Kurt Wheeler was born and raised in Warminster PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. He began playing the saxophone in 4th grade and studied with several local masters in public school and in the community. After high school, Kurt moved to Fairfax, VA to pursue a dual major in Music Education and Jazz Studies at George Mason University. There, he studied with Rick Parrell, Tyler Kuebler, Jim Carroll, Tedd Baker, Jenny Lapple, and Alan Baylock, among others. He also performed alongside jazz legends including Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, and Eric Alexander. Kurt was as a member of big bands, combos, and saxophone quartets that played at local and national festivals including Essentially Ellington, Jazz Education Network, International Saxophone Symposium, Virginia Music Educators Association, National Jazz Workshop, Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps, and more. In 2011 Kurt traveled to the People’s Republic of China with the GMU Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of Prof. Jim Carroll, he participated in a weekly radio concert at the Shanghai Concert Hall with a band comprised of Chinese and American students to an estimated audience of 3-5 million radio listeners.
Kurt is now pursuing an MA in Music with a Jazz Emphasis at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is thrilled to be studying under the tutelage of jazz masters Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas. Kurt is new to the greater Kansas City area, but he is thrilled at the level of musicianship that he has witnessed from the local masters. In addition, support for music and especially jazz music is alive and well in Kansas City, something that Kurt appreciates greatly and hopes to continue.
Kurt’s philosophy of music education is one of inclusiveness and dedication. With a good teacher and hard work, ANYONE can become musical and proficient at an instrument. Taking music lessons is not just about learning how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on clarinet, it is about developing a work ethic and dedication to a creative art form that will make you a better person. Learning music transcends young people into a productive and exciting lifestyle that can last for their entire lives, whether or not they end up pursuing music professionally. Young students that take music lessons almost always perform better in school and grow up to be more successful, happy, and productive members of society. Kurt is thrilled to be a part of this pursuit and hopes that he can change lives one at a time through the awe-inspiring craft of the woodwind instrument family!