective and beloved leader of musical ensembles and music education programs, from beginners through professional ensembles. His performances (in schools, Orchestra Hall and Ravinia in Chicago, Carnegie Hall in New York, and many venues in Europe) have delighted audiences and inspired performers.


Award Winning Educator.

  • Over 40 years of teaching music in a variety of instrumental settings, working with young beginners through adults.

  • Focused on achieving excellence through development of the knowledge and skill of each performer.

  • Recognized nationally for his school orchestra programs, faculty team effectiveness, leadership, and community service.

Highly Respected Leader.

  • Effective leadership and development of ensembles including chamber, string & full symphonic orchestras, pit orchestras (musicals, operas, ballet), youth orchestras, percussion ensembles, jazz combo, big bands, concert & pops bands.

  • Mentor and leader for ensembles of beginners, intermediate players, advanced teens, mixed ages, and both amateur and professional adult musicians.

Passionate Performing Artist.

  • Extensive professional experience as a timpanist, a drummer in every musical style, an orchestral percussionist, and as a jazz, pop, and classical vocalist.

  • Extensive amateur experience in a variety of ensemble types and musical styles, including bass, cello, classical guitar, viola, and violin.

Acclaimed Author.

  • Creator, author, and developer of "Rhythm Workshop" and "Key Shapes for Strings," highly effective classroom methods for increasing students' musical and rhythmic vocabulary and familiarity with their instruments.

  • Numerous articles written for the Illinois Music Educators Association Journal as the head of the Orchestra Division, and for various other publications regarding string and percussion pedagogy.

Experienced Clinician.

  • Active and available clinician in the areas of: string and percussion pedagogy; curriculum development for performance ensembles, class guitar programs, and beginning composition; creating effective student leadership; "blues-based" beginning improvisation for string players of all ages; and developing a Professional Learning Community.

  • Currently a clinician and conductor for Eastman Strings.

If you were ever a student of Mr. Chaffee, he would appreciate your reflections on that experience. Click here for the CAC alumni survey.