Instruments Taught: Drums (beginning through advanced), Guitar (beginning through advanced)
Hometown: Valaparaiso, Indiana
Years playing: 30+
Teaching: Since: 1998
Musical Influences: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, Wilco, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Art Blakey, Steve Gadd, Max Roach.
Education: Degrees from Berklee College of Music and from Valparaiso
Musical Projects: Felsen, Brad Brooks Band, The Goldenhearts, Shana Morrison
Key teaching concepts: “Let’s just make the music feel really good first. Play the song. Put the needs of the song first. Start there and develop that. Work really hard on getting a good vibe on the music we’re playing. Then it’s time to learn to improvise. Because if your sense of time isn’t happening, if you try to improvise as your starting point, it doesn’t feel good physically. If you don’t have the foundation of that groove, then anything you do on top off that is meaningless.”
Book/Methods Used: Syncopation, Stick Control, The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary (as taught by Alan Dawson), The Art of Bop Drumming, New Breed vol 1.
Teaching Days: Saturdays
To say that Andrew Griffin comes from a musical family is a bit of an understatement. The youngest of twelve children, Andrew is one of ten siblings who are accomplished musicians, including one who plays in the Chicago Symphony. “Four or five of us have degrees in music, and two of us make a living at it. Being the youngest, I was surrounded by music growing up – my dad played trombone too. But unlike my classically trained siblings, I was into rock and roll. I was way into the Beatles by the time I was four years old.” At ten, Andrew attended a summer camp at a military academy in Indiana where he grew up, playing in the drum and bugle corps. He started on tenor drum, then moved to snare. By thirteen he started playing drums in a rock band, and played in bands all through high school and college. After earning a degree in History from from Valparaiso, Andrew studied drums at the highly acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998, and has grown his career as a professional musician ever since.
In addition to being an in-demand session drummer, Andrew has taught private lessons to hundreds of drummers over the years. He has also taught junior high band, kindergarten music classes, grade school music, rock band workshop classes, and master classes at the Jazz School in Berkeley and for the California Percussive Arts Society. In addition to being a multi-instrumentalist, Andrew is also a singer/songwriter and producer. He currently fronts Oakland based Indie rock group Felsen who have just released their third album. His impressive credits as a touring and session drummer include: CAKE, Camper Van Beethoven, Luce, Vince Welnick (Grateful Dead, Tubes, Todd Rundgren), Kenny Margolis (keyboards Cracker), Jonathan Richman, David Immergluck (Counting Crows), Roger Rocha (4 Non Blondes), Nate Query (bassist the Decemberists), Eric Holden (Bassist with Josh Groban, the Bodeans), Chris Xefos (of King Missile), Duane Jarvis (guitarist & co writer for Lucinda Williams), Jimmy Prescott (bassist G Love and Special Sauce), Steve Fisk (producer Nirvana, Soundgarden, the Posies, Soul Coughing)
“If I have an identity as a drummer it’s, always play for the song,” says Andrew, “I get more satisfaction out of a band sounding really great than just me sounding good.”