Hello prospective students!!!
My objective as a teacher is to impart what I've learned over the past 14 years as a professional drummer to students of all ages. All I require is that you have the desire to learn how to play drums!!! I focus on Technique, Theory, Improvisation, Style and most importantly Groove.
As an Educator: I have taught as a substitute for numerous music schools through out NJ, most notably at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey under Rodam Schwartz where I taught Jazz Drum Set, Piano and Brazilian Percussion. I have also conducted clinics in the states and in South Africa. I am currently stationed in WA. with Navy Band North West.
As a Touring Professional Drummer: I have toured throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South America, Africa, Asia, Middle East and the US. I have toured with groups such as King Django (Epitaph records), Brooklyn Funk Essentials (Shanachie records), Jean Grae, Flaco Navaja, No Discipline (Retrieve records), Maggie Kim, Joshua Nelson, Dominic Kanza, Weldon Irvine, Etienne Stadwijk, Bruce Williams, Joan Almedilla (Lead singer of Les Miserable, and Miss Saigon), Butta (Rock Steady Crews B-Boy Band), Braindance, Jesca Hoop (Columbia Records), Moss Bluff, The Live Debate and most notably, 4 years of touring as a founding member of Roots Tonic with Epic recording Artist Matisyahu.
As a Studio Drummer:
I have a appeared on over 60 recording for various independent artists but most notable I am featured on 3 albums with Epic recording artist Matisyahu including "Youth", "Live at Stubbs" and "Shake off the Dust", and one DVD, "Live in Israel". I produced the single "Christmas Smiles" by Kate Diaz in 2010 of which all proceeds will be donated to Cure Search for childrens cancer
My television appearances include: Two videos on MTV, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, Late Night with Dave Letterman, Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey Show, Carson Daly, Late Night with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Bigtime with Steve Harvey, Good Morning America, Much Music (Canada), Jools Holland Show (England) and the Late show (Ireland).
Endorsements: Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumstick, DW Drums/Pedals/Hardware, Evans Heads, Factory Metal Percussion and ProLogix drum pads.
*** Lesson Details ***
I focus on 7 elements of musicianship as a drummer that I have developed over my career..
I'm a fundamentals kind of guy. All of these elements are used for one purpose... TO PLAY MUSIC!!!!
I don't care what level you are these concepts will help you move in any direction you want as a performer.
I'm available to teach all ages and levels of experience. It's my job to inspire, teach and guide you to the best of my ability. I WANT YOU TO BECOME A MASTER!!! What does this mean?, well, here's what the
* a person who has dominance or control of something : he was master of the situation.
* a machine or device directly controlling another : [as adj. ] a master cylinder.
* a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity : I'm a master of disguise.
* a great artist, esp. one belonging to the accepted canon : the
work of the great masters is spread around the art galleries of the
Everything that I have learned about playing an instrument has made into the person I am today. I use all the same processes (devotion, persistence, focus, education and good old elbow grease) in all aspects of my life.
For the Beginner:
I make the lessons fun like a game that we can both play just to see what the student can pick up in a way that's not to "educational"... Of course there are the basics that need to be addressed, like holding the
sticks, technique,,, blah, blah, blah, sounds easy right? you'd be surprised by how many little pointers can increase the ease of playing, and that's exactly what it should be, "playing", and "playing" is supposed to be fun, that's why adults hate growing up because there's less time for it... unless you're a musician :)
For the Intermediate: Generally lessons are focused and assignments are given and reviewed the following lesson. Approximately 30 min-1hr should be spent practicing a day between lessons and the student should begin playing with his piers. Join a cover band, start your own with a couple of buddies or find anyone else to play with. This is when students develop the good practice habits that will allow then to become an experienced musician. I also encourage all of my students to get involved with the music programs available to them in whatever school system they may be affiliated with. Join marching band, or take a class on music history...
For the Advanced Drummer: Lessons are focused and sometimes esoteric by nature. Assignments are not necessarily reviewed during the following lesson as an overall concept is multifaceted. This is when the student is fine tuning his musicianship, has an understanding of professionalism and is beginning to play on a higher level with as many musicians as possible. Practicing 2-8 hours a day is expected, and it's that type of work ethic that bring your playing to the next level.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Office in finished basement: two drum sets, futon, reclining chair, office chairs, desk, stereo, parents can sit in on lesson (encouraged). Also, I have a cat. Please let me know if you have any allergies. Many people have come to my house with allergies and have not been affected because my cat is awesome! Thank You!
