Dr. Jason Kihle is Assistant Professor of Percussion and Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Jamestown, where he teaches percussion, jazz band, pep band, and the Pride of the Big Orange Drumline. His previous appointment was at Texas A&M University–Kingsville, where he was Associate Professor of Percussion and Associate Director of Bands. Dr. Kihle has taught K–12 music in public schools in Arizona, Colorado, and North Dakota. He has been published in various publications, including Percussive Notes. Dr. Kihle has performed and presented clinics at various festivals and conferences in the United States and Europe. His compositions and books are published by Bachovich Publications.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Jason Kihle: I started as pre-med in college, and that was a disaster. I love to read about history, so maybe be a high school history teacher?
R!S: As a freelance artist, what's one of the weirdest gigs you've taken or oddest jobs you've had outside the industry?
JK: When my wife and I were contemplating moving north to Jamestown, the adjunct pay was going to be a lot less than the pay for my tenured associate position in Kingsville. One of my former students was giving English lessons to students in China online, getting up at 4:00 in the morning and teaching for four to five hours. I had actually signed up for this and was starting the process of being approved to teach when an opportunity to teach in the public schools just outside of Jamestown came up that saved us.
R!S: What's one thing about you that your colleagues or students would unanimously proclaim?
JK: That I’m a hard worker, and I always try to do what is best for students.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
JK: Marimba, because I can express myself on that instrument like no other, and there is such a huge range of music for the instrument. And I have one at home now, too.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
JK: My Dad was in the Air Force, so we moved all over: New York, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Connecticut, and North Dakota. I got to see a lot of the country, which was cool for a little guy. In Connecticut, I chose saxophone and played it for five more years. If only I’d picked drums that day….