Hello! My name is Rafe (rhymes with safe) and I'm a drummer and drum teacher in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
My wife, two teenagers and two dogs and I have lived in Murfreesboro since 2006. Prior to that I lived in Nashville after moving here from Atlanta in 2001.
I come from a long line of singer/songwriters and working musicians. I've been playing drums and percussion since elementary school. My first real drum hero was Peter Criss of KISS!
During and after high school I developed the reading and coordination skills to move from marching and orchestral percussion into drum set playing. Along the way I've had the good fortune of knowing and being mentored by some very worthy and accomplished teachers, most notably Jack Dukes of Atlanta, GA who was an early graduate of Musician's Institute and himself a protege of the great Joe Porcaro.
I've performed live and recorded in several mainstream genres including Southern gospel, rock, pop and folk, mainly on the regional level with artists like Mark Blackburn, Neal Cooper, and Frank French. For most of the 1990s in Atlanta I belonged to at least two bands and had different setups and approaches for each. My bands and artists played local gigs from coffeehouses and clubs to showcases and festivals My favorite way to sum up my performing career is "I haven't played with anyone famous, but I've played with people who have played with someone famous!"
Through my involvement with various churches and youth ministries I was given the opportunity to teach private drum set lessons and was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it! Parents of middle- and high-school aged students would approach me and ask for lessons and in most cases guidance on what equipment to purchase. I worked in drum retail for quite some time in Atlanta and was able to help several students with selecting and purchasing their first drum equipment.
When I teach a private student, especially a beginner, I talk with the student and the parents alike to determine the student's interests and motivation for playing the drums. I have a very student-centered approach and focus on the fundamentals of drum set playing that are applicable in all musical situations --- grip, posture, timekeeping, dynamics, the components of the drum set, and the importance establishing relationships and reputations with other musicians in the student's area.
For an intermediate student the approach must adjust to the student's existing skill level and determine where the student wants to go stylistically and what s/he wants to get out of lessons.
At all times, a fun and relaxed approach is what my teachers passed on to me and is my preferred way of guiding a student. Music is life and drumming is art but ultimately......it has to be fun and entertaining for the student to want to continue with it.
*** Lesson Details ***
I teach in my own home studio in the Blackman area of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I have a large room with two drum sets and an iMac home studio setup.
For beginning students I will generally write lesson material myself as opposed to selecting a book or method, at least to begin with. We'll start with grip, posture, the component parts of the drum set itself, basic coordination and 1/4 note grooves.
For students who are already playing, we'll start with their present level of skill and dexterity and determine his/her musical goals. I believe it's important for students to listen to and learn musical languages *outside* of their favorite listening preferences to open their ears to the wider musical universe and hopefully create more opportunities for them in the future.
My favorite books and methods are Gary Chaffee's 'Patterns' series, Gary Chester's 'The New Breed'. I am also exploring a newly printed curriculum focused on the Nashville Number System.
I will record audio of the student's lesson and provide an Mp3 file so that he/she can listen to it as they practice and maintain focus.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Recording and practice room, 3 acoustic drums sets, 1 electronic drum sets, pc with recording tools, cymbals. Long driveway or street parking. Parents of young children are asked to stay in seating area in full view of the teaching studio during lessons.
*** Specialties ***
Gary Chaffee Patterns series; beginner to intermediate level drum set instruction; rock/pop/country; ambidexterity; drumset dynamics; independence.