Skillen is a respected performer, teacher, and scholar. His scholarly work includes more than 40 publications, three book chapters, 12 professional recordings, musical transcriptions, and multiple solo performances on four continents. Current research interests include brass pedagogy, contemplative teaching practices, curricular design, commissioning and premiering new works for tuba, community engagement, and arts entrepreneurship.
Prior to his engagement at LSU, Skillen was a principal tubist in American orchestras, and he has performed with touring ensembles across the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a Fulbright Scholar, Skillen studied in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Royal Music Academy and performed as a substitute tubist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. His performances have been broadcast in the U.S. on National Public Radio and on Sweden’s National Radio. He holds degrees in music education and music performance from Tennessee Technological University, Pennsylvania State University, and Michigan State University.