Several years ago, a student of mine told me that she had seen and heard a great new indie rock band that was guest starring on The Late Show With David Letterman. She wanted to play a song by this band, and she wondered if together we could figure out the drummer’s drum part. When she finally told me the name of the band, I laughed and said “Well…if we can’t figure out the drummer’s playing on our own, I could always touch base with him and ask him to explain it to us personally. He recently took some lessons with me so that I could help him prepare for his band’s upcoming tour.” I love that story!
But that wasn’t actually my most famous student. My most famous student is a major drum icon who has been a strong presence in the music world for a few decades already. In fact, at one point, he was voted in Modern Drummer magazine as the #1 rock drummer of the year. In 2005, he saw an article of mine about bass drum technique, and he contacted me to see if I would help him to reinvent his bass drum approach. We did 2 lessons together and covered a lot of material for him to continue working on by himself. He took notes and was more attentive than almost anyone else I’ve ever taught. With that kind of humble dedication to drumming, it is no wonder that he has been so successful.
In addition to these 2 gentlemen, I have also taught a Latin Grammy Award nominee, the daughter of a world-renowned symphonic conductor, a hip-hopper who has drummed for one of the old school rap legends, and a female drummer whose band is starting to make waves on the Brooklyn rock scene. There have also been a couple of high-profile models, a stage actress, a well-known television host, and an actor preparing for his movie role as a drummer!
People often ask about famous students, and of course, it is great fun for me to recount these stories. It is also very flattering that these celebrities would choose me to be their drumming instructor. But in reality, this type of situation is rare, and these types of students are not the ones that I spend the majority of my time working with. The bulk of my students are school teachers, accountants, artists, lawyers, publicists, architects, doctors, managers, personal trainers, authors, jewelry designers, engineers…and anything else you can possibly think of. My aim is to make drumming accessible and rewarding for anyone who has an interest in learning the instrument.