Hello, my name is Jason! I have been surrounded by music for my entire life. My father, a Berklee School of Music graduate, is an accomplished guitarist who introduced me to many forms of music as a child. At age seven he introduced me to Ringo Starr’s drum solo in “The End” by The Beatles and I knew that I wanted to learn to play percussion. Since that time, I have studied percussion theory and technique extensively with Shawn Green and Kevin Fortunato, both Berklee graduates. I studied film scoring, music theory, music history, and electronic composition at the Cambridge School of Weston under Gustavo-Assis Brasil (another Berklee graduate) and Michael Weinstein (the school’s music director and Berklee professor with an extensive list of degrees and credits). I also performed in many Rock/Pop and Jazz Ensemble classes under Gustavo’s direction where I got great performance experience as a teenager. My senior Capstone project at the Cambridge School was the performance of a drum clinic when I performed a drum solo improvisation as well as various contemporary songs. I then gave a lecture of the artistry and history of the drum solo in concert performance and the evolution of modern drum set equipment as well.
After study at the University of Connecticut, I returned to Massachusetts where I have since headed up the Percussion department at a local performing arts program for five years, teaching privately as well. I have recorded and performed with local bands The Movie: The Ride, Shiva Lingam, and Black Trip. Furthermore, I am working on the composition and production of an original album of music influenced by progressive rock, cinematic orchestral, industrial, world/ethnic, and classical symphonic music as well as other styles. My hopes for the future include the release of this material, the opening of a teaching/recording studio, and the publication of instructional percussion material.
Some of my biggest musical influences include (not just drummers): Ludwig Van Beethoven, Dream Theater (Mike Portnoy/Mike Mangini), Tool (Danny Carey), Thomas Lang, Zakir Hussein, Hans Zimmer, Jeremy Soule, Blind Guardian, Ellis Paul, Porcupine Tree (Gavin Harrison), and Mark Knopfler… this is by no means a complete list, just a snapshot!
*** Lesson Details ***
My students will gain the ability to play styles of music that inspire them through both sight reading and ear training. Through the reading of sheet music, band charts, and aural instrument recognition, my students will develop the tools necessary to play and compose music of any nature. It is my belief that all genres and styles of music can be a vehicle for the facilitation of solid physical technique as well as intuitive and cathartic emotional expression. It has been my experience that students will be more engrossed and motivated to practice when their curriculum involves music that they already listen to for enjoyment.
I use “Snare Drum Method” by Vic Firth as well as “Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer” by George Lawrence Stone with my beginning students to introduce written drum notation along with proper wrist and finger technique. My favorite book to use with students of any level is “Drum Set Warm-Ups” by Rod Morgenstein. This book has exercises that will consistently be appropriate for and challenge percussionists of all levels. It has worked wonders for my own development of speed, coordination, stamina, and limb independence; I use this book frequently in the way an athlete might go through stretches and the like before a game or tournament. Furthermore, I use Dave Weckl’s “Ultimate Play-Along: Drum Trax” series of books to introduce students to various styles of music (rock, funk, jazz, blues, etc.) from a drummer’s perspective. These books contain full-band charts for each song as well as versions of the songs with and without a recorded drum track. From here, I work with my students to choose songs from artists ranging from Tom Petty to Rush to Pat Metheney Group to further their development within a style that they enjoy. I often ask students to practice a few songs from their repertoire in one sitting if they want to prepare for a live concert situation.
In addition to my primary focus, I am well versed in the techniques and culture of many world instruments such as the djembe, doumbek, and cajon. I can teach my students tips and tricks for percussion instrument tuning, maintenance, and placement. I also offer drum set recording assistance and have a full array of microphone, cables, and recoding interfaces for audio production of your performances!
*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide headphones, media playback devices, paper worksheets, and small hand percussion. I expect my student to have sticks, a metronome (or equivalent app), and at least one of the following: snare drum, drum kit, hand drum (bongos, conga, djembe, doumbek, cajon, etc.).
*** Specialties ***
I can teach a broad range of methods, styles, and genres for either drum set or percussion. On the drum set the bulk of my recording and performance experience resides in rock/metal, electronic/breakbeat, funk, and progressive music. I also have experience arranging film score/video game music for adaptation to the drum set. I teach coordination/stamina methods developed by Rod Morgenstein, and limb independence exercises designed by Thomas Lang. I teach both open and crossed hi-hat playing with a focus on matched grip for symmetrical drum arrangement and limb movement. I am also proficient in the Moeller wrist technique. My percussion focus has been primarily on African and Middle-Eastern styles and techniques recently (with instruments such as the djembe and the doumbek). I also specialize in translating these techniques to cajon, an instrument I build in my workshop.
I design a curriculum and teach individual and group percussion lessons to children of all ages. Many of my students perform in our recitals. I also lead and record drum circle events as well as perform assisstant administrative duties for the school's accounting office.
I have been traveling to people's homes for nearly a decade teaching children ages K-12 techniques for drum set and world percussion.