Steve Masakowski never focused on making teaching his career. While attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music he earned a Professional Diploma rather than a degree in music education. When pianist/educator Ellis Marsalis offered him a full-time position in 1992 at the University of New Orleans, he remembers thinking, “Oh, I’ll give myself five years.” That, of course, was almost 30 years ago and the guitarist has gone on to become a full professor of jazz studies and holds the Coca-Cola Endowed Chair of Jazz Studies at the university.

“I basically learned by playing and of course I studied with some fantastic teachers like Hank Mackie,” Masakowski says. “I personally never really put much credence in degrees. At the time, it was more important for me

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