Facilitator / Teacher Trainers

Mary Knysh

Mary KnyshMary Knysh is the founder of Rhythmic Connections, (www.rhythmicconnections.com) an innovative company advancing education, health, and creative development through drum circles and music improvisation. Mary is a cutting edge workshop facilitator, trainer and consultant who uses music as a means for personal and organizational transformation through creativity, leadership and non verbal communications. She is a professional musician; recording artist and international author. An international teacher/trainer with the Music for People organization (www.musicforpeople.org ), Mary is also an Orff Schulwerk clinician and teaching artist for the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Young Audiences of NJ, and New York BOCES.  She is endorsed by Rhythm Band Instruments and Remo corporations.  Mary travels throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia offering music improvisation seminars, drum circle facilitator trainings and performances.

Dr. David Rudge

David RudgeDr. David Rudge teaches Free Improvisation at the State University of New York at Fredonia where he leads the Improv. Collective, a performing ensemble dedicated to free improvisation for self-expression. (www.fredonia.edu/som/improv). As an improvising violinist, he has performed with Paul Winter, Paul Horn, Arthur Hull, Don Campbell and David Darling. He has also served as conductor for David Darling and Jon-Luc Ponty. Involved with Music for People since its inception, David also now teaches at the Music for People workshops. (www.musicforpeople.org) David has taught Free Improvisation in such diverse settings as Oklahoma State University, the Connecticut and New York Public Schools, the Kiental Center in Switzerland, the Tenri Cultural Center in NY City, Strings without Boundaries, Brian Wicklund’s American Fiddle Camp, Charles Castleman’s Quartet Program, the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies, where he was part of the summer staff. Dr. Rudge is also the Director of Orchestras and Opera at SUNY – Fredonia. He has conducted symphony orchestras and operas in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America to critical acclaim. (www.davidrudge.net).

Irene Feher

Irene FeherA 2017 graduate of Music For People’s MLP Training, Irene Feher facilitates improvisation workshops in Montreal (Canada) and surrounding regions, including the Concordia University Student improvisation collective Collabra-Dabra-Tory. She also teaches classical/contemporary voice at Concordia University and at her private studio in Montreal. Known for her sincere expressivity and warm mezzo-soprano voice, Irene Feher performs regularly as a soloist and recitalist. With almost 25 years of teaching experience, 29 years of performing experience, and a passion for healthy vocal production, Irene teaches musicians and singers of all ages and levels, combining formal classical training, classical and popular performance experience, somatic awareness, and MfP improvisation techniques. A devoted pedagogue, Irene Feher completed her doctoral degree at The Schulich School of Music/McGill University.

Office Staff

Bonnie Darling

Bonnie Darling is the heart and hostess of Music for People’s office.  She is the friendly voice on the phone messages, the one who caringly listens to callers and helps with all registration details, and the one who handles the business aspects of Music for People behind the scenes.

Adjunct Faculty

Jim Oshinsky

Jim OshinskyJames Oshinsky, Ph.D. is a psychologist and musician who has been part of Music for People since its inception. Jim helped formalize Music for People’s training programs, especially in the area of group dynamics and leadership.

He is the author of Return to Child, Music for People’s Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Group Leadership.

A guitarist, bassist, percussionist and singer, Jim has led sessions in many aspects of musicianship at Music for People sessions and in his own Music From the Heart workshops. Behind the scenes, Jim has served Music for People as a staff member, director, board member and board president. He has a private practice in psychology and teaches college classes in psychology and music at Adelphi University in New York.

Web sites:
Email: oceansky@optonline.net

Recently Retired

David Darling

David Darling was born in Elkhart, Indiana, was tutored on piano from the age of four and began to study cello at ten. David’s career began as an elementary and secondary school teacher and conductor of band and orchestra, specializing in cello and bass. He later taught music and served as orchestra conductor and faculty cellist at Western Kentucky University. While at Indiana State College he began to consider the potential of the cello in improvised music.

In 1969 David joined the Grammy Award-winning Paul Winter Consort, a progressive band for its time whose sound blended jazz with Brazilian, African, Indian and other world music. During his eight-year stint as soloist, composer and vocalist with the Consort, Darling was exposed at length to ensemble and solo improvisation.

Since leaving the Consort in 1978, he has dedicated himself to a solo performing and recording career, and to teaching music and improvisation. David’s solo albums and recording collaborations represent a worldview of musical genres.

In 1986 he co-founded with Bonnie Insull, Music for People, a non-profit educational network dedicated to teaching and fostering improvisation as a means of creative self-expression. David Darling’s unconventional, playful teaching style has helped open the world of music and improvisation to thousands.

Darling worked for Young Audiences, Inc., a National Medal of the Arts award-winning organization dedicated to enriching children’s lives by providing in-school programs, classroom workshops, artists’ residencies and performances. David Darling was presented with the 1995 Artist of the Year Award in recognition of his hard work, innovations and creativity in the service of arts-in-education.

