• Hello amazing band families and future amazing band families! My Name is Benjamin West and I am proud to call DPS 61 and Montessori Academy for Peace my homes! I began my education as a Kindergarten student in Decatur Public Schools at Washington Elementary, attended middle school at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (go Raiders!!), and graduated a Panther from Eisenhower High School. After graduating from EHS in 2001 I began my undergraduate coursework for Music Education at Millikin University. I have also earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Illinois University and love participating in continuing education at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, IL.

    I began teaching band for DPS 61 in 2005. I love teaching band and spending time with students and their families! It is important to me to give our families and students opportunities to leave the school building and experience live music in a variety of different ways, so that kids know it's possible to make a career out of their interests in music in new and unique ways! Each year we strive to attend at least one performance of a major, world-class ensemble, be it St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony or a Grammy Award winning artist, as well as attend competition in St. Louis area to compete against other schools! As a music educator, I strive to help each student realize their full potential as a musician.  I also strive to encourage students to become more self-directed in their improvement and goal setting as musicians and all other areas of their life.

    When I am not teaching, I enjoy leading a Taekwondo program at Life Foursquare Church with my amazing wife, spending time playing with and loving on my two energetic dogs (contact me for a play date!!), eating different, new foods from other cultures (so far Indian and Korean are my favorite cuisines!), and playing games with friends and students. In my free time I am also pursuing becoming a licensed pastor!

    If your family has any questions about your student’s instrumental education I would love to assist and be used as a resource to help your family with questions in any way I'm able! Please do not hesitate to call the school, 217-362-3370, or send me an email, bwest@dps61.org, and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner with the best answer I know or can find!