Drum Lessons by Meshem
Drum Lessons by Meshem
By Writer Leah Perlingieri 2014
Meshem's first drum kit came to him at age 8 by way of a friend of the family's unfortunate house fire. Sensing that he had a talent for percussion, tapping along to his father's tambourine in church, the smoke-damaged Pearl set was passed on to him, and his lifelong relationship with drumming began. He played consistently through his school-aged years: concert and jazz band in junior and high school, swing classics for a lunchtime Glee club, and...
By Writer Leah Perlingieri 2014
Meshem's first drum kit came to him at age 8 by way of a friend of the family's unfortunate house fire. Sensing that he had a talent for percussion, tapping along to his father's tambourine in church, the smoke-damaged Pearl set was passed on to him, and his lifelong relationship with drumming began. He played consistently through his school-aged years: concert and jazz band in junior and high school, swing classics for a lunchtime Glee club, and self-learning rock from hours of careful Walkman and vinyl listening. Meshem took a hiatus from drums while he raised a family, and ran a graphic design and sign manufacturing business. His drumming practice was reignited in 2006 when a friend asked to store a drum kit at Meshem's office space in exchange for letting him play it whenever he wanted...which turned out to be many hours a day. This prompted him to cruise Craigslist to find some other musicians to play with and lead to the formation of Makeshift, which gigged regularly on the weekends from 2007 to 2009. Next up was Kousefly, a shift in sound but a solid project that thrived for the next two years.
Meshem has quickly gained a reputation for fearlessness in his approach of new material and styles, and also for being a lightning fast learner. In 2011, when the local reggae band 2nd Hand Soldiers needed a drummer for an upcoming show, Meshem accepted the opportunity and proceeded to learn 25 new-to-him songs in 5 days...and he had never played reggae. It went so well they kept him on as their regular drummer. At that show, he was spotted by a local promoter and musician who began to hook him up with drumming gigs. He's been a regular face behind the kit at Bend's Spring Festival, Summer Festival, Fall Festival, Bend Roots Revival and Munch 'n' Music. He has been playing regularly with 2nd Hand Soldiers, Familiar Souls, Michelle Van Handel, The Dream Symphony among other artists. And when they come to town, he performs with Eric Tollefson (Seattle), Rob Larkin (LA), Joseph Eid (LA), and L.C. Jones (Nashville).
His adaptability to style is diverse, able to perform rock, funk, R&B, metal, reggae, blues, jazz, and latin. He was able to move his entire professional focus to drumming in the last few years, and is currently the head of the drum department at Cascade School Of Music, teaching ages 6 to adult. His own musical inspirations include Gavin Harrison, Neal Peart, John Bohman, Jeff Hamilton, and Stanton Moore.
On how drumming has impacted his life, and jazz drumming in particular:
“When I was introduced to jazz, my drumming changed forever.....although I don't have much jazz in my playlists, the approach to jazz drumming is feel. Giving a song feel is groove, and jazz is quintessential. I've heard before that once you learn to play jazz well, you can play anything. This carries through to what I teach young drummers.
Drumming has had a huge impact on my life since I began teaching. I put aside a long career in graphic arts and sign manufacturing to pursue a life of music with performing and teaching. The support I've received has been overwhelming. My family and my drumming are my life, my passion, my well being, my balance, me.”
My main objective is to inspire the student to play and practice. Lessons are tailored to each individual student and should be fun, inspiring, and challenging. With this approach, the student will see the benefits more quickly.
-We will set goals together whether that is learning your favorite song, preparing for a specific audition or event, or more long term goals.
-I want to challenge my students but keep things fun and interesting for them. So, lessons and topics covered are flexible and taught in ways that speak to the individual.
-I believe in lots of hands on playing in our sessions. This will ensure that the student will go home and remember exactly what to do and how to do it. Any additional questions you have while at home can be answered by sending an email or text to me. I am available at many times throughout the day to assist.
-I will cover basic theory with all students as it is the basis for good musical understanding. We will even learn to write our own drum compositions as it is one of the best ways to understand note value relations.
- Jamming! At times, we will jam out on our drums just for fun. What happens in a jam session is the student not only has a blast just rocking out, but also gets inspired by what I am doing and starts to incorporate some of that into their playing.
-Overall I will teach the student how to be a great musician. Not just a great drummer, but a musician who has awareness of his/her role in an ensemble as well as how their roles interact with others.
I am excited that you have an interest in drumming. Let's see how far we can go!