I had the privilege of studying with Dr. John Schwandt from 2012-2015 and received my Master’s Degree in Organ and Church Music under his guidance. The impact of his instruction was profound, both professionally and personally. As a musician, there was no concept he could not demonstrate with clarity and conviction. Lessons regularly introduced me to new musical possibilities at the pipe organ. Dr. Schwandt often shared these concepts through the lens of a performer, but also as an organbuilder, church musician, and improviser.
Dr. Schwandt’s influence as a teacher and mentor extended far beyond music. Whether working through a difficult passage of Bach or discussing the difficulties life inevitably brings, he cared deeply for each student. Thanks to his unique mix of patience, honesty, and humor, I am both a better musician and person today. The musical concepts and personal conversations we shared during lessons continue to influence the work I do every day as a church musician. I look forward to watching the American Organ Academy change the lives of others through his leadership.
Zachary D. Brockhoff
Director of Music and Organist, First Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
327 S Dakota Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104