Tiffany Nicely holds bachelors degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Theory/Composition from the University of New Mexico. She received Masters Degrees in Music Theory and Music Composition from SUNY Buffalo. Nicely continues her musical education by studying percussion of Brazil, Cuba, West Africa, and Mexico. This includes private study with master percussionist from foreign lands, and traveling whenever possible to learn the music where it was created. In 2005 she traveled to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. There, she studied Bloco Afro, Candomble, and Samba Duro styles of drumming. In 2006, Nicely studied marimba in the country of its origin, traveling to several cities in Mexico. The winter of 2007-2008 took her to Guinea, West Africa to study balafon, djembe and doun doun music.
An active performer, Nicely belongs to groups such as Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble (jazz fusion), Diaspora Drum & Dance (traditional percussion and dance of the African Diaspora), Lake Affect (music composed around text and visual art), and The Twelve Eight Path Band (New Orleans-style street band). Her CD credits include: La Musica de Silvestre Revueltas, Playing Guitart, Lou Harrison: Labyrinth, The Word Underneath, Diaspora Drumming: Brazil, Cuba and West Africa, and Between Breathing.
Nicely has taught percussion and music theory at SUNY Fredonia since 2002. She also teaches World Music Cultures at Buffalo State College. She has been a music teaching artist with MUSE since 1999, and with the Arts in Education Institute of Western New York since 2001. She is also a frequent school performer through Young Audiences of Western New York.