Hand picked by us... Especially for you

Derek Yukna

Derek Yukna


  • Home
  • Syosset

I began my musical journey at the age of seven when I picked up my very first instrument. In my elementary school students were allowed to join orchestra in the third grade, and so I did. I played viola for one year until my interest turned to concert band. When I was given the opportunity I joined the school band and chose the trumpet, which I played from the fall of my fourth grade year until the day I graduated high school. As much as I enjoyed playing trumpet and had loved being a part of the symphonic and jazz bands, my interest in the guitar slowly began to take time away from all things brass. I started playing guitar at ten after being inspired by a few of my favorite bands, and the love for it has only grown over the years. I still remember my debut performance of ‘Crazy Train’ when I was 11 at my middle school shortly before summertime. I had the pleasure of taking private lessons with guitar guru Carmen Caramanica from age eleven until the time came to head to college at seventeen (I had a late birthday). His skill and wisdom combined with a heartfelt personality helped cultivate my skills as a young player and develop a deeper understanding of musicality. Some of my biggest jumps in progress were made under his guidance. Upon graduating, I found myself under the wing of Dr. Timothy Schmidt, former guitar instructor at Onondaga Community College. I studied classical guitar with Dr. Schmidt for two years upon graduating with an A.A.S. in 2012. I gained a great deal from Schmidt’s teachings, and to this day I practice his methods. My first semester at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam began in the fall of 2012. I became part of a trusted and supportive brotherhood of guitarists that is the Crane Guitar Studio. Dr. Douglas Rubio, Professor of Guitar at Crane, was a ‘Guitar Dad’ to all of us. We all became very close to him during our years as his students. Besides being an incredibly skilled player, Rubio had a connection with music of an impressive nature, and his lessons were prime examples of what it means to be a teacher of great measure. In the aftermath of my college graduation, I lived at home with my parents and worked full-time for about a year. In that time I was constantly practicing at home as well as attempting to connect with other musicians in the area. This past spring, I seized the opportunity to move out of the Utica area to Westbury, Long Island after finding a place to live. Around the time I had finished making the move, I was able to connect with iSchool Owner and Director Yi Qian and found myself interested in being a part of such a wonderful institution. It is a pleasure to be involved in a school that is home to exceptional teachers, exceptional staff, and an exceptional ideal. When I am not teaching I enjoy writing and playing with my band, being around my friends, visiting my family, and bodybuilding.

  • Holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Crane School of Music: SUNY Potsdam