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Dr. Sarah Waters

Associate Professor of Music
Presser Hall 215
525 S. Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
(419) 772-2704

Dr. Sarah Smith Waters teaches Applied Percussion, Steel Drum Band, Percussion Ensemble, African Music, American Music and Music History, and she is the director of the Ohio Northern Summer Music Camp for students in grades seven-12. She currently performs with the Lima Symphony Orchestra. Her percussion duo Duoma recently performed at the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy and the Women in Music Conference.

Waters has several publications, including "An Afternoon in Havana with Angel Terry Domech" in Percussive Notes (November, 2018); "Piece for Ghana" (Permus Publications, 2018); and "Shhh...Don't Wake the Baby" (C. Alan Publications, 2018). Other recent articles include “Make a Joyful Noise” in Triad (Ohio Music Educators Online Journal) (April, 2015); “Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future: Music Education in China” in Music Educators Journal, (December 2013); “A Look at the Percussion Holdings in the Czech Museum of Music, Prague” in Percussive Notes, (Vol. 51, No. 3, May 2013); and “Music,” an article entry in Robert A. Waters, Jr., The A to Z of United States-Africa Relations, (Scarecrow Press, 2010).

She is the recipient of the Ohio Magazine Excellence in Teaching Award (2014) and the Eleanor and Rober Biggs Endowed Chair Award (2015 and 2016), and she has been given the Excellence in Teaching Award by the students in the music department six times.

Her CD, “Shreds: Music for Trumpet and Percussion,” recorded with colleague David Kosmyna, was released through Centaur Records in June 2015.


An avid steel drum performer, Waters participated in the world’s largest steel band competition in Trinidad and Tobago called “Panorama” as a member of the band Birdsong in February 2015 and 2018. She has been a member of the PAS All Star Steel Band and Pan Rocks. In summer 2014, she taught “African Music Since 1950” at the University of Ghana through the United Studies Abroad Consortium. This trip resulted in obtaining a Fulbright Visiting Scholar grant to bring professor Benjamin Ayettey from the University of Ghana to ONU for 2015-16 to teach African music and dance.

A native of Lima, Ohio, she received her Bachelor of Music in music education from Ohio Northern University in 1987, a Master of Music in percussion performance and conducting from Western Michigan University (1991), and a doctorate in percussion performance from Ohio State University (1995). Prior to ONU, Waters was a percussionist in the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Concert Band and Principal Percussionists, and timpanist for the New Orleans Civic Symphony. She has been the principal timpanist in the South Dakota Symphony, the principal timpanist and percussionist for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and principal percussionist for the Sioux City Municipal Band. 

She was the recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1999 and taught for a year in Botswana. She has been on the faculty of Muskingum College, Mississippi Valley State University and the University of South Dakota and was teaching at Holy Cross School for Boys in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) forced her and her family back north where her beloved alma mater took them in.

Sarah and her husband, Rob, live in Ada and have two boys: Donald, 16, and Robby, 14.


Department of Music

Patty Warner

Presser 202
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.