Speaker: Dan Lewis 00:00
Hello and welcome to the next installment of the series. In today's episode, I speak with Henrique DeAlmeida. This is an extremely exciting guest as his first full-time educator and not just any ordinary educator. And Ricky has been a professor of drums and percussion at Berklee College of Music for the previous 10 years. Berklee is located in Boston and is considered to be the best contemporary music school on the planet. Which makes Henrique one of the best educators on the planet. Not only is he one of the best teachers on the planet, but he's also a world-class performing musician with an incredible background which we go into in the podcast. He's played some of the world's best jazz gigs in the best locations.
And I catch up with Henrique from Wales. While he's at his new drum school in Colorado. We go in-depth about his new drum school, Berklee, his teachers throughout his life and his advice for drum teachers and students, and a lot more. I would love to give a massive shout-out to Eric Adel Neda for setting all of this up and to Henrique for your invaluable time, insights, and energy. I absolutely love this chat, as you'll probably be able to tell. And I also tell the story about how Henrique and I actually met in real life at Berklee, a five-week program in 2015, which was such a great time of my life. And so, thank you for that. And thank you so much for the podcast. The podcast has done so well. So, thank you all so much for listening and sharing and for the messages that have been sent. It means the world so thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoy this one. How are you?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 01:34
Speaker: Dan Lewis 01:35
Thank you so much. First and foremost, for doing this. I know you're an extremely busy guy.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 01:42
Yeah, what? Where are you?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 01:44
I'm in Wales.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 01:45
Wales? Wow, cool!
Speaker: Dan Lewis 01:47
It’s five o'clock here. And can you thank Erica for me as well. She's been amazing.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 01:53
Yeah, she's. It's unbelievable when we open, yeah, I remember when we opened our business about four, almost five years ago. And we were doing business cards. And we had to give her a title. It was a joke, because, the stuff she does.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 02:17
Now, she was great. I'm so grateful to her. Because I know, like I said, you do all this work. And so, I'm very grateful. Thank you. And we actually just give you a bit of background, I play drums for Carnival Cruise Lines. And so, I play full-time with them. And about, I think in 2015 I want to say I was studying in the UK. And then I managed to get on to the Berklee five-week program. And you are actually my technique instructor?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 02:50
Oh, I don’t remember that. Which level was it?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 02:52
The highest one, I think? Because I remember that.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 02:54
Those are fun, right?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 02:56
Yeah, like it changed. It kind of like really gave me a lot of, I'll never forget you sitting us down in that class and then saying, you know, everyone who made it in this room is most likely going to become a professional musician. And that's stuck with me for like, what is it now? 2021? Like, six, seven years?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 03:17
Yes, I had great mentors, Alan Dawson, and Jim Shaping, Freddy Gruber, Gary Chafee. And they had such an impact on my life. And sometimes, are we live? or this is a recording?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 03:38
We are not live now. Well, I guess just recording, just in case you want to say anything that will just take out later.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 03:45
So, I teach an insane amount of students, yeah, I just finished this spring semester. And I would never do that again in my whole life. Because I did January, February, March, until now. And I was teaching full-time at Berklee online, full-time at the Drum Set Coach Academy, which is my school, my new school, which I'm very excited to talk to you about that. The player School of Music and the www.drumsetcoach.com. And literally, I just finished 780 sessions. And I love it and I hate it at the same time. Because I have to make decisions. I mean, it's a blessing. You know, God blessed me so much, but it's like, the days were just like this, it's insanity, like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 sessions a day and, and I had to make decisions like, do I eat lunch or get in a car and go? Do I sleep? or I recorded that video for that student. It was total insanity. My family, they kind of didn't see me and right towards the end, well there is a reason that we did that. But let me I'm a little add, but let me why I'm mentioning that is because you teach all those students, and some of the guys, you're changing their lives forever, and you don't realize because then the summer comes and the Fall. So once in a while guys like you, let me tell this story, which is great. For me, that's the best price I swear, the best price is actually not the money it’s the emails that I got. And when somebody like you, if I inspired you to do something, it gives me assurance to keep going and to realize that what I do might be important, you know, it reaffirms. That's a blessing to have my flock, you part of my flock, right? So, years ago, this guy calls me and say, hey, are you going to Pay sick? You know, PAS, the progressive art society[05:59]. I said, Yeah, “my name is” I'm going to tell his name in a minute. Because you might know this guy because he became famous. “I'm such and such, and you changed my life. I was your student at Souder Mess” because when I went to get my master's degree, I was teaching full time. And was not like Berklee, but I was teaching 50 students a week or something like that was the first time I had a lot of students now it's like, way more than that. But he said, you transformed my life and, and he shared his testimony with me, how I'm responsible for his whole, like I totally changed his life. And he wants to take me to lunch at Pay sick. And he told me his name. And I really didn't remember because for the past 10 years, 700 average 780 sessions. And some of those sessions are actually classes. Yeah. So it’s literally in the 1000s. So, it's hard to remember. I remember a lot of people if they stay like private lessons. Yeah, yeah. Or they, you know, life, right? So, when I saw him, I remember him. And he took me to lunch. And that was Stephen Taylor. He's like a legend now, right?. And he's blew me away what he's doing online with Stephen drum shed and, and I watch, I said, Oh, my goodness, man.
