Editor, McLerran Journal
Assistant Band Director, Center ISD, Center, TX
Dr. Brad Meyer is the Director of Percussion Studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas where he teaches private lessons and directs both the SFASU Percussion Ensemble and the SFASU “Jacks of Steel” (steel band). He currently serves as the Vice President of the Texas Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), Chair of the Health & Wellness Committee for PAS, and endorses Yamaha Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Stick and Mallets, Evans Drumheads, and Tycoon Percussion. Besides teaching, Dr. Meyer spends his time presenting recitals and clinics at conventions and universities both nationally and internationally.
Opportunity occurs when talent meets the right timing. This is especially true for Dr. Meyer. As a child, he first entered music as a beginner viola player in fifth grade. In sixth grade, he decided to try band classes instead and was momentarily assigned to the french horn by his band director after a round of mouthpiece testing. The same afternoon, his older brother (Clint Meyer) purchased a mediocre, $100 drum set from a friend for Dr. Meyer, which would forever change his life. He then returned to school the next day to inform his band director that he was going to be a percussionist. As he continued music in high school, Dr. Meyer enjoyed performing with the band and getting positive reactions from audiences, especially after percussion ensemble concerts. He quickly realized that “by enjoying what you are doing, you can inspire enjoyment in other people” and from that, find fulfillment. Although he did not originally intend to start a career in music, Dr. Meyer accepted a full scholarship at the University of Kentucky and has since flourished in the field.
Dr. Meyer earned his Bachelor of Music Performance in 2006 from the University of Kentucky, where he also completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance and a Pedagogy of Music Theory Certificate in 2011, under the tutelage of Professor James Campbell. He holds a Master’s degree in Music Performance from the University of South Carolina where he studied with Dr. Scott Herring. Dr. Meyer’s extensive professional experience includes earning a DCI World Championship, three DCI High Percussion Awards, and three “Outstanding Service” awards from the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, holding a co-caption head for the front ensemble of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for one year, caption head for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps for one while being an instructor for two years prior, and directing both the Palmetto Pans and the USC Drumline at the University of South Carolina. Before accepting his position at SFASU, Dr. Meyer worked as the Visiting Instructor of Music in Percussion and the Percussion Ensemble Director at Centre College in Kentucky and the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Tennessee Technological University in 2011.
In life, Dr. Meyer’s philosophy is simply to take the plunge. He stated that, “as a musician, it is your responsibility to be constantly advancing your career.” Because of this mentality, he has had the opportunity to travel to several exotic places including Austria, Slovenia, South Africa, and France. In 2011, Dr. Meyer accepted a position with an ensemble known as “Xplorium!” to do a performance in Taiwan. It was there, nearly eight thousand miles from Texas, that he was introduced to multiple music faculty members from Stephen F. Austin State University, where he would accept a position the following year.
As a result of his extensive travels, Dr. Meyer has developed a love for music from various parts of the world. He is most famous for his performance of Javier Alvarez’s “Temazcal” on maracas in 2009. The piece includes a haunting pre-recorded soundtrack and requires immense technique from the soloist. In the same year, Dr. Meyer shocked his audience with a performance of “Wail” by John Luther Adams. The work consists of only a manual siren and an recording comprised of the sound of a siren that had been manipulated by a computer program to create an ethereal duet with the live siren. Many audience members enjoyed and appreciated the performance; however, several expressed their concerns of “not getting it” when it came to the overall effect of the composition. Dr. Meyer admits to seeking out works that will elicit a reaction (whether that be positive or negative) from the audience members since, in his words, “that is the point of music.”
In the future, Dr. Meyer hopes to continue to improve his musical technique and eventually to earn national recognition for the SFASU Percussion Studio. To young educators, Dr. Meyer advises providing “structure, discipline, and space” to students to avoid “complacency in the classroom.” Stay up to date with Dr. Meyer’s success by visiting his website www.Brad-Meyer.com
Book Suggestions from Dr. Meyer:
“A Percussionist’s art: Same bed different dreams”
“Tools of Titans”