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

Activator Academy Staff Bios, A vailability

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!


or call #847-477-7967 to make a reservation or to discuss placement questions. 

Ami Crawford- Little Dreamers 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: Online Lessons: Monday, Thursdays, Friday's & Saturdays    

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

Drummer / Percussionist / Piano

Live at CROYA: Available 

2pm- 6pm Monday & Thursdays

Sam Subar, a native of the Chicagoland area, began playing drums at age 11. With a natural sensibility behind the kit and the ability to learn by ear early on, Sam’s relationship with rhythm and music bloomed quickly. It didn’t take long for him to realize music would be a passion he’d want to pursue for the rest of his life. Sam’s adolescent years revolved around continually improving behind the drum set through: practicing at home and taking private lessons, participating in his high school music program, and playing professionally with a variety of groups in various musical contexts both locally and internationally. After graduating high school, Sam had the great fortune of attending Berkeley College of Music on scholarship where he took his drumming to new heights and graduated with honors in 2019. Once completing his degree, Sam moved back to Chicago where he currently spends his time pursuing a freelance career in teaching, performing, producing, and djing. Sam is passionate about spreading his love for rhythm and music with others. He mentors individuals of all ages through sharing everything he’s learned and teaches the necessary techniques to open one’s heart, mind, and four-way coordination to the endless musical possibilities that exist behind the drum set. 

Nick Christofalos

Drum & Beginner Guitar Teacher

Online Lessons: Available Monday's, Tuesdays, Thursdays after 3pm.

Nick has played in many cover bands and in several accomplished original, indie rock bands as a drummer. He enjoys writing original music on guitar and drums, and has spent a lot of time in the recording studio over the years. He enjoys helping young people discover a love and interest for music in many forms, and has a talent for making learning easy and lessons fun. Nick & his wife Shelia are the founders of Activator Music Academy and he has taught for over 20 years. 

Michael Salgado

Guitar, Bass, Voice & Piano

Live at CROYA

Jazz to Rock!

Available Thursday's

Bio Coming soon! 

Referrals have been critically important to the outstanding growth of our organization over the past 11 years. Refer a friend to Activator Academy today by filling out our quick Referral Form. If they enroll for at least 1 month of lessons, you will receive 1 FREE lesson! There is no limit to the number of FREE lessons you can please help us spread the word about Activator Academy!