For twelve years, I have been developing a program of percussion study at NIU that has brought me incredible joy, growth, and satisfaction. NIU has been an incredible home for my personal journey, and I have had excellent colleagues and mentors through the years: Rich Holly, Robert Chappell, Liam Teague, Rodrigo Villanueva, Michael Mixtacki, and now Ben Wahlund.
The opportunity to work daily with extremely motivated and dedicated students has been and continues to be deeply inspiring. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that students from this program have gone out into the world with joy in their hearts, smiles on their faces, and have made and continue to make a difference in this world.
My message for the world? Music is a powerful vehicle for personal development and spiritual enrichment cultivated through daily work, discipline, curiosity, and levity. It is a lens into the world and into the soul and it brings to life the sentiment of “oneness” with the world and in particular with those people and other living beings with whom we come into contact every day. Music breeds responsibility, respect, curiosity, and a sense of stewardship for humanity and our environment.