Bernard Long Jr. graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.M. in Jazz Studies under the leadership of Professor Ron Carter. He performed in the world renowned NIU Jazz Ensemble, touring with such greats as Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Rodney Whitaker, and Peter Erskine. He earned his M.M. in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University. At MSU, he directed the MSU Jazz Orchestra 3 and performed with the MSU Jazz Orchestra 1. Bernard graduated from Lindenwood University with his MAT in Music Education and his Ed.S. in School Administration. He is now Adjunct Professor of jazz drum set at Lindenwood University, where he teaches private drum set lessons and supports jazz combos when needed. He is also the band director at Madison Jr./Sr. High School in Madison, Illinois. Bernard serves on the PAS Education and Diversity committees, and is the percussionist for Third Presbyterian Church and the National Tour of Antigone in Ferguson.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Bernard Long Jr.: I would probably do something with computers. I enjoy technology and built computers when I was younger.
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?
BL: When I worked on Royal Caribbean cruise lines, I played with an Australian couple who did tricks with fire and knives. Their theme song was James Brown’s “I Feel Good.”
R!S: What’s one thing about you that your colleagues or students would unanimously proclaim?
BL: I’m very passionate about music education.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
BL: Drum set is my favorite percussion instrument. I have been playing the drums since the age of four. I was drawn to the drums for their look and sound. I have traveled the world playing drums and using my gift to heal the world.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
BL: I grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. I began playing drums at church at age six and received my first snare drum from an old store called Woolworth on my fourth birthday. My father played drums up until high school, and my uncle played drums all the way through college. This is obviously where I got some of my musical skills and passion.