James W. Doyle


PASIC15 is now a thing of the past and the fall semester is quickly coming to a close. As usual, the convention serves as equal parts inspiration, social reunions, professional networking, and the acquisition of new music and other percussion items that'll fit in a suitcase.

This year required an extra day and a half of time away as the Animas Percussion Quartet--the percussion section of the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra was selected to perform for Focus Day. With the exception of one month in the summer, the four of us live in different states and although we met in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University for a few days in October, the day before the convention required rehearsal time. 

We performed the 1974 composition, "Four Movements for Percussion Quartet" by Michael Udow-- a deceptively difficult work utilizing maracas, guiros, graduated sandpaper blocks, hand claps, and a wine bottle. The piece emulates a string quartet and gesture and motion is a key component.

This was also my first year presenting a clinic at PASIC. My session was titled, "Free-Rebounding, the Relaxed Full Stroke" and was a synthesis of the pedagogy study I've undertaken with Gary Cook, Dean Gronemeier, and Tim Jones. Below is a pdf of the handout. A special thanks to Beetle Percussion, Black Swamp, Vic Firth, Yamaha, and Row-Loff for the support and allowing me to show up to the clinic with nothing more than a bag of tennis and racquet balls. 


As is typical, I only make it to a fraction of the sessions on my radar. However, one of the biggest highlights included hearing Tom Burritt's recital which was masterfully performed. The flow of the concert was terrific and his artistry is tremendous. The other major standout was hearing Nexus with Iranian vocalist Sepideh Raissadat. Every time I hear Nexus, I'm amazed and inspired beyond belief. There's no question these musicians-not just percussionists but musicians-are amongst the best in the world.

And finally, it was great to see the folks from Japan Percussion Center in the exhibitor hall. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time (and Yen) at their establishment this past summer in Tokyo and was glad to buy more of the marimba music they brought to San Antonio. They are generous, professional, and incredibly kind. I cannot wait for my next visit to Japan and will definitely be visiting again.

 Here's the link to my clinic handout:



Here's a quick and simple promo for a couple of PASIC activities this year. I'm performing with the Animas Percussion Quartet on Thursday, November 12th at 9am in Ballroom C2 and giving a Snare Drum FUNdamentals clinic on Friday, November 13th at 11am in room 214. 

As I sit and write this posting at Doc's Eat and Drink at 10,200' in Leadville, CO, it's a pleasure to look back on a great summer season of concerts, clinics, and travel. I was fortunate to spend three weeks performing, teaching and forging relationships and collaborations in Japan. Immediately upon returning, I performed for three weeks with the Music in the Mountains (MITM) Festival Orchestra in Durango, CO. This season also included teaching and performing as faculty with the MITM Conservatory. The faculty and students, led by director Matt Albert, were quite impressive! As always, the orchestra was a pleasure to perform with, and our conductors Guillermo Figueroa, Karina Canellakis, Richard Kaufman, and Carl Topilow were terrific.

Before departing for Japan, I was notified of two proposal acceptances for this year's Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in San Antonio, TX. I will present a clinic titled, "Free Rebounding: The Relaxed Full Stroke" focusing on reducing/measuring tension levels in the stroke, channeling "energy" elsewhere in the body, bringing a heightened awareness to Visual, Aural, and Kinesthetic learning (VAK), and effective use of cloning. 

Additionally, the Animas Percussion Quartet will perform Michael Udow's work, "Four Movements for Percussion Quartet" as part of Focus Day. The quartet, comprised of Steven Hemphill (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona) Jonathan Latta (University of the Pacific Conservatory, Stockton, California) John Pennington (Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota), and I (also the percussion section for MITM) rehearsed throughout the MITM Festival and look forward to November!

The schedule is filling up for fall and more is on the way. Stay tuned!



With summer officially in full swing, I'm excited to be preparing for a residency at Gunma University in Maebashi-City, Japan this month, to include recitals, master classes, pedagogy classes, and my own study of traditional Japanese music. Prior to my stay at Gunma University, I'm excited to study taiko in Kyoto. I was fortunate to study at San Jose Taiko years ago when I lived in the Bay Area and have recently begun researching the building of taiko drums for Adams State University. 

In early July, I'll have the wonderful opportunity to perform the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto with clarinetist Chiho Sugo and pianist Kaoru Kashiwagi as part of a chamber concert in Tokyo at Suginami Kokaido Hall, home to the Japan Philharmonic. It has been 16-17 years since I last had the chance to perform with Chiho and am honored for the invitation. 

Here's a link to the venue website bill.







Grades are submitted and the 2014-15 academic year has come to a close. While my document remains for my DMA at UNLV, the summer is set to be quite exciting after a busy school year.

My studio at Adams State University achieved much success with over 50 performances, exciting concerts, tours of Colorado and Las Vegas, hosts to numerous guest artists, and students participating in WGI indoor groups. My two graduating seniors are off to great things--one teaching and performing in Brazil and the other to The Hartt School of Music to begin master's degree studies. We also concluded the semester with the start to a recording project to be completed next academic year

This past fall semester, I was delighted to join the percussion faculty at UNLV and as a result made countless commutes to Las Vegas to teach undergraduate lessons and participate in repertoire class. I've learned an incredible amount about percussion, pedagogy, and the music business as a result of my time with Tim Jones, Dean Gronemeier, Gary Cook, and Kurt Rasmussen.

Gary Cook, Tim Jones, Dean Gronemeier and I

Another personal highlight was the opportunity to travel back to Australia to interview composer Nigel Westlake in Sydney and conduct research for my DMA document at Australia's National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. I was also able to spend time with Gary France and check out his new percussion school- The Groove Warehouse. In addition to a wonderful time with Nigel and Gary, it's such a pleasure to spend time in Australia as the beaches are truly gorgeous, the people amazing, and the atmosphere perfect. I cannot wait to return.

Nigel Westlake and I


In addition to discussing Nigel's percussion writing, I was pleased to become familiar with two of his newer and large works that I'd highly recommend:

Compassion is a collection of songs by Nigel Westlake and Indie artist, Lior. The works are quite beautiful and worth purchasing immediately.

Missa Solis: Requiem for Eli is a spectacular composition written in memory of Nigel's late son, Eli. Also worth purchasing and appreciating.

Finally, I'll be using this medium as my blog posts and transferring over relevant posts from my old blog site. Watch for updates.



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