So that was such a pleasure, to hear the testimony of a seed that was planted there. He made a forest out of it. Right. Yeah. And then at that same convention, I was telling him what I was struggling a little bit because I was teaching at Berklee full time. And on Saturdays, I like to teach private but the Saturday was not long enough. I had eight students every Saturday, and there were more people trying to study with me than I can afford to teach that because I don't have any time. And I felt bad about this. So, he actually helped me we sat down a couple of times during that convention, usually at night.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 08:12
And he gave me a lot of great ideas. So now you have the student, coaching the teacher, you know, full circle. Yeah. Because he was such an expert on marketing. And we still, I still respect him very much. And I talked to him, like, after spending nine years at Berklee, almost 10 years without stopping, I want to take a leave of absence, right. And I don't know who to bounce ideas with. I called him from Berklee, you know, and I say, Hey, what do you think up here I am like a Berklee professor, his teacher, I want to see his opinion, because I know he loves me and I respect him. And he talked to me about a couple of things, and he's married with kids, I’m married with kids. And he helped me make that decision, which I did. And then I had a long conversation with him about Hey, man, you on your own, I'm thinking about jumping ship and creating my own school. And we talked for a long time almost for an hour. And he was so supportive, and he helped me think about some scenarios, which was also very funny. You know, he goes, what are your fears? You know? Because he is great. He said “Alright, let's go to the worst scenario. Everything is gonna go wrong. Nobody wants to start with you. Nobody. Know, what do you do?” I said, he said, “can't you deliver pizza? Can you work on that?” we can, right? So basically, he was great. He was great. We laughed so hard and but he made on a serious note made me really believe that I can do this. But anyway, so here is an example like somebody like you that was off my radar. And Gary Shaffer somebody like that to me, now he knows. But years ago, he had no idea. And I've been with him from the late 80s to now, you know, I know that he retired and I guess I can start talking about this, which is unbelievable. He had a meeting with me and Erica because Eric is my manager. And he, he said, “hey, I want to have a meeting with you. And I want Erica to be there.” And I was at my school on zoom and Eric was at home on zoom. And he said, “Listen, I'm retired,” we started laughing because he retired like three times. And then he said, “No, this time it’s for real. And I want you to take over.” I just cry like a baby man. That's what he said. Yeah, I mean, that's heavy. You know, he said, I wanted to take over, you know, I can't do it anymore. I'm tired and blah, blah, blah. And I was like, I couldn't believe it, man. I cried so much. He said, of all the guys that I teach, there are two people that know my stuff inside out. One of the guys I don't know, the guy is in Europe. He just won a Grammy for something. We got to hook it up. But he wants me to take over the pardon’s series. And he sent all these documentations. He nominated me, the master teacher of the pardon series, master teacher. So, I have all documentation, we have videos, we are going to make a big announcement because fall of 2021, work on these mega projects. And I have all from 88 until now, I started with him on and off. And I recorded everything on cassette and I have notes. And he just sent me a bunch of stuff. And once in a while, I think like, hey, I forgot this, I forgot that. And I mean, it might less correspond to Tim, it's like, because the reason I went to Berklee is because once I start discovering Vinicola, even Steve Smith, they started with Alan Dawson, Gary Shape and they went to Berklee. That's why I went to Berklee and started with Alan Dawson and in Chafee. But he sent me so much stuff, some old notes. You know, he sent me a bunch of stuff. And, and this is unbelievable. So, I'm working on this mega project, which is after they started with Alan Dawson for eight years and with John Ramsey. I produced something on my school called the Extentions of the teachings of Alan Dawson, which John Ramsey and I presented at Pay sick. John Ramsey is the author of this book here.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 12:49
Yeah, me and you, actually on our first class me and you played the first part of the ritual, up to single strokes.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 12:59
So, you probably gained my respect right away.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 13:03
Me and you played it together, I will never ever forget it, ever.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 13:07
So, we did the extentions, because I didn't stop, so I showed John Ramsey, I said, hey, check this out. Those are some extensions. And he, he really loves me like a drum dad. And he said, Man, he told me that I'm on that level that I'm becoming what you know, and then I produced some, I produced this product with him. Because he also had some extensions. And then it's called the extensions of the teaching of Alan Dawson, which is very advanced. And we present a couple of clinics together and we went to PAS. So now I'm doing the extensions of the teachings of Gary Shaffee, which is unbelievable, because just to play Gary’s stuff is near impossible. But to expand on that is really, so Gary's been very generous to send me stuff and I have all old notes. I have a lot of stuff with his own Henry written stuff. And for the last three years, we are talking about stuff that's not on the books. It's not in his books, you know?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 14:16
Yeah, his planning series is absolutely incredible, isn't it?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 14:20
Yeah. And that's nothing, it’s absolutely baby stuff. In 2011. I go back to Boston and I tried to convince him to get out of retirement and then he was reluctant, i said okay, well, you don't need to start with me again. I said I do, I want, I said who the heck I'm gonna go take lessons with? So, I visited him a few times we had great conversations and went out to dinner and then I said, hey, I want to pay you I want to I want to have lessons again. And I show up there with the books he goes like “what is this you know; we can't go back there”. So, it was all applications and was beautiful and he's such a genius. And here I am like now I'm a Brooklyn professional. I'm not a little kid anymore. And I go in there. And every time I'm with him, I feel like a kindergarten. Yeah, It's like.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 15:15
