Joel Leach, Professor of Music, began his tenure at CSUN as director of its award-winning Jazz Band and the founding director of the Percussion major. During his 26-year tenure as director of the Jazz Band, he was named “Jazz Educator of the Year” (Los Angeles Jazz Society) and an “American National Treasure” (Los Angeles City Council). In 1994, Prof. Leach founded the Music Industry Studies (M.I.S.) major, presently the largest within the Department of Music. Shortly thereafter, he vacated his positions as head of the Jazz and Percussion areas so he could focus his energies toward the continued enhancement of the M.I.S. major.
Under Professor Leach’s leadership, the Music Industry Studies major drew the attention of Mike Curb, founder of Curb Records. In 2007, Mr. Curb donated $1 million for the establishment of the Mike Curb Endowed Chair in Music Industry Studies. Prior to joining the CSUN faculty, Professor Leach taught at Texas Tech University (Jazz and Percussion), Michigan State University (Percussion), and in the Lansing, Michigan Public Schools (Instrumental Music). Prof. Leach is the author of four books: Percussion Manual for Music Educators (Warner Pub./Alfred Pub.), Music Copyright Basics, (Alfred Pub. Co.), Scoring for Percussion (Warner Pub./Alfred Pub.), and A Concise Guide to Music Industry Terms (Mel Bay Pub. Co.).
As a composer/arranger, Mr. Leach composed and/or arranged more than 175 publications for Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Percussion. In addition, he has authored more than 250 magazine articles in the areas of Percussion, Jazz and the Music Industry. Mr. Leach founded and formerly served as President of two publishing companies: Studio 4 Music (performance music) and Studio 4 Productions (books, non-music), whose products remain available worldwide.
Currently, he serves nationally as an Expert Witness specializing in the area of Music Copyright Infringement. He also serves as a Musicologist for motion picture studios, television studios, and recording companies. Mr. Leach is a Past-President of the International Association for Jazz Education (I.A.J.E.). He has also served on the Board of the Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.).