34 years professional * 44 years experience playing * 26 years teaching experience * B.A. IMS SJSU
This is me when I was 3 getting my first drum set for Christmas. My Dad is in the background. I had been playing on coffee cans and pots since I was 2. On my 4th birthday, my parents got me a real set. I used to hang out at their rehearsals and try to play along. My parents noticed me sitting in the other room with my coffee cans, blocks and barbecue baster brushes trying to play along. They thought that was cool at first but realized after a while that I wasn't just messing around and really wanted to play. After that realization, I got my first drum set when I was 21/2. My first major influence was very well-known S.F. drummer by the name of John Rae. He was the drummer I was trying to copy in the other room. I learned so much from watching him play. I also studied with another S.F. drummer by the name of Bob Belanski who is an absolute monster drummer. He was the first guy I learned about technique from and gave me a strong foundation of knowledge that still serves me to this day. I played in every group I could while in school including Jazz Band, Concert Band, Jazz Choir, Show/Pop Choir, School Shows and local theater shows. If there was something going on, I was playing in it. I started working professionally when I was 14 years old. I was in a band with friends from school that played weddings and corporate functions. I also played with other professional working bands in the Bay Area and more exclusively with my parents band. Yes, I needed a ride to the gigs before I was 16. I also stumbled into teaching lessons for a bit with some of the local "younger kids". I found at an early age that teaching could be a great way to make a money but I didn't really take it that seriously until I was much older. I won various awards in middle school and high school including a $1000 scholarship for a snare drum solo. I also won a Marin County scholarship called the Buck Fund for $1000.
I started studying with Anthony J. Cirone in 1990 at San Jose State. He is world renowned in the classical vane of music. He was Principal Percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony for over 20 years. I studied with him for 4 years and then switched my major to Improvised Music Studies. At this time, I had the priviledge to be the house drummer for the jam at Garden City with Smith Dobson. I also started working with local acts in San Jose.
At SJSU I played every type of music that I could get my hands on ranging from Concert Band to African drumming crew. I also played in the world famous Clown Band at Great America for a couple of seasons during this time. I studied improvisation with late Professor Dwight W. Cannon and learned a lifetime of information.
Freelancing as a professional drummer has allowed me to play with many great Bay Area musicians and has given me the opportunity to play so many types of gigs from bar gigs to really well paying corporate parties, live TV and radio. In addition to playing drums, I also sing and have about 15 years of semi-pro singing under my belt including commercials, voice overs, TV and radio shows as a vocalist. I also did a 10 year run in the Vocal Underground with Greg Murai as a bass and percussion singer.
My favorite type of work has always been studio work recording songs for new artists/projects. Most noteably, in the early 90's I played with the well-known San Jose Band "IBOPA" which still has a following to this day. We did some live radio shows and had some brief acclaim but eventually things didn't work out. That's show biz! Music and Drums has been my life. Although I enjoy playing live, teaching is/was a natural progression for me as I have always enjoyed it. I started teaching because it was something I believed in and I have worked hard all these years to be the best teacher I can be and deliver great instruction to my students. I have taught literally 1000's of kids and adults over the years, some of whom have become professional themselves in both playing and teaching.