Jazz Drumset Faculty

CalArts is looking for a drummer/percussionist/composer who has extensive performing and recording experience and is known in the creative music community for being open to a variety of musical styles and genres.  Teaching, communication, and leadership skills are essential, as is a willingness to mentor and guide young musicians from a wide range of cultures and academic histories.


Jazz is Black American music and is open to everyone.  CalArts jazz faculty are active performers and composers who are committed educators, dedicated to helping our students find their voices as creative improvisers and to support them as they move the music forward in new directions.  We give lessons, lead ensembles, and teach classes in a way that encourages experimentation and individuality while honoring and extending the jazz tradition and developing solid musicianship skills.  We enthusiastically recruit students from all backgrounds, knowing that diversity will make our program and the music stronger.


Founded by the late bassist Charlie Haden as a creative alternative to academic jazz studies, the CalArts jazz program emphasizes small ensemble performance and improvisation, training students to become highly versatile performers, improvisers and composers.  We have had distinguished faculty over the years, including Wadada Leo Smith, Joe LaBarbera, Albert “Tootie” Heath, James Newton, and Roscoe Mitchell.  Current faculty includes Steve Lehman, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Bennie Maupin, Alphonso Johnson, Larry Koonse, Chris Speed, Jeff Parker, Vinny Golia, Eyvind Kang, and Darek Oles.  


Jazz students work closely with their mentors within an apprenticeship model as students and faculty rehearse and perform together on a regular basis. Faculty challenge all jazz students to perform, record, and produce as often as possible. 


CalArts affords a multidisciplinary approach to studies in the arts through its six schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts offers BFA and/or MFA Programs in Music with Specializations in African Music and Dance, Composition and Experimental Sound Practices, Experimental Pop, Indonesian Music and Dance, Jazz, Instrumental Arts, Music Technology, North Indian Music, Performer-Composer, Voice Arts, World Music Performance, and World Percussion. Creative work that spans disciplines is strongly encouraged. In particular, CalArts’ unique DMA Performer-Composer Program attracts advanced students in whose practice composition and performance are fused. Further information about the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts is available at http://music.calarts.edu/.


This search welcomes applicants whose areas of expertise further or complement those represented within the School, which include experimental music, jazz and other improvisatory disciplines, alternative popular music styles, interactive musical technology, creative approaches to music production, and an array of musical cultures.


We seek to employ faculty who can engage our diverse communities of learners at the highest levels of artistic endeavor and critical thinking. We welcome candidates who possess a demonstrated worldview and cultural competency to support teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students of varied backgrounds, perspectives, social identities, and gender expressions. CalArts is an equal opportunity employer.  



The successful candidate will be expected to:


  • Teach jazz drumset lessons

  • Lead ensembles

  • Mentor and advise jazz drumset majors

  • Supervise drumset practice rooms, equipment, and facilities

  • Supervise MFA teaching assistants

  • Review BFA and MFA admissions applications, take an active role in recruiting drummers

  • Take a leadership role in the jazz program and in the music school.



  • Established performing/recording career as a drummer/percussionist/composer 

  • Evidenced teaching experience and commitment to education

  • Open to and experienced with new styles of music, composition, improvisation, and production, as well as a deep knowledge of jazz tradition


Candidates for this position must legally be able to work in the U.S.  


How to apply:

Review of applications will begin on 01/04/2022. For full consideration please apply by that date. Please go to this link to apply: http://apply.interfolio.com/98869

Applicants who advance to the second round of the search process will be invited to online interviews, following which short-listed applicants will be invited to campus for presentations, teaching demonstrations, and in-person interviews.

Please provide:

  • a cover letter that describes your interest in the position, relevant qualifications, and a reflection on your potential to contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment through teaching, performance, research, and/or service,

  • a current curriculum vitae,

  • Links to work samples (recordings and/or videos)

  • Names and contact information for three references

All submissions are confidential.