Performing arts teacher Shawn Costantino hired new assistant Matt Yeakley to teach his sixth period Jazz Rhythm Section class this year.
After performing arts teacher Mark Hilt created a second music theory section, he turned his Wind Ensemble class over to Costantino.
Costantino said he wanted to streamline all the classes involving wind, brass, and percussion.
“I didn’t feel like teaching all five of my classes myself was realistic,” Costantino said.
Costantino chose Yeakley as his assistant out of a handful of musicians with whom he works with regularly.
“He plays guitar, and the Jazz Rhythm section has a lot of guitar players, so I wanted a good guitar-playing teacher,” Costantino said.
Both of Yeakley’s parents were musicians always had instruments lying around. He remembers when he first picked up a guitar in 2000.
“On a summer break when I was in high school, I was like, oh, well, I should probably pick that [guitar] up, learn how to play it,” Yeakley said.
After studying classical music theory at a community college in San Diego, Yeakley transferred to the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.
“It was a natural transition for me to continue that study,” Yeakley said.
Yeakley welcomed Costantino’s offer as a venue of exploring his love for jazz.
“What was interesting about the Harvard-Westlake gig was that it was an opportunity for me to talk about jazz stuff to people who were beyond the basics,” Yeakley said.