Alex James

Alex J.

Indianapolis, IN

About Alex J.

Background check: Last verified 07/29/2016
Alex passed a background check on 07/29/2016 that included the following:
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Alex teaches: Ages 11 to 19
Teaching since: November 2007
Last sign in: 3 days ago


Alex was born May 31, 1987. Since both of his parents were band directors, he grew up in a very musically inclined family. When he was 15 years old, during his freshman year of high school, he started studying percussion. A year later he began studying under Chad Kohler and continued to do so until 2009. During spring semester of 2009 he studied briefly under Richard Walker at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In the fall of that year he then transferred to Butler University for an academic year and studied under Craig Hetrick and Jon Crabiel.

Beginning in 2011 Alex began studying attending University of Indianapolis and is currently studying under Paul Berns as well as Art Reiner. In addition to studying with them he has also went back to continue to study with his mentor Chad Kohler. In the time since Alex graduated high school, he has been continuously presented with teaching opportunities. At the time, though, music was not looking like the best course of action for him. With the aid of Chad Kohler, Alex then began getting more involved with teaching percussion. Alex eventually went on to arranging his own parts for his students, as well as composing original percussion ensemble pieces. Alex is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Music Technology at IUPUI.

In the time since he has been out of high school, he has taught at a number of schools including the Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center, North Putnam Jr./Sr. High School, Broad Ripple Magnet School for the Arts & Humanities, and Lawrence Central. He has also taught at Arlington High School and Short Ridge High School.

When it comes to teaching music, what is known to be as the “Holy Trinity” comes to mind. While teaching I personally believe that it is important to challenge students just enough so that they are not discouraged and are still able to have fun.

The Holy Trinity plays a big role in this. What it consists of is embracing your students from all angles. This would be from ensembles and private lessons, which in turn then encourage them to practice. Ensemble, private lessons, and practicing are the three main categories that make up the “Holy Trinity.” And in using this, you can also be more involved with your students as well. It is always a good idea be friend your students as well and not just be the “teacher.” There is a great quote that goes like this, “They will never care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” In which case has been proven to be very true time and time again.

It is important as a teacher to be able to inspire your students and to encourage them. Which is why I think it is important to be a good friend as well to your students. This way a kind of trust is formed and in turn can easily lead to the success of a music program. Also I do believe that it is important to expose students to as many forms of music as possible. This way they are not just stuck in one kind of mind set and if they choose to go into music for their career, then they have many different experiences they can pull and relate from. Plus they will also have some more knowledge of different cultures and music genres that can help not only create better music but also be more overall worldly in their personal life out side of music. Being able to learn about music is very important, and can easily impact a student’s life in many different ways that most subjects just do not have the capability to. This is what I believe about learning music and why I also love to teach it. I want my students to be able to have all the same great experiences I have had and more. Which is why I personally believe so heavily in a good music education.

*** Lesson Details ***
Although the approach to teaching that I use comes across as being pretty laid back, I do expect what some might consider to be a lot out of my students. This is because I want to make sure that my students will be successful as musicians.

While a student is studying with me; they will learn about percussion from multiple angles. They will learn and be able to understand many basic music theory terms and principles. They will also learn how each percussion instrument is tied to one another in technique and how to easily transition from instrument to instrument.

Depending on the age of the student, after about three months of studying with me, the student will know a few major scales, most of the standard American rudiments, and some basic drum set concepts. After 6 months, the student will know all 12 major scales, be familiar with all 40 snare drum rudiments, and know a good portion of basic drum set.

Please keep in mind that results may vary depending on the age of the student and the amount of practicing they do on their own. Results also depend upon whether or not they are practicing correctly, which is something they will also learn how to do with me.

*** Studio Equipment ***
In-studio lessons in basement with acoustic drum set. Street parking or drive way. Seating available for parents.

Lessons at the High School will be in the band room with their equipment.

*** Specialties ***
I mostly specialize in marching percussion as well as 2 and 4 mallet percussion.

Photos and Videos


Percussion Director

Sep 2014 - Jan 2015
Shortridge Magnet High School

I taught the percussion program as well as write and arrange for the drum line.

Head Percussion Instructor

Aug 2012 - Jun 2014
Arlington High School

I helped teach the percussion program and the drum line.

Front Ensemble Tech

Jul 2013 - Oct 2013
Tri-Central Jr/Sr High School

I taught the front ensemble here during the 2013 marching band season.

Bass Drum Tech

Jun 2011 - Nov 2011

I helped teach the bass drum line at Lawrence Central High School during the 2011 marching band season.

Percussion Director

Nov 2009 - Mar 2011
Broad Ripple High School

While I was here I taught the drum line and percussionists during the school day. I also wrote and arranged the percussion parts for their 2010 marching band show.

Concert Band II Percussion Assistant

Oct 2008 - May 2009
Lawrence Central High School

I helped teach the percussionists in the Concert Band II class for a year on a voluntary basis while I was in school from 2008 to 2009.

8th Grade Symphonic Band Percussion Teacher

Nov 2007 - May 2008
Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center

I taught the percussionists in the 8th grade symphonic band and well as put together a middle school drum line that performed at the Spring concert at the end of the school year in 2008


Master's of Science in Music Technology

Aug 2015 - Present

Bachelor's of Science

Jan 2011 - Dec 2013
University of Indianapolis

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Praxis I

Oct 2012
University of Indianapolis


Certificate of Appreciation

May 2010
Spirit of Broad Ripple


Percussive Arts Society, The

Nov 2009

We offer students and professionals opportunities to grow artistically and professionally. Students can learn have a music industry experience through the PAS Internship program or apply to receive a PAS scholarship or grant. Professionals can create new percussion programs or gain recognition through PAS grants and contests. Many individuals have significantly impacted the world of percussion through the Percussive Arts Society and they are recognized in our Hall of Fame and Awards pages.

National Association for Music Education

Oct 2009

Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

Write a Review

2 Reviews on Alex J.

Cindy G. Feb 12, 2014
Verified Student
Great with children

Alex is great with my 7 year-old son! David has already shown improvement in concentration at school, thanks to Alex!
MacKenzie M. May 14, 2013

Always challenging and keeps me informed about stuff that I need to know. Always relates things to other areas of percussion. Is really funny and nice. Always keeps me interested in what is going on during the lesson.
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