Yeah. Which is so wild. And it's so incredible to hear that because I think people are under a misconception that when you learn and you have a certain ability, you just stop but it's it never works like that does it?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 15:28
Now I'm a student and he's this saying, man, more I know more, that I don't know anything. I was talking to Erica the other day. I was auditioning one guy, one time with Kenwood Dennard, Professor Kenwood Dennard, and this guy came in, he totally sucked, but he didn't know he suck, he's very happy. We're like, this is awesome. Like, he doesn't even know he sucks. But, um, you know, just as a teacher and out like, I know, I'm a great teacher, because not to sound like a jerk. But how do you know? Well, it's the number of students man, you know, by the Fall 2019, I was teaching more classes at Berklee, designing more courses and wrote more books than anybody in there, and I can go into database and see that because I can see those rosters. So that's my proof, right? If I suck, nobody will be signing up for my classes. Yes. Right.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 16:24
And your proof is also testimonials like, like this. I wouldn't be we wouldn't be doing a podcast right now, if I didn't remember who you were. But I remember who you were. Because of the impact you had when I was there in five weeks? You know, yeah, let alone imagine three years.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 16:40
Yeah, but check this level, check Gary's level, right. Professor Berklee. Everybody Tell me every day that I blow their minds, and I go, every time I'm with him is like when I was at Allen, I really feel like I'm in kindergarten. He's like on a whole galaxy, man. Yeah. And he always, always, always had tons and tons of stuff to show me. And towards the end, we talk mostly on the phone, and each phone conversation was just like a blessing. I'm very fortunate, very lucky. And now I'm, extrapolate on that, you know, doing some extensions, and helping the student digests. So I can't wait. So if you can help me promote this fall 2021. The drum set coach Academy is the only school in a world that is authorized to teach you stuff. And then I have this new book coming out, which is The Extensions of the teaching of Gary Chafee, which has a collection of things that is not published.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 17:46
And students can learn with you from wherever you do remote lessons.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 17:50
Yeah, I teach on Skype, and I teach on zoom. And I also, I have something that's incredible right now. I have an elite group of people on the www.drumsetcoach.com. This is people that are with me for about four years. And they are the best students that I ever had in my life. They're not really students no more. They're like, heavy players. But here's something that's kind of difficult for a guy like me, because I thrive teaching advanced students. And the problem with this is like, so this group is about 12, to 16, maybe 20 people or less, but they did my entire hand and foot technique, one hand and foot technique to my entire, the entire thing. The ultimate hand technique, the molar course, the polyrhythm, those guys are most players, because they build that foundation. So, if you want to study the extensions of the teachings of Gary Shaffer, you got to first go in, he started with me the regular stuff so we can build. Otherwise, you got to be struggling.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 19:05
Yeah, I absolutely love that. And we will definitely get on to your advice for teachers and students. And I would love to know you've done some of the most incredible work like you are one of the busiest people I've ever spoken to. And so you have done, you've played in front of the President, Vice President, you've done Carnegie Hall several times. You've been at Berklee press of 10 years. Where How did you get there? What was your journey Like?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 19:30
I struggled. I came to America, right after high school. Oh, let me tell you, I mean, you know, I talk a lot and my stuff is all everything is deep, but I'll try to go as fast as I can. I'm in Brazil. My dad is a chemical engineer. My mom is amazing mom. My mom always told me I could do whatever I wanted. And I was in Brazil, but I like jazz. I start reading about jazz and the drum set is American instrument in the wall. So I really want to come to America and go to Berklee but I couldn't afford that. So somehow I applied to Berklee. The first time I was denied because I didn't have any training or harmony knowledge. So like, so here's a lesson for you. Instead of saying Okay, I go like, I go solve that problem. And then I apply again, I was rejected again, because I didn't have like fluent English language. I last whatever you call it, so I had to go and do that. And then finally, they accept me on probation. Like you come and do the summer, if you do well, we accept you. Now. I like a design course. But they call it so. So my entire thing at Burke was really tough because I come to America, the best country in the world. I have no mom, no dad, no friend, nothing just God and I, man. And it was a struggle. You know, it was a struggle. And it's hard work to this day. Sometimes, when I talk to my clients, because I do coach life coaching. If you go to the www.drumsetcoach.com, not only you can book drum set lessons, but you can book some business coaching lessons. And here's something I tell people; how can somebody teach you how to be successful if they are failures? I can't make you follow my past but, I can say something that's gonna hurt people's feelings. Because there is just hard work. I wake up early in a work focused. And, you know, I in eight years, I'm gonna say this, but I don't want to sound like this guy's a jerk. But the reason I say is because I want you to ask this question. Why should I listen to this guy? Yeah, right. Okay. So, in eight years, I wrote 13 books. And I didn't take sabbatical. I took Saturday's. I designed courses. I got promoted to full professor early usually take 20,30 years. Full professor in eight years. And he said, You're such a jerk? No, but I was there at 6:45 in the morning. Nobody was there. 645 in the morning, I knew every janitor. I knew every delivery truck guys; the other guys stroll over there at 10 and they leave at three. I'm never 6:45 to 7:08. It's a lot of work. Right?
