While working full-time, David Shere enrolled part-time at College of DuPage for recreational and meditative purposes.
“These part-time classes – ceramics, jazz combo, private music lessons – were extremely important in shaping my decision to go back to school full-time, and they kept me sane in the midst of the drudgery of a full-time job,” he said. “I cannot over-emphasize the community importance of an institution like College of DuPage. It’s a sanctuary for the imagination in the midst of daily life.”
When Shere began attending COD full-time, he pursued music, spurred by a love that started in childhood. At the age of 6, his parents bought a spinet piano, and on the day it was delivered, he tinkered away on it for more than two hours. After that, his mom signed him up for piano lessons.
Shere credits College of DuPage for helping him toward his first college degree while dealing with daily life and personal struggles.
“The music faculty members at COD are world-class teachers, but more importantly they are genuinely caring people who want you to succeed,” he said. “They keep the bar high, but they do everything they can to help you reach that bar. I’ll give you a couple of examples: Tom Tallman was extraordinarily patient and persistent in teaching those of us who enrolled in jazz combos, even those of us who had no idea what jazz was or how to approach it. In addition to being ever approachable, Tom applied passion, fire and humor to us and took us from being greenhorn students to convincing jazz players.
“Another example: Lee Kesselman spent several office hours with me outside of music theory classes, answering all kinds of questions and helping me unravel some of the knottier details of music harmony.”
Shere also enjoyed the camaraderie among classmates at the McAninch Arts Center. They would hang out in the lobby, study, jam and “plan our lives.”
After graduating from COD with an Associate in Arts degree with a music emphasis, Shere transferred to Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and earned a bachelor’s degree. From there he earned both master’s and doctorate degrees in music composition from the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Shere currently teaches guitar, theory and composition, and jazz improvisation at Music Center of the Northwest in Seattle, a community music school. He also is a private music teacher and plays jazz gigs whenever he can.
“I’d like to teach music and perform for the rest of my life. As long as I can pay the bills, I’m happy,” he said. “Music gives me such a great feeling, and musicians are my favorite people. I play all kinds of music – classical, pop, rock, blues, bluegrass – but I really prefer jazz. Jazz music is the one medium where I really feel like I can be myself.”
Shere recently sent Tallman a short list of lessons that he learned from him that he now tries to instill in his students.
“I’d like to thank Tom Tallman for being such a great teacher. He made a real difference in my musical experience. It was a great privilege to study with him,” he said. “The music program at College of DuPage is of such a high quality that I was well-prepared for the pressures of continuing my studies elsewhere.”
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