In the field of drumming we all have heroes. Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, John Bonham, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd and the list goes on and on. However, we often overlook the unsung heroes of drumming, the teachers. In the past few years, I’ve realized just how important and influential great teachers can be. The ability to clearly and concisely articulate ideas, techniques, and concepts is not an easy task. When you factor in that this must be done in a classroom setting as well as in private lessons, where teaching styles must be customized from student to student, then you understand that great teachers should hold a high position on our hero list.
This week welcome one of the great teachers in our discipline’s history, Dr. Michael Udow. Mike was head of percussion at the University of Michigan for thirty years as well as a respected clinician and author of the new book, Percussion Pedagogy (Oxford University Press). He was gracious enough to join us from his home in Colorado for a candid interview about his career, the art of education, and a description of, Percussion Pedagogy. We discuss his early interest in music, his personal path in higher education (culminating in the first DMA in percussion at the University of Illinois), his literature preferences, teaching techniques, state of the university, and much more. There’s something here for every teacher, student, and performer.
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