Fun Music Lessons Exclusively for Residents of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, & Knollwood -INSPIRING YOUTH SINCE 2001

Activator Academy Staff Bios, Availability, & E-mails

We are pleased to present the bios and schedules of our staff members.  At Activator Academy, in partnership with CROYA,  we specialize in empowering  young people to learn and to bring out the best in themselves.   Our qualified Music Instructors build a positive relationship with students - allowing them to feel encouraged, respected and valued...This in turn, helps students to become more creative and more capable. We see GREAT potential in every young person that enters our doors every day!

PLEASE CONTACT DIRECTOR, NICK CVIJOVIC AT or call #847-810-3988 to make a reservation or to discuss placement questions. 

Nick Cvijovic- Music Program Director & Recording Studio Manager
Guitar/Bass/Ukulele/Songwriting/Band Coaching Instructor. Available Mon, Tues, Thurs.

Nick Cvijovic has been an instructor at Activator Music Academy since 2008 and is a graduate of DePaul University. Nick has been active in the Chicago area music scenes since 2010, mostly playing with his band Butchered, and also contributing to various other musical and recording projects.

(847) 322 8374 - cell 

Ami Crawford- Little Dreamers 

Ami has been directing "Little Dreamers" and teaching Voice, Piano, Uke and Guitar at Activator Academy since the opening of the new CROYA Student Union. She is very thankful for the opportunity to work in such an exciting environment. She is a 2008 graduate of Lake Forest College with a double major in Music and Communication.  She works at the First Presbyterian Preschool in Lake Forest, IL as a Music Teacher.  While she enjoys working with children of all ages, teaching the fundamentals of music to beginners is her specialty. Ami loves spending time with her husband Andrew and two children, Jimmy and Emi! 
Ami is currently teaching Little Dreamers on Saturday mornings! 

Tony Porter- Violin, Viola, Cello and String Ensemble, Available Wednesday & Thursday

Tony Porter is our string instructor at Activator Academy.  Tony has performed all over the world and has mingled with the greats, including Yo-Yo Ma.  He has decades of teaching experience and is a perfect choice for beginning or advanced students.

Sam Subar

Drmer / Percussionist


Availible -  Tuesdays

Picking up the instrument by ear at age 11, Sam Subar began to learn how to play drums by playing along to his favorite classic rock records. Through doing so, he gained a passion for music and became eager to expand his musical knowledge and rhythmic technique. Shortly after, Sam began to take drum lessons at The North Shore Music Institute. He did so under the instruction of Jim Hines (Brian Wilson). Through weekly lessons with Jim, Sam began to learn funk, jazz, rock and rudimental techniques. In high school, Sam was enthralled by the various musical opportunities offered. He became a percussionist in the Marching Giant’s drum line, Highland Park High School Jazz Ensemble, Honors Jazz Combo, and the Highland Park High School’s Wind Ensemble in which he toured China and received both the Most Improved Player Award and Woody Herman Jazz Award. Outside of school, Sam performed with his own Pop-Rock group, Xazz, playing at local Chicago venues like The House of Blues, Elbo Room, and Bottom Lounge. Additionally, the group released two all original EP’s in 2014 and 2015.

In the summer of 2015 Sam deferred acceptance to Berklee College of Music in order to pursue the opportunity to play for viral sensation, Caroline Baran of Post Modern Jukebox, whom he still performs for on occasion. With Baran, Sam played around the Chicagoland area and toured Poland. In the summer of 2016 Sam began playing for his brother, Max Subar, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter. In addition to recording drums and percussion for his debut EP, In A Dream, Sam has played with Max throughout Chicago at venues like Schubas Tavern, Subterranean, The City Winery, and Space. He is also featured on Max's second EP, What The Story Says, released this past spring. 

In 2016 Sam began attending Berklee College of Music on scholarship as a full-time student studying Professional Music with concentrations in Performance and Music Business. There he pushed himself within his craft and was lucky enough to perform and record with piano extraordinaire Jesus Javier Molina, The Bob Marley Ensemble, The Berklee Turntable Ensemble, Boston based Afro-Pop group Kina Zore, vibraphonist Colin Anderson, guitarists Gabe Childs and Hans Kristian Nordin, and singer songwriters Noah Kesselman and Corrina Tadros. He studied with the likes of Kenwood Dennard, Bob Gullotti, Steve Wilkes, Bob Tamagni, James Murphy, Jeffrey Lockhart and Dave DiCenso. During the summer of 2018, Sam traveled to Kenya with the non-for-profit organization Global Youth Groove along side a small group of Berklee students and faculty. There he had the opportunity to gig around the country. Additionally, he taught under privileged youth and young adults whom he helped forge a relationship with Berklee to pursue higher educational opportunities within the U.S. In the spring semester of 2019, Sam received the Pro Music Academic & Performance Scholarship Award in recognition of his outstanding work within his studies and involvement on and off campus musically. In May of 2019, he graduated from Berklee. His experience culminated as a selected performer in the 2019 Berklee Commencement Concert at The Agganis Arena where he had the immense privilege of performing in front of students and their families, faculty, professors, and honorary doctorates Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, and Alex Lacamoire.

After graduating, Sam moved back to his hometown of Chicago where he currently pursues a freelance career in drum performance, production and instruction. Today his pocket centric style behind the kit roots itself in rock, folk, funk, jazz, and r&b influences.