Karlin found the right combination in music

Percussion instructor enjoys mentoring his students


Shelby Jackson

Band director Ken Karlin works with his 11th period jazz band.

If it wasn’t for Charlie Anderson, Ken Karlin may not be the band director that he is today.

Although Anderson taught Karlin for only one year, Anderson was a big impact on his Karlin’s life and his love of music.

Karlin didn’t always want to be a band director. He went through other majors until he decided his love of music should guide him to his career. He landed as a band director who specializes in percussion.

“This is just something I love doing,” Karlin said of working with percussionists.

Karlin enjoys it so much that he takes his profession outside of Ben Davis. Karlin has also been a part of Star of Indiana, which is a drum and bugle corps for the ages of 14 to 20.

Karlin’s Star of Indiana is one of about 30 nationally-recognized programs that compete in summer competitions. Karlin got his education degree from Ball State University.

“Students are a huge influence on me,” Karlin said. “I just love getting to know them and learn about their backgrounds.”

Karlin has taught all across the country and had stops in Denver and California. In doing that he gets to experience a lot of different personalities and a very diverse population. 

Because of the nature of what he teaches, Karlin spends many hours with his students and they develop a bond that last years beyond the teacher-student relationship.

One of his favorite memories was a student he taught for four years in high school who also was a member of the Star if Indiana. They have remained friends ever since.

“I feel fortunate to work with some talented students and see them grow,” Karlin said. “This is just a rewarding career to be involved with.”