As a teacher I have had school students develop into members of honor bands, some of them receiving awards at the all-state level. Some of my students have gone on to major in percussion in college. I’ve been able to assist some working drummers who wanted specific knowledge. I’ve done workshops at several Bay Area colleges, and I teach two performance ensembles at Sonoma State University. In general, I teach three different types of lessons: drumset, percussion, and Haitian traditional drums. Here is some information about each of these studies.
(Lessons are by appointment; ongoing group percussion and Haitian drum classes are available too. Please contact me for information.)
Lessons are usually half hour, particularly for younger students. One hour lessons work well for older students and adults.
I work with beginners and young students as long as they can focus for a 30 minute lesson. Students younger than eight should try a lesson and we can decide together if they are ready for regular practice and are happy. Parents are always welcome at lessons to observe, ask questions, and provide information about their student’s needs. Students need sticks and a practice pad or snare drum to start. It’s all right for parents to wait for their student to demonstrate some commitment before purchasing a drum set, but my experience has been that it’s hard for a student to sustain interest if they don’t have the instrument after several months. Also, as important as lessons are, what happens during the week between lessons is crucial. Practice can be encouraged as a place to explore music, rather than being a chore to be avoided. When parents take part in their child’s practice schedule the results are dramatically better than if they are not involved.
Older students tend to have more specific needs based on the music they are involved with. Middle and high school students may be in concert band and need help with reading or technique; they may be in jazz band and need help reading charts, learning how to support the band and soloing. They may be playing in bands of their own or need help with listening, memorizing repertoire, or developing a particular style. Lessons focus on specific things that will help make them stronger, more sensitive musicians, able to handle different situations.
Basic technique on congas, djembe and some hand-held intruments including bells and shakers.
Haitian Traditional drums
I encountered this music in 1987 and have studied with John Scovel, Markus Schwartz, Jean-Raymond Giglio, and Daniel Brevil, with whom I have apprenticed for 4 years, including a year that was supported by funds from the Alliance For California Traditional Arts. Some of the dancers and teachers I have worked with include Blanche Brown, Linda Fay Bayo, Michelle Martin, Candy Walker-Simon, and Portsha Jefferson. Group drum class is offered, with the hand and stick ensembles of the Port-Au-Prince repertoire being the focus. Please contact me for more information.