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Paul Mason: Teaching Associate – Drum Set

In 1986, I put together a concert series at the then new venue, AS220 with a RI Council for the Arts grant, connecting local jazz musicians with featured guests. Among them was my mentor, legendry drummer and teacher, Alan Dawson. When Matt McGarrell needed a drum set instructor for the expansion of the jazz program at Brown, he contacted Alan, and based on his recommendation, I began what has been a wonderfully rewarding relationship, lasting nearly a quarter century.

In my first lesson with Alan, he explained that he taught music - the drums were just the vehicle for getting that music out. The drum set is a 20th century invention, and the great history of jazz parallels the development of the instrument. From “Baby” Dodds” with Louis Armstrong, through “Papa” Jo Jones with Basie, Max Roach with Charlie Parker, Elvin Jones with John Coltrane to all the various permutations since - fusion, Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, funk, hip-hop; it’s all about music.

If you’re drawn to the drums, like me, you’re addicted to rhythm. But you still need to know the melody, to hear the harmony - the chord changes - as they go by. You need to know the form of the tunes to participate effectively in the conversation, to put the fills in the right places, mark the cadences, change the textures. You need to be dynamic in your playing, and you need a good sound.

I can help you develop those essential elements in your playing; help you develop technique and independence, and the problem solving skills that will prepare you to function in any situation and any style, and help you find your own sound.

In addition to Alan Dawson, I’ve studied with Providence’s favorite son, Artie Cabral and Boston’s Bob Gullotti. I earned a BA in Sociology from The College of The Holy Cross in 1973, and a BM in Performance and Jazz Studies from the University of Rhode Island in 1984.

I’ve played all the styles in club dates, concerts and workshops for the better part of 40 years. From 1985 to 2010 I worked for RI based record label, North Star Music and produced and/or played on nearly 20 projects, working with some of the best of the Providence/Boston area musicians including Tony Bennett’s guitarist, Gray Sargent, Carly Simon’s guitarist, Peter Calo and many others. An early project included recording and performing with Rick Danko, bassist for legendary roots rockers, and Bob Dylan backers.”the Band”.

Whether you aspire to a career as a drummer, or just want to broaden your horizons, I can help you organize your practice, your musical awareness, and help get you ready to take advantage of opportunities you will encounter here at Brown, or to go out and create those opportunities.