I have been playing drums for as long as I can remember! Having come from two very musical parents, music has always been an important and powerful force in my life. The son of a versatile drummer, I was introduced to percussion at a very early age, and can recall being sat behind the drum kit as a toddler. Piano was the first percussion instrument I studied formally for several years in early elementary school. In fourth grade my dad set up some drums in our basement, which quickly led to joining the school band, and soon was taking lessons in both drums and keyboard instruments.
My drum studies continued throughout middle school and high school, where I also started developing my voice, singing in several vocal ensembles, as well as playing in marching band, symphonic band, orchestra, and jazz ensemble. Throughout middle and high school, I helped start several bands ranging in styles from surf rock and punk, to jazz fusion and jam rock. It was in the garages, basements, and churches where these bands rehearsed that I really started finding my own creative voice; experimenting with an open mind, learning to sing through both my voice and the drums, and having my first experiences recording in the studio and gigging in public.
The decision to become a music major was an easy decision, and I soon found my home in higher education at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I pursued a BA in Music Performance, Jazz Percussion. Playing in a myriad of bands across all genres, college opened up worlds of new music to my ears, and lead to gigging all over the Washington DC/Baltimore metro region. I graduated in 2010 with academic honors and spent the next several months traveling around the country, exploring new landscapes and soundscapes.
I returned to Maryland in the spring of 2011 to begin private teaching and focusing on several musical projects, with which I gigged extensively. I joyously found myself touring for the first time over this past summer: As part of the indy rock duo Ms. Fridrich, we completed a month-long, cross country tour. I also spent a week touring as a percussionist with Dr. Maddvibe. a solo project of the influential ska band Fishbone's front man Angelo Moore, on the Northeast leg of Warped Tour, a true honor!
As a lifetime student of the drums, I have been formally studying for fifteen years, and has studied under several notable musicians, including Chuck Redd, Tony Martucci, Steve Fidyk, Scott Tiemann, and Mahiri Keita-Edwards. I believe the key to great drumming or playing any other instrument is to simply become part of the music, and to play with joy. As a young student of drums, I was formally trained in the rudiments and technical facets of the drums, as well as methods to help absorb the groove and focus on nothing but the music. I believe, contrary to popular perceptions, that in addition to being rhythmic, the drums are a melodic instrument, and thus should be played in such a manner. Under such conditions, noise transforms into melody and harmony, and rejuvenate us, our thoughts, and our experiences.
I like to encourage my students to step beyond simply trying to emulate a drummer’s style, by helping them find their own creative voice through incorporating the various textures and approaches of great drummers, old and new. I strive to show my students how to draw music out of their drums, so they can play different musical “colors” through the use of dynamics, feel, and emotion. Always promoting positivity and understanding, I seek to teach the value of cultural richness in the world of music, which is constantly becoming more global. Whenever I introduce a new style, like Bossa Nova or Reggae for instance, I find it important to clarify the purpose of the beat to the song and the people who make the music. This includes looking at different cultures and their approaches to music and adapting the drum set to their traditional rhythms.
I love most all types of music, and am proficient in many styles of playing including rock, jazz, funk, blues, reggae, hip hop, bluegrass, latin, some African/Latin hand percussion, and more. I offer a wide range of instruction from beginner to advanced, and work with every student to address their individual needs and goals. As a well-rounded, creative, versatile drummer who listens well and craves passing on the gift of music to people of all ages, I am eager for new students, new inspirations, new music, and new experiences!
*** Lesson Details ***
It is important to be comfortable when making music and opening the creative mind, so I try to make my lessons as laid back as possible. I try to be as encouraging as possible for the student, and I try to keep things exciting. Making music is about the joy of creatively expressing oneself, and so I strive to inspire my students to have fun while playing. I tailor my curriculum to each individual student, but like to draw on what I have learned from my past teachers and from the great musicians of the past/present. I try not to talk too much during lessons, since we're there to play music! I find that balancing between method book work and playing along to music, and focusing on both technique and improvisation is a beneficial way to learn the drums. I can teach you to play any groove or beat you'd like, and whole lot more you've probably never heard of. Within a few months, you'll have all sorts of grooves in your arsenal!
*** Studio Equipment ***
main floor large common area with drum set seating for parents
*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide method books and any additional teaching materials or supplemental drums (hand percussion, etc.). I expect my students to have a drum set for practice/lessons, as well as a practice pad and a metronome.
*** Specialties ***
I love most all types of music, and am proficient in many styles of playing including, jazz, funk, blues, rock, reggae, hip hop, bluegrass, latin, and some African/Latin hand percussion.
· · Really good instructor
I have completed 3 sessions and am always excited to go to my drum lessons with Kirk because he uses our time adequately, his teaching methods are very effective and he is very informative. You can tell that he is passionate about what he is teaching because he really puts his all into his work. He is also very friendly and patient!
· · Great
That was great lesson. I am already able to play some rhythm pattern! Thanks, Kirk!