The DePaul University Jazz Drumset Studio is principally concerned with providing enrolled students with the practical skills necessary to make them better drummers, better musicians, and better listeners. In the process, each jazz drumset student develops an ability to successfully and professionally perform in jazz, Afro Caribbean, and popular music genres. Using published method books, professor-generated handouts and guides, as well as other available media, studio members immerse themselves in rudimentary and advanced musical concepts associated with jazz and contemporary musics. Other media used include compact disc recordings, DVDs, videotaped media, poetry and dance materials and resources, literature, and other useful materials found on the Internet. Specific methods and required materials are determined in consultation with each student on a case-by-case basis.
Members of the jazz drumset studio receive a weekly, hour-long lesson. Each student will be challenged to think about music not only from a technical perspective, but also from a conceptual perspective. Specifically, studio members will be asked to question everything that they do on the drumset in an attempt to seek out new solutions to the many “problems” associated with drumset performance in contemporary music. Students are evaluated based on the quality of the work that they do in studio, not the quantity. Studio members will be required to demonstrate a reasonable and satisfactory amount of progress throughout the quarter to remain a member of the studio. Minimum expectations include the transcribing of drum solos and/or solos performed on other instruments, listening to and advancing an ability to discuss intelligently music of many types, and a thorough immersion of oneself in the art of music making on the drumset. Students will also be expected to participate as assigned in large and small ensembles offered at the university within the Jazz Studies area. Studio members are evaluated on how well they conceptualize the materials presented to them, on how well they understand the materials given, as well as on their respective progress throughout the term.
Jazz drumset and vibraphone students have the opportunity to audition for and perform in large jazz ensembles ranging in size from an octet to a traditional big band, as well as jazz combos of three to seven members. Students are also welcome to audition for and perform in African Drum Ensemble, Classical large and chamber ensembles, and other World Music ensembles.
Jazz drumset and vibraphone students are encouraged and required to develop fundamental skills on the vibraphone and drumset, respectively, to both enhance their studies on their primary instrument and to develop a deeper understanding of melody, harmony and rhythm as they apply to jazz percussion.
DePaul Jazz Studies drumset students have a number of performance opportunities available to them, including a number of annual jazz festivals in the Chicago area, venues throughout the city and Chicagoland area that feature local talent, weekly jam sessions at several Chicago jazz clubs, lake resorts in Wisconsin and Michigan, hotel and restaurant engagements throughout the city and suburbs, and performance opportunities through affiliates of DePaul University through the School of Music's Gig Connection.
Recent Alumni Accomplishments
Recent accomplishments of DePaul Jazz Studies Drumset alumni include international releases of recordings as sidemen and bandleaders; several Luminarts Fellows; teaching posts at the high school and university level; national and international touring with theater organizations and jazz ensembles; professional performances on the local, national, and international jazz and improvised music scenes.
In recent years, master classes have been presented by drummers Jeff Hamilton and George Fludas.