Drum Lessons with a Master

Drum Teacher Biography - David A.

Falling in Love with the Drums

David has been playing the drums for over 25 years.  Born and raised on Hilton Head Island, SC, David’s parents exposed him to the music of Genesis, Steely Dan, and The Beatles.  These musical influences, along with his high school music ensembles and private lessons provided him with a firm foundation for his music career.

 David with Big Shoulders Brass Band, Chicago IL

David with Big Shoulders Brass Band, Chicago IL

David received his Bachelor of Arts degree in production studies in the performing arts from Clemson University, and his Master of Music degree in jazz studies from DePaul University.  He is a proud member of the Vic Firth Education roster and plays Vic Firth sticks, brushes and mallets.

During his junior year at Clemson University, David won the drum chair position in the Disneyland All-American College Band.  His performance career blossomed upon moving to Chicago, IL., where he shared the stage with many notable performers during his 9 years spent in the Midwest. As a freelance drummer, he played with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Lowdown Brass Band, Margaret Carlson, Frank Catalano, and Mucca Pazza, among others. His musical experiences shaped him into a highly diverse, in-demand drummer in the Chicago music scene.

Playing with the Greats

 David recording at Capitol Records with the Disneyland All-American College Band, Los Angeles CA

David recording at Capitol Records with the Disneyland All-American College Band, Los Angeles CA

David also has an extensive history of musical theatre performances.  He has performed drumset and percussion for over 25 different musicals since his time in high school.  Theatre groups include: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Noble Fool Theatricals, Loyola University, Clemson University, Endpoint Theater, Highland Park Players, among others.

Some of David’s most notable performances include performing at the Chicago Jazz Festival, MetLife Stadium, Harris Theater, Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, Pritzker Pavilion, as well as events for companies such as Google, GoDaddy.com, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and IPW Chicago where he opened for Jennifer Hudson.  He was recently awarded the Jazz Fellowship from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. 

In early 2017, David auditioned and won the drumset chair for the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters, the Navy’s official chorus.  After 8 weeks of boot camp, David and his wife, Rachael, relocated to Washington D.C. in late August.  David performs with the Sea Chanters on a regular basis while enjoying an active freelancing career in the DC Metro area.

Becoming an Expert Drum Teacher

 David playing with Davis Rogan, Appleton WI

David playing with Davis Rogan, Appleton WI

David has been teaching drums and percussion to students of all ages and talent levels since 2005. Throughout his years of instruction, David has centered his teaching approach on the essential fundamentals of music/drums such as time, rhythm, movement, and style.  David also emphasizes hand development through the technique of the full-stroke, establishing a strong foundation in rudimental snare playing and limb coordination, as well as musical growth by means of improvisation.   Focusing on these key elements coupled with the personal goals of the student, each player will experience a unique, fulfilling musical development.

David’s teaching philosophy is centered on being patient, allowing students to discover their own talent, problem solving, and setting high yet realistic expectations.  When a student becomes aware of the control that they have over how they play, real success can be achieved.  The goal is to get students energized about striving for excellence in everything they do, and music is a terrific vehicle to witness those results.

David developed his passion for teaching during his time in Chicago. David directed percussion programs at Niles West High School, Rauner College Prep, Fenwick High School, and substitute taught at Chicago School for the Arts.  He also instructed private drumset lessons at Altered Stage, Guitar Chicago, North Shore Music Institute, and maintained a private studio.  David’s students have gone on to study music at Monmouth College, Eastern Illinois University, Lawrence University, and McNally Smith College of Music.