Drumming Up Inspiration

April 10, 2014

By Kelly O'Brien ‘15

Touring with the Blue Man Group, Jesse Nolan possesses a tremendous talent for painting.  He doesn’t plaster his face in blue or spit paintballs onto a canvas while performing, however.  His paint is music, and his brushes are drumsticks. 

The Blue Man Group Resident Music Director, drummer and percussionist took the stage at Dingeldine Music Center to share his expertise with students before playing a second show at the Peoria Civic Center on Thursday.

Nolan gave a glimpse into the professional music-theatre world through his workshop “Painting With Sound.”  A music teacher for the past decade, he created the program to continue imparting his musical knowledge on students while on the road with the Blue Man Group.

“I want to use the concepts of the show as a vehicle for education,” he said.  “The Blue Man character is always investigating and yearning for knowledge, which is what students should do.”

Nolan brought a bit of the Blue Man experience to Bradley because students motivate him.

“Seeing them latch on to concepts or come on stage and knock something out of the park inspires me,” he said.

Dr. David Vroman, the Director of Band Activities and the Chairperson for the Department of Music at Bradley, believes Nolan provided attendees with an important networking opportunity.

“Having this contact becomes a tie to the industry for students,” he said.  “It’s inspiring that he’s willing to pass on the bliss he’s found in his career.”

After attending Nolan’s workshop, students should feel more prepared to paint their own musical masterpieces.