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GC Names Gruendler VP of Music Ed

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • People
• Created: March 21, 2018

Guitar Center (GC) has appointed industry veteran Donny Gruendler vice president of Music Education.

In this role, Gruendler will help expand Guitar Center’s focus on music education programs to provide more individuals with the tools and resources needed to learn the craft of music. Gruendler will spearhead Guitar Center’s Lessons programs nationwide, in addition to further engaging with music educators around the country. 

The benefits of music lessons for students are well documented, and Gruendler’s appointment reflects Guitar Center’s growing emphasis on lessons, which also includes the expansion of Guitar Center Lessons facilities in recent months. Adding to its existing 190-plus lessons locations, by the end of 2018 Guitar Center will open an additional 90 lessons facilities within their Guitar Center retail locations nationwide. The expansion will also be accompanied by new and diverse lessons offerings including DJ classes, electronic music production courses, and songwriting lessons. 

“With the rapid growth of Guitar Center’s Lessons program, Guitar Center is positioned to be the largest provider of student-direct music education. Donny’s appointment further emphasizes Guitar Center’s ongoing commitment to music education, which engages music educators, students and communities around the country in promoting the benefits of music education programs,” said Wayne Colwell, Executive Vice President of Stores at Guitar Center.

Gruendler has a Master of Music from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Ed.D track (ABD) for Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Global Change from Pepperdine University, with his degree being awarded this May. Since 2016, he has served as President of the MI College of Contemporary Music, where he has helped shape the direction of the organization in terms of growth, operations, academic vision, pedagogy, program development, curriculum, interdepartmental communication, budgeting and resource allocation, and more.

Covering the topics of musical instruction, leadership and business, Gruendler has penned over 25 periodicals and 10 textbooks, for a wide range of domestic and international publishers in addition to creating several music instructional DVDs and iOS applications. 

Gruendler is a frequent columnist for Modern Drummer magazine and a member of the Percussive Arts Society drum set committee, and has performed, taught and spoken at many international conventions including World Creative City Forum (Hamamatsu, Japan), Musicabana (Havana, Cuba), Japanese External Trade Organization Convention (Tokyo, Japan), Music Week (Berlin, Germany), National Association of Music Merchants “NAMM U” (Anaheim, CA), and PASIC (various locales).  Gruendler is also an active and outspoken figure in music education, contributing regularly to panels and conferences to share his perspectives. On May 21-22, Gruendler will return to the stage to speak on behalf of NAMM in Washington, D.C. alongside senators, congressmen, and other key legislators to discuss the importance of music education for K-12 level students. 
“I am very excited to join the Guitar Center team in this new role. As an educator, I strive to reach as many students as possible, and Guitar Center gives me the opportunity to reach so many more, igniting a new spark and passion for music,” said Gruendler. “Music education has gone unsupported in schools in recent decades. We know that learning music boosts test scores, improves mental wellbeing, provides a sense of community and numerous other benefits.  That is why now is the time, more than ever before, for Guitar Center to do its part to bring music education back to the forefront.


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