When I started teaching at Berklee, I Mike Mangini resigned to go play Dream Theater. That's the position that's kind of heavy, right? Yeah. So they just dumped his schedule on my lap. So now I had to teach Afro Cuban lab, Brazilian lab, double bass lab, parupalli, rhythm lab, rock, PA, all that stuff. And I just care about my students. And I developed a system of 40-minute dimensional teaching. So if you start with me, you're gonna have PDF, you're gonna have audio video. In coaching, I'm going to email you, I'm gonna check during the week how you guys do is really amazing, right? So then after 10 years there, I kind of got burned out a little bit because, I've practice from 7 to 10 and then I teach 10 to 11,11 to 12,12 to 1, lunch hour, 1 to 2, then I teach 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5, 5 to 6, 6 to 7 office hours start over. I just couldn't take it anymore. It's like, Peter Gaskin is here. I can see, I am teaching. Heavy Mason is our artists in residence. I can't go see I'm teaching. I'm in the basement. Second blue collar (23:50). I love the job. But you know, I need a little break.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 23:54
So the journey is trying to make everything has a reason. Why did I create the drumsetcoach.com? Okay. Students who come to my office and say, hey, I don't understand that Moeller thing. How does that go? And I would say, okay, let me do a video for you on the phone, and I email you. And then I noticed the guys that I was sending videos to they getting better faster. So, I start doing videos on my office hours, they'll be doing videos for my classes and sending them. Well, I didn't realize that they students, they are not as organized as we are. So, I'll be “Hey, Dan, that's a US cake.” I'm having problem playing this polyrhythm snare thing. And I'll say didn't i send you that three weeks ago? Now we got to go find that email. So, I start putting on YouTube for free. So even to this day, if you go to YouTube, there's a lot of videos on. Like if you click on my parents, there's double bass big. This is all for my Berklee students. That way I can send a link. But then was a lot of work for free. So, we create the drum set coach, which is more organized. And we start charging. That's the whole reason. So, the other reason for it, and the reason was like, man, how can I make money? You know, it's to help people, you know, and the reason for the books, is because Berklee has 45, about 40 to 45 professors. And when I got that it had 750 drum, let's say you are professional. I'm a professor. And I have a polyrhythm class and I wrote I exercise and I have to go to the lounge, the teacher's lounge to copy some handouts. Well, you and five other guys that copy handouts. Yeah, the machine breaks, you screwed. Now you don't have your handouts. So, the reason number for the book is like, I don't need the handouts by the book. Also, I start to be really good about writing lesson plans. Yeah. So, if you're taking this polyrhythm course with me, I'm gonna say here's the book. Here's the whole course. And then I say, here's the lesson plan, and has what we're going to do each week. Why, let's say, you say, “hey, Professor, I've got to go to New York to play a gig next week.”
What are we going to be doing so I can practice the look on your lesson plan? week three, we're doing this. So that made me have time to have a cup of coffee in the morning. So, I'm struggling doing these handouts.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 26:38
Yeah. So, was it always your intention to become a teacher?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 26:43
I always love to be a teacher. I think I was born to be a teacher. I'm a performer. You know, I like playing but I love to teach, I just love to teach and it’s hard work. But, I think it's because I like learning.
You know, I like studying. And I like creating. I have a new editor. He's actually in Russia. And he's a young guy. He's actually one of my students. And he's helping me with this project here. And I just wrote a piece this morning, and I talked to him on the phone. And he, because the rhythms finale, music program doesn't like my rhythms, because it's very, it's complicated bracketing stuff. And this kid is very fast. He's unbelievable fast. So, and he's working with me now, so fast that I can basically just tell him stuff and he knows what I'm talking about. But I love teaching I love creating. And when you teach you learn a lot. You know, because when to learn when one teaches to learn, right? And also, one of the greatest things about teaching especially great players is they, a lot of my books are inspired by the students’ needs you know, like the when you teach a lot of people the problems are kind of the same problems. I can give you one exercise that's going to decide if the guy's a beginner or not right away, like one exercise. All right, let's see if this guy's a beginner. Okay, go like this. You're gonna go (makes drum sounds with mouth) that no beginner can do that because they they're not used to go down on the foot on the bass drum and I put the Hi Hat right up.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 28:54
In order to hit the hi hat, the right foot needs to go up and down the bass drum. Try that with your students. Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, Taka, is a coordination thing.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 29:13
Yeah, I think I'm at a point in my life, like very much like you were when you were younger, where like, I don't teach at the moment because I would I see too many teachers doing it just for monetary gain. They don't do it for the students benefit. And so I think I will only get into teaching when I'm doing it because I solely I'm doing it for them, and obviously the ships take us away for seven months at a time. So there's not really that much time in between but I wouldn't want to start with a student and then leave for seven months not be available then come back. It will be like to mismatch but in the future. I would love to but like I said for the reason exactly like you were the primary focus is the development of the student. And the cash is kind of just a side. It's just great that you're also getting paid. Do you know what I mean?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 29:57
Well, that statement, that statement It is, is a sign of good character. You know the way you feeling that? And you say, I'm not doing it because if I do it now it's not the right way to do it is a good sign of good character. Now the money is not aside, the money is important, but one thing that a lot of people get confused. Like, I'm extremely successful, You know, when people go, I wrote a book, I go like, that's cute. I wrote thirteen and I’m on my fourteenth. When people go like, I got endorsements. I got endorsement. Then I got a free drum. I got eight drum sets. Do you ever met anybody that got eight drum sets in the middle of a pandemic? Have you?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 30:49
No, I haven't. No.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 30:51
Eight. Sona drums. Do drums for me six drums for the school for free in the middle of a pandemic. Yeah. Why I'm saying that. Why I'm saying that. Vic first makes my signature sticks, right. The best drum club, but I want to also have a jazz stick. The middle of the pandemic, not only I have one signature stick I have two. Now, I'm not talking about I have. I have that. I want you to ask why. Why? Respect. That's right.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 31:29
