Dr. Jesse Willis is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Texas Tech University, a Master of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Doctor of Music Degree from Texas Tech University. At CCU, Willis is the Director of Percussion Studies and is the artistic director of the CCU Percussion Ensemble and CCU World Percussion Ensemble. Under his direction, these ensembles have been invited to perform showcase concerts at PASIC, SCMEA and several Percussive Arts Society State Day of Percussion events.
Dr. Willis is a sought after adjudicator, performer and clinician who has been invited to perform or present at several professional music conferences, including PASIC, SCMEA, TMEA, CMEA, LMEA, The National Kodaly Convention, The National Orff Conference, and a number of state PAS events. He is currently a member of the Long Bay Symphony Orchestra in Myrtle Beach, SC and has performed with several other symphony orchestras in the Carolinas, Indiana and Texas.
Willis has also maintained an active career within the marching arts. He has worked with several championship high school band programs in Indiana and Texas and served as a drum line instructor for the Sudler Award winning Texas Tech University Goin’ Band From Raiderland. He was a performing member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and has been a percussion instructor or consultant for several DCI World Class drum and bugle corps, including the Madison Scouts, Carolina Crown and the Blue Stars.
Dr. Willis is the Vice President of the South Carolina Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and is an active member of several professional music organizations, including the South Carolina Music Educators Association, The National Association of Music Educators and the Percussive Arts Society.
Willis is a Yamaha Performing Artist and is currently an educational endorser for Vic Firth and Remo.
The inside scoop on Dr. Willis…
“One of the things that makes Dr. Willis an excellent educator is that his words are substantiated by action. Every piece of advice or information is backed up by a significant amount of experience and knowledge. And when he asks you to do something challenging, it is clear that he is not only capable of doing the task, but of breaking it down in a way that makes it more approachable for the learner.
Dr. Willis's classroom style is at times intense, but the intensity is fueled by a deep care for his students' growth and well-being. He has a keen awareness of what makes a professional musician successful, and demands those traits, or at least demands students grow towards those traits, from the first day of instruction.”
- Former Student Micah Ray, ‘18, Assistant Band Director at Park High School in Cottage Grove, MN, and Substitute Principal Percussionist for the 2018-2019 season of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra