“Of all the lessons that I’ve learned from Walter, I think the most profound is the importance of work ethic.” Krissy Jackson, IPR Career Services Coordinator and Former IPR student said when asked about her memories of Walter Chancellor’s classes. That was a few years ago, but Chancellor has continued to make a strong impression on his students. Nick Larner, a BFA student in the Digital Video and Media Production program said, “It’s cool, since Walt’s class is one of the first you take at IPR – because he’s open, big, straight to the point, and no B.S.”
Walter Chancellor’s first reaction to IPR co-founder Jackie Robinson’s invitation to teach was hesitant. But after he had a chance to tour the facilities and look closer at plans for the school, he was impressed and IPR had its first teacher. Chancellor’s position as a mainstay in the jazz and R & B community in the Twin Cities, as well as his extensive experience in Audio and MIDI production and composition made him a perfect fit. This summer, Chancellor celebrated his fifteenth anniversary as an Audio Production and Engineering instructor at IPR.
Chancellor’s teaching approach includes awakening his students to real life aspects of working in the music industry. He says he wants to mentor them by revealing all aspects of the work, including “putting Cheerios on the shelf.” He tells them, “Don’t count on a single thing,” encouraging the concept of diversified entrepreneurship. And of course, he is a excellent example of this, continuing to perform and record with national and local artists, running his own production company – Chancellor Music – providing music production, song writing, and session work for artists, film, advertising, and corporate groups, as well as teaching.
Master of Cool
Fellow teacher, Kevin Bowe, mentions that he has “worked several sessions with Walt and had him in my Mastermix class playing the sax, and every time the students’ jaws are on the floor, not only because of his playing, but his overall ‘Shaft’ like demeanor leaves them speechless with awe.” Bowe goes on to describe a his favorite Walter memory, “He used to sit in on sax with the Alison Scott band at the Dakota. We always played to a full house there and EVERY SINGLE TIME Walter walked on that stage, the entire band became invisible. No one owns the spotlight like Walter, his presence hypnotized every single woman in the room (and probably most of the men, too) in a way that I’ve never seen. It was a gift to sit there, watching and listening.”
Passion, Discipline and Initiative
Chancellor’s dedication to mentoring young musicians and music professionals can be seen in his loyalty to all of his students at IPR, as well as his initiatives in the Twin Cities communities. He was a founder of the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project, and helped launch Ideawerks, an after school and summer program in Minneapolis Parks. He also works with under privileged kids on their music projects through the Central YMCA.
“It’s been an honor to not only be one of Walter’s former students, but also to work with him at IPR.” Krissy Jackson adds. “Whether it’s encouraging other artists to follow their dreams, connect students with organizations for internships, or collaborating with others, his heart is into this 100 percent. He truly does care about seeing people learn, transform, and become great in the field. It’s that passion that I remember from when I was a student, and… it hasn’t changed as all.”
Chancellor himself says, “I’m still teaching and learning from my students.” And his advice is that you are your own best teacher, once you acquire discipline and initiative, they become a habit, a part of your lifestyle. “At that point, the sky is the limit.”