I think you're so right. I absolutely love what you're saying. Because you wouldn't go and see a fat dietician, or a fat person.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 31:40
We think I like I tell my students; would you take marriage advice from a divorce guy? Financial device from a guy who's broke? Like you said, you know, so this is so frustrating because here's what's happening right now. You got a 16-year-old who started marketing does amazing video. Great light. Great sound. never play with anyone. Nobody. Yeah, never taught anywhere, but he looks so cool. He knows how to talk. He knows how to do that. And he's gonna say, “I'm gonna help it to be successful.” You never played with anybody, dude. You have no degree. Everybody on the drum set coach Academy has two degrees and mastered. Danny Sanders and my business partner has two degrees. My wife has two degrees, I have two degrees. Also, I played with a lot of people in a lot of styles, Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Rock, Big Band. I learned a lot from that. But I don't have time to do marketing stuff. You know I played there. So that's very frustrating to see people being sheep instead of a lion, you have to meet my elite group, I want you to talk to them. Because think about this for a minute. This course at Berklee is 12 weeks. So you have 12 lessons at the drum set. coach is 16 weeks. Yeah. Two weeks. Have you started with me? At the drum set? COACH is two months at Berklee? Because, when you're in college, you have another 10 to 12 classes. You don't have time. But the guys at the drum set coach, we do like okay, we're gonna do, we just finished 16 weeks because of the polyrhythm course. And then we do another 12 weeks, just hands. So it's very focused. And they go really deep. So have an impact on you on your play.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 33:46
I just I absolutely. I cannot identify with it more. That's the reason why, like in the future, I would love my own Academy. I'd love to do things like you're doing but I want to do when I earned it. You know what I mean? When you have the credibility to do it, like we've just said, you wouldn't go to an overweight personal trainer, because they don't even need their own advice. So why would you heed that advice? Yeah, so it's like, it's exactly the same when I go into teaching and I want to open my own rehearsal facilities and things like that. I want to do it because they're like, Well, why should I come to you?
And it's like, well, because I've done all of this.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 34:21
Also it’s a legacy. You know, I, I don't take credit of what I teach, because, I had Alan Dawson and Gary Chafee, and Freddy Gruber and Jim Shaping and Dr. John Wooten. And then I had mentors like Phil Wilson, Wayne Knowles and Greg Hopkins all those guys that play with by the rich, and I also have two mentors that has nothing to do with music Leon Newman and Jim Peterson those guys are older men that helps me with spiritual ways and decision And, so I have a lot of people that also taught me a lot that I can teach that I can pass that along to other people.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 35:12
But also, as part of your program, you can you can draw on that experience as well. Drumming is not just about the physical ability to play drums, right?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 35:19
Yeah. So, my approach to teaching Well, I have two black belts, one black belt in Shotokan karate, and a black belt in Goju Ryu karate, so I'm a martial artist. And then I was in the military for 13 years on the United States Air Force. Wow. So, I got the military, the karate, and also, I have a master's degree in music. And I'm a Christian, I respect all religions. But I'm a Christian. So, my teachings are heavily influenced by martial artists discipline, the military discipline, the musical academia, my faith, and then I was a street musician all the way to high school. So, all this stuff is infused on my teaching.
So, to be honest with you, what I teach my students has nothing to do with drumming, actually, I teach them things that if they learn it, they're going to be very successful. If they don't learn it, they're going to fail on everything, which is patience, discipline, perseverance, humility, consistency, organization skills, planning, all that and on, and on, and on and on.
What's the humility? The humility is you have to be humble enough to understand that you're not going to be great, fast. Nothing that's great was build fast. So, with the humility, you have to have patience, you can't learn in one lesson or two lessons. But humility, and patience, without consistency, you have nothing. Because you have to have the discipline to work on new goals every day.
Let's say you bagging groceries on the grocery store, and you hate that job. And you really want to be a drummer, you have to maybe put 20 minutes every day, 30 minutes to work towards your dreams and your goals. So that consistency the everyday. And then you have to be a goal setting person you have to set up, what is your goal for the next five years, and it boils down to your day, if you have control of your day, you have control of your week, if you have control of your week, you have control of the month and then the quarter and the year and then your life and I tell this to the people that I coach “randomness steals you from your greatness”. More random, you are more wasteful you are that the biggest treasure that you have is your mind. Biggest treasure is priceless. Billions of dollars’ worth of I don't know, he says you can't put a price in your mind. And the other treasure that you have is time. So what do you do with your time and how you do your time is where is at.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 38:35
Yeah, I mean, I just cannot I cannot agree more I like it. This is such an energizing, like I believe a lot in like energies and like radiators and drains, like you meet some people who give off a lot of energy and some people that just take it all without giving it back and so that like, I can just tell that you what I met you in person and we've played together so I know it, you know you what you possess in that sense is worth more than what you can physically teach in behind the drum kit from where I'm sitting anyway.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 39:06
That's right. That's right. You know, and then but music is a good tool to exercise all that stuff. Like, when I moved here, one thing that was a challenge, you know, I opened my school, we now have 130 some students, but I never thought you know, I taught beginners before but for the past 10 years, I'm teaching Berklee guys now all of a sudden, I have a 12-year-old, nine-year-old. And how do you teach them discipline and all that all those things that I was talking about? And what I do, as soon as they come in, we have different tracks. There'll be on a track that I call Do you need anything? Oh, Erica is here. Do you want to meet Erica?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 39:51
Yes. Hello, Erica. Hello. Hello. Thank you so much for organizing one of this is so kind of you.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 39:55
I didn't know he was on five weeks with me. Oh, yeah.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 40:00
Oh, in like 2015 Yeah, yeah.
