Issaya Rouson Whitesides has been involved with music since he was a small child. After being introduced to all kinds of music by his musician father, he began taking djembe lessons at a local West African dance studio in Brookland. Issaya attended the Duke Ellington High School for the Arts, as well as the School Without Walls in Washington, D.C. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz/Commercial Music Performance at Towson University, where he studied classical percussion, drum set, and music production. He has performed with acts such as Kevin Mahogany, Lee Smith, Lori Fulton, Elijah Jamal Balbed, Larry McKenna, Randy Brecker, Craig Taborn, Sam Prather’s Groove Orchestra, and Matt Wilson. Since then, he has formed his own jazz trio and performed at multiple venues in the Greater Washington and Philadelphia areas including the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, the Howard Theatre, and SOUTH Kitchen and Jazz Parlor. He enjoys teaching children and adults of all ages and believes that everyone has the potential to be a great musician.