Someone remarked to me before a recent drum circle that she thought I was just a “rhythm starter” who owns a bunch of drums, and not an actual teacher of drumming.
It’s a common misperception in my industry. While there is nothing wrong with simply starting rhythms as I have to do that often during drum circle events, there’s also many hidden elements folks can’t see or initially understand on the surface. It helps to also attend a drum circle before formulating an opinion. Negative stigmas and confusion can easily set in without experiencing one live.
I’ve played drum set and percussion since I was a little boy of age 8. I never stopped playing. I’ve been formally trained in jazz and marching drums and percussion and music in general through college courses and many live playing gigs. I also play trombone and compose songs on piano. I have taught drum set to kids and adults professionally for more than 15 years. I have taught percussive arts at a local high school for the past 10 years.
I’ve lead drum circles for all ages for the past eight years and actively study rhythm and music cultures from around the world. While that is lean time compared to the full body of my musical learning, I still draw from all those past experiences today.
Additionally, I also was fortunate enough to develop and hone leadership skills managing large groups of creative-minded workers for many years. I was formally trained in public speaking and helped organize conventions and professional workshops for seven years in Boston.
I’m a current board of director and newsletter curator for the internationally recognized Drum Circle Facilitators Guild.
And I’m blessed to play drum kit and percussion for The Island Castaways Band, which is probably my 10th legit musician group in my lifetime that has exposed me to creating rock, jazz, funk, world and reggae beats. Most of those bands also composed their own songs. I draw from all of those incredible band rehearsal/performance experiences as well dating back 30 some odd years.
When you combine all of this into my current drum circle program, it’s fairly obvious that I am not only a rhythm starter. Experience counts and the more diverse the better.
I am a drummer, teacher and performer who facilitates therapeutic, lively and fun hand drumming programs as one part of my full-time music business. Many dozens of clients across New England can vouch for that.