John Hylkema is a dynamic music educator, conductor, and professional musician based in central New Jersey. Since 2014, John has served as the Director of Bands at Readington Middle School in Readington, NJ where he was named the New Jersey Governer’s Educator of the Year in 2018. His duties include directing the 6th-8th grade concert bands, jazz ensemble, serving as the advisor for RMS’s chapter of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society, and is the district’s brass lesson specialist. He is also the Assistant Director for the Hunterdon Central Regional High School Marching Red Devils.
In 2012 John earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, and in 2014, he earned Master’s degrees in Wind Conducting and Music Education, all from Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music. During this time he served as Music Director and Conductor of the University Concert Band, Graduate Teaching Assistant for all the concert and athletic bands as well as instrumental music education courses, and performed as the principal trumpet in the University Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and various other musical organizations on campus and in the Syracuse community. John is currently in pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studies conducting with Director of University Bands, Dr. Todd Nichols.
As a conductor, John has previously studied with Dr. Bradley Ethington, Dr. James Tapia, Dr. John Laverty, Dr. Justin Mertz, and Maestro Daniel Hege of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He has also studied trumpet with Gabriel DiMartino, Vince DiMartino, and Larry Wright, and has performed and recorded albums with world-renowned artists such as Vince and Gabriel DiMartino, Ronald L. Caravan, Joseph Alessi, Carol Jantsch, Marshal McDonald, Maynard Ferguson, and the Boston Brass.
As an active performer and conductor, John plays trumpet with the Eastern Wind Symphony, is the Assistant Director of the Eastern Wind Symphony Youth Band, serves as the Assistant Director and Principal Trumpet for the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band, freelances as a pit orchestra musician, and continues to attend various conducting symposia around the country. His professional organizations include the National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association, New Jersey Association of Jazz Education, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha.