Jesse Willis is currently the Director of Percussion Studies at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. He holds a B.M.E. and a B.M. from Texas Tech University and a M.M. from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. At CCU, Jesse currently instructs the Spirit of the Chanticleer percussion section and directs all of the CCU Percussion ensembles including: the CCU Steel Pan Ensemble; CCU Brazilian Ensemble; and CCU Afro-Cuban Percussion Ensemble.
From 2007-2009, Jesse was an Associate Instructor at Indiana University, where he taught private lessons, and directed the Indiana University Steel Pan Ensemble. He also assisted with teaching responsibilities for the IU Brazilian percussion ensemble, and IU Afro-Cuban percussion ensemble. Jesse has also been involved as a performer and teacher of the marching arts for several years. He has taught marching percussion for several championship high schools in Indiana and Texas, including Northview High School and Center Grove High School, and was also the drumline instructor for the Sudler Award winning Texas Tech Marching Band (2004-2005). Jesse has also been heavily involved in the drum and bugle corps activity and was on the percussion staff at the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps from 2006-2009, serving as assistant caption head in 2008 and 2009. He is currently on staff at the Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps as a percussion consultant. Jesse has also served as a guest clinician at several high schools around the country.
As a percussionist, Jesse has performed all over the country, including several music conventions such as PASIC, Oklahoma PAS Day of Percussion, TMEA, CMEA, LMEA, The National Kodaly Convention, National Orff Conference, and on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines "Monarch of the Seas." He has also played with several regional symphony orchestras in Indiana and Texas, including the Bloomington Camerata Orchestra. He was one of the founding members of The Latin Jazz Collective, under the direction of Michael Spiro, and was also a founding member and co-leader of the Bloomington based salsa band, El Fuego Lento.
Jesse's principal teachers include Lisa Rogers, Alan Shinn, Michael Spiro, Steve Houghton, Kevin Bobo, John Tafoya, Brent Montgomery, and Pat Amann. He is currently an educational endorser for Vic Firth and Remo.