Alumni Spotlight- Derrick Shannon
Derrick Shannon is a recent graduate of VanderCook College of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music Education at VanderCook in 2008 and is currently the Director of Percussive Arts at Goshen Community Schools. He looks back at some on the many opportunities brought upon by his VanderCook education.
Derrick is a percussion specialist originally from the Chicago-land area. He is the founder of DAS Productions, and on staff with the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps from Rockford, IL. He is a board member of the Midwest Percussion Cooperative, which serves as an outlet for the advancement of percussion in the Midwest. Derrick has worked with the Bears drum line and credits Kevin Lepper and Bret Kuhn among others as strong influences in his career.
How has VanderCook prepared you for what you are doing now?
VanderCook not only prepared me to be a well-rounded musician but it helped me become a well-rounded music educator as well. My music career thus far has been a very educational experience and a big part of that came from VanderCook. The close environment with the teachers helped me get the education that I wanted compared to a larger school where you might not get as much attention. My philosophy of teaching was refined to what it is today because of the VanderCook program and I can’t stress enough how well rounded students become through the program.
What were you most proud of accomplishing at VanderCook?
I was most proud of accomplishing the degree track at VanderCook because of all of the work that was put into it. The second that I crossed the stage at graduation was the moment that I realized what I had done in my four years at the school and how much it prepared me for what I do today.
Any advise you would give to current students?
Take in as much information as you can while you’re there. Pick at every teacher’s brain whether it is your primary instrument’s professor or a professor who teaches a general education class. They all have information that is relevant to the world you will be in once you’re done at VanderCook. Work as hard as you can because before you know it your time will be up and you’ll be teaching everything that you’ve been taught the past few years.
Any class/instructor have the most influence on you?
Kevin Lepper. He always has a solution to a problem and he always knows exactly what to say in order to motivate you when you really need it. His versatility in the percussion realm is outstanding. He’s great at understanding a situation and knows exactly what he needs to do in order to make it better.
VanderCook has taught me a lot in the few years that I was there. I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about studying music education.
Derrick is presenting a clinic with my students from Goshen High School at the VanderCook day of Percussion on Saturday February 1st.