Darling has collaborated on performances and recordings with more than three dozen other musicians, among them: Paul Winter Consort, Bobby McFerrin, Spyro Gyra, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai — also including Peter, Paul and Mary; Tai Ji master Chungliang Al Huang; Ralph Towner; Jon Christensen; Jan Garbarek; Dino Saluzzi; Terje Rypdal; Ketil Bjornstad; the Nickolais-Louis Dance Theater, and the innovative dance ensemble, Pilobolus. His collaboration with Nakai and Kater, an album entitled “Migration,” was named 1992 New Age Album of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD).

Darling contributed to the musical score of German director Wim Wenders’ film “Until the End of the World” and was a featured solo improvisor on the Wenders film “Far Away, So Close.” Other film credits include music for Jean-Luc Godard’s classic “Nouvelle Vague,” the 1996 movies “Heat” and “Mostly Mozart,” and recently a US National Park Service film “Canyonlands.”

David has worked with Peter Kater, Patrick Leonard, Coleman Barks, the Bunon tribe of Taiwan, Hearts of Space, Wind Over The Earth, The Relaxation Company and numerous musicians in his home studio. He created Blue Adagio Music where he produces CDs for other artists.

His 2001 CD Release “Cello Blue” was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best New Age Album” category, and David’s release “Prayer for Compassion” won the 2009 Grammy for Best New Age Album of the Year! He can be reached at davidcello@mac.com.[/columnize]

Julie Weber

Julie WeberJulie Weber is a graduate of and is the immediate former Chairperson of the Musicianship and Leadership Program (MLP) for Music for People.  Her deep love of and curiosity about sound continues to lead her into various paths in a life centered on music and the arts. She has 32 years of experience as a music educator and children’s choral director.

She was in the vanguard of women involved in the medium of electronic music, also teaching 7 years at the graduate level in an original, now vintage, Moog Electronic Music Studio.  She was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Creative Artist Public Service grants for Multimedia Performance and Music Composition.  For a number of years she was involved in the Avant-Garde Music Scene composing electronic music, creating multimedia performance pieces and unique concert experiences, composing for modern theater and dance, including, Robert Wilson’s “Deafman Glance” and electronic music for dance film aired on national public television. Julie is a pianist, composer, electronic musician and innovative educator.

She is currently involved in composing, performing, recording, giving private sessions and facilitating workshops. These workshops in community building, personal growth, going deeper into one’s musicianship, and expressing one’s musical self through improvisation, integrate the philosophies of Music for People with her own.

The way she moves through a room, inviting you to listen, to play, and be moved by the present moment has been described as “a moment of pure Zen” “Before you know it, you’ll be transported to a place that is both playful and profoundly creative.  I’m always amazed at the music that comes out of her workshops!” She believes that providing a supportive environment for these process-centered creative experiences bring us to the center of our beings where we can experience immense joy, where we can do some of our best learning as human travelers and give a great gift to our world.  Her newest passion is learning to play the cello.

Lynn Miller

Lynn MillerLynn Miller acted as coordinator for the Music for People Musicianship and Graduate Programs and facilitator for the vocal track at The Art of Improvisation. Lynn is also on staff for Flute Haven Native Flute School. She has been adjunct faculty in the music therapy Department of Immaculata University. Lynn has a private practice where she specializes in Therapeutic Voice and Sound Healing.

Musically, Lynn has a background in folk, jazz and is influenced by world music. Along with her passion for the voice, she also plays the Native flute, guitar and other string instruments from around the world.  Lynn is also a visual artist who has created mosaic and painted murals in hospitals and communities in the US and Europe.

Lynn is the author of SpiritArts, Transformation through Creating Art, Music and Dance. SpiritArts is a guide toward authentic self through improvisation,the arts and spirituality.  For additional information visit LynnMiller.org.

Eric Miller

Eric MillerEric Miller, Ph.D. MT-BC  served as Executive Director for Music for people from 1997 to 2014. He is credited with development of the MfP Europe program, the community service initiative, on-site digital recording and CD operations, and much behind the scenes effort.

Eric is a biofeedback therapist, board-certified music therapist and author of Bio-guided Music Therapy (2011) Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He serves as Coordinator for the Ott Lab for Music & Health at Montclair University in the Music Therapy Dept.  International presentations include sessions at the World Music Therapy Congress in Seoul, S. Korea, Hsien Chuan University in Tapei, Taiwan, and workshops in Kiental, Switzerland, Cogolin, France and Torino, Italy.  In 2012, Eric was the Keynote Speaker at a conference at Bangalore University in India on music and mental health.

Eric also has a love for badminton. Since his retirement from MFP, he created a center dedicated to Badminton, Smasheville Arts and Badminton Center.  The center brings together many players from the US, India, Asia and the Phillipines.

Faculty and Staff – Europe

Find out more about the Faculty and Staff for Europe Workshops.

Legacy Musicianship & Leadership Program Chairs

Joelle Danant
Arianna Rose
Betsy Bevan
Peter Hawes
Bonnie Insull