Speaker: Erica 40:04
Oh, wow. That's gone back.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 40:08
So I start with little kids as music activity, right? It's not real music education, it is music education. But I say okay, your goal is to learn one song.
Once you know one song, you're gonna do a recital on stage with a bunch of guys who only know one song. And at that level, it's like with backing tracks, because we have a little recital room at the school.
So, once they play a song with the audience, and they clap and they see all the people, they go like oh, this is what this is about. So, the next level is three songs. So, we were playing it, there is a plan, what is the plan, you want to play three songs, what is the goal is to play on the stage, you want to have to have the discipline to practice the songs to do this, and this and that.
And then they play three songs. And after that, we go to level three, which is five songs. So those events a lot less student maybe four. And then they do 10 songs. Then when they do 10 songs; they learn a lot about doing what they said they're going to do. And when I give a little certificate, I talked to to the audience, like how proud I am of them that they and then I invite them to switch tracks to the what I call the conqueror.
There is explore Voyager and conquer. So, they are explorers because they not really going deep. And then they become a voyager, which is real music education. They now want to go into orchestral snare drum reading rudimental reading, chart reading styles, and then to basically follow the Berklee model, but we're done for that age. Yeah. And then when they do, they do exam, they go into a 12-week program, or 16-week program. And then I do what I do at Berklee, I don't test them, I hire Berklee professors or local teachers to test them on this test. And then once they are level two, level three, just exactly what I teach at Berklee for performance majors. So after a year and a half, I now have students that are level five, level four, like at my school, they're equivalent of a second third semester college, but they are 13,14.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 42:29
Yeah, and so are you quite OCD with the way that things are structured? Did you learn that with Berklee? Or did you have that before?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 42:36
I was very organized before I went to Berklee as a teacher, because I went there as a student also. But I just found some old notes. I was very organized already. But what Berklee did for me, that's incredible. And I think that's why Berklee professors are the best teachers in the world, is because of the number of classes that we teach. It's like giving seven or eight master classes every week. And what is the difference between a Berklee professor and let's say, a world class drummer, that is very famous, that gives clinics what will not work class performer give a clinic, they go in a music store, they give you information, they go to the next town.
They don't get feedback. They don't know if the way they present that works or not. at Berklee, I teach you a class next week, you come back, I'm getting feedback if you learn it or not. And I can tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak. So, it's like by the time I wrote this, I already taught this so many times. I already know where you're going to have the problem. I give an example. I know for a fact when I teach my pop rock lab, we start with, swing shuffle, blue shuffle, hip hop shuffle, 12 week shuffle, this is a problem to Sharples. Yeah, and then oh, yeah, pop rock, funk. The week is like after mid term is New Orleans and funk gives everybody probably because he's syncopated. There was ghost notes. I already know that. Because I already did that, like many semesters. So I already know when you get to that point, everybody's gonna freak out.
It happens every time. So, that I was already organized, but Berklee really fine tune that. Yeah, it made me a much better teacher. It was a great lab for me, to learn how to teach better, and I had bad days, in the beginning, I don't have those anymore as much. But, I have giving lectures that, I look at people, nobody understand what I was saying. That's a problem. And I was like, Whoa, do you guys understand this? everybody's like,… I had to go home and figure this out. I might have to explain this another way.
So, I'll give you example of that like if we go like, okay, so we're gonna play five against one. And then these five repeat, you know if you guys got that and if you probably like, what? And then I would go back, next next class, I said can you guys play that nobody can Okay, so I figured out a better way, so we're gonna play five against one. But then we're gonna just move the left hand. Oh, that's that's like a little example of that like a tangible example.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 45:40
But what I love about that is that you have to be so creative with that because and you're also taking accountability as the teacher of like, well, they didn't get it. So it must be something that I did not that they just can't grasp it. You know what I mean?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 45:59
That's the best thing that Berklee did for me, because students come for me with questions. My job is to provide the answer, right? So what high volume teaching does is, if I give you I answer, and, and they answer works for you. That's a good answer that I'm going to save it. So another guy asked the same thing I prefer, I already have this answer here for that problem that happened, but didn't work for that guy. Yeah. Oh, this doesn't work for that guy. I have to come up with another answer. Right? Because everybody learns, if all of a sudden you develop a system, and you have several answers several, solutions to the same problem. Yeah, and you start understanding that this guy learned this way, this guy learned that way. That's why I created that multilevel system. Some person are more visual, some person or more they have to hear, some people learn really fast, some people really, so you really get good at it. Because you just trial and error. And then all of a sudden, what happens is now 90% of my stuff works. I know it works as I see the results, you know.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 47:20
Yeah, and I love that leveling system. That's one thing I really loved when I got to Berklee five week is the first thing you did was assessments so they could place you in your various categories, because it wouldn't be any good if you were down here. And then someone was already up here by the time you did it. And you're in the same class, you know, because you're just gonna fall behind and then feel worse.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 47:40
We Berklee, we're like experts.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 47:42
Yeah. Oh, my, it's like, the number one school in the world. Right?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 47:45
Like, like somebody say, hey, I want to take your double bass integration lab. Alright, come to my office, I have like, four or five little exercise, play that, if they play that with no problem, they ready to go to that class. You know, if they if they can't play those pages, I said, You're not ready for that yet. You know?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 48:07
