Steve Shanley is an assistant professor of music at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA), where he coordinates the music education and jazz studies programs. Prior to his full-time appointment to Coe, Shanley spent 10 years teaching music at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. Groups under his direction earned over 40 Division I ratings, and over 75 of his students were selected for the Iowa All-State Band and Jazz Band. Shanley’s band qualified for the Iowa Jazz Championships every year and was the only 4A band to place in the top six each of his last nine years. Additionally, his band was selected twice as the featured jazz ensemble at the Iowa Bandmasters Association conference, performed regularly at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center Crème de la Crème concerts, and was chosen to play for President George W. Bush. When the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) filed for bankruptcy in 2008, Shanley led the efforts to reform Iowa’s IAJE unit into what is now the Jazz Educators of Iowa. During his two years as the founding president of JEI, the organization made substantial improvements to the All-State Jazz Bands, including the addition of the 3A ensemble, streamlined audition requirements, and implementation of reference and play-a-long recordings.
Shanley continues to be active in jazz education at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels. Under his guidance, the Coe College Jazz Summit has become one of the nation’s largest educational jazz festivals, involving over 2,000 middle and high school students each year. He presents regularly at music education conferences on topics such as beginning jazz band strategies, high school jazz rehearsal techniques, rhythm section considerations, and improvisation concepts. Shanley is in demand as a guest conductor and adjudicator, and he has been invited to work as a clinician with over 75 middle and high school jazz programs in Iowa. He recently contributed to the second volume of Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz(GIA Publications), was the rhythm section editor for James Dreier’s Latin Jazz Guide (Hal Leonard Publications), and was hired by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to write jazz pedagogy questions for the Praxis II examinations. Shanley is an artistic advisor and was a founding director and committee chair for the Corridor Jazz Project, which pairs professional jazz musicians with Eastern Iowa high school jazz bands for a CD recording and concert. He is the director and co-founder of the North Corridor All-Star Jazz Ensemble, which features the top high school musicians from the I-380 corridor on the main stage of the Iowa City Jazz Festival each summer. He is currently Vice President of JEI and Co-Chair of the Iowa Jazz Championships.
In addition to teaching, Shanley plays piano for the Rod Pierson Big Band, ¡Ritmocano!, Orquesta Alto Maiz, Local on the 8s, Christopher’s Very Happy. Band., and various other solo and small-group jazz engagements. Middle schools, high schools, and collegiate ensembles have performed his jazz arrangements, and over 1,000 of his works have been performed by musical ensembles throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Shanley earned a B.M.E. from the University of Northern Iowa, M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota, M.A. from the University of Iowa, and completed Ph.D. coursework at the University of Iowa.