During the pandemic, teaching and learning switched to virtual education. High School and College educators alike had to figure out how to teach their students virtually. This led assistant professor of music at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Dr. Tommy Dobbs to consider a new way on how to educate students and directors in the ways of percussion. This led him to create “The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast”, a podcast that educates those interested in percussion and music education.
Tommy Dobbs grew up in Williston, Florida which is 30 minutes south of Gainesville. At a young age, he knew he wanted to be a jazz drummer. His grandfather bought him his first drum set in the 6th grade. In beginning band class, Dobbs was originally put on saxophone but was later moved to percussion because his director needed a drummer. He went on to attend the University of North Florida and major in Jazz Percussion. That all changed when he attended a Third Coast Percussion Concert. After hearing Third Coast perform, he changed his degree to Classical Percussion Performance. Fun fact, Dobbs did not know how to read music until he got to college. In high school, he would listen to rhythms and play what he heard or felt.
After completing his Masters in Percussion Performance at Florida State, Tommy Dobbs moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas to take a position at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith as a moving professor in percussion. While at UAFS, Dobbs taught students not only how to be better musicians but also put students into local school as private lesson instructors. This gave his students real world experience that they will need to get a job after college. After a few years at UAFS, Dobbs began work on his Doctorate in Percussion Performance at Florida State, which he recently completed in 2018.
“The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast” is a podcast hosted by Dr Tommy Dobbs that covers a wide variety of topics over life, education, and percussion. When asked about how he came up with the idea to start “PPP” Dobbs had this to say, “The pandemic got me thinking about how I want to educate people. I love talking to people and hearing their stories. I have always wanted to do a podcast on education and music. I wanted to base it off a model of getting information real quick at the start of your day and then apply it during your lessons.
“The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast” has had local and national musicians on the podcast to talk about their life and how they practice or prepare for their daily work. Topics range from Teaching Through Covid-19, A/V Technology: The Gear You Need, Record Technology, and Practicing. Dobbs plans to talk about how to practice different instruments or teach different techniques to students on his podcasts in the future. Originally, Tommy wanted “The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast” to be an educational tool for band directors teaching percussion students. It now has evolved into a podcast that any one interested in music education, students and directors, can listen to and enjoy.
Now approaching 1 year since the first episode, Tommy Dobbs plans to continue creating and publishing podcasts on “The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast”. “So far things have been going great for the Podcast. I hope to be consistent and get information out that is helpful to all. I want to expand and get more listeners here in the United States and in other countries,” Dobbs shared about the future and goals for PPP. Dobbs hopes students and directors will use “PPP” as a guide for how to become better musicians.
“The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast” can be found on Spotify, Buzzsprout, Apple Podcast, and Pandora. We will provide the link to the Buzzsprout site for “The Percussion Pedagogy Podcast” so you can check out the past episodes. You can also follow the Podcast on Instagram to stay up to date on new episodes and see who will be featured on upcoming podcasts.
To conclude our interview, I ask Dr Dobbs our famous ARVBands Quick 5 Q&A.
What is your favorite High School Marching Show ever?
2004 Blue Devils Jazz Show – “The Summer Train Blues Mix”
What is the best meal that you have ever eaten?
My Mom’s cooking, Meatloaf and Mac-n-cheese
What is your biggest pet peeve in teaching?
When a student shows up and does something silly but I have to say something professional.
If you could pick another profession, what would it be?
Open up a shop that sells coffee and locally crafted beer and in the back have a private studio for lessons.
What is your favorite memory from your music career?
Performing at the 2011 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in the Competition Showcase Concert with the Florida State University Percussion Ensemble under Dr. John Parks.