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How many famous Jazz drummers, actually have Music or related degrees? ( P.S. is it necessary to become a Professional Mike? )

Hi Adam,

Good question. I think many of the older guys did not have a music degree. But some of those guys had the opportunity of going to "school" by having gigs in regional bands where the leaders "schooled" their younger players in music and the ways of the world (those opportunities are few and far between now).  Some of course did go to a traditional music school. Now lots of drummers do have degrees, but many don't. I would recommend finding a good jazz program (if that's your thing)and going for at least a few years. The degree itself is not as important (unless you're going to teach) as the education itself and contacts you'll make. Also, there are places like Drummers Collective in New York or the Los Angeles Music Academy.
Good luck and feel free to hit me back with more questions.


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Mike Shapiro


I can answer questions regarding drum and percussion subjects. If you have a question about technique, rudiments, grooves, fills, styles, reading (etc.) in relation to the drum set... ask away! I'm also able to help with timpani, vibes, marimba and hand percussion. I can also answer questions regarding the purchasing of drum and percussion instruments and accessories, including vintage and current items. I can help with restoration projects or research with the history of percussion instruments, music, repertoire, manufacturers etc.


I've been playing professionally and teaching music for 25 years. I'm involved in many genres of music and have played with a wide range of musicians from Todd Rundgren to Zubin Mehta. I'm also very interested in the instruments themselves and have owned or played many interesting ones.

Professional Drum Teachers Guild

Bachelor of Music, The Juilliard School

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