Your mentors,who helped you be the drummer you are?

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
My only instructors were teachers in school. I did attend one summer camp with the senior high teacher for a few weeks but as far as drummers per se, none other than what I saw on TV or heard on the radio. I love reading here the drummers/teachers others have had along the way.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Malcolm Garrett, the best moeller teacher in the UK and he's taught every decent drummer in the midlands and some bad ones like me. I had two years of lessons from him and he got me a lesson with Jim Chapin who used to come to stay with him. I think he'd studied in the states with Joe Morello, really humble down to earth bloke.

His mantra was to set you up to play for life properly without getting hurt, also little things like teaching how to play bass drum off the head and how to play cymbals correctly, the latter has saved me a fortune down the years.

My surname starts with a Y so I was last on the list for lessons, for a drummer he was fairly bad at keeping track of time. An hour drum lesson used to last twice that, got as much knowledge out of him as possible. He was great for gear advice too.
 

mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
1. My father, who is a drummer, and owned a studio in the 70's here in Philly.
2. My first private teacher, John Whitely, who is still an active player in Philly.
3. My high school drumline instructors, who basically all walked in off tour with Cadets 1996 and kicked my butt for 4 years.
4. My dear friend and teacher at College, Erik Johnson, who is just a monster drummer in Philly. Taught me "music" instead of just drums.
5. Ed Soph, my one year at UNT, taught me how to be prepared...
6. My current teacher, Michael Carvin, who is probably the most impactful mentor I have had since college. Been with him for 4 years and enjoy every minute of our chats.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
As a 16 YO I had one teacher who got my feet together and in my mid 20's I had another teacher who got my hands together.

That was pretty much the extent of my external schooling.

That said, I wouldn't be typing this today without those guys.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
1. My father, who is a drummer, and owned a studio in the 70's here in Philly.
...
6. My current teacher, Michael Carvin, who is probably the most impactful mentor I have had since college. Been with him for 4 years and enjoy every minute of our chats.
1. Very cool to have a father you can share drumming with.

6. You probably already know this....be a sponge around Michael Carvin!!! There is nothing like an unbelievable player who can also teach. It makes the learning experience that much better.
 

mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
1. Very cool to have a father you can share drumming with.

6. You probably already know this....be a sponge around Michael Carvin!!! There is nothing like an unbelievable player who can also teach. It makes the learning experience that much better.
yes sir! I have such a great admiration for him. He has been such a dear friend since we began working together. It is just amazing to talk to him whenever we do.
 
Dennis recorded with Roy Orbison (not sure that his tracks were the released versions,) and also Classics IV (that's him on "Spooky",) "Let Your Love Flow", "Spiders & Snakes", and the Diamond recordings from "Forever In Blue Jeans" through the Jazz Singer album & movie ("America", "Love On The Rocks" etc.) Also cut albums with The Lettermen, Linda Ronstadt, just a bunch of artists who didn't have their own bands. He had excellent time and a great feel, never any pushing or pulling, it was all smooth. With Diamond in particular, he went for the toms a lot, very evident in "Forever In Blue Jeans", "America" et al.

He did have some cool Slingerland kits, including the All American outift with red/white/blue sparkle concert toms. He was also the drummer who suggested to the president of Slingerland after watching a corps show in Chicago, that the cutaway quds/quints would make cool concert toms. I believe he had the first kit of those, which he eventually bestowed upon me. :)

View attachment 94008

All-American kit, which he loaned to me for a session in 1975. It was the only kit like it in L.A. - maybe anywhere - and I shouldn't have been surprised when the engineer knew that was Dennis' kit!

View attachment 94009

FYI, Neil used Hal Blaine on most of his L.A. recordings (thru about 1975) and described Hal as his favorite drummer. :) So that's Hal on "Cracklin' Rosie", "Sweet Caroline", "Song Sung Blue" etc.

FYI2 - yes, that's a ventriloquist dummy in the bottom photo. 😮
Wow Jon,

Thank you for "filling us in" with more than just all those toms Dennis bestowed on you! The sets are awesome, but the fact that they have so much recording history behind them is incredible. Not surprising Hal worked with Neil, but to learn more about Dennis and his legendary kits is awesome. How do they sound vs. regular concert toms? Can the dummy work with a click? 😆
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
I have quite a few, but I'd say the teacher/mentor that had the biggest impact on me was Chuck Silverman. We were both students of hand technique specialist, Richard Wilson so we had plenty of stories to swap. Chuck taught me a ton about Latin music, and would send me to sub for him at salsa clubs in LA. He really believed in me, despite not having any experience in Latin drumming. When I moved to Texas to study at UNT, he would come out to stay with me while he did clinics and lessons on campus. Later, he'd invited me to go on to Cuba for his workshops there, which I really wish I could have done. He left us way too soon and I do think about him all the time.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well. my Mom was a pianist, then a bass player friend, and DW forum has mentored me in my musical growth. But I never had a drum lesson from a drummer but I wish I had. Still not to late I reckon.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
How do they sound vs. regular concert toms?
Those are the 5-ply thick shells, and aren't a full cylinder, so they're not as warm as a traditional concert tom. But lots of attack, which was the premise behind the cut-shell that some companies used for their marching toms in order to cut better across the field.

Can the dummy work with a click?
Yes, I can work with a click.
 

