A Little Background
Thanks for taking the time to visit! I’d like to give you a little background on my musical journey which started over thirty years ago.
Where it all Began…
It was 5th grade and one of the local band teachers came to our school with all of the different instruments. They were laying across the front of our little school stage in the cafeteria. Of course, the first thing to catch my eye was…. the trombone.
In 5th grade, I was the smallest one in my class. I joke around nowadays and tell my students that I was knee high. I’m guessing my lungs were the size of sandwich bags. I picked up the trombone and almost fell over. So I changed my stance to get some leverage, I pushed the slide out as far as my arm could reach, (3rd position) and blew with all my might…… nothing, crickets.
At this point, the music teacher Mrs. Ellis, (who would become my first percussion instructor) came up with the idea that maybe I should try another instrument, and at that moment my life would change forever.
I’m not sure why or how she knew, but somehow Mrs. Ellis had the idea to hand me drum sticks. Although she could play all of the instruments, her background from childhood was in percussion. She proceeded to tap out rhythms on the wood floor of the stage and I would repeat them back. She gradually increased the length and difficulty of the patterns and I was able to follow along easily. It was at that point she told me, “you should be drummer”. I said “okay”, and just like that, it was a done deal.
Becoming a Professional Musician…
My professional career began when I was fifteen. A music director from a historic music theater in the state of Maine saw me performing with my high school jazz band and offered me the percussion seat for the summer showcase. I was so nervous I told him I didn’t think I was capable of the gig. Aspiring drummers take note! (this may not be the best response when being offered a gig!). At any rate, he assured me I could handle the gig and that’s where it started.
The show was “Man of La Mancha”, an exciting piece to play as a sophomore in high school. Thankfully my reading skills were decent, and I already understood the importance of preparation and hard work. These attributes helped me continue to work over the next 10 years, where I frequently performed in musical theaters from the east coast of Maine to the west coast of Florida. This was the perfect job while attending high school and college.
Although I do not necessarily consider myself a ‘show’ drummer, the experiences gained from the extensive theater work has helped shape who I am as a musician. Understanding that a performance has a ‘flow’, being proficient in reading, and having the ability to react quickly and follow cues are some of those skills that were refined. In addition, I quickly learned that one of the most important abilities of a drummer is reliability.
Here are some of the more enjoyable productions I have played over the years: “Always,” a tribute to Patsy Cline; “Ain’t Misbehavin,” the music of Fats Waller; “Company” by Steven Sondheim; “Man of La Mancha”; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita”; “Singing in the Rain”; The Who’s “Tommy”, and “Grease”.
It was also around this time that I began recording in studios. I gained a lot of experience working at Big Sound, Dizzyland, Dreamsicle Studios, Thundering Sky, Max Out, and Mill Pond Music Studio. The art of working in the studio is unique and requires certain skills that you may not use as much in a live performance. Having this background has been a fun and valuable addition to my career.
Check out my Performance page for more on my career.
Becoming a Teacher…
I made the decision to get my degree in music performance, and not education, because it allowed me to concentrate on my instrument. I never had the desire to become a band teacher, or work in the public sector. Even though I have taught in group environments, (marching drum lines and group percussion lessons) I have always valued the one on one interaction in a private lesson.
I launched my teaching career in 1999 and have been going strong ever since. I average 40-50 lessons a week. I have taught private lessons to students of all ages, and have been actively educating at secondary schools across New England, where I have delivered clinics, workshops, group lessons, and ensemble instruction. I have helped guide children through grade school band, and on through music college. The college application process is complicated and sometimes scary for the student and the parents. I have really enjoyed helping families through these stressful times.
Some former and current students are attending schools such as Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA), Musicians Institute of Technology (Los Angeles, CA), University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Keene State College and Plymouth State College.
In 2009 I became a member of the Vic Firth Education Team headed by Neil Larrivee, Dom Famularo and Mark Wessels; and the Hudson Music Integration Program, an interactive, global group comprised of the world’s leading educators.
Please visit my Education and Drum Lessons page for further information and my education resume.
LOOKING FOR A DRUM TEACHER IN PORTSMOUTH, NH?
If you are you looking for an experienced, friendly, and professional drum teacher, or need a drummer for an upcoming live performance or studio work please contact me.