Music Industry Studies Faculty & Staff

Dr. Nick Vasallo | Program Lead, music composition



Bay Area native Dr. Nicholas Vasallo picked up the electric guitar while in high school and formed Antagony, later credited as birthing a popular subgenre of metal music called “deathcore”. A graduate of California State University, East Bay, Vasallo completed his doctorate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where in 2010 he was given the President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship Award – the first arts student to receive that honor. Other honors include the American Prize, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, MACRO composition award, and the San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices award. He has helped make Diablo Valley College “California’s finest community college for music” and a top 10 Music Industry School in California. Dr. Vasallo created the music composition programs at Diablo Valley College and Cal Poly Pomona. He has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, CSU East Bay, and Gavilan College. His students have went on to have successful careers as media composers, concert music composers, and graduate students at prestigious composition programs throughout the Unites States. Dr. Vasallo is the recipient of the San Francisco Classical Voice Music Educator Award 2013. His music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and available on Neuma Records, Innova Recordings and Unique Leader. Vasallo is also a passionate martial artist, he practices Jiu Jitsu and is the head instructor of Muay Thai at Danville Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing. He is a CMAT (Certified Martial Arts Teacher) and creator of the Muay Thai program at Global Martial Arts University. Vasallo is sponsored by and an affiliate of Zebra Athletics, Iron Neck, RXT-1, DoubleUP Roller, and Punch King. Vasallo also owns – a custom apparel company in Walnut Creek, CA.

Read the recent article about Dr. Vasallo in the DVC Inquirer:
Visit his website for more info:

Michael Aczon | music business



Michael A. Aczon has been a faculty member at DVC since 1996 teaching music business courses for the Music Industry Studies Program.  Michael brings a unique mix of music industry and educational experience to the courses he teaches, resulting in approaching the study of the music industry with a combination of historical, theoretical, artistic, and practical points of view. 

For over three decades, Michael has practiced entertainment law and personally managed clients at the highest levels of the entertainment industry. As a lawyer, he has represented a variety of clients in virtually every musical genre from local emerging artists to internationally recognized multi-platinum selling artists and successful entertainment companies. Michael has been described in the press as “bright, funny and supremely knowledgeable. He possesses that too rare ability to distill complicated issues of entertainment law and convey them in a clear, storyteller language we all can understand.”

Michael’s book, “The Musician’s Legal Companion” is widely used as a resource by independent musicians and as a textbook in music industry programs. His writing about the music business in publications including Electronic Musician and Guitar Player has guided artists through the evolution of the music industry since the early 1990s. He is frequently published and interviewed in various forms of media about the constantly changing music industry.

Along with being on the DVC faculty, Michael has been a faculty member of the SFSU Music and Recording Industry Program since 1992 and lectured as an adjunct professor teaching Entertainment Law at JFK School of Law and San Francisco Law School. He was an advisory committee member for the inaugural Grammy™ Foundation Entertainment Law Initiative Program, serves on the annual planning committee for the California Lawyers for the Arts Music Business Seminar, and frequently lectures at colleges and music industry seminars about music, business, and society.

Jon Bendich | songwriting



Jon Bendich is currently a teacher at both Diablo Valley College, San Ramon College and at SF State. Jon has also worked for the past thirty years as a percussionist, producer and songwriter in the SF Bay Area. Jon has performed with Tito Puente, George Duke and Stanley Clarke, Robin Ford, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Andy Narrell, The Last Poets, Frank McComb, Lisa Stansfield, MC Hammer, Lenny Williams and Ray Obiedo. Between 1985 - 1989 Jon recorded and performed as a member of The Pete Escovedo Orchestra.

From 1987 - 1992 Jon was signed as a songwriter and co-publisher with Famous Music, then a subsidiary of Paramount Corp.  Jon's catalog contains over 280 songs with more than eighty songs in commercial release. Jon's songs have been recorded by an assortment of R and B and Pop acts including Peabo Bryson (BMG), Larry Graham (Capitol), Walter Beasley (Polygram), Will Clayton (Polygram), Joe Public (Sony), Starpoint (Elektra), Z' Looke (Orpheus/Capitol), Omar Chandler (MCA), Shades of Lace (Wing/Polygram), Street Fare (Atlantic), and Lenny Williams (Fantasy).