*** Specialties ***
I have played a variety of repertoire in the styles of Jazz, Blues, Pop, Funk, Hip-Hop, Break-Beat, Rock
(Classic, Alternative and Progressive) Reggae, "West African", Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music.
Here is an outline and description of my approach to teaching privately,,, now don't get scared off if you are a beginner. Some of this information may seem overwhelming, but remember, " YOU CAN ONLY EAT AN ELEPHANT ONE BITE AT A TIME!!!" having said that, "YOU NEED TO BE HUNGRY!!!" :)
What I teach is a means to an end... Playing music is like turning on an engine, or better yet turning on a computer. You see the screen and you know how to open some programs but you don't necessarily realize how many other programs are running in the background just to start your computer up!!!! developing the tools I show you are like writing the necessary programs you need to operate your computer. When you sit down to play you don't want to, "Think", you want to "PLAY". You work on the fundamentals and then you apply them without really being aware of them. You are supposed to operate like a well oiled manifold.... Having a deficiency in any one of these areas clogs your engine and prevents it from running smoothly.... I want to be a Porsche.
Groove Development: I approach this using the concepts that I have learned from working through a variety of supplements, and playing a variety of different styles of music. Learning to apply the appropriate rhythms and feel are key to unlocking the door to any music you play. You must know the music like the back of your hand.
The concept that I emphasize is the development of 6-way coordination, all four limbs playing simultaneously along with reading and singing. This is a difficult process but eventually the student will be able to play the groove while singing a rhythm and reading rhythms on a designated sound source. Once a groove is ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂin placeÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ the student can go on to sight-reading and chart interpretation. All of this work should be done with a metronome and the simplicity of this method can open the doorway to developing solid time and groove in any style of music. You will also be developing your internal clock that will allow you to subdivide time as you wish.
Music Theory/Reading : (Applied to drum set) R.I.FÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ Reading is fundamental. I stress single line reading to develop even subdivisions and interpretations of a lead sheet. I also focus on complete staff reading that will allow a student to quickly see and learn a part written for drum set.
Rudiments: I utilize several materials that are, "Hallmarks" of drum set studies. Rudiments are like words in language. We learn their meanings and then begin to use them in sentences. Eventually the sentences become paragraphs, then stories, etc.... How often do you think about the individual words that you use in a day to day conversation? Not a whole lot I guess. Imagine being able to express yourself freely on the drums without questioning your meaning? See where this is going?
Style Analysis: I have completed the 10-week intermediate course and the 6-week advanced course at Drummers Collective Institute in NYC, which exposed me to a tremendous amount of information. But my studies of rhythm only opened the door for what I learned while studying Jazz with my three mentors, Lenny White, Ralph Peterson Jr. and Etienne Stadwijk.
The mastery of a style is comparable to the comprehension and speaking of a language. The use of rhythms properly can only occur when the understanding of a styleÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs repertoire is in place. Students MUST invest in the Discography of the style they wish to learn. Melody, Harmony, Theory and Song Form all come into play along with the understanding of Groove Development and the Rudiments. Then you will be able to "PLAY" appropriately and tastefully within the context of the rhythm section.
Improvisation: I believe that the American pastime of Jazz is one of the best mediums to teach improvisation, however, the exercises that I teach can be used in ANY contemporary style of music. I stress playing the music FIRST. Making the artist feel comfortable and playing the Groove within the music is the, ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂCake and IcingÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ. Soloing is really just the sprinkles at the end. To prepare a student for any situation I teach a variety of exercises.
Technique: Hey,, we all have to learn to hold the sticks and make them do what we want them to.
Mental Attitude: Being able to play and withstand the pressures of being on stage is only one part of what will get you hired for a gig. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂProfessionalismÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ and ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂAmicabilityÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ equally weigh in to the decision of an employer. ItÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs also important to understand how to get a gig and survive in the industry. Understanding networking and the business are very important as a drummer. I believe that a student should find his/her own path and have the vision of what it is that they want to do. This will allow all their work to be purposeful and the overall experience to be fulfilling.