Yeah. So what does it take to become a Berklee Professor?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 48:12
That's a great question. It’s very tough to get the job first of all, the amazing thing is like, if, like all the things that I'm telling you my doors from my life, I'm just watching the God show, I'm not leaving all these like, man, I really do. This is fun for me, just to I can't believe it. I just watched and I wake up every morning and I still can't believe it. I'm very lucky. But what Berklee looks for is okay, let's say you interview to get a job at Berklee, right? So I'm gonna say, okay, you want to get a job here? What do you want to teach? What is your expertise? What do you say? Oh, what would I say? Just make stuff up. Like, oh, crap music. Pop music. What is the five top pop drummers in your opinion? Jeff Porcaro? Steve Gadd, can you teach them? No. That's how we think there. Yeah, yeah, I am nowhere near those guys. But I'm very, I'll say this without a heavy heart. I can totally show some stuff to Steve Gadd, that he's gonna like it that he doesn't know. That's that's a Berklee Professor. Omar Hakim is one of my all time idols he’s one of the best drummers in the world. He used to go to my classes he learned a lot in my classes. Mark Walker is like a multi Grammy drummer, you know when he wants to, work on his hand, he started my hand stuff. One time he's on tour with the on tour in Europe, he stacks me can you send page blah, blah, blah, he's working on my stuff, he blows my mind.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 50:30
Yeah, we actually we were very, very lucky that we got to meet and we got to play in front of Victor Wooten. Carnival, had him come in and do a bunch of workshops with us. And that was like, unbelievable as well. You know,
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 50:41
I love playing with him. And I, he, I learned a lot with him, having teach with him and also playing his band. I played with him once in a while. But I want to say this, and you should put these on your podcast. And Erica is going to get a kick out of this. We have a lot of people that I teach that a legend, Grammy winners, golden records plat, and they don't want to tell people that they started with me. Which I feel bad because they could help me, you know, but that's fine. That's fine with me.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 51:13
Do you think that's because they maybe don't want it to seem like they needed to be taught.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 51:18
I think that this is a great topic, because that's why I joke about I'm a lion, not a sheep.
Don't live in fear. Fear is insecurity, I changed the percussion. I didn't change it. But I know, I was a very positive influence on the percussion department. You can ask this to Tony Smith. John Ramsey, because I did something that when I started doing I could really see their faces. They couldn't believe like, I would go see another professors clinics. You know, go like, Man, that was incredible. I learned so many you were on a whole other level. I'll just praise them. They’re not used to that.
I'm not afraid of this is why then, then, right? So let's say you play amazing. And I watch you play. That's not going to change the way I play. No. Let's say you suck, right. And I get all happy because you suck. That still doesn't change the way I play.
Whatever you do, he doesn't change me. I need to see how I'm gonna react to that. The only thing that's gonna change what you do is you, right? So you need to think about what you're going to do.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 52:43
I absolutely. Yeah, I love this topic. Because there's a guy who just released a book Benny Grab, do you know who he is? Yeah. So he released a book a few weeks ago, it was called effective practice for musicians. And one of the things he covered is that, you know, when people like Buddy Rich, Jean Cooper and all that, well, growing up, they they only had maybe like, five drum books, and they didn't have YouTube, they didn't have anything. And so they could just learn those and then develop their own style based off those. But now we have this like, unbelievable wealth of things, like coming at us from every angle, you know, you might go to practice and think, Oh, I did a great practice session tonight. And then you go on social media, and someone is playing a blazing chop, and you're like, oh, maybe I should do that then. And so you're getting pulled in all these different directions. What's your advice for that? To counter counter that.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 53:30
Okay, do things I totally disagree with anyone that tells you that they're going to teach you how to practice. That's why a sign up for this course or how to practice.
Well, probably depends. You know, I just met, I was just hanging out with one of the best drummers in Brazil, he came to visit at Berklee, he now plays with this big pop star that I used to play with. He doesn't play any jazz. doesn't know any jazz. Why? there’s is no jazz gigs for him, he’s useless. Not useless, but you know what I'm saying.
So nobody's gonna tell you how to practice. I can coach you and help you to practice more efficient, but every individual is different if you play on a cruise ship. Let's say I'll give you example. I moved from Boston to Colorado Springs. In Boston, I had a drum tech, a whole crew. And I had a fusion band. And I played, my drums is a 20 inch bass drum, 18 bass drum 12, snare, 14 snare 8,10,12 two floor toms and 11 cymbals. Why? I don't set up them they set up from Yeah, they set up I play the corner in ear monitors mics, and then after the show, I go to dinner and they back it up. I moved to Colorado Springs. I don't have roadies. Oh, I do have I always have a tech but it's not big stages. Yeah. Smaller places. So I had to set up. This is my new miniature fusion kit, which is actually a 10. But 8,10,13,14,12,13 and 16. So if you say, “hey, let me teach you how to have a fusion kit” it depends. Also how how I practice now, I changed the way I'm practicing, because 99% of the venues I play now is acoustic.
So if you're asking me how I was practicing Massachusetts, I practice now I'm practicing things that I'm going to use immediately. Of course, there's long term, so nobody can tell you what to play, depends on your level. What is your gigs? What is your goal? Like, if you start with me, and I'm preparing you to be accepted at Berklee, this is one type of practice my whole focus is to pass this freaking audition. Yeah, right. Once you pass the audition, we're gonna change that relationship and do, so I don't believe in that second. So basically, what I set out that to say, what, nobody's gonna teach you how to practice because every individual is on a different level. And they have different needs. Right? Yeah. So it's not take one, practice this, and you'll be able to play this great brushes gig. Yeah. Hey, guys, I have a metal band. Yeah, you know, second, I have a solution for that problem. I like to present solutions that works. I see a lot of people with that problem. Every week, I see students say, “Hey, I don't know what to practice, you know, so much to do”. And they, they start doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of that. And the way I solve this, I stop teaching one private lessons, if you want to take one private lesson with me, it's going to be very expensive on purpose.
