A love of music led Jason Thompson to Moraine Valley Community College in September 2011. The Tinley Park native had a goal to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree in music, and he started at Moraine Valley, where he focused on general education classes to prepare for a transfer to Saint Xavier University. During his second year at Moraine Valley, he decided to move beyond gen ed courses, and he began taking as many music classes as he could. Even after earning his associate degree, Thompson decided to make the most of his time at Moraine Valley, staying on for a third year to complete the rest of the advanced music core classes offered at the college.
“I had so many fantastic professors at Moraine Valley,” said Thompson. “I took the majority of my music courses with Tammi Carlson. She is a rare one-of-a-kind teacher who is able to both challenge students and make things fun.” After finishing at Moraine Valley, Thompson transferred to Saint Xavier University and earned a bachelor’s degree in performance and also was one of the first students to graduate from there with a jazz emphasis. After graduation, still craving to learn more, he studied guitar with John Moulder from Northwestern University for two years.
Thompson performs frequently with regional bands at venues across Chicago. He discovered he also enjoys sharing his love of music by teaching others. He and his wife, Beth, decided to open a music academy near Naperville, where she grew up. Their new school, Edge Music Academy, opened in summer 2021 in Homer Glen and offers piano, guitar, ukulele, voice, bass guitar, violin, viola and drum lessons to children and adults.
“Most music schools either focus too much on strict and traditional music, which takes the fun out of it, or they make it too much about the fun, rock band aspect and forget music is a skill that does take discipline and provides critical learning opportunities,” Thompson says. His new music academy hopes to bridge the gap between these two methods of teaching to provide children and adults an edge in their musical life.
“I was a very young, new student when I attended Moraine Valley,” adds Thompson. “Now the pages have turned, and I am the teacher. My hope is that I can instill the same love for music in all of my students that I gained at Moraine Valley.”