DRUM LESSONS AT OCTOPUS
Drum lessons at Octopus Music School are taught using our proprietary OPUS curriculum (Octopus Poly-Instrumental Units of Study). OPUS consists of ten grade levels, each with a requisite assessment and certification. From the beginning, we emphasize reading, aural training, proper posture, rhythm skills, and playing along to a diverse repertoire of music. Students will learn all about rudiments, stick control, and hand-to-foot coordination. In addition to private study, all students at Octopus, will have the opportunity to participate in group ensemble classes, which allows students to collaborate and make music with their peers, an experience which is particularly important for those studying the drums.
With consistent practice at recommended intervals, our carefully designed curriculum prepares students to quickly advance from day one by equipping them with the necessary tools and scaffolding to build a comprehensive understanding of the drum set.
Lessons are still tailored to individuals' unique learning needs, and repertoire remains flexible so that students are able to learn music which interests them, however the core content and benchmarks have been standardized to ensure fast and steady progress for students of all ages and skill levels.
AJ studied Jazz Performance at New Jersey City University and has taught the drum set for many years. He plays an eclectic range of styles including jazz, rock, R&B, and musical theatre. AJ is equally at home performing in a band or in a pit orchestra on Broadway. His passion for playing and teaching music is contagious to all who study with him.
Albert graduated with honors from Fredonia University in 1986, earning a B.A. in Music Performance for Classical Guitar. His twenty year music performance career began as a classical guitarist giving solo recitals and live cabaret shows. He then transitioned into the rock arena and performed and recorded with several original bands, including NYC’s Rip Chord, in addition to doing studio work for several other recording artists. Albert has also been teaching private guitar, bass, drum and songwriting lessons for over thirty years sharing his love of music with students of all ages. Recently, he turned his attention from performing to recording and created a studio in his seaside home in Highlands, NJ where he writes and records music for film in a diverse range of styles.
Evan completed a BA in Jazz Performance and minor in Music Technology from Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University, studying under the legendary Victor Lewis. During his time at school, Evan worked closely with such luminaries as Robby Ameen, Mark Gross, and Kenny Davis while performing in a wide variety of musical groups including rock, Latin, and jazz bands (both small and large ensembles), as well as musical theatre pit orchestras. A regular performer at various venues around New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia, he continues his pursuit of performing eclectic styles in a range of musical formats.
Jamie is a professional, classically trained pianist, vocalist, and drummer and holds a B.A. in Music Education K-12 with a concentration in voice, and a minor in piano from William Paterson University of New Jersey. In high school, Jamie was involved in a variety of award winning ensembles including concert choir, chorale, Madrigals, men's choir, all-state choir, concert band, wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz band. In 2007, the drumline, of which Jamie was co-section leader, earned the title of Grand National Champions.
After graduating WPUNJ, he worked at Pompton Lakes High School as a Marching Band Tech and sang as a hired choir section leader for Trinity & St. Philips Cathedral in Newark, NJ, and for Trinity & Episcopal Church in Cliffside Park, NJ. In the summer of 2018, he was hired by Lincoln Center for their Mostly Mozart Festival. Jamie was the Assistant Conductor for the William Paterson University's Choir Tour in 2018 where he conducted and sang through Austria and Italy in places such as the Vienna State Opera House and Melk Abbey.
Mike has studied under numerous gifted drum instructors with varied fields of expertise; at Mason Gross with the legendary drummer Victor Lewis and classical composer Joe Tompkins, at the New School Veneto Jazz Workshop with Jeff Hirschfield, and at Julliard with classical percussionist Greg Giannascoli. Studying both classical percussion as well as jazz drum set has given Mike a unique outlook on both the creative fundamentals of improvisation and soloing as well as the importance of the drums in larger ensemble settings. His ongoing performance credits include the Rutgers Jazz Ensemble, the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the WM Jazz Quartet.
Nick began playing drum set with renowned jazz drummer Joe Aiello and studied numerous styles such as rock, funk, metal, jazz, and Latin. He would go on to study classical percussion with the acclaimed percussionist William Trigg at The College of New Jersey and completed a BA in music performance for percussion. While in school, Nick spent much of his time studying contemporary music, while performing in The College of New Jersey percussion ensemble, jazz band, orchestra, as well as numerous solo recitals. Nick was also a performer in the indoor marching percussion group "East Coast Percussion," and was taught under numerous world-class Drum Corps International Alumni. His strong background in rudimental drumming has led him to teach marching percussion at various high schools. Nick has also been the percussion manager for the Central Jersey Music Educators Association, as well as a performer for the Doylestown Symphonic Wind Band in Pennsylvania. Nick is passionate to share his knowledge and expertise in drumming in hopes to inspire students to find their unique passion in music.
Raymond is a multi-instrumentalist musician and audio engineer who has been teaching since 2012. Ray studied Communications/Media Theory and Music at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where he concentrated his research in Popular Music Studies. As the keyboardist/songwriter of his funk & soul band Des and the Swagmatics, he has performed at venues across the east coast, including NYC's Bitter End and Bowery Electric, and Asbury Park's Convention Hall, Stone Pony and Asbury Lanes; recorded at Atlantic Records Studios NYC; shared the stage with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes and legendary drummer Bernard Purdie; performed at Gov. Phil Murphy's election night victory party; and was named Best Keyboardist by newjerseystage.com's 2019 Makin' Waves Awards. Ray is also a Beatle encyclopedia, music history nerd, vinyl record enthusiast, and piano tuner at the ready!
While attending Berklee College of Music in Boston as a performance major he studied with Tommy Campbell (Manhattan Transfer, Stanley Jordan), John Ramsay (Wynton and Branford Marsalis), and also Gary Chaffee (Pat Matheney, Jaco Pastorius, and Mike Stern) he also taught Steve Smith (Journey), Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani), Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa), Joey Kramer (Aerosmith). Mark has performed with multiple agency/tour bands nationally and internationally. Over the years he’s opened for Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchet, the Tubes, the Artimus Pyle band, the Outlaws, and many times for some of those bands. He’s been teaching Rock, Metal, Jazz, Latin, R&B for many years.