Banded Story:

My experience with finding music is very much described by the adage that "you don't pick music, music picks you."  It was high school when I really noticed that all of my extra time went to practicing, and that I enjoyed the process of getting better at my instrument.  There were some emotionally trying periods in high school, and music was a rock for me during that time.  I remember distinctly crying while playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" on the piano - I got to the gorgeous E Major chorale and was able to get some of those more difficult emotions out.  That is still a very special piece to me.

Artist Bio:

Laurel Black is a percussionist and collaborative pianist finding her passions for playing and movement joyfully colliding in research, writing, performance and commissions - over a dozen.  She is published in Rhythm! Scene, Percussive Notes (Oct. 2017), and abroad, and serves as an Instructor of Percussion at James Madison University and a member of the PAS Health and Wellness Committee.  Her passion for personal observation as a means to injury prevention have resulted in numerous talks across the Southeast and Midwest on the topic.

At PASIC 2017, Laurel revealed PercussionMind. A collaboration with Performing Arts psychologist Mike Cerreto, the study aims to provide insight into the mental habits of professional percussionists.  It is designed to become an interactive resource for educators, students, professionals, and counselors, and can be found at  She also presented at PASIC 2015.

Laurel co-hosts the @ percussion podcast with Casey Cangelosi, Megan Arns, and Ben Charles, where she reports on the juxtaposition of music, psychology, and philosophy.

As a lover of chamber music and advocate of contemporary music, Laurel is a founding member of L+M Duo, a marimba/piano duo which will be the Ensemble in Residence at University of Illinois, Chicago from 2017-2018.
From 2012-2015 Laurel was an Adjunct Professor of Music/Staff Accompanist at Concord University in WV: a highlight was creating her own course, Movement for Musicians. Laurel was praised for her “stunning” (Percussive Notes) performance at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in 2011, where she was invited to perform as a Showcase Artist. In another life Laurel dreams of being a playwright and actress, but hopes that with maturity her musical projects can incorporate more and more of that dream.
Laurel loves performing with her husband, percussionist/composer Casey Cangelosi.  Together they have played in the USA (TAPS East Coast, PASIC, DoPs, McCormick Marimba Festival), Mexico (Percusonidos), Costa Rica, and Australia (TAPS OZ).
Laurel endorses sticks and mallets by Innovative Percussion, and instruments by Majestic.
MM: The Boston Conservatory. BM: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.