30 years behind the drums – Steve Laffy
Steve Laffy has been a professional drummer and drumming teacher for the past few decades. Since he first got his hands (and feet) on a set of drums he has played with more musicians than you can count and has acquired both amazing skills and an unbelievable collection of instruments. He’s done multiple lectures and workshops and has taught hundreds of students the art and history of rhythm. Today we talk to him about drumming, teaching and what it’s like to be a rock star
Hi Steve, how long have you been a drummer and a teacher?
I started my career as a professional drummer about 40 years ago, and then was ‘drawn towards’ teaching after playing for 10 years or so.
How is teaching music different from teaching maths or literature?
I believe that teaching music is about inspiring the person who wants to learn, and developing the skill to encourage a love for the subject – I suppose it’s the same for all teaching.
If you want to learn the drums, make sure to check out Steve’s series, starting with this one:
How is teaching drums different from teaching other instruments?
Kit drumming is a whole body experience. It requires a great deal of hand and feet coordination (it’s like dancing!). I believe that the process of learning to play the drums is about believing in our selves, and our ability to strive for and achieve something that is beyond our reach.
What are the most important things you want your students to remember?
That all human beings are ‘hard-wired’ with rhythm. Around us is the rhythm of the seasons, day and night, the tides etc, and in our bodies, our heart beat, breathing and walking etc. Drumming allows us to connect with the rhythm of the universe! Also, the first drum was made about 30,000 years ago so drumming is a very old activity and tradition for humans.
Remember to warm-up, kids
Tell us about your amazing collection of instruments!
Well, I have had a lot of great drum kits over the years (beware, they take up a lot of space in your house!). My current is a DW maple finish kit with Zildjian cymbals. I also have some 1960s Ludwig super classic kits, and loads of various percussion instruments, which I’ve collected over my 40 years of drumming. – see stevelaffy.co.uk – workshops.
Have you ever considered quitting teaching and becoming a rock star?
I am a rock star In fact, we are all made of star dust! I have always worked as a professional drummer and still do, with 100s of different bands over the years, playing around the UK and around the world – for more details check out my homepage.
Name a few of your favorite drummers.
Richard Bailey (check him out!), Max Roach, David Garibaldi, Mitch Mitchell, Aston Barrett, Sam Kelly… better stop there!
What do you think of Drooble? Do you believe amazing music can be born online?
Drooble is a great site and concept – well done to you all at Drooble…and thank you! Music has always been an international language and using modern technology to develop the international reach of positive music is the way to go. Music has always helped to create a beautiful world, and will do that even more with Drooble.
What would you say to those of our readers who are just starting their musical journey?
Believe in yourself. You are amazing and have your very own special and unique contribution to make. Practice a lot, and find your own sound – then use your music to make the world a better place of all.
What music are you doing right now?
I continue to practise and develop my drumming (a couple of hours most days). I am currently playing with the Chris Jagger band and Eddie Martin band (check them both out). I also write music tunes and I’m putting the finishing touches to an album of new material to be relеаsed soon – I’ll share this on Drooble when it’s finished. To encourage others to play drums I have written some easy to learn drumming method books and DVD available on Amazon.
Enjoy your drumming!