VanderCook's percussion instructor Jim Yakas leads this hands-on course that addresses the common concerns for concert percussion, percussion ensembles and jazz bands. Concepts and techniques covered in the class will transfer effectively to all levels of teaching. No experience necessary!


Director of Percussion Studies James Yakas joined VanderCook in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in music education. After earning his master’s degree in percussion performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University, he spent 12 summers in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, eventually becoming their percussion coordinator and arranger in 2003. Yakas has performed at festivals in Trinidad/Tobago and Seoul, South Korea. He studied Afro-Cuban drumming with Orlando Cotto, and accompanied ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson for tribal drumming studies in Ghana. Yakas endorses Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments, and Sabian Cymbals. Currently he is vice president of the Illinois PAS chapter.
Dr. Dave Gerhart, Product Manager for Yamaha Corporation of America and Lecturer of Percussion at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, is a nationally recognized performer, composer and educator. Originally from Fairfield, CA, Dr. Gerhart holds a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California in percussion performance with a secondary emphasis in music education, ethnomusicology, and music industry & technology. He received a master of music degree in percussion performance and instrumental conducting and a B.M. in music education from CSU, Long Beach.
As a freelance musician, Dr. Gerhart has performed under Zubin Mehta, Carl St. Clair, Enrique Diemecke and Mehli Mehta, and has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Kamen, Liam Teague, Yefim Bronfman, Ray Holman, Robert Greenidge and the Blue Man Group. His principal teachers include Dr. Michael Carney, Erik Forrester, Brad Dutz and Raynor Carroll, principal percussionist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. An advocate of using technology in the classroom, Dr. Gerhart was part of the case study Using Technology to Enhance Performance Pedagogy in the Postsecondary Brass Studio by Adam Snider and Technology and Its Use by Percussion Educators in the 21st Century (Published in Percussive Notes, January 2012) by Tracy Wiggins. In 2010, he co-founded (with Tom Burritt and Shane Griffin) as a better way for percussionists all over the globe to connect, discuss and experience quality web generated percussion content online. Recently, Dr. Gerhart created, a collection of videos, articles and anything related to percussion.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288