2017 Liberty Cluster
Applied Lessons Instructors
Mr. Michael Jones
Applied Lessons Faculty
*Lesson availability: LHS students daily 7:30-9am and limited after school times
Michael Jones is a percussionist from Dallas, Texas. His latest endeavors include collaboration with Dean Anderson, who served as Chair of the Percussion Department for the Berklee College of Music for over three decades; other recent collaborations feature contemporary music ensemble “Voices of Change.” Michael's work with the ensemble included performance as well as a recording project featuring a chamber adaptation of “Producing for a While” by David Dzubay. An active performer, Mr. Jones and has been featured across the United States from Boston to California. International work includes concerts with Keiko Abe at the Toho Gauken College of Music and solo performance at the newly constructed Yamaha Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Jones has served as faculty for not only Drew Lang’s Marimba
Madness summer percussion camp, but also as a guest performer for Keiko Abe's International Marimba Academy in New York.
Mr. Jones received his Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Methodist University, his Master of Music degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and recently completed his Graduate Performance Diploma in Marimba Performance at The Boston Conservatory. His primary teachers include Keiko Abe, Keith Aleo, Doug
Howard, Drew Lang, Akie Takada, Brian Zator, and Nancy Zeltsman. His teaching responsibilities include work with the Frisco and Lewisville Independent School Districts where he maintains a large studio of private students.
Mr. Arjuna Contreras
Applied Lessons Faculty
*Lesson availability: LHS students (limited to 10), after school times only
Arjuna Contreras is a drummer and percussionist based out of Dallas, TX. He is often noted for the energy, soul, and excitement he brings to music, both as a performer and an educator. Arjuna’s performing experience is vast. He possesses the ability to sound equally at home in a wide variety of musical styles including Jazz, Country, R&B, Pop, Latin, Rock, and even Polka! Mr. Contreras currently performs with the popular Texas country artists, Eleven Hundred Springs and Matt Hillyer. In recent years, he toured nationally with Grammy Award-winners Donna Summer, Brave Combo, and Howard Scott (original lead singer and guitarist for the funk band, WAR). Arjuna also serves as the house drummer for the North Campus of Prestonwood Baptist Church.
Mr. Contreras has been a professional teacher for over twenty years. He taught all facets of percussion at Colleyville Heritage High School and its surrounding middle schools from 1996 until 2015. Last year, he held the position of Percussion Paraprofessional for Liberty High School and Fowler Middle School. It was a successful year for the Fowler percussionists, as they were named the International Percussion Ensemble Competition (IPEC) Middle School winner for 2015. Under Mr. Contreras’ and Dr. Rob Parks’ guidance, they presented a Showcase Concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in San Antonio, in November of that year. The student’s performance was met with rave reviews. Over the years, Mr. Contreras’ students have received top honors at drum line competitions, solo and ensemble contests, and band competitions. Many of his students have gone on to study music in college and become professional musicians. Beyond his teaching in schools, Arjuna is a highly sought-after clinician and guest artist.
Arjuna’s drumming can be heard on Eleven Hundred Springs’ most recent recordings, Midway and Eight the Hard Way, along with Matt Hillyer's recent release, If These Old Bones Could Talk. He can be seen performing with the bands in their frequent appearances on The Texas Music Scene Television Show, as well as at live performances throughout the Southwest. Other recordings with Arjuna on drums include the song, Belgium Polka, off of RCA/Jive Recording Artists, Bowling for Soup’s recent album, Sorry for Partyin’, and Brave Combo’s full album, The Exotic Rocking Life.
Mr. Contreras’ professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Percussive Arts Society, and the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147. Additionally, Arjuna holds Educational Endorsements with Remo, Inc. (Drumheads and Percussion Instruments) and Vic Firth, Inc. (Drumsticks and Mallets).
Ms. Nicole Robbins
Applied Lessons Faculty
*Lesson availability: Vandeventer students during class/limited LHS students during class and 7:30-9am
Nicole Robbins is from Aledo, Texas. She currently resides in Denton, TX where she is finishing the final year of her Bachelors Degree in Music Education at the University of North Texas. While at UNT, she has performed with the Symphonic Band, Percussion ensembles, Gamelan Ensemble, the 2:00 and 8:00 Steel Bands, and the Green Brigade Marching Band. She has studied under Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, Paul Rennick, Ed Smith, Jose Aponte, Rod Kosterman, Dennis Fisher, and Nicholas Williams. During the summers, Miss Robbins has played marimba for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (2013), taught various Drumline camps including the UNT Marching Camp, and recently attended the Leigh Howard Stevens Seminar (2016).