AMAS Faculty Spotlight: Q&A with Marching Percussion Experience Coordinator, Glen Crosby
What are you most excited about this summer at the symposium?
Really, the cast of characters I have coming in. Murray Gusseck is one of them. He was the one who revolutionized what could be written for a drumline. The whole lot thing that people want to spend more time watching is because of what he did. (Reference to Santa Clara Vanguard)
Nick Arce and Matt Regua will be there, and they teach at RCC. Plus Amir Oosman will be there as well if you’re familiar with his stuff, along with myself. It’s a really diverse group of great artists and musicians, and we’re looking forward to thinking outside of the rudimental box for those three days.
What projects are you working on right now?
I got a middle school thing I’m getting started in the Los Alamitos district. I’ve been trying for years to get a feeder program for that school, and so that’s finally happening.
Ralph Hardimon and I have also talked about doing a series of books about some beginning concepts and some insight into how we teach. Not too standard and trying to think outside the box on this one, too. He’s recovering from surgery right now, but once he’s up and running again we’re gonna’ try to cover a lot of material.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea all the way. One cup of black tea in the morning, and then if we’re gonna’ have anything else during the rest of the day, it’s green tea. If I drink coffee, I’m edgy. I shake. I don’t put any sugar in the tea either. I got all these cool flavored green teas from this Japanese company and those things are awesome.
Band or Artist that has caught your attention this past year?
Janelle Monae for one and Childish Gambino, too. He’s an amazing artist. I saw a stand-up comedy he did the other day, and that incredible music video for “This is America”.
Any session highlights you can tell us before the symposium?
We’ll do a couple of standard sessions where it’s about the mechanics of how to create a great sound and developing chops. We’re also gonna’ try to have a two-tiered system and have an advanced group. We may limit the spots on that one, too. We have more than enough guys coming in to cover 2 - 3 classes at a time on multiple levels.
Then we’ll have a group with less experience that won’t require an audition. We also want to work on odd groupings, because everyone writes some crazy stuff nowadays. But you don’t see it so much in the technique program. There’s all sorts of 5s, 7s, and 9s and every permutation involved in that. But it’s all just still the standard triplet and duple based exercises.
We also want to focus on making a connection from rudimental playing to drum set, or even different styles of playing. We don’t want it to be us just telling kids how to play. We want them to become more self-sufficient and want to explore more, because that’s one thing the education system doesn’t accomplish.
Time you wake up
I can wake up anytime between 4 to 7, but I’m usually awake around 6 - 7.
First thing you do in the morning
I have to check my blood sugar. A diabetic thing.
Balance is the word that runs everything for me. If I achieve balance, everything stays cool. If I get out of balance, things start going wrong.
Right now it’s just hanging out with the wife, watching TV, and relaxing. We don’t get a chance to hang out that much, watching The Voice a little bit. Either that, or Netflix and HBO. There’s all kind of cool documentaries on either one of those outlets.
Time you go to bed
Anywhere from 10 PM - 1 AM. It depends.
How do you deal with the news?
I never ever watch any network news, ever. I got rid of cable four or five years ago. I only stream certain channels. I watch enough to stay informed with what’s going on, but it’s so taxing to find out what the actual truth is about something, and if I really want to find out, I’ll dig in.
Tiny Buddha are these short messages that come up on my social media platforms that remind me about staying balanced now. It’s been good, actually. I have a couple of things on my phone I just stare at everyday, too. Taking a breath when you need to. It’s good to tell myself a few times a day to chill out, get focused on what I need to get focused on, and clear my head a little bit.
Just trying to maintain balance and that has become a consistent thing everyday now. And its worked really well, especially over the last six or eight months. There’s definitely some things that needed to change, like my thought process, and this is one way to do it. Take a step back and make sure you’re not getting too far either direction in terms of your mental health. Stay kind of centered. It doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy something, or not get mad. It’s how you to react to situations so you’re not overreacting, just take a step back, let it exist, and it will go away when it needs to.
Some of the HBO shows like Silicon Valley. That show cracks me up.
What do you let slide?
I don’t allow myself to get angry. And if I do get angry it will be something that’s really gotten under my skin, and it will be a short burst of Darth Vader, and then that will go away. For the most part, it’s just trying to evaluate each situation as its own individual entity. Instead of overreacting on a dark side, or a happy side. It still comes back to trying to maintain balance and that’s a constant struggle, but a good one.
Glen is an independent music educator, arranger, consultant and performer with a specialization in marching percussion. Glen currently runs the marching percussion program at UCLA, works with Arcadia High School and consults with a few Drum and Bugle corps. He also offers private lessons in his lesson studio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Glen began his marching percussion career in 1981 as a performer with the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps and aged out in 1984. He went on to work with the Garfield Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, Velvet Knights, Capital Regiment, Glassmen, Freelancers, Blue Knights, Academy, and Carolina Crown achieving five DCI World Championships (Cadets (1985), Santa Clara Vanguard (1989, 1999), Carolina Crown (2013) and five High Percussion Awards in his various roles as a consultant, battery technician, assistant caption head, and technique manager for the Santa Clara Vanguard (1988, 1989, 1998, 2004) and the Cadets (2003).
Glen is a member of the Vic Firth Educational team, a Remo artist, a Zildjian artist, and lives in Long Beach, CA.