I have strong memories of seeing my father perform, of being backstage, seeing audiences react to him, and even stronger memories of my mother playing guitar and singing to me at home. I built my first drum set at age five, joined the school jazz band at 12, and played my first paying gig at 14.
My first drum lessons were with Shawn Pelton, a wonderful musician and teacher, who left for New York just a few years after we met to play with the Saturday Night Live Band. Dylan Wissing gave me my first jazz record (Clifford Brown & Max Roach) and changed my life forever. Dylan was my first real mentor and he helped shepherd me through high school and into college. I lucked into an amazing high school music program that took me all over the country to perform and study with my heroes. I schooled for two summers with Ed Soph at the Jamie Aebersold Jazz Camp in Louisville, and as part of an experimental public school curriculum I spent my last semester of high school studying royal Ugandan court music and amadinda xylophone with Kay Stonefelt.
After graduating high school I took two years to play and study. I auditioned for the jazz band at Indiana University, received a scholarship, and enrolled as a jazz studies major under the tutelage of David Baker and Kenny Aronoff. Both were extremely generous to me. That same year I took a job teaching drum set at a local music store which provided an early opportunity to work with children and to formulate and express ideas about music.
In 1996 I left Indiana to travel the world by sailing ship, performing jazz and cabaret music in much of Asia, the South Pacific, Alaska, the Caribbean and South America. I landed in Chicago a year later, where I immersed myself in the rich funk, soul and jazz traditions that still survive there. I studied drum set with Michael Raynor and Kenwood Dennard, and pursued a life-long interest in North Indian Classical music and tabla with Kalyan Pathak.
In 2003, after six years in Chicago, I headed west to California where I continued to teach, perform and record. Through a friend and colleague I discovered the world of Orff Schulwerk, eventually studying music and movement at the San Francisco School with Doug Goodkin, Sofia Lopez-Ibor, Crista Coogan, Rick Layton and James Harding. My work with these master teachers transformed and expanded my teaching practice. Currently I am teaching music and movement at five Bay-area schools in addition to my private drum set students, and I continue to perform with my own groups and as a freelance musician.