My Education, Accolades, and Experience
I have been teaching private lessons for over twenty-three years. I received my Bachelor of Science degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Music Industry Studies from the University of Colorado – Denver majoring in Music Performance (Drum Set) with a minor in Music Business.
I am a very active performing and recording artist in the Colorado music scene having performed thousands of times over a twenty-seven year career. I average approximately one hundred performances in any given year. I perform in a variety of styles including rock, jazz, blues, country, hard rock/metal, R&B, funk, bluegrass, Texas swing, New Orleans based music, as well as several Latin styles.
I am an active member of Percussive Arts Society and the Sabian Education Network. I am an active clinician and travel the country giving drums clinics.
I continue to take drum lessons to this day in attempt to constantly improve myself both as a performer and a music educator. I also constantly research both tried and true methods of music education as well as investigating the newest in cutting edge music education techniques.
My Approach to Teaching
While learning an instrument takes many hours of practice, I believe that music should ALWAYS be fun. My enthusiastic approach and positive reinforcement endear myself to students. Everything I teach is directly applicable to performing music in a group situation whether it is a rock band, a jazz band, or a school-based concert band.
I believe there is more than one way to teach music. I adapt my teaching style to the way a student learns best. While I adapt to each individual student, I believe there are fundamentals that are important to learn and that all musicians should know. Fundamental technique is taught as to avoid physical stress and injury. I also teach reading musical notation as it makes understanding music easier. Reading music also enhances band skills in school and can be used in direct application to professional situations. I also emphasize listening to music, as it is the basis for the enjoyment of music by musicians and audiences alike.
In addition to musical knowledge, I also have many years of professional performance experience. I am eager to share my knowledge of being a true professional in the music business.
Although I am a music teacher, the teaching frequently goes the other way as I am always learning from my students. There is always a new approach I am inspired to take depending on what my students need. Thanks to my younger students, I also keep current with what is popular in music. My students frequently turn me on to all sorts of new and cool music.
Whether you are beginner, a student in school band, an aspiring professional musician, or a part-time hobbyist, I strive to make playing music an enjoyable experience.
One of My Practice Techniques
When learning something new on the drums, it is important to start slow and use a metronome. Focus on the accuracy of the pattern and not on how fast you can play it. Use proper technique to build proper motion and eliminate potential injuries. Once you can perform the pattern at a slow speed, raise the speed of the metronome gradually by approximately 5 BPM per interval. The more you can practice something slowly, accurately, and perfectly in time, the easier it will be for your brain to memorize and your muscles to perform the pattern at faster tempos.
My Favorites in These Five Styles
- Rock – John Bonham and Neil Peart
- Jazz – Max Roach and Jeff “Tain” Watts
- Metal – Dave Lombardo
- Funk – Zigaboo Modeliste and David Garabaldi
- Pop – Jeff Porcaro
My Favorite Quote
“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda
How I Started Playing Music
I have always loved music and always wanted to play drums. When I was little, I surrounded myself with pillows and used Lincoln Logs to play them with. Even before I could play an instrument, I was always in a band whether it was real or imagined.
My formal music training began in 6th grade concert band where I learned the fundamentals and how to read music. Because I wanted to be a drum set player, I began saving money from my paper route job and eventually bought my first drum set. By the age of 13, I was already in several bands and performing gigs. Even though I was self-taught and had been performing frequently around the area, I began to take formal lessons when I was 17 with earnest. Those lessons opened me up to a new world that I continue to explore to this day. I knew at that age that I all I wanted to do with my life was to play music and thus the journey began.