Jake Cantrell has played music since he was able to reach the pedals on his grandmother's Organ when he was
about six. He then has gone on to learn the Trumpet and then several instruments within the Guitar family such as
the bass guitar and ukulele. He studied guitar approach and theory from Richard Haydon of Southern Illinois
University Edwardsville. He also studied composition and applied guitar composition with Tom Beck (a thirty year
veteran of the country music circuit). He has performed countless times locally and all over the country including
the famed Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles.
He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence and understanding of the instrument he so dearly loves: the
guitar. He has pursued every style of play he can, from classical repertoire and melodic metal, to percussive
fingerstyle and blues, from country and rock, to jazz and musical theater. This approach has shaped his unique
approach to instruction incorporating a wide variety of musical influences and playing techniques and methods.
He has taught at Music Makers Academy as a Guitar Instructor for the past 20 years and continues to this day
where he has taught well over 1000 students. He has encountered many wonderful challenges there from assisting
students with severe physical disabilities to helping hopeful students achieve acceptance to Berklee College of
Music. He has organized student "Rock Bands" and coached other original local music groups. He enjoys the gift of
helping others find their musical excellence.
He began teaching at Mineral Area College in the Spring of 2011 where he taught the various courses pertaining to
the guitar such as: Applied Guitar, Guitar Ensemble, and the General Guitar courses. The performing ensemble
specialized in an eclectic study of a wide variety of genres and styles. To best accommodate the diverse playing
abilities of the group, he has arranged over 100 songs specifically for each individual's part.
He is also currently teaching at St. Paul Lutheran High School as the band director since 2017 where the band
consists primarily of guitars of various styles, as well as ukulele, keyboards, drum kit and even a few horns.