Champaign percussionist to open teaching studio
February 4, 2020
From marching with the Cavaliers’ drumline to touring professionally, Ian Sheperd has played percussion for the last 20 years in every music setting imaginable. He’s performed on hundreds of recordings such as full-length albums, video game soundtracks, commercials and albums.
Now, Shepherd has taken his talent to the classroom, and has opened the Blue Room Percussion Studio in Champaign. The Daily Illini interviewed Shepherd about the grand opening of his business.
The Daily Illini: Why did you open a percussion studio?
Ian Shepherd: I opened a percussion studio because I’m passionate about playing and teaching, and I want to share that passion with everyone! The Blue Room is a great environment to do just that.
DI: What can students learn to play/learn to do from you?
Shepherd: Students can learn all things drums and percussion at The Blue Room. I focus on giving real life information to help you in your school band, your drumline, your jazz band, rock band and any other musical situation you might find yourself in.
DI: What is your favorite thing about music? Percussion?
Shepherd: Music is everything to me. It’s been an obsession of mine for over 40 years. It has provided inspiration, motivation, healing and confidence. It has allowed me to travel across this country and connect with so many wonderful people. It has also allowed me to have an impact on so many young players. Watching them grow and become great musicians and teachers themselves is a real gift.
DI: What’s your background in music?
Shepherd: I studied music here at the University of Illinois, and I have been playing, teaching, recording and touring for 30 years.
DI: What’s your favorite drum solo in a song?
Shepherd: Too many to choose from! There are so many incredible players out there.
DI: What would you tell someone — like a busy college student — who wants to begin learning to play the drums?
Shepherd: Just come in and try it out! There’s no pressure and you can work at your own pace. It’s all about having fun!
DI: Is it ever too late to learn to read music?
Shepherd: Never, ever, ever, ever.