AMAS Faculty Spotlight: Q&A with Shilo Stroman - Drum Set & Middle School Percussion Faculty

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What are you most excited about this summer at the symposium?

The drum set curriculum is going to be something new and exciting. And it's got a really cool focus that will crescendo through the three days. 

What projects are you working on right now?

I'm in the middle of marching band arranging season. Just finished teaching another school year and wrapping all that up at Colorado State University. It's my 10th year there. I go between the jazz and percussion faculty, and I teach a lot of drum set, classes, and lessons between both studios. 

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, 100%. I'm not too much of a snob, even though I worked at a coffee shop for six years when I was in college. I mainly go to the local Starbucks to get a lot of work done, actually. 

Band or Artist that has caught your attention this past year? 

I haven't really checked out anyone new necessarily this past year. I've been buying more old records, '50s & '60s Blue Note records. The latest Bjork is the main thing. But I also post every single record I listen to all the way through on my website, which is

Any session highlights you can give us before the symposium? 

The guest artists will be amazing, but I think the cool thing about the drum set curriculum is how it will crescendo through the three days. We'll start with very fundamental things, like how to setup the drum set for best ergonomics, and to play the instrument well, and get good sounds, and what good sounds sound like. And then all the way to the last day, we'll actually be playing a little chart - covering four styles, because that's all the time we'll have, along with understanding how to play the groove, playing some characteristic grooves in a style, and how to read a chart in that style. And I'll play bass with the drummer, so it will be a hands-on thing as well.


Time you wake up

Generally around 8. Although in the Fall semester, I have to teach an 8 'o clock two times a week, so I have to wake up a little earlier. But usually around 8.

First thing you do

Unfortunately, I usually look at my phone, 'cause it's where my alarm clock is and then I pick that up and start going through the various apps. I know it's like one of the worse things you can do for productivity because there are tons of articles on the subject.

Nightly Routine

The only routine I have is not much of a routine because I’m involved in so many things. Even my schedule at CSU is different every single day depending on how many lessons I’m teaching, classes, etc.

Time you go to bed

Usually around 11 PM.

Lunch routine

No, it’s different every day.

Productivity Tools

I just started a new thing literally yesterday. I’ve got this friend of mine and we decided to be productivity buddies. Kind of like workout buddies, except keeping each other on task and trying to encourage each other. She recommended this app called Wunderlist, and we can share each other’s to-do-list and keep track of each other and what’s getting done. So that’s gonna’ be something that’s new and exciting. But generally I just make lists and I feel great when I get to cross something off. 

Email Strategy

Yeah, I do get quite a bit of email and I try to unsubscribe as much as possible to things. And then usually it will kind of back up. I put school things first as a priority; emailing students and prospective students, trying to keep that number one. And then usually after that is gigs, paying the bills, and then after that it’s something to do with drum and bugle corps, or an arranging project. I do subscribe to a couple of newsletters, build a backlog, and eventually look at them once a month.

How do you deal with the news

Any social media stuff I scrim through kind of quickly. I don’t actually have TV, so that’s not usually an issue. But I try to take it in and let it go as quickly as possible. I struggle with anxiety and that can really heighten anxiety levels, and then it’s hard not to focus on it. So I try to take more of an approach where I tell myself I’m going to do the best I can to make the world a better place.

Motivational Object

To be honest - coffee (laughs). And sometimes if I have a project I get work done better at a coffee shop than I do at home. And it’s kind of a treat for me and I’ll get coffee and a little cookie for me and knock some stuff out.

Best Habit

I’m fairly organized and able to complete tasks on time, even sometimes when I procrastinate, but I still get them on time. So I guess reliable would be the word. 

Productivity Advice

In a weird way you have to take time for yourself. I think that can be the most productive thing you can do. You know you can get caught where you’re working all the time, but then the well gets dry, and then you have nothing to say. I think it’s important to take time to yourself, whatever that might mean to you. Take in a play, or go to a museum, or something like that, and stay motivated that way and keep that creative spark flowing.

Productivity Philosophy 

I tried this thing called The Best Self Journal. It’s kind of a daily journal that was mapped out, but it seemed like more work than I needed. I read articles, too, but this seems to work for me - the productivity app and the productivity buddy thing. It’s almost like a scatterbrain organizational tool. 

Guilty Pleasure

I like chick flicks and Gilmore Girls (laughs). I like a good episode of “Friends” - any of that, I’m down. No thinking. 

What you let slide

Keeping track of cleaning my apartment and my car.

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Shilo Stroman

Shilo is Special Assistant Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Colorado State University where he teaches lessons, freshman percussion ensemble, drumline, Jazz Pedagogy, Percussion Pedagogy and is charge of the Jazz combo program. 

Mr. Stroman is also very active in the marching arts and is currently the Artistic Director and Front Ensemble Caption Head/Arranger for The Battalion Drum and Bugle Corps (Salt Lake City, UT), Composer for the 2016 WGI Concert Open Class World Champion Dakota Ridge High School (Littleton, CO) and arranger for Fossil Ridge High School (Ft. Collins, CO) Loveland High School (Loveland, CO). He also writes and consults for several other schools nation wide. Shilo is a Yamaha Performing Artist and proud endorser of Sabian, Promark and Evans products.

Learn from Shilo and many more at the Arcadia Symposium.