Austin Wagner, Percussion Ensemble Director 

Austin Wagner

Role at Shipley
Percussion Ensemble Director 

Temple University – Boyer College of Music
BM in Music Education, Percussion Concentration
PreK-12 PA Teaching Certification

Prior Professional Experience:
Community Music Scholars
Settlement Music School
Northeastern Music Programs

Outside Performance Groups or Professional Organizations:
Percussive Arts Society
John Vanore and the Abstract Truth
The South Philadelphia Big Band
Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five 
Liz Fulmer (singer-songwriter)
Maria Mirenzi (singer-songwriter)
Bachelor Boys Band 
Jack St. Clair Orchestra

How/why did you get into music?
Growing up, music was always a part of my household. My Dad is a retired high school choral director. My parents met performing in local musicals, and then they founded and ran my high school’s Performing Arts program for over 30 years. In other words, music always seemed like the clear path for me. So, when I was three years old, I asked for a drum set for Christmas. My parents were understandably nervous about the noise of a preschool drummer and decided against it. Lucky for me, and to the surprise of my parents, my Grandmother granted my wish. I fell in love with that drum set, and I have been playing ever since! 

What is your music teaching philosophy or style?
First and foremost, music should be fun, and anyone can be a musician. Ensembles should empower students to compose, improvise, and create their own musical world. Even if a student doesn’t plan to pursue music professionally, lessons teach skills and practice habits that students can use for a lifetime.

How would your students describe you?
That’s a tough question! I hope my students would describe me as encouraging, helpful, and challenging. 
Do you have any musical heroes or inspiration? If so, who are they and why?
I am inspired by the countless world-class percussionists who have called Philadelphia home. I am guided by legends like Philly Joe Jones, Alan Abel, Ahmir Thompson, Byron Landham, and Angela Zator Nelson.

What music do you listen to for fun?
I listen to everything and anything. No genre is off limits. Trading listening recommendations with fellow music enthusiasts is one of my favorite pastimes. If you hear a cool record, I want to know about it! 

Fun fact about you:
I love to juggle. 

Anything else you’d like people to know about you:
If given the chance, I can talk about roller coasters and theme parks for hours.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.