Like many good ideas, it all started on an obligatory road trip, headed home for Thanksgiving.

Tom Kociela and Bill Baxtresser met in the 8th grade when they attempted to perform Dvorak’s 8th symphony in the Livonia Youth Philharmonic.  True collaborative genius didn’t strike, however, until twelve years later, Thanksgiving weekend 2010, when Tom and Bill shared a car ride from Chicago to their hometown of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

An avid music student since the moment Tom met his first trombone in Dave Drake's band class in 1996, he quickly figured out what teaching philosophies and resources were instrumental (excuse the pun) in his musical development, and which ones were an unintuitive, ineffective waste of time.  By the time Tom started studying Music Education and Music Performance at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, he had dozens of innovative educational concepts germinating in his head, and itched to see them realized. But how?  And when?  And in what form, exactly?

Meanwhile, Bill studied Music Performance (specializing in trumpet) at Western Michigan University, and spent much of his time brainstorming ways to improve the recording process for all musicians.  He knew there were big strides to be made, and over time began wondering, “How could a smarter, more streamlined, more specific approach to individual and orchestral recordings transform how a musician can improve, showcase, and market their skills? And what would that approach look like? And how could that kind of experience be created?”

Friends and respected fellow musicians became business partners as they explored these questions together, and pooled their separate experiences and musical intuitions to form the incomparable TKBB Press.

TKBB Presses’ first product, The Intonation Repair Tool, created in 2002, started as Tom’s personal improvement tool to improve his intonation without the need for a drone.  Bill had always been critical of Tom’s intonation, and saw vast improvements, noting how it could surely be employed by others of all different levels to help them reach more confidence and excellence in refining intonation.  The product’s initial launch gained a following of professional players and college studio teachers alike.  Realizing it had even greater potential, Tom stopped selling it in 2004, as he prepared to showcase The IRT as the first product of an extensive music education company. 

Since then, Tom and Bill have harnessed their wide range of performance and teaching experiences to provide new products and services to today and tomorrow’s finest musicians. TKBB Press takes tremendous pride in being lead innovators in the art, science, and social impact of music, and looks forward to continuing to evolve to meet the needs of their talented clientele.

TKBB Press Founders

Tom Kociela

A sought after conductor, clinician and producer, Tom has earned the nickname “Mr. fix-it” throughout many music circles.  He directs the Brass Ensemble at the University of Chicago where he is also Instructor in Trombone and Euphonium.  Tom is the Assistant Conductor and Winds and Brass Coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Debut Orchestra.  He works individually with students at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and maintains his own small private studio.  As an arts instructor at the Chicago High School for the Arts he teaches Low Brass Technique and Music Theory Fundamentals.  Tom has taught rhythm classes to beginning and intermediate instrumental music students at the Triton College Preparatory Music School and was the acting band director at Rhodes Elementary School (K-8) in River Grove during the 2007-08 year.

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As a performer, Tom has been a substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on tenor trombone and has been featured on the euphonium and bass trumpet within the orchestra. Over the past five years he has shared the stage with conductors and artists such as: Bernard Haitink, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Conlon, Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle DeYoung, Sir James Galway, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Sir Patrick Stewart. He has traveled to Carnegie Hall with the CSO three times, performing under Pierre Boulez and Riccardo Muti. He also performed with the CSO for Festa Muti! A Free Concert for Chicago in Millennium Park. Tom has performed with the Ars Viva Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, West Michigan Symphony, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Kenosha Symphony, Racine Symphony and the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra.  Tom can be heard on recordings backing artists such as saxophonist Steve Cole, pianist Russ Ferrante, singer/songwriter Brandon McHose and jazz legend Curtis Fuller. He was the producer for the Gaudete Brass Quintet's album Conversations in Time.  Tom studied music education with Charles Groeling and trombone with Jay Friedman and Donald Babcock.

Tom may be reached via e-mail at: tom@tkbbpress.com

Bill Baxtresser

Bill Baxtresser is a trumpeter and educator based in Chicago. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from from Western Michigan University. Mr. Baxtresser has studied with some of the world’s preeminent trumpeters,including Scott Thornburg, Stephen Jones, Barry Bauguss, Bruce Dickey, Kiri Tollaksen, Brian Moon, Ramón Parcells and Marcus Belgrave.

Mr. Baxtresser is a member of the Gaudete Brass Quintet, an ensemble committed to the enhancement of the brass quintet genre through the commissioning of new works, new editions of early music, and education. Mr. Baxtresser holds the position of 2nd trumpet with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Scott Speck.

Bill Baxtresser has performed throughout the United States at concert venues which include Merkin Hall, The Byron Colby Barn, Cedarhurst Chamber Music series. His professional performance experience has included engagements with Chicago Composers

Orchestra, Millennium Chamber Players, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra,  Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and the Bay View Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Baxtresser maintains a private studio in the Chicago area as well as assisting in master classes with the Gaudete Brass Quintet at Juilliard School of Music, Eastman School of Music and Eastern Illinois University.

Passionate about early music, Mr. Baxtresser enjoys studying the Cornetto, Natural Trumpet and Recorder and has attended the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute.

Bill may be reached via e-mail at: bill@tkbbpress.com