Lot has happened that is keeping me busy so far this year and wanted to share a few things. Unexpectedly a song I wrote a few years back called Run To Me has now been picked up as part of a licensing arrangement is the United States and is being played as part of the the In Store Audio Network. Basically this means that the song is being played in stores like Wal Mart, Kroger and Safeway.The network reaches over 30,000 grocery and drug stores across America. I always believed in the song and it is nice that it has been discovered in such a way. My first royalty payment for this has been an unexpected windfall and there are indications that the song has legs and may be working for me for some time with extra royalties to come.
Teaching wise I am once again fully booked with a waiting list but I am trying to see more students on a casual basis that cannot book a permanent spot as there are none available. I have seen a number of students recently that have come my way from other local teachers and I must say that I am often dismayed by their lack of technique, knowledge and poor drumming skills overall. Many of these casual students have been learning for three or four years but can't play a drum roll let alone get through a song. I get fantastic feedback from these students even a fter one lessons and they want to book a permanent spot then and there but unfortunately I must give priority to students that have already been studying with me. I often tell these casual students that they can't expect too much from any teacher without any real pedigree i.e lack of real "professional" performing experience (garage bands don't count) and the other thing that works heavily in my favour is that I spent three years learning with one of the world's greatest drummers - Chad Wackerman. A teacher that I had to audition for and be accepted by and I was fortunate to learn all the principles of the Moeller Method. Chad himself learnt with the legendary Murray Spivak. The lessons were very intense and I apply a lot that I learnt in my own lessons hence the high standard of many of my own students.
Unfortunately a slightly annoying sign recently is local tutors trying to disguise themselves as potential students and sending me emails and asking me about my rates etc. I caught one out recently by doing a simple google search and then called him back much to his emabarassment. The poor bloke called me about three times just to apologise. He then blamed his wife for putting him up to it. You know you are doing well when your competitors are trying to pass themselves off as students to extract information from you. Better luck next time Phil at Northern Beaches Drum School.
My newest school - De La Salle College is going from strength to strength with 5 new students signing up this term but I must say that the surprise package has been some of the outstanding drum students I have this year at Newtown Public School in particular two brothers, Damon and Flynn Poppleton. For their age they would have to be amongst the best in Sydney. I will put money on it and I don't even bet! I also have many other exceptional students at the school and they should be performing next term in the next Newtown Live event.
I also wanted to mention another young drummer I have been teaching for about four years, Jake Eller at Annandale Public School. Great hands and style for a young player. I often check out young drummers at Inner West School fetes and Jake has got it all over any other drummer that I have watched at local fetes in the last year. I have seen about 5 or 6 drummers of primary school age from surrounding schools from Leichhardt, Summer Hill, Stanmore and there is absolutely no comparison. I am amazed that many of these students don't even know how to hold a stick correctly! Keep up the good work Jake!
I often get asked by students and friends if I will be performing with The Beatnix and I have decided to make myself unavailable for any future performances. The guys in the band were great but I felt I did not have much to offer them and there are many players that can easily fill the spot. I also have to concentrate on my own teaching business and not be distracted and make the best financial decision for myself and my family.
Playing wise have been listening to Donald Fagen's last release Sunken Condos with some real tasteful drumming and re visiting some of Gavin Harrison's playing. A drummer that I discovered back in about 1997 when NO DRUMMER in Sydney had heard of him, but I picked up on his finesse on an album by an Italian artist called Franco Battiato and from studying from his first book Rythmic Illusions. Since then Gavin has been become a drumming mega star and rightly so.