School of Music

Kevin Nichols

Kevin Nichols, D.M.A.
Associate Professor, Jazz Studies, Percussion
Sallee 102
Phone: (309) 298-1235

Kevin A. Nichols, Associate Professor of Music at Western Illinois University, teaches applied percussion and percussion methods course, coach jazz combos, and is the Drumline Instructor/Arranger for the Marching Leathernecks. Outside of WIU, he is active as a performer, director, clinician and adjudicator throughout the Midwest and Southwest.

Active as a performer, Dr. Nichols has supported such notable artists as Marie Osmond, Evelyn Glennie, David Amram, Jim Rattigan and the Turtle Island String Quartet. Additionally, he is a section percussionist, assistant timpanist, and drumset specialist with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. In addition to section duties, he was the symphony’s featured percussionist on their performance of Darius Milhaud’s La Création du Monde and Aaron Copland’s Music for Theatre. Other symphonic performance accomplishments include University of Iowa Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, Knox-Galesburg Symphony, and Galesburg Symphony Chorus.

Active on the drum set, he is a member of the John Cooper Jazz Orchestra, Peoria Heritage Ensemble, Savoy Stompers, and the Matt Warnock Trio. His WIU performances include solo recitals, the Faculty Chamber Series, and Summer Music Theatre. Dr. Nichols is also a founding member of the resident faculty jazz combo, the Hopper Jazztet.

Dr. Nichols has been a presenter for both Iowa and Illinois Music Educator Association All-State conferences, the Illinois Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and the Taos (NM) Youth Music Group. As a director he is the former Director of the Central Illinois Youth Percussion Ensemble in Peoria, and has led Concert and Marching Percussion Ensembles throughout the state of Illinois. During the summer months, he is a Percussion Instructor for the WIU Summer Music Camps. Dr. Nichols has adjudicated events for the Percussive Arts Society, University of Missouri, Illinois High School Association, Illinois Music Educators Association’s All-State Convention and various marching and jazz competitions throughout the region.

Dr. Nichols has completed coursework towards a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa. His research focal point is compositions written for drum set as a multi-percussion instrument. Presentations of his research have been hosted by McKendree University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma City University, Bradley University, and Chicago State University. He holds two Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University, in Jazz Pedagogy and Percussion Performance, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Dr. Nichols is a member of the PAS Drumset Committee and a former officer for the Illinois Chapter of PAS. He is a member of M.E.N.C., C.M.S., and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Dr. Nichols is an Educational Artist for the Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company and Remo, Inc.