Jon has also recorded extensively as a studio musician. Jon can be heard as a featured percussionist on En Vogue's award winning triple platinum album, "Funky Divas," as well as on albums by Jesse Colin Young, Lenny Williams, Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo, Lady Bianca, Jules Broussard, Carl Lockett, Bill Bell, Lloyd Gregory, Luce, Sakai, and Jenna Mammina.

In 1997 Jon began teaching “Songwriting” at DVC where he has continued to teach the class up to the present time. Also in 1997 Jon began teaching in SF State University’s Music Recording Industry program, teaching such courses as “Popular Music and Cultural Exchange”, “The History and Aesthetics of Record Production”. “The History of the Popular Music Industry”, “The Independent Label from A-Z” and “A and R in The Popular Music Industry”. In 2001 Jon graduated with an MA in Humanities from San Francisco State University.

Matt McLean | digital audio and recording technology


McLean headshotMatt McLean is Bay Area native, and started his formal music training on flute. After switching to guitar, he minored in music at UCSD, graduated from Musician’s Institute, then continued study at San Francisco State and CSUEB, and has a Master’s Degree in Composition at CSUEB. He has studied guitar with Jimmy Finley, Jamie Findlay, and Peter Sprague, and he has studied composition with Jeff Miller and Rafael Hernandez at CSUEB. Matt began teaching music at Diablo Valley College in 2012. He has taught music theory, electronic music, audio production, piano, classical guitar, multicultural music, music appreciation, as well as the history of jazz, blues, and American popular music at six different Bay Area community colleges.

While living in San Diego, Matt began began playing professionally in 1995 with members of the Greyboy Allstar’s, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and Sharon Jones band. After returning to the Bay Area, he played on and/or produced several albums with local rock bands, including Tincture, The Secret Sons, and Benito Cereno. He currently performs with The Jilters. Matt has also done composition and audio production for a number of local companies, as well as various independent film projects

Doug Michael | digital audio, MTC coordinator



Doug Michael is a seasoned composer, guitarist, instrument builder, and educator.  He’s been a regular featured composer on the syndicated TV show “Planet X” since 2010, and scored a Hyundai car commercial narrated by Jeff Bridges.  Doug has had music placements with Sports Illustrated, This Old House and has written music for commercials in Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, and Canada.  Besides composing for TV, he has written music for Video Games, Film, Theater, the Concert Stage, and the Web, including the 2K Sports video games, All Pro Football 2K8 and NCAA College Hoops.  Doug has won various composition awards and his works have been performed at many music festivals throughout the world, including Hong Kong, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Europe.  He has enjoyed extensive radio airplay and has CD releases with HyNGE and CMAU along with a solo CD’s entitled ‘Outpost’ and most recently ‘Periphery.’  Mr. Michael's compositions are recorded on Centaur Records, Frog Peak Music, Seeland Records, Aporia Records, Nebula Productions, and Angular Momentum CDs.  His music can be purchased through iTunes and CD Baby and streams from Pandora and Spotify.  Doug is also a Recording Arts Instructor in the Music Technology Center at Diablo Valley College and Ohlone College in Northern California.

To hear his latest music release ‘Periphery’:

To see and hear some of Doug’s Music placements:

Scott Miller | digital audio and recording technology


Scott Miller headshotScott Miller began his audio career cutting analog tape in the radio production room at KVHS in Concord in 1989. His Sound design and editorial for Film, TV and Video Games includes work at Studio Trilogy, Skywalker Sound, American Zoetrope, Transmedia and Polarity Post. Film work has been screened or won awards at Cannes, Sundance, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles/AFI International Film Festivals. Television work has shown on ABC, PBS, A&E, Lifetime, National Geographic and the History Channel. He has worked on major video game titles from Sony, KOEI and Sierra, including performing several voices in the video game "Dynasty Warrior 3".

