The Crew

Dr. Brian Chin is the Director of the Common Tone Arts Music Academy. Brian is also the Founder and Executive Director of Common Tone Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring positive change for our diverse world through arts education and music.  As an international trumpet soloist for Yamaha and advocate for new music, Brian has commissioned and premiered many works for trumpet and is the creator of the Universal Language Project, a concert series creating new music and imaginative programs. Brian is also an executive leader with the UNITY Arts Alliance, a national collective of artist-run non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice and demonstrating an alternative model for working artists. His two solo recordings, Universal Language and Eventide are available on Origin Classical. Dr. Brian Chin is an Associate Professor of Music at Seattle Pacific University and Chair of the Music Department.  

I founded the CTA Music Academy to bring young people along in my life-long journey toward excellence in music. I have learned in twenty years of professional work that the skills that have enabled me to succeed come from outside of my traditional music training and that these skills can and should be taught. I aspire to build a community of fearless artists to transform lives and impact our world. Join me in this quest.


Jessie Polin is the CTA Music Academy Program Coordinator. Jessie is a Seattle based flutist and teacher; she divides her time between Seattle and Boise, Idaho where she is a member of the Boise Philharmonic. In Seattle, Jessie maintains a private studio and is an active freelancer. She is also a frequent performer with Seattle Modern Orchestra, one of Seattle's premiere contemporary ensembles.

Being a successful musician in today's landscape requires a broad and diverse skill-set. This academy offers young musicians the opportunity to widen their knowledge and experience in a very unique way, and I'm so excited to show our students how much the music world has to offer.



Steve Treseler is the CTA Music Academy Head of Improvisation. Steve is a Seattle-based saxophonist and author. DownBeat calls his music "beautifully crafted ensemble pieces—whether free, through-composed, or somewhere in between." He is the founder of the Game Symphony Workshop, which helps musicians collaboratively create and perform original music. Steve is on faculty at Seattle Pacific University and is the author of The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony and Creativity Triggers for Musicians.

I teach at the CTA Music Academy to help young musicians thrive artistically and professionally. It takes more than skills and talent—we need to embrace artistry, leadership, and authentic human connections to succeed in the 21st century.

Allison Damon is the CTA Music Academy Student Life Coordinator.  Allison is an outstanding trumpet player and a recent graduate of Seattle Pacific University.  Allison has a decade of experience as a camp counselor and leader at summer camps as well as music camps in the Pacific Northwest. She brings an enthusiasm for camp life as well as a passion for teaching and musical excellence.


The Faculty

As this Academy is unique in its curriculum, our faculty is selected based on a combination of the number of students participating, major instrument types, and specialty skills including improvisation, world music, American pop, and chamber music. The majority of our faculty for 2016 will be pulled from the Advisory Team. Our final faculty announcement will be released on May 15th.

The Team

  • Heather Bentley is a violist with Northwest Sinfonietta, co-founder of the North Corner Chamber Orchestra, an improvisor, composer, and collaborator. 
  • Allison Damon, bio above
  • Dr. David Krosschell is a trombonist with a background in both classical and jazz. David teaches music fundamentals and trombone at University of Puget Sound and Seattle Pacific University.
  • Brent Hages is a professional oboist and educator specializing in diverse music.
  • Dr. Danny Helseth is an international euphonium soloist and is the Head of Instrumental Music at Seattle Pacific University.
  • Francine Peterson is a bassoonist and legendary pedagogue and an advocate for student empowerment in the music business.
  • Jessie Polin, bio above
  • Dr. Ben Thomas is the Head of Music at Highline College, a percussionist, composer, and improvisor specializing in tango music and Latin jazz


Interested in becoming a counselor?

Accepting applications for camp counselors! If you are 21 years or older and enrolled in a higher ed music program and interested in applying to be a counselor for the CTA Music Academy, please contact us below.

Name *
CTA Music Academy Counselor Inquiry