An active performer and educator, percussionist Matthew Bronson has carved his way into the world of music with a unique skill set and background. A New England native, Matt received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University and a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. This diverse background finds him both at home as a dynamic performer and teacher. Matt serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he directs the World Percussion Ensemble, co-directs the University Percussion Ensembles, and instructs a private studio of undergraduate students. Together, Matt and ECSU's Director of Percussion studies, Jeff Calissi, create the percussion duo Confluence. Matt also serves as a Percussion Specialist for the South Windsor Public School District, teaches privately out of his home, and is the Vice President of the Connecticut PAS Chapter.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Matthew Bronson: I think I would likely have gone to trade school. Especially after purchasing my first home, I see such an amazing advantage that someone with these types of skills has. Hindsight is 20-20, but everyone always needs a reliable electrician!
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?
MB: Following the completion of my graduate work, I reached out to anyone and everyone in Connecticut to find work playing or teaching. I began running drum circles for corporate team-building events when I was approached by an individual about a gig that person considered "out of the ordinary." That gig was playing steel pan to backing tracks at a nudist event in North-West Connecticut. I know what you're thinking; no, I did not have to perform naked!
R!S: What's one thing about you that your colleagues or students would unanimously proclaim?
MB: If you were to ask my students at ECSU about their experience with me, they would likely unanimously proclaim that just one cup of coffee before rehearsal is all it takes for the most entertaining hour of their day. I am sensitive to caffeine and like a high-energy rehearsal. Combine that with the hard-working students in our percussion ensemble and you have a recipe for some serious fun.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
MB: My favorite percussion instruments are the ones that become a labor of love and I don't often gig on. I've spent the last five years learning North Indian tabla with pt. Sandeep Das. He is an amazing teacher, and learning from him has become part of my life. Playing and learning tabla is something I do for the feeling of joy it brings me, not to supplement my career.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
MB: I grew up in a small town called Wethersfield, Connecticut. It is just outside of the state’s capitol, Hartford. After many years of school and living out of state, I settled back there two years ago. Everyone says they'll never come back to their hometown, but here I am. An interesting fact about my childhood is that I skipped almost every drum lesson in elementary school because I hated it!