Joe Tounge (drums) studied classical percussion at Gordon College in Boston, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music (and a minor in math). There he played percussion for the New England Intercollegiate band and was the timpanist for Gordon College/NEC orchestra.
But in all of his 16 years of playing drums, the Portland, Maine, native has had a variety of professional experiences, including working with notable drummers Thomas Rose, Levi Weaver, Zach Wolfe, The Circle Players and Geoff Buell and was the lead percussionist for an orchestra led by James Buswell. He’s opened for Shaun Groves and Casting Crowns and played an event at Amy Grant’s farm, which he recalls as a highlight.
He dabbles in songwriting and producing and was honored with an award for his songwriting skills in college. He currently works as a drummer and writer for a licensed music therapist, Erin Aubrey, and plays drums as part of the worship team at Mosaic Nashville.
His passion? Clearly, music. “Everything about it,” he says. “From melody to harmony and rhythm. But nothing excites me more than a good groove, and as a drummer it is my job to provide that and figure out ways to advance it. But I am also passionate about inspiring others to use their gifts and passions in whatever way they feel led.”
That’s what led him to become a mentor at ROOTS Academy. “I feel very strongly about the role a teacher plays in a person’s life,” he says. “The real reason I took to drums were my first two teachers. They taught in such a way that not only pushed me to get better but never overwhelmed me.”
It’s an approach that influences the way he interacts with his students. “I try to find the balance between fun and discipline, and I think students really take to that,” he says. “Most everything I do, I introduce at a level that they can understand/play and then take the time to show them what it sounds like when you’ve been playing for 16 years. I try to show them what’s out there — what the future has. That always worked for me when I was young. I also try to break things down as much as needed, so they can digest it in a proper way.”
Here’s a little more about Joe.
Q&A with Joe
What’s your favorite local spot to spend time at when you’re not working & what do you do there?
Crema… I’m an addict.
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
I’m a drum video nerd. There’s always someone else out there doing something new and exciting. I try to learn from that.
What causes are you passionate about?
Great question. I am passionate about the third world. About underdeveloped and underprivileged parts of this very broken world. A lot of times my own busy life gets in the way of that.
What is your favorite Bible verse and how does it speak to you?
Psalm 139… Incredible one-liners throughout that Psalm. Focusing on how much He already knows, and how much we just have to trust Him.
Read more from his our Q&A with Joe on the blog.