Joel Leach, Emeritus Professor of Music, began his tenure at CSUN as director of its award-winning Jazz Band and the founding director of the Music Department’s Performance Option in Percussion. 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, Professor Leach founded the Music Industry Studies (M.I.S.) Option. Shortly thereafter, he vacated his positions as head of the Jazz and Percussion areas so he could focus his energies toward the continued development of the M.I.S. Option. Under his leadership, the M.I.S. Option 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).
Professor 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, Professor 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 300 magazine articles in the areas of Percussion, Jazz and the Music Industry.
Professor 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 are available worldwide. He is active 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.
Professor Leach is a Past-President of the International Association for Jazz Education (I.A.J.E.).
Beyond the field of music, Mr. Leach co-authored Airfare Secrets Exposed. And in 1993, one year prior to the Northridge earthquake, Professor Leach authored what to this day remains the nation’s best selling book on earthquake preparedness: Earthquake Prepared; Securing Your Home, Protecting Your Family.