Musician Interviews

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Private Lessons -
Musical applications for the American Drum-Set.

The Intensives includes 4 lessons of 50- 90 minutes in duration and one presentation/demonstration of your progress. This is an opportunity for advanced players to prepare, improve, and experiment with a musician.

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Rhythm Adaption drum-set lessons with Pheeroan akLaff personalizes the fitness of concentration and gleans historical records of drumming worldwide. 

Music and Health

 See these papers by :

Dr. Julian F. Thayer on Music and Emotions and by 

 Dr. Psyche Loui Improvisation as a Model

 It has been an honor to assist them in their research. 

As I have over 600 personal stories and accounts of learning processes from my 27 years of teaching private lessons.  Some of them have been remarkable enough to remember and important enough to share. Here are two with uniquely noteworthy outcomes. 

Two memorable breakthrough moments for a drum-set student. The names are fictional for anonymity.

Georgette and cross-referenced coordination: I once had an adult student who heard me in performance and approached me with a request for lessons. At the time she maintained a career as an executive at a well-known women's apparel company. Her enthusiasm was fueled by the fact that her mother had an early onset of Alzheimer's condition. She was intent on using some kind of preventative method to fortify her mental activity with complex motor skills. She had been a semi-professional ice skater and imagined that there was similar coordination used in playing the American drum-set. So it was. Georgette took weekly drum-set lessons with me for approximately one year and gained remarkable skills. She adapted quickly to both reading and executing drum-set patterns, to reach a level that instilled buoyant confidence and musicality.  I believe her ice skating ability was a factor, in her progress. A kind of re-adaptation to get brain and muscle to flow. I can bet on her ability to easily recall this information by refreshing her study or even joining an impromptu recreational music activity.

Kohe and the 8am lesson I often tell this story to students who imagine that early morning is anytime before 10am.

Kohe came to me late in the semester's audition process. He was a complete beginner. My schedule was full, though I do not always put more experienced students before beginners.

I asked him if he could see himself making it to class at 8 am. He agreed. We began promptly on most of our Tuesdays right at 8 am. In my years of teaching, I have occasionally come across a pupil who struggles to retain the information learned in class and gradually advances in the subsequent lessons. This did not seem to be the case with Kohe. Each lesson took a toll on both of us. If there was any progress during the lesson or in his practice time that followed that week, it surely did not stick enough for him to display any results. This went on for twelve weeks. In the mid-term period, I had begun to wonder if this early meeting time was a mistake. I also began to question whether it was my teaching methods or his individual capacity for memory. In our final meeting of the semester, Kohe did something that I had never seen, and have not seen since. He regurgitated every one of the fundamental four-part patterns in his repertoire. He played these apparently locked up bits of complex information with ease. He not only shocked me, but visibly shocked himself, as he bandied about effortlessly on the drum-set with a grin that I can still see in my mind's eye today. 

A Strong Vibration by Jake Nussbaum

An interview conducted by one of my advanced former students:


Pheeroan akLaff believes that the arts are a way to give thanks and to work for change. He is a musician who has kept New York vibrant with live music for over thirty years. His personal style of drumming with adventuresome composers began as a young artist touring countries of Africa Asia and Europe. His associations with Wadada Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Sonny Sharrock, and eventually Yamashita Yosuke, Liu Sola Henry Brant, and Andrew Hill presented him with opportunities to perform and record a volume of rare work. 


Find your groove!

Find your groove!