Music projects for film scores and commercial release include recordings at 25th Street Recording, Dolby Labs, Studio Trilogy and others. Recording and mixing of rock, jazz, hip hop and pop artists. Recorded orchestral sessions with members of the London and SF operas, SF and Marin Symphonies. Scott has taught music and post production audio since 2006 at San Jose State, SAE Expression College, Oakland Recording Academy and Diablo Valley College. He is also an Avid Certified Pro Tools Instructor, Expert level in both Post and Music. He is a voting Grammy Member of the Recording Academy, and a standards workgroup committee member of the Audio Engineering Society.

Ryan Rey | digital audio and recording technology


ReyRyan Rey is a composer, guitarist, and teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes music for a variety of mediums including chamber ensembles, rock groups, videogames, and film. His compositions have been performed by REDSHIFT Ensemble, Areon Flutes, The Living Earth Show, University of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Meerenai Shim (flute and electronics), Emily Tian (piano), Guy Livingston (piano), Stephan Poetzsch (violin), and numerous ensembles from CSUEB that include: Jazz Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Trombone Ensemble. Soundtracks include feature film All About Dad (2009) and documentary Wallah’s Corner Store (2013). He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in music composition from CSU East Bay where he was the inaugural recipient of the Glenn Glasow Graduate Fellowship in Composition. Ryan teaches courses in music technology at Pyramind Studios, CSUEB, Diablo Valley College, Fusion Academy, and online through Pryamind's Mentorship Network. Active in various non-profit organizations, Ryan is Executive Director and Artistic Co-Director of Composers, Inc., and Director of Seventh Avenue Performances and the Seventh Avenue Center for the Arts and Spirituality (SACAS) in San Francisco. He played guitar in the death metal band Antagony and the chiptune/folk/doom/chamber music group The Mineral Kingdom. Recent activities include making video tips and tutorials on music theory and production on his personal channel as well as Pyramind's channel on Youtube.

You can listen to Ryan's music and find other information on his website:

Sean Williams | commercial music, AV technology


Sean Williams headshotSean Williams is a versatile guitarist, producer and educator with the ability to seamlessly glide between styles.  As a music lover without regard to genre, Sean excels in various musical settings, from straight ahead or avant-garde jazz to blues, rock, pop or funk. Being a professional musician for the past 20 years, Sean has performed in a diverse array of musical situations. As a leader, Sean performs regularly with his organ trio as well as various jazz ensembles. Though jazz/improvised music plays a huge part of his musical life, Sean is also involved in various rock projects, musical theater as well as work as a session musician. As a past member of one of the SF Bay Area's most working bands, Tortilla Soup, Sean performed regularly alongside members of Tower of Power and Malo. In 2011 Sean joined Berkeley, CA based Ninth Street Opus label and national touring band The Real Nasty, a high energy power trio weaving a unique rock, country, blues with a twist of modern pop sound. Sean can also be heard on SF based indy-pop group New Spell's self titled EP as well as their most recent EP entitled Of Time: Part I. As a member of the original rock band Pockit, Sean performed in many of the Bay Area's leading venues such as Slims, The Starry Plough and Bottom of the Hill, among others.  Sean has had the privilege of working in several musical theater productions, most notably Ray of Light Theaters 2009 production of The Who's rock opera Tommy which garnered six Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, including nods for the band. 

Along with performing and recording, Sean has been a music educator for over 15 years, working with students of all ages, ability levels and styles. Sean currently holds a Masters in Studio Jazz Guitar Pi Kappa Lambda - USC Thornton School of Music and BA in Music - California State University, East Bay.

Bill Wolter | digital audio, Viking Studio technician



Bill Wolter is a composer, guitarist, audio engineer, and sound educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He composes music for film, games, and modern dance. His music is inspired by the sounds of jazz, classical new music, film music, progressive rock, and experimental music. He composes a diverse range of musical styles and instrumentations focused on the intersection of rock and new music. His main musical project is Inner Ear Brigade (IEB), an ensemble that plays a mix of progressive rock, avant jazz, and classical new music. A restless collaborator who seeks the most diverse and challenging musical experiences, Bill performs and collaborates frequently with a wide range of musicians, bands, improvisers, and choreographers. As a sound designer, Bill has worked on musical games such as Guitar Hero, Tap Tap Revenge, as well as several films from shorts to feature lengths. Bill is also a passionate educator teaching music and audio at Diablo Valley College, Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and The Art Institute of California, San Francisco.