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I have been playing the drums for 32 years, and formally sharing my knowledge with others for the past 20 years. Like many people, I started playing the drums in my school band and continued on through high school. Around the age of fifteen, I was fortunate enough to hear the legendary jazz drummer Max Roach play with his band at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. This was one of many key experiences that lead to my decision to pursue a career in music.
In 1987 I left Chicago to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While in Boston I had the great fortune to study with two Boston drum legends that left a lasting impression on me - Alan Dawson and Joe Hunt. While at Berklee I jammed regularly with many of today's young jazz greats - Roy Hargrove, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Lalah Hathaway, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake and Antonio Hart to name a few. I graduated Magna Cum Laude (much to my parents satisfaction) from Berklee in 1991. I stayed in Boston for another year and racked up some experience playing in the local Reggae, Jazz and Blues scenes.
In 1992 I moved to Chicago with my fellow band mates from the Last Kwartet (Jeff Parker, Sara P. Smith and Chris Lopes). In Chicago I have made many lasting musical and personal relationships over the years. Although the Last Kwartet disbanded in 1994, I formed my own band, which included Jeff Parker on guitar, shortly thereafter. Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls have since recorded five critically acclaimed CD's for the Naim and Delmark record labels. Our latest, "Seize the Time", was released in 2009.
Many people know me from my steady gig with Sabertooth at Chicago's world famous jazz club, the Green Mill. I've been playing drums with Sabertooth every Saturday night from Midnight - 5:00am for the past sixteen years!
John N. January 6, 2011
"I've been taking lessons with Ted for the past year and a half. I've been playing drums for 25 years, but had never taken any lessons. I wanted to learn to read music and be able to play jazz. Both were totally foreign to me at the time. Ted has been a great fit for me. He taught me to read music fairly quickly and we've been studying jazz technique and some Afro-Cuban rhythms. I feel confident about my abilities in both areas now thanks to Ted's instruction. What I love about my lessons is that I get a healthy dose of history with the technique. More of a why this is this way and how it developed over time. Not only am I getting an education in how to play drums, but I'm getting an education on the history of jazz at the same time. His approach is very supportive while challenging me every lesson. I always feel like the week's lesson is a little beyond me, but when I show up Ted is there to help me put it all together. Obviously, Ted is an all around drummer and not just jazz and his harping on my bad habits has made me a much better drummer. You can't go wrong working with Ted."
Robin R. January 23, 2011
"My son has been a student of Ted's for more than 6 years! Over this time my son has grown as a drummer, as well as learned to appreciate a wide variety of music. Ted's many talents as a teacher include one of the most important - appealing to the ever evolving musical tastes of a child, and now teenager. Together they have explored rock and roll, reggae, funk, and jazz. Ted stresses the importance of basic skills and technique along with a background history and exposure to the best artists in the industry. While at BooCoo, he brought two phenomenal drumming talents in for drum clinics for his students, and others in the area to participate. One of the great things about having Ted as a teacher is that he is also a constant performer. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing your teacher's band (Ted Sirota and The Rebel Souls) play at the Chicago Jazz Festival! "
Brian P. February 13, 2011
"Our son and our family gain a great deal via drum lessons. Ted is a fine and noteworthy jazz drummer with many recordings to his credit and he brings all this to his lessons and his periodic recitals for students (I'd pay to attend... they are entertaining and warming). Most importantly our son's musicianship grew under Ted. He's a fine and reliable teacher. "