Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Everyone comes to crossroads in their life at some point. For me that major crossroad came almost 5 years ago when I decided to start my company Percussive Soundscapes. What I mainly do for a living only appeals to a very small niche in the world. If you're not a band director or a percussion director looking for a show to be written then you probably don't see me around much unless I'm presenting a clinic somewhere or if you're a part of one of the groups I directly teach. For me there have been a few things stuck in my head these past few months. One of which is am I reaching enough people with what I do? When someone asks me what I do for a living I usually say that I write music. It's a much simpler version of explaining the plethora of things that I consider to be my job as a freelancer. I not only write music but I also consult for groups across the country, judge various shows, present clinics for both students/directors, help manage a non-profit organization called 317 Performing Arts and teach a few groups like Plainfield HS, Veritas, and the Blue Knights. I've been very fortunate that I've been able to make a living off of what I love to do.
The next question that people typically ask me is have I written anything that they might know or that they've heard on the radio. Most of the time I just say no and move on to the next subject but when someone starts to pry looking for more information then I tell them that I write shows for marching bands and winter percussion ensembles.
With my new venture I hope to be a part of many more lives by doing something that appeals to all ages whether you're two years old or a senior citizen. One thing that you'll learn about me if you don't already know is that I care a lot for my students. It's much more than drumming for me. If you ever meet any of my current or former students they will tell you what a difference being a part of the music activity has made on their lives. It's crazy to me because when I graduated college I thought that I was going to be teaching music. Instead I've learned that really I'm teaching people to become great citizens of the community THROUGH music.
These things have led me to my next venture. I have decided to open up the Percussive Soundscapes Drum Academy to help spread the knowledge, skills, and wisdom that I've learned over the years to many more students with a much wider reach outside of the groups that I direct or work with. I will still be writing, consulting, presenting clinics, judging, and of course spending as much time with my family as I can. None of that will change very much. Hopefully, in some small way I can help guide the lives of more people through this process. If you or anyone else would like to come along for the ride then please check out the website and sign up today! psdrumacademy.com
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Derrick Shannon is a percussion specialist originally from the Chicago-land area. He holds the position of Director of Percussive Arts at Plainfield Community Schools who were the 2018 WGI PSA Champions in his first year with the program. He started Percussive Soundscapes which is a company that offers a variety of services to the marching arts community including custom arrangements for band and winter percussion ensembles. He taught at Ball State University, judges during the weekends, and consults with numerous groups across the country.
Derrick marched seven summers of drum corps with groups such as the Phantom Regiment and Cavaliers, both in the battery and front ensemble. Afterward, he became the Percussion Caption Head for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and later the Percussion Coordinator and Battery Arranger for the Madison Scouts. He is currently the Percussion Coordinator and Battery Arranger for the Blue Knights. Derrick is also a Creative Director and Battery Arranger for 317 Performing Arts which supports the independent world group Veritas. He received his Bachelors in Music Education at the VanderCook College of Music and his Master’s in Music Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Derrick proudly endorses Innovative Percussion, Pearl/Adams, Remo, and Etymotic. He currently resides in Plainfield, Indiana with his wife Kayla, two daughters Miyah and Olivia as well as their dog Max.