Workshops/ Master Classses attended (selected list): Drum Set – Billy Cobham, Marching Snare – Jon Quigg, Djembe – Mamady Keita, Conga – Francisco Gomez, Doumbek – Issam Houshan
Awards and Achievements:
2015 – Michael Spicer Award for Education Excellence
2004 Union County Freeholder’s Recognition of Artistic Excellence
2005 Union County Freeholder’s Recognition of Artistic Excellence
I can still remember the joy I felt when I first started playing drums and my passion is helping people experience that joy. In my musical career, spanning 38 years, I have performed with varied groups including: drumset with The Road Runners Blues Band, Catfish and Paul Plumeri Blues Band; West African, Middle Eastern and Afro-Cuban percussion with Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble; bodhran and bones with traditional Celtic bands Kintail, Cwn Annwn and Browne Jenkyn; and snare drum with The First Highland Watch of Pennsylvania and Rev War Re-enactors First NJ Volunteers. I teach out of my own drum studio at the Drum & Dance Learning Center in Lawrenceville, NJ.
My teaching experience began in 1980 while still in high school teaching private lessons. Since then I’ve taught at Westminster Choir College, Rutgers University, NJ State and County Teen Arts Programs as well as private and group lessons in my own studio. My casual approach allows students the relaxation and freedom necessary to learn at their own pace. With a strong focus on fundamentals and using those fundamentals as building blocks, my goal is to help students become musical and creative and find their own unique voice on their instrument. Students have said that my enthusiasm and appreciation for drums and percussion is both contagious and motivational.
I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all curriculum; all my lesson plans are customized to each individual student. Technique is very important, but no more so than being able to apply it in a musical way. My goal is to get the student up and running on their instrument quickly, applying tools and techniques from each lesson. I have found this approach makes lessons informative, interesting and fun!
In addition to drum set, I also teach djembe (West African), bodhran (Celtic), doumbek (Middle Eastern) and conga (Afro-Cuban). My favorite thing about teaching is watching students develop into creative musicians and finding their own voice. My playing and teaching has always been based in tradition, but not bound by it. I have found that keeping a relaxed, fun atmosphere during lessons allows students to learn at their own pace. When the student is relaxed learning is fun, easier and they progress in natural way.