University Pedagogy Committee Panel


Michael Sammons

Michael Sammons, D.M.A. serves as the Percussion Area Head at the University of Utah. Sammons is recognized as a versatile performer in solo, chamber, symphonic, marching percussion and non-western musical styles. In addition to his work with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, he regularly performs with various touring shows (most recently on national Broadway tour of Aladdin), the Utah Opera and Ballet West and has appeared as a guest artist with Utah Chamber Artists and NOVA New Music Chamber Series. His work can be heard on ABC, ESPN, TNT and local media outlets as well as diverse recording projects for Warner Bros Chappell Music and the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Sammons previously served as director for the NBA’s Utah Jazz “Street Beats” Drumline. Sammons has appeared extensively throughout the U.S. and in Brazil as a guest artist and clinician including multiple performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Universidad Federal de Rio de Janeiro and de Recife in Brazil, Northwest Percussion Festival, various Percussive Arts Society’s “Days of Percussion”, National Association for Music Education, and numerous state Music Educators Association Conventions as well as prominent universities across the U.S. Sammons is an artist endorsee for Vic Firth Sticks/Mallets, Remo Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, Grover Pro Percussion and is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Dr. Nicole Detling

Dr. Nicole Detling received her BA in psychology and sports science from Ohio Wesleyan University, her MS in sport psychology from Ithaca College, and her PhD in sport psychology at the University of Utah. She also
completed a sport psychology internship in the Sports Medicine Center at the Mayo Clinic. Nicole has been consulting with athletes and performers since 1998. Athletes, teams, and coaches of all ages, ability levels, and sports have sought Nicole’s services. She has also worked with performing artists. Nicole regularly travels the world giving talks and trainings on mental toughness to athletes, coaches, businesses, and at professional conferences. She is currently the owner of HeadStrong Consulting, LLC, a sport psychology company focusing on performance enhancement through mental skills training. Nicole co-authored a book with her doctoral mentor, Dr. Keith Henschen, entitled “Don’t Leave Your Mind Behind”, which was published in February, 2018 and available on this website or on Amazon. She has also co-authored book chapters as well as professional journal publications. She is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).  She has appeared on The Colbert Report, NBC, The Olympic Channel, and several local news stations and has been heard on NPR, podcasts, and local radio stations. She has also been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles, both print and online. With HeadStrong Consulting colleagues, she is one of the hosts of the podcast: Becoming HeadStrong.

Nicole is currently the Director of Mental Performance as well as the mental performance coach with the national team athletes and coaches of USA Nordic (Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping; both men and women). She is also the Mental Performance Coach with the US Para Archery team, the US Slopestyle Snowboarding Team, the Utah Warriors (Major League Rugby), and Boise State Softball team. Nicole also works with Ballet West (Professional Ballet Company) and several individual athletes from the youth through the elite levels. In addition to working with several Olympic medalists and world champions, she has worked with professional athletes in the PGA, MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL as well as professional rock climbers, road cyclists, mountain bikers, and water skiers. From 2017-2020, she was the Mental Performance Coach with Real Salt Lake (MLS Soccer Team), Utah Royals (NWSL Soccer Team), and Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake 2nd Team). Also, Nicole was contracted with the University of Utah Athletics Department to provide sport psychology services to all U of U athletes from 2013-2019. In addition, she served at the Coordinator of Sport Psychology Services as well as a provider (Mental Performance Coach) with US Speed Skating from 2008-2013. Nicole also had the pleasure of working the US Ski and Snowboard Association (Freestyle Aerials, Freeskiing, and Snowboarding) from 2002-2019.

Her Olympic experience includes being a fully-credentialed member of Team USA with the US Short Track team in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic
Games and in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games with the US Freestyle Aerials Ski Team.

Her business consulting experience includes corporations from many industries. She has considerable experience keynoting for major corporate events as well as conducting training sessions that range from a couple of hours to year long intensive mental toughness training. Some of her clients have included the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) with the Federal Government, XO Communications, Rio Tinto, Biomat West USA, Conservice, UDR, and Fairway Management.

Dr. Detling is certified in the Athlete Assessments version of the DISC behavioral profile and has used it successfully to build team cohesion, enhance effective communication, and problem-solve with athletic teams as well as businesses.

Tim Jones

Timothy Jones is an Assistant Professor of Music in Percussion Studies and the Coordinator of History of Rock at UNLV. His book Rock ‘n’ Roll Origins and Innovators is in its 2 nd  edition, and he has several published articles in Percussive Notes, DrumScene, PercusScene, and Not So Modern Drummer. His TedX presentation on the marimba is published as the introduction to the keyboard chapter of Gary Cook’s Teaching Percussionenhanced 3rd  edition.

In May 2009, Dr. Jones was awarded the CFA “Outstanding Teacher of the Year,” and in 2011, the “Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.” He has served as coordinator for the LVMF Percussion Institute, as faculty on ZISAMP-USA and the Vienna Percussion Symposium, TAPS Long Beach and Adelaide; and he has served as co-director of the Australian National Drum and Percussion Camp.

Beyond solo and chamber percussion engagements Dr. Jones has a long list of performing credits including the Amadeus Orchestra, Las Vegas Opera, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Mary Wilson, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, Peter Cetera, Natalie Merchant, Don Rickles, the Irish Tenors, the Wild Celts, Mojo Risin’ Nick Hawkins, Carl Fontana and Nebojsa Zivkovic. Performance CD and DVD credits include Hit Man (David
Foster), Under the Desert Sky (Andrea Bocelli), Songs From The Drunk Tank (Wild Celts), Leaving Las Vegas (The Killers), A Tribute to Peggy Lee (Buddy Greco), Live at the Desert Inn (Brian Evans) and four UNLV Marimba Band recordings. Dr. Jones endorses Vic Firth, Sabian, Grover Pro Percussion, Remo, and Majestic Percussion.

Ted Atkatz

Ted Atkatz is a renowned performer, educator, recording artist, and composer. He is the former Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ted now resides in Los Angeles, where he is an active studio musician. He has performed on over 40 motion picture soundtracks, including Frozen, The Jungle Book and Up.

Ted has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He is also an active singer and songwriter. His band NYCO has released three albums: Two (2005), Realize (2008), and Future Imperfect (2012). NYCO performed with the Alabama Symphony in 2018. Ted has served as the Director of Percussion Studies at Bob Cole Conservatory since 2014.

About the Session

Building a Positive Performance Mindset

“I just played it perfectly a few minutes ago (in the practice room)!” Most of us have lived this experience in one form or another during our percussion lives. One of the most important factors in taking your “game from the driving range to the course” is learning to channel anxieties and be our natural selves when performing for an audience, whether live, virtual or recording session. While there are many aspects to consider when preparing to transition from the practice room to live performance, this session will focus on the psychopathology of performance involving the acknowledgement of our personal anxieties and the process of rebranding or channeling those anxieties for peak performance. The panelists will present concrete steps and practices specifically for percussionists to utilize during preparation for recitals, auditions, concerts and even weekly private lessons. 

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