Teacher Spotlight: Jayson Brinkworth
Each month we feature one of our Teacher Integration Program members. This month we take a look at Canada’s Jayson Brinkworth. Jayson currently endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Futuresonics, Swirly gig, Flix sticks, Gon Bops, Kickport, Moon Mic, and the “Turn it up and Lay it Down” series. He also writes regularly for The Black Page, Hudson Music TIP program, and Canadian Musician.
1. Where are you located and where do you teach? I am located in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and teach at a music school I am co-owner of called “Music In The House”. We have been in business for 9 years and have 19 teachers and 350 students, 80 of which are drums.
2. How many students do you teach and what is their range of ability levels? I teach 50 students per week and they range in age from 8 – 65 and ability from beginner to working professional players. I do enjoy the challenge of teaching advanced students about more conceptual stuff in music and getting them to think outside a bit. I also still love having a beginner start “getting” it and seeing that look in their eyes when they are playing. We can never lose that “look” no matter how long we have played.
3. How are you incorporating new media and technology into your teaching? I love the media and technology available for learning. I always sound like a really old guy when I say to students “Back in my day, we didn’t have these tools to learn from “. The DVD’s have so much information, sometimes almost overwhelming. I love being able to show students videos of Joe Morello from 1964 or Papa Jo Jones from the 50’s. There are also so many print and online drum magazines and resources to learn from as well The information is moving at an amazing rate now and is there for the taking if one is motivated enough to go and get it. Also video taping lessons for the students is a huge benefit for them to see and hear what is really happening with their playing. In this day and age of ipod’s and cell phones, almost everyone has a way of recording audio or video. If the students don’t use this to their advantage, they are cheating themselves out of progress.
4. Do you have any funny stories or anecdotes from your teaching? One story really stands out, and it is more about not drumming than drumming. I had a 10 year old student years ago whose dad really wanted him to play drums. This student seemed to kind of enjoy it, but I knew he could care less and didn’t practice. I tried 3 times to explain to the father that maybe he wasn’t ready for lessons yet and it was a waste of his money to continue, but the father kept saying “ Give it time, he will become interested”. I was stuck as this kids babysitter for 30 minutes every week !! Finally I had a crazy idea that may get the father’s attention. I knew this student likedLego, so one lesson I brought in a box of Lego that was at my parents place. When he showed up for his lesson, I asked if he practiced, of course the answer was no as always. I said that today we were going to do something different and brought out the Lego. His eyes lit up and we began to make cars and other items for 30 minutes with the Lego. At the end of the lesson he said “So what should I practice this week “ ? I explained “You probably wouldn’t practice anyway, so nothing, but you have to do me a favor. When your dad asks how the lesson was, you have to tell him that we played with Lego for the whole lessons”. He agreed but said his dad would be mad, and I said if he was, he should call me and I will explain. Needless to say later that day I received a phone call from the father who was very mad about the Lego lesson he had paid for. I explained for the forth time that this was a waste of his money, needless to say, this was the end of the lessons!!
5. What are your general thoughts on the future of music, teaching, etc?
I am really excited about the shift in the music industry to more bands and artists becoming independent and assuming control over their careers. This mindset also streams into the education side and those who are willing to work at it and be very self motivated can attain so much. I also enjoy the fact that as a teacher, I have to be so open to the ever changing technology and media available. It keeps me on my toes and very motivated at the same time. Also in addition to things moving so quickly, it is important for teachers to not lose sight of the classic books and methods such as Stick Control, Syncopation,Advanced Techniques, New Breed, Funky Primer and other timeless resources.
Contact Jayson through his website: www.jaysonbrinkworth.com