Gary Chaffee

Gary Chaffee

Credited with teaching some of the most successful and influential players on the contemporary drumming scene, Gary Chaffee has been earning the respect of musicians worldwide for more than 30 years.Gary Chaffee is retiring:
After 41+ years of teaching, playing and basically living the drums I have decided to retire. It has been a long and mostly interesting road. From my first teaching gig at Western Illinois University, to my years as head of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music, followed by a couple of decades of touring, giving clinics and performing with various groups all over the world, it's time to hang up my sticks.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music (1972-1976) and more recently in his own private teaching studio, Gary has worked with some of the top players in the industry. A list of his students reads like a "who's who" of the contemporary drum scene, and includes such players as Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Smith, Jonathon Mover, JR Robinson, Casey Scheuerell, Kenwood Dennard, Joey Kramer and David Beal. Hundreds of other successful drummers have come out of his "school" of drumming.

As an active performer, Gary has shared the stage with many noted artists, among them are: Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, Abe Laboriel, Jaco Pastorius, Mike Stern, Steve Swallow, Mick Goodrick, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell, Palle Danielsson, and Tom Harrell.

Gary has authored many books demonstrating his unique concepts. Among these are his highly popular 4-volume "Patterns" series: Rhythm & Meter, Sticking, Time Functioning, and Technique, and his new "Linear Time Playing".

Gary has also released two videos on DCI: "Phrasing & Motion", and "Sticking Time, Linear Time, Rhythm & Meter".

from Gary Chaffee:
There's a lot of people I need to thank. First of all my teachers. John Wedemeyer, my first real drum teacher, Enzo Cimino at Poland Central School in upstate NY who got me started with all the percussion instruments, Sandy Feldstein at Potsdam who was my mentor throughout much of my career and helped me in more ways than I can count, and BobTilles at DePaul University in Chicago where I went to graduate school. I also need to give special thanks to Donald Jenni, my composition, orchestration, and counterpoint teacher at Depaul who taught me more about music than anyone else I ever met, and was directly responsible for hipping me to contemporary music, polyrhythms, and all the other related concepts that were the basis for the first of my PATTERNS series of books.

I also want to thank the literally thousands of students I've had over the years, both in schools as well as in my private practice. Many have gone on to become world famous performers. Countless others of equal talent have distinguished themselves in a variety of settings, from college teaching to recording to performing. Some have become involved in other aspects of the industry, such as publis
hing or working for one of the major companies in our industry. I'm equally proud of all of them and feel honored to have had the opportunity to participate in some small way with their careers.

Finally, I need to thank all the companies who have supported me over the years, especially Zildjian, Yamaha, and Remo without whose help I would not have been able to achieve many of my goals. I hope to have a BIG retirement party next June, and you're all invited. Until then, take care and don't be afraid to drop a line if you have a moment.


Elvin Jones - Gary Chaffee

Masters Place

"Gary has a certain method of teaching polyrhythms and independence that's really cool. He shows you how it's broken down and what it's based on. It is really interesting and is planned out very intelligently."
Vinnie Colaiuta

"After playing on my own for 20 some odd years, Gary Chaffee has helped me to open up new doors for myself. My playing is now more fun and more challenging."
Joey Kramer

Familiar with Gary’s materials for a few years, I feel that they are really in touch with the directions that drumming is going in. The books open the doors to many new ideas, and are presented in a way that people can grasp.
David Garibaldi

Gary Chaffee is not only a Master Drummer, but also a Master Instructor. The Patterns books should be included in every drumset player’s library. The volume on stickings offers limitless possibilities. Most stimulating for the creative juices.
Ed Thigpen

Every time I open Gary’s books, I discover many new and innovative ideas to add to my drum vocabulary. These materials are a must for all serious players at any level.
Jonathan Mover

Steve Smith - Gray Chaffee

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