SFA’s Music Prep has new percussion, guitar instructors

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – New instructors in percussion and guitar have been added to the faculty of the Music Preparatory Division of the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University just in time for summer program offerings.

Dr. Carlos Benson is a percussion educator, artist and composer with an extensive and diverse background. As a high school percussionist, he played with the No. 1 band program in the U.S. Benson won every top honor in Kentucky and the U.S. Upon graduating from high school, he received numerous scholarships, but started his collegiate percussion education with Dr. Robert Schietroma at Morehead State University where he played in Big Band 1 and marched center snare. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music composition at the Berklee College of Music and his master’s and doctorate degrees at Liberty University. Benson has also studied in New York City with Tony Williams (Miles Davis’ drummer) and Jim Chapin.

Beginning his teaching journey when he was 16, Benson’s college summers were spent teaching various high school band camps in Kentucky. After leaving Morehead State University, he traveled the world playing in multiple music ensembles. He maintained residencies in New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville and Miami before settling in Dallas. He owned recording studios in Nashville and Dallas.

He has scored for commercials and films. As a songwriter, he has worked with Michael McDonald, Kenny Cetera and Bill Champlin (“Chicago”), Lou Gramm (“Foreigner”), Vinnie Colaiuta, Buddy Jewell, Rick Crawford and many prolific songwriting partners. Benson has also worked with famed music producer Keith Olsen (“REO Speedwagon,” Pat Benatar, “Heart,” “Santana,” “Bad Company,” “Whitesnake,” “Foreigner,” “Journey” and more) and Andy Hill (vice president of Disney Pictures Music).

Benson is the director/founder of DFJ Int’l, one of the largest worldwide percussion organizations. With 53 chapters across the globe, members include Vinnie Colaiuta, Sheila E., Alex Acuna, Gregg Bissonette, Zoro the Drummer, Teddy Campbell, Bill Bachman and many more. As a clinician, he has traveled the U.S. and many cities worldwide.

Equally comfortable on the nightclub or concert stage, Jim Edmonds is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in guitar and viola performance. Beginning on violin and transitioning to viola and guitar at a young age, Edmonds started with the Suzuki strings program and continued his “classical” education as an All-state musician at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston; earned an undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California; and continued graduate studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

He has performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Houston Symphony and the Lubbock Symphony alongside artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Giles Apap and Itzhak Perlman. During this time, Edmonds maintained a private guitar studio while teaching courses in music and technology to students of all ages, including a unique musical experience with second-grade students through a grant by the Helen Jones Foundation. As a guitarist and session musician, Edmonds has performed and recorded with numerous artists including “Nick Greer & the Gs,” “The Soul Creatures” and the “Thrift Store Cowboys.” As an opening act, he has shared the stage with Art Garfunkle, Dennis de Young (“Styx”), “Turquaz,” “The Motet,” “The Suffers” and numerous others. He has recorded three full-length albums and numerous EPs/LPs, and he remains active as a recording artist.


Additionally, Edmonds is a talented technical writer, educator and editor with over 18 years’ experience writing, editing and publishing extensively for technology, creative arts, entertainment, non-profit and philanthropic industries.

Registration for various Music Prep summer courses and music camps is still underway. Visit the summer program listing at sfasu.edu/musicprep for a complete list of programs that can range from private lessons, Kindermusik, and piano improvisation to keyboarding, songwriting, show choir and orchestra for various ages.

Registration for private and group instruction can be completed online at sfasu.edu/musicprep or by calling (936) 468-1291. Prices range from $75 to $210 per month, depending on frequency, type of lesson and lesson length. The Music Prep House is located at 3028 Raguet St. Office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Director Alba Madrid can be contacted at: madrida@sfasu.edu or musicprep@sfasu.edu. Parents can also find program information on Facebook and Instagram.