NIU student keeps up the beat with the Bears

Kevin Bartelt

Daniel Eastwood has taken his passion for music to the next level.

The senior percussion performance major built himself quite the résumé when he completed his third season with the Chicago Bears Drumline.

Before delving into his future aspirations, it is important to understand how Eastwood arrived where he is today.

Eastwood began drumming 14 years ago.

“I never touched a drum before my first day of band class in 5th grade,” Eastwood said. “However, I saw a drumset when I was really young, and I thought the sticks looked really cool, and that’s when I knew I really wanted to drum.”

As time progressed, Eastwood became more and more interested in percussion.

“I didn’t really get serious about practicing until my junior year in high school,” Eastwood said. “I came from a really small town which had a really small band… My graduating class was around 70 and had six percussionists. I didn’t have much competition. But when I came to NIU, it was a huge wake-up call.”

Eastwood had to audition three times to get into the School of Music.

“I realized I had a lot to learn,” Eastwood said. “An endless amount, really.”

Currently, Eastwood is a member of Project Two, a percussion duo that he co-founded with his cousin, Chris Mrofcza, sophomore percussion performance major.

“We are a contemporary percussion duo that focuses not only on the music, but quite heavily on the performance aspect of the music as well,” Eastwood said.

The duo has done two small tours and recently finished a quartet project with another NIU percussion duo, Double Resonance.

In addition to performing, Eastwood has also taught drumlines and percussion students. He worked with his high school drumline after he graduated.

“It was a nice place to start because I knew how the system worked,” Eastwood said. “This allowed me to experiment with different teaching methods and fall on my face a few times before discovering methods that worked well for me and the students.”

Eastwood currently teaches three different high school drumlines. However, he has a strong appreciation for the first drumline he taught.

“It was a nice foundation for teaching at some of the larger suburban schools that I teach at now,” Eastwood said.

Recently, Eastwood was rewarded a USOAR grant to study in Puerto Rico. He spent two weeks this summer studying traditional Puerto Rican and Cuban music.

“It was amazing,” Eastwood said. “I would really like to move there after I graduate and study there for a couple years.”

Eastwood is also interested in spending next summer in Spain making music for an independent TV show.