Professor Shawn Maxwell strikes a harmonious cord at ECC

  • Tags: Faculty Profile
Published 03/14/2022
Shawn Maxwell, professor of music

Shawn Maxwell, professor of music


Shawn Maxwell began as a professor of music in 2015, but his previous job teaching high school music at Geneva Community High School was what first brought him to the campus. “On several occasions, I brought my high school students to Elgin Community College’s campus,” said Maxwell. “Over several years, the high school students and I would take part in the ECC Jazz Festival and indulge in the wonderful series of visiting artists that performed on stage.”

Outside of teaching, Maxwell has his hands full raising three young girls and his backyard barn of animals! Read on to learn more about Maxwell’s work at ECC and the beverage he loves to make.

What do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know or understand about your job? Today, I teach music at ECC! I have traditional classes such as music theory and music appreciation each semester, and I also instruct the live performing jazz ensemble class.

If you could instantly be an expert at one thing, what would you choose? Piano! This would make every aspect of my musical teaching, understanding, and sharing so much richer. 

What do you like to do outside of work? What are some of your favorite hobbies, places to go, activities, etc.? Outside of the music halls of ECC, my wife and I are busy raising three girls (five, three, and five months) and taking care of our zoo of barnyard animals such as horses, mini donkeys, goats, cats, chickens, and honeybees.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled, or where is somewhere you dream of going, and why? Ireland would currently be my favorite trip and, by far, the biggest trip I’ve taken but also very different than other trips in my life. We stayed at a private cottage in a one-road town for a few weeks. We had so much time to immerse ourselves in the culture. 

Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn I love to make beer! What to do with it all?

What piece of advice would you share with your 20-year-old self or with our students? Live each day. It’s your 24 hours or your 50-minute class.  Don’t waste that time; you don’t know how you might need that information or experience someday down the road. But plan for the future…even a little bit will help.

What was your first ever job? What is one thing you can say you took away from it? My first official paystub was as a lifeguard. I spent lots of time training before the heavy burden of other lives was under my watch. So many lessons (i.e. first aid) have helped in my educational career.

Favorite movie, book, tv show? Share one, or a few of your favorites! I’ve always been a big science fiction junkie. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica. Not to say all of it is good…