04.20.2012 // Exclusive Interview with Tim Jackson
Dynasty sat down with artist Tim Jackson before WGI World Championships to talk about his life, current projects, and Dynasty drums.
I started playing with drumsticks when I was ten, and have never looked back. I was involved in both DCI and WGI at an early age, and have taught in both activities since I aged out of them. Most of my time in drum corps was spent with the Concord Blue Devils, and my time indoors with Rhythm X; O had the fortune of teaching with both organizations after aging out. I’m currently the Ensemble Director of Rhythm X, and after serving as a Battery Coordinator and Movement Designer for three years with the Bluecoats, am now the Visual Caption Head for the corps.
2. What projects are you currently working on?
My time teaching keeps me very busy. I have numerous private students, give clinics and workshops, and am the percussion director at Dublin Jerome High School. I have been working recently on a website devoted to the art of marching percussion, as well as a few instructional materials I hoped to have published by the end of the year. I also love to travel with my wife, spreading the knowledge I have gained through my experiences wherever I can.
3. WGI Championships are this week. Who are the groups you are designing for and how are they doing?
During the indoor season, my attention to the Rhythm X program consumes all of my focus. They are the only ensemble I currently work with. After climbing the ranks of the Independent World Class to multiple championships in recent years, the ensemble always feels to be a viable candidate for the next one. I have devoted a third of my life to the ensemble, and will always do the most I can to help them succeed.
4. What are some technique books or programs you would suggest for band directors or percussion educators to check out?
The body of available instructional texts for our activity should be dramatically increased. Relative to other families of instruments, the marching percussion art has a small library of published instructional material. Hopefully this trend will change as our activities continue to thrive. I would always encourage educators to look to many of the established arrangers and authors of our activity for insight and leadership. There are also many high quality company websites with portions devoted to educational materials for aspiring marching percussionists.
5. How much will you be on the road this summer with the Bluecoats and what advice do you have for young players who aspire to be in a top 12 Drum Corps?
I live only 30 minutes from Denison University, the housing site for the Bluecoats during the move-ins portion of the summer, so I will be there quite often. I usually spend about half of the tour with the corps. For those aspiring to march in a top twelve drum corps, experience is the best preparation for a successful audition. The main reason I’ve turned away most individuals from auditions is because they lack the maturity of a more experienced player. Being in drum corps is more than playing an instrument; it demands an ability to perform with maturity amidst an extreme lifestyle change. Go march wherever you can, as soon as you can, if you someday hope to participate in World Class finals.
6. How long have you been writing and designing for the the indoor and outdoor activity?
I have been writing the battery book and aiding in the program design for Rhythm X since 2008. I taught the quad line at Blue Devils for two years in 2007 and 2008, and have been teaching with the Bluecoats since 2009
7. Describe the design process you take when designing for RhythmX and other groups?
It’s literally impossible to describe. We start with numerous initial ideas we feel confident will mesh well together in one production, and concepts of things we’d be entertained by if we were just an audience member. Over the course of the season our production changes as we get more opportunities to perform it for live audiences and judges. We prepare our members for a season where we all commit to preparing the best ‘final performance’ we can possibly give. This makes our ensemble experience unique, and our creative process certainly difficult to reproduce to say the least.
8. Please tell us why you feel Dynasty is your drum of choice over the years?
The people at Dynasty have always committed themselves to providing the activity with the highest quality instruments. That dedication continues to ensure that their products improve dramatically each and every year. The quads are the best assembled instrument of its type, with an incredibly articulate and resonant sound. In today’s activities, the ability to combine durability and sound quality in your instruments is absolutely vital; something Dynasty excels at.
9. Name one thing professionally that you would like to accomplish that you have not achieved yet?
Someday I would like to help expand our community to one where educators and students are provided with many more opportunities to work with and learn from one another. The nature of the marching activities makes it difficult to experience all the knowledge there is to be shared and absorbed across our medium. I would love to be a part of building stronger connections and relationships between all of our instructors and performers.
10. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself living a very similar life to the one I do know. I would like to have created more instructional materials and products to help enrich the development of younger players. I love what I do, drumming and teaching others to drum is a wonderful lifestyle for me, and it has provided me with so many opportunities I never could have imagined. I also look forward to having a family of my own.
11. What music have you been playing on your ipod lately?
No IPod, just Pandora. My favorite stations are Sting, Muse, Dave Matthews Band and 311, but I love finding new things to listen to all the time.