Roosto

Junior Member
My only instructors were teachers in school. I did attend one summer camp with the senior high teacher for a few weeks but as far as drummers per se, none other than what I saw on TV or heard on the radio. I love reading here the drummers/teachers others have had along the way.
My uncle who played in orchestras in the 1930's. Made sure I held the sticks properly, used a heavier stick, and, overall understand that the drums were a musical instrument. To get me started, he gave me a box of Count Basie 45's to play along with to learn. This would have been in the late 1950's.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
1) Dave, who successfully made the switch from vocalist to drums at age 25 with no training
2) Adam, who taught me more intricate rhythm and rests- that thinking fast sounds better than playing fast
3) James, who gave me my first drum set that he was going to throw out
4) You all, who have been super supportive and give most excellent listening and practice suggestions

Thanks, I am very much enjoying learning and performing on this wonderful contraption instrument. Thanks especially to the pros here for treating me like an adult even though I am a toddler on the drums still.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Well. my Mom was a pianist...
Family members as mentors hadn't even occurred to me! My mother also played piano, my father played accordion (!) and my brother played drums, then switched to guitar and I inherited his drums. So there was plenty of musical influence right in my own home! As I watched my brother become a working pro, I certainly took a lot of cues from him on being a professional musician.

Bermuda
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
For drums, Ted MacKenzie. He is the current author of "Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments". I only got to study for like 8 months before my family moved, but he gave me the ability to read drum notation and charts, fixed my hands, and taught me how to use books to further my learning on my own. He showed me how to use rudiments musically around the kit, how to hybrid them together, etc. It was 8 months of completely overwhelming bliss.

We had a piano in the house when I was born. Some of my first memories are sitting at the piano with my mom, grandmother, or great grandmother as they played the piano for me. I loved that thing. My grandmother taught me to play very simple songs and how to find the keys by looking at the notes. That was my real introduction to making music.

The piano was sold about 10 years ago. It was supposed to go to me, but the recession was in full effect and I was homeless at the time. My parents and sister were moving, and my brother was in college. No one had anywhere to put/keep/store the piano.

I felt really bad about it. It was bought new for my great grandmother. She then gave it to my grandmother, who gave it to my mom. It was mine next but life happened. Guess it really doesnt matter, I dont have room in my house for a piano.
 

moodman

Well-known member
I had forgotten family members too. My grandad played fiddle and his sons played fiddle, guitar, harmonicas, lap steel. They were bricklayers and hod carriers etc. Their big gig was a Union meeting one year. One uncle had a band with his drummer son. My mom met my dad when he was putting signs up for a farm sale where she was putting up a sign for her brother's band. I always figured if my uncles could do it, so could I.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I've had many teachers who weren't much inspiration at all ... they were more concerned with making me do things I had no interest in simply because that's what their teachers made them do.
To them there was ONE way of teaching for every student and that was "the right way"
A horrible teaching philosophy that unfortunately plagues the music education process to this very day.
Those guys are the very reason I do not subscribe to that type of teaching AT ALL in my own teaching practice.

so through those times records were my real teachers ... Kiss records, Police records, Miles Davis records, Hank Williams records, the Cars, Joe Jackson, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, James Taylor, etc etc ... whatever was in my sister or my moms record collection.

but my first true mentor was Elvin Jones

he took me under his wing when I was 21 years old

I had moved to LA with nothing ... was completely broke ... and by chance met Elvin at Pro Drum shop one day and that sparked a relationship that lasted until the day he left this earth nearly a decade later.

Elvin wasn't a "teacher" at all ... he was more of a Sensei ... a life coach.

we often didn't even touch drum sticks ... but I learned more in those years than I had in all of my previous years as an aspiring musician.
 
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dmacc_2

Well-known member
Two private teachers in particular. I've had more than two, but there were only two that changed me.

The first gigging band I joined in 1984, right out of high school. We were one of the busiest bands in town until it disbanded in 1989. I was the youngest (by 15+ years) and these guys had many years behind them. They taught me the ropes - on the spot - in so many ways.

davedrumswithleatherandlace.jpg

Perhaps most importantly.. My Dad (drummer) and Uncle (sax/clarinet). Both were gigging musicians for many years. They shaped me in ways I still don't understand. I had the good fortune of gigging with my Uncle in a big band many times over and that was a thrill for both of us. In that same band, my aunt actually sang.

My Dad (playing in the army) is my avatar. Both my Dad and my Uncle were mere teenagers in the big band pic below. The guitarist in the pic is my cousin. My Uncle passed a year ago (almost to the day) and a part of me went with him. Fortunately I had thanked him many years ago for providing me knowledge and inspiration to last me a lifetime. Most importantly they taught me how to bring the 'best me' to any playing situation and how to handle the bull that comes with it.

Big Band Pic - orig scan.jpga.jpg
 
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mattgallettidrums

Junior Member
I've had many teachers who weren't much inspiration at all ... they were more concerned with making me do things I had no interest in simply because that's what their teachers made them do.
To them there was ONE way of teaching for every student and that was "the right way"
A horrible teaching philosophy that unfortunately plagues the music education process to this very day.
Those guys are the very reason I do not subscribe to that type of teaching AT ALL in my own teaching practice.

so through those times records were my real teachers ... Kiss records, Police records, Miles Davis records, Hank Williams records, the Cars, Joe Jackson, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, James Taylor, etc etc ... whatever was in my sister or my moms record collection.

but my first true mentor was Elvin Jones

he took me under his wing when I was 21 years old

I had moved to LA with nothing ... was completely broke ... and by chance met Elvin at Pro Drum shop one day and that sparked a relationship that lasted until the day he left this earth nearly a decade later.

Elvin wasn't a "teacher" at all ... he was more of a Sensei ... a life coach.

we often didn't even touch drum sticks ... but I learned more in those years than I had in all of my previous years as an aspiring musician.

Wow, what a great story. Really inspiring to read. My lessons with Michael Carvin are very similar. I went over 18 months of lessons without even touching sticks as well, and learned more than I ever thought I would. I can only imagine what it would be like to sit and talk with Elvin, pick up his mannerisms, hear his speech in just a 1:1 conversation, etc... What type of thinker was he? I am really curious about this!!
 
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