October Artist Spotlight: Robert Adney

What's your art form?

I play percussion in the MN Percussion Trio: www.minnesotapercussiontrio.com. I have been a part of the Twin Cities music community for over 35 years. I have played with virtually every musical organization in the area including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Dale Warland Singers and the World Voices Choir.

Will you share a piece of advice for aspiring percussionist or musicians in general?

Sure, a couple of things and rather cliché: practice like you are performing and keep trying to learn new pieces!

How does teaching your craft to youth affect your own art?

It continually makes me ask and wonder "why do we do this," "what's the point". By always having a relevance to the youth I teach, it helps me decide what I should be working on. I was listening to a speech not long ago and the speaker who does similar work to what I do was once asked by a student "Why should I care about Beethoven?" This for me was an excellent summary of how I approach teaching and working with students. I do want them to care, but I have great reasons for them to do so. I am continually working on "those reasons."

What kind of programs do you bring to schools?

We do three different concert programs. “Click, Clap, and Clunk” uses simple or found instruments such as 5-gallon buckets, claves, paper, tin cans and body percussion, the trio features the creativity of today's composers.  “Around the World in 80 Beats” travels on a whirlwind tour of the musical traditions found around the world: we begin in Minnesota then go to an up tempo polka on the marimba, Guatemala's national instrument, and follow that with sounds from Brazil, a Spanish Flamenco, and Middle Eastern tar dance rhythms. Lastly, “The Beat Goes On” uses the most common percussion instruments such as snare drum, xylophone, marimba, drum set, and vibraphone.

By the end of a week with you, what are 3 things you hope most students have learned? 

At the conclusion of any the concert programs I am hoping that;

the students/teachers/staff have been engaged to our concert
I am hoping that the audience is delighted by our commentary and understand the connections we are making
And that the audience will never look at a piece of 8.5 x 11 sheet paper in the same way, ever again!

What does being a COMPAS artist mean to you?

The MN Percussion Trio has been together since 1987 and we began with Young Audiences of WAMSO, a group within MN Orchestra and Orchestra Hall. Eventually Young Audiences became its own organization. Young Audiences merged with COMPAS in 2009 and we enjoy being aligned with COMPAS...in this business you can't know enough people. There is strength within numbers and groups working together!