I am excited for this new medium of exchange. Right now I am thinking of it as a place to document my musical life. Since I graduated with a BFA in Music from CalArts in 2001, I have been on a very interesting musical journey. My wife Jody and I moved back to Michigan shortly after graduation. I believe it was the end of July. I immediately hit all the music stores in the area looking for a teaching job. I got two. One was in Southfield at the Mars Music Learning Center, and the other was in Ann Arbor at a place called R.I.T. Drums. Mars had all the glamor and glitz of a professional learning environment, but RIT had soul and a much more down to earth clientel. Not to mention the pay was much better. It was not too long before I left Mars and built up my student base at RIT. I taught there for the next 3 years. Last summer RIT was closed down forever and I moved to Oz's Music on the other side of town. I kept most of my students, and the room I teach in is much bigger. It was tough to see RIT go, ecspecially the owner Terry. He really helped me get on my feet in Ann Arbor. He put my name in tons of his avertisements and was always sending students my way. With his help I launched my Hand Drum Workshops, which are still going strong today.
Within the first two weeks of moving back from California, Jody and I went to a 'Concert in the Park' in Grand Blanc where we saw a steel drum band perform. They were composed of a family of musicians. A husband, a wife, three kids, and an aunt. They sounded great, but they were using a drum machine!! I really couldn't believe it. I had my resume in the car, so I handed them one and offered my services. The next day I was called for an audition and never looked back. I started playing with them 4-5 gigs a week all over Michigan. I really wish I would have started my blog back then because it has been an interesting journey. All I did was play and teach. It was very exciting, but also a lot of work, and more driving than I would wish on anyone. Jody and I decided that it would be a good move if I got my Michigan Teaching Certification, so I started taking classes at U of M Flint to become a music teacher. It meant a busier schedule and just as much driving, but I am hoping it will lead to greater things. I am set to finish up this April. Along the way I have played with many different people in many different places, including this Jazz trio that I will be playing with on Friday called Deep Blue. We are playing at Cafe Felix in Ann Arbor. I have been playing with them at Cafe Felix for almost a year. They have a regular gig on the first and third Friday of every month. I like it. I don't get to play much jazz, and this is just the perfect amount to keep my jazz juices flowing.
Well, I must go now and celebrate the new year with my Wifes family. I will write again soon. Thanks. -John