A self-proclaimed troublemaker in his own right, Gruendler learned firsthand how impactful music can be when he joined the stage band in 6th grade and was immediately transformed into an exemplary student who would eventually make music his life's work.
Gruendler subscribes to Miles Davis' tenet: "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the [person] who plays it is 80%." Through his inquisitive nature and infectious desire to learn, Gruendler continues breaking molds by forging ahead to seek out and create an educational ecosystem that serves today's musicians by probing, "What other delivery methods are there? What do students really need to know to become independent, fulfilled music-makers? What serves to inspire the 21st century music student to remain engaged?" He is passionate about serving the needs of the individual music-maker, no matter what the age, and his outgoing, dynamic personality makes him the Pied Piper of alternative teaching strategies for today's music learners to help them find their own 80%.
Gruendler grasps the reality that music programs will likely continue to exist in some hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning, and that music-makers will continue to find a way to share their art no matter what the circumstance. He is committed to using his highly energized, vivacious 80% to help music educators better serve their students through the use of diverse teaching strategies as well as to help create a more entrepreneurial approach to music education overall moving forward.
A few of Dr. Donny Gruendler's session titles are:
- "Music Matters"
- "The Music Technology Landscape"
- "Student Evaluations of Teaching: Perceptions of Faculty Knowledge and Their Relation to Learning"
- "Anchoring Creativity within Today's Music Classrooms"
- "Diversification: Preparing Music Students for a 21st Century Income"