Nick Fairley

Nick Fairley

Affiliate Instructor, Drum Set, DMC

    Off Campus



Nick Fairley is a musician and educator whose career has spanned nearly two decades across multiple continents.

After spending years on the road, touring as a professional drummer in several bands, he earned an associate’s degree in arts at Illinois Central College, and began his work as an educator. He quickly became one of Central Illinois’ most in-demand private instructors, while achieving both a bachelor’s in music business, as well as a master’s in jazz performance at Illinois State University. Having begun his graduate studies under the tutelage of Joel Spencer at the University of Illinois, he came to discover a love for research of performance, including the live and recorded practice of improvised music.

He’s had the pleasure of booking concerts and arranging tours which have seen him playing with both Reggie and Victor Wooten, members of Frank Zappa's mothers of invention, and members of Lettuce.

Nick frequently works in the studio as a session drummer and performs live, both locally and nationally. He has enjoyed success playing in numerous bands, including Easy Riders, Harvest Sons, Willie Waldman Project, Sarah & The Underground, The Brazilionaires, Larry Harms Trio, Dave Hoffman and Friends, Yoseph Henry Quartet, Art of Ill Fusion, Chris Tarpley and The Sauce, Peoria Municipal Band, as well as many Peoria-area pit orchestras.

At present, he is focused on his educational roles at Kidder Music, as well as at Bradley University and Illinois Central College, where he directs the percussion ensemble and teaches applied lessons in percussion.