How long did it take you to finish Drumopedia?
It took about 11 months until I was satisfied with every edit and the whole look of it.
You have a co-author/collaborator on the book, Dr. Shahmir Kamalian. What role did he play, and what kind of Dr. is he?
Shahmir did the whole technical/computer side of it, after I wrote it by hand. He is a brilliant doctor and a good friend, who has done work at Harvard, and he is now a Medical School professor.
What are your best experiences or memories in drumming?
In 2009, I had the opportunity to play the Cape Breton Int’l Drum Fest in Nova Scotia, Canada. Several top drummers were on the line-up, so it was exciting. Then in 2012, I taught at the Percussive Arts Society Int’l Convention in Austin, TX. The organization picks one educator per year, worldwide, so that was also a fun and great experience.
You seem to have been on several TV shows talking about Drumopedia. What was that like?
Those shows were a lot of fun. I was on five shows in New York from 2010 – 2013.
How was the feedback been on Drumopedia from educators and students?
It has been really good. They find it very easy to work with, and I’m really glad to hear it. A teacher in a school in Pennsylvania contacted me and told me he uses it for his class.
What was your approach when writing the book?
My focus was to break everything down to its simplest parts to enable optimal learning, a feeling of encouragement, and a great chance for success on each exercise on its first try. My aim was also to include a very wide range of topics, but at the basic level. “Yard by Yard is Hard; But Inch by Inch is a Cinch!”
Did you attend college? If so, what did you major in and did that help with your writing skills?
I received a Psychology degree from The College of New Jersey. I had to write tons of papers in college, and that really helped me focus on and enhance my writing. I started at Bergen Community College, and when I entered, my writing was pretty low level and basic. But, I had great professors there then I had great professors at TCNJ that really influenced and helped me.
Have you had other careers and jobs besides teaching and writing?
Yes, I had a lot of different types of jobs before and during college, then after college, I worked on Wall Street (downtown Manhattan) for almost 5 years. After that I worked several assignments in the employee benefits/401k/pension field for various companies, and also was an academic tutor for an organization. Then I worked 3 years at an insurance company.
What were some of the companies you worked at?
TD Waterhouse, Guardian, Ernst & Young, Prudential, Mellon, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, etc.