DePaul University School of Music > About > Featured Profiles > Mark Hamada

Mark Hamada

Undergraduate, Music Education


Schaumburg, IL native Mark Hamada is a pianist and violinist with a wide range of musical interests. He is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Music Education. Mark is also a DePaul University blogger. Check out his blog to learn even more about him and his time here at the School of Music

What is your musical background, and how did it prepare you for your current studies?
I am extremely fortunate to have parents who fully supported their children's education in music. As the youngest of three children, my brother and sister have been my role models and musical mentors throughout my life. As a little boy, I used to sit next to my parents in the audience of my brother's and sister's concerts and hoped that some day I would be able to perform like them. My sister is currently a Doctoral candidate in piano performance at Northwestern University, and my brother played guitar in a pop-punk band from high school through college. Having a variety of music juxtaposed within our house was a major influence on my perception of music today.

Thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful mother, I started piano lessons at age 3 and violin lessons at age 7. I played violin in the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra for many years and was fortunate to travel throughout Europe with the group. I discovered jazz in high school, playing piano in our school's jazz ensembles and in my own piano trio. As a pianist and violinist I had many wonderful performance opportunities in a variety of settings. I've also had a constant passion for pop music, pursuing the dream of being a rock star in various bands with my friends.

What do you like most about studying in Chicago?
Growing up in the suburbs made it difficult to commute into the city. Now that I am finally living in Chicago, I never take for granted the incredible amount of music that happens here every day. I love that there are so many venues hosting a variety of shows every night, and most of my favorite bands pass through Chicago. I am especially fond of Lollapalooza in the summer. There are also countless opportunities to enjoy music for free, so it is important for students to take advantage of all the city has to offer. Chicago is undoubtedly one of the best cities to study music.

The School of Music is fortunate to be part of a large university with countless activities and opportunities for involvement and leadership. I strongly urge all music students to take full advantage of being a DePaul student.

One of the best experiences of my life was being an Orientation Leader for DePaul in Summer 2008. This experience allowed me to improve my social skills, help incoming freshman acclimate to college life, and give back to my community and university. Above all else, I met and worked with students from different corners of the University.

What do you like most about the School of Music?
I cannot express how much I have enjoyed working with my piano teacher, Aglika Angelova. Aglika has completely changed the way I think about piano performance and has vastly improved my life as a pianist. I look forward to my lessons every week because Aglika genuinely cares about her students progress. She is direct, honest and holds nothing back. My experience at DePaul would not be the same without her support, of which I am truly grateful.

How well do you feel DePaul is preparing you for your future?
I hope that I will be ready for the real world; in the meantime, DePaul is definitely helping me prepare to the best of my ability. Jacqueline Kelly-McHale, coordinator of the Music Education Program, has been very influential in shaping my perception of music in schools. She emphasizes Why, not just How, teaching music is crucial in our society. All of the courses in the program are very practical for my career, especially those that require me to stand in front of a class and teach a lesson. I have enjoyed all of my instrumental methods classes, and I am very excited to begin student teaching in my senior year.

Mark's Blog