“Jam Session”

When I was in 4th grade, I started my own band with some elementary school friends.  We had our first performance a school assembly and it changed my life!  I loved inviting my buddies over to play music.  We mostly learned cover songs (Green Day, Nirvana, etc.) but eventually wrote our own material.  I attribute these early experiences to fueling my passion in music. Fast forward 20 years and here I am teaching many elementary, middle and high school age kids.  Though some of them have found an outlet for playing music with others, I started to notice that many of my students were only practicing drums at home, alone, without anyone else.  That was the extent of their live musical experience.  Don’t get me wrong, practicing by yourself is essential!  However, at some point, as a drummer, you have to collaborate with other musicians.  The drum set is and always has been an ensemble instrument.  After bugging many of my students to invite their friends over to play music; learn covers, make up songs, do anything(!) I decided to take matters into my own hands and start a music ensemble class called “Jam Session.”  At Jam Session, we meet once a month to learn 2 songs that I choose ahead of time.  I send out recordings before we meet and transcribe the chords and melody to provide a rough sketch of the song.  Most of the students in the group take private music lessons and are more comfortable reading notes on a page.  Though the last 20 minutes are dedicated to an open jam where the students make up a song together.  Anything goes (as long as we’re all in the same key:) This experience has been particularly fruitful to my drum students and has given students a chance to be in a band, even if it is only once a month.  We have had several drummers, piano players, bass, guitar, and violin.  I personally have learned a lot by starting this group and hope to grow even more as an instructor, conductor, and band leader in my own projects.  I think it is important for kids to have a musical outlet, even if they are not going to be a professional rock star.   If you or someone you know might be interested, shoot me an email

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