Ricky Burkhead is an associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi, where he has taught since 1994. He holds the B.M.E. degree in instrumental music from Mississippi Valley State University and the M.M. in percussion performance from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to his appointment at Ole Miss he was on the music faculty at Mississippi Valley State University.
His responsibilities include applied percussion, percussion ensemble, and steel drum/salsa band. He performs with the Memphis, Tupelo, Corinth and Delta Symphonies and is active as a performer, clinician, and adjudicator in the southeastern United States. He is past president of the Mississippi chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and is a member of Phi Mu Alpha. He also composes and operates a private and recording studio. He has conducted clinics throughout the U.S and is a former instructor at the United States Percussion Camp. In addition, he has been a clinician for the Florida Music Educators Conference and Mississippi Music Educators Conference.
As President of the Mississippi Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, Burkhead has hosted several Mississippi Day of Percussion events. He maintains a private teaching studio and is an active freelance percussionist.
Burkhead formed the UM Steel Drum Band in 1995. It is the second band that he has organized in the state of Mississippi. The first was at Mississippi Valley State University in 1986. Both groups were firsts in the entire Mid-South region. The UM band was the first world music ensemble organized at the University of Mississippi and has presented concerts on campus and well as performed for Mississippi and Missouri days of percussion and state band clinics.