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!


or call #847-810-3988 to make a reservation or to discuss placement questions. 

Nick Cvijovic- Activator Music Program Director.

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

Drummer / Percussionist


Availible -  Tuesdays

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. 

Guitar & Bass
Clayton Kyle is a graduate of Berkeley college of music. He is heavily influenced by the classic rock he grew up on as well as more modern bands like Cage the Elephant and Arctic Monkeys. When not playing music he enjoys running and the occasional West Wing episode.
Clayton has openings on Tuesdays & Thursdays. 
Piano & Drums
Andy Danstrom started studying music at age 10 and quickly his love for playing and studying music grew. By the beginning of high school, he knew that music would be the main focus of his life. He spent those years working hard at learning everything he could; learning music theory, working on classical piano, jazz standards and composition along with intensive practice on the drums. He went on to study with master drummer-musician-composer, Dana Hall, at DePaul University for his undergraduate degree and graduated with a Bachelors of Music in 2018. 

As a teacher, Andy stresses musicality and a thoughtfulness about playing the instrument. He finds it important to instill an understanding of the fundamentals as much as an ability to simply play something correctly. He believes that if a student can build a proper foundation, they will have the opportunity to develop into fully formed musicians, if that is something they choose to do. Above all else, he hopes to nurture a true love and appreciation for music and the practice of music that can enrich a student's life long after lessons stop.  
Andy has been playing music professionally since moving to Chicago in 2014. In that time he has performed and led groups to play many of the jazz venues across the city, including the Jazz Showcase and Andy's Jazz Club. He is currently freelancing and performing in many different groups across the Chicago jazz scene, as well as composing and leading his own projects.

Andy is available on Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday & Fridays.