James Yakas is the Director of Percussion Studies at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. He is also currently pursuing a Doctoral of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas. He also holds a B.M. in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a M.M. in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Yakas' diversity in percussion education and performance has led him to many unique opportunities. He spent a total of twelve summers in the drum corps activity spanning from performing as a snare drummer with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps to being a staff member and arranger to eventually becoming their Percussion Coordinator and Arranger in 2003. Mr. Yakas has also studied and performed a variety of world music including performances with Northern Illinois University’s Steel Band at the World Steelband Festival in Trinidad/Tobago and the Seoul Drum Festival in Seoul, South Korea; Studying Afro-Cuban Drumming with Orlando Cotto and Studying abroad in Ghana with ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson, specifically the Ewe Culture of the Volta region.
Mr. Yakas is an endorser of Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments and Sabian Cymbals.