You still can do that. Let's say you have a gig. Somebody is going to come on the cruise ship. And it's like a very famous Brazilian artists, top Brazilian artists, and they send you the music. And you see this groove that you don't know what it is. And you come “Hey, I'm playing with this mega pop star”. And there is this style. That's a good topic for one lesson, it’s specific. But to solve that problem, when somebody started with me, I have a list of 30 courses that I teach. And they usually 12 week or 16 weeks, if you work on anything for 16 weeks, it's gonna get I'm gonna make an impact on your plan. You know, instead of sucking in 20 things, yeah, no, like, go deep into spend some time with this sometime with that in any kind of that's, how I solve that problem. And how do I know works?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 58:15
If you see the students that are doing that with me, they did 12 weeks of this 16 weeks of that they accomplish something and they they get better faster than the guys that are with me, let's say for a year. But today, they want to do snare reading, tomorrow. They’re not building a house. They have those little bricks. But it's nothing, it’s finished. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 58:43
Yeah, I absolutely love that analogy. So it's just about narrowing focus, then I guess on certain things, rather than being pulled in every direction is this really like the line on the sheet mentality. I've been to auditions, I was at a cruise ship audition, actually, a few years ago. And, you know, it was a group audition. So they got you to like learn like four drummers four guitars four basis four keys players, four singers, and you learn all the same materials so that they could interchange the bands and see which band they like most of which band work the best together. And I saw like three drummers in a room, like one drummer went up. And he kind of played like quite quietly. He was afraid of the kit maybe. And so then the second guy went up. And because the audition panel didn't say anything, the second guy just followed suit. He did exactly the same thing. Because that because that's what he thought they would want. And so then the third guy went up and did the same. But instead of doing that, I was like, Well, I would rather go up and play my like myself and fail the audition, but be authentic, then follow them and still not get the audition. So I like it's about that just individuality to step out and say, You know what, I'm just not going to follow what anyone else is doing. I'm just going to do what I do.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 59:55
What do you just said, every person that I talk to is a coaching session. Yeah. Remember the comment you made earlier is good character. What you just said? Is what changed my life? The minute that I said I'm not going to be a sheep, everybody's going that way. I'm gonna do what is working wonders for me. You should see the faces of the professors last fall when I said, I'm gonna jump ship, man, I'm gonna resign. I'm gonna go to Colorado Springs to the mountains in open my own school. Half of them said, You're crazy. Man. You got some courage. But then the chairman of the Burke percussion department, the former chairman, John Ramsey. He looked at me. He said, “I'm, a little concerned. But if there is one person that can do that, that will be you”. And I swear that he said this. He said, “If you open a school, students are going to learn more from you than learn here”. He told me. And so I used to tour with Nanda Lauria, he used to be the singer for the Pat Metheny group. And they audition for percussion. And the guy did what he did and he got the gig. So Pat Metheny I think he they were in New York, and they had all those Brazilian of not brazing, all those percussionist to audition for the Pat Metheny group. And Nandu Lauria, my friend, the singer, he told me that this guy come in and and then Pet Dashon. They're not playing just tracks. Yeah. So they guys set up Congress, the ball is all that stuff, and then pat, put a track. And these guys, you know, contracting Balis and playing everything, the next guy come in, the next guy come in, the next guy, people from all over the world, including some heavy, famous people. Yeah. So then this guy comes in Marcel from Brazil. And there is all this crap, and pat puts the song. He's not playing anything. And then he said, “Let me hear first.” So he heard the track. And then they play again. He just put a little shaker. He got the gig. He's like, he knows he went from be almost homeless, to 170 shows. He couldn't even speak English. He always say, money, food, hungry, sleep. To all over he's on a lot of the videos Marcel. So black guy from Brazil playing percussion. He did what you did.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:02:44
Isn't that such an incredible testament though to say? Like, just be you? Right?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:02:49
Yeah. And he did what he thought the music knew he was not that to prove that he could play or not play.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:02:57
Yeah. Imagine like, imagine how pissed off you would be if you if you went and you just followed suit, and then you didn't get the audition, you would kick yourself because you'll be like, Well, I wasn’t authentic.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:03:09
Yeah. I tell my students like, there was this guy, he was not reading very well. And he just took the chart reading course with me. For 16 weeks, he read 82 charts. And he can read now to a whole other level. Yeah. And I was telling him before he took that course. I said, Man, I tell that a lot to the kids. You know, I said, I'm old enough to be your father, you know. And I would hate you to lose the opportunity. Like, if you if you didn't get the gig on a audition because they looking for something like this, but to lose our audition because he couldn't read? Or because your time was not good. Or because you didn't know styles. Those are things that there is no talent involved. It’s just work. Yeah, you know, you don't want to be in a situation where you couldn't play because you don't know what's written. Yeah, you know.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:04:06
So you are like one of the best teachers on the planet and so what would you advise to like we've spoken about students what what they should kind of structurally what they should be doing, what would you advise for teachers?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:04:19
You have to start with fundamentals. You have to have a list on your head of what are what are some of the things that every drummer must know. Now, you got to keep something in mind here. I teach the art of drumming. Although, I tour, I make a career in music but regardless of if you want to play rock, heavy metal, jazz, Latin, you're going to need the hand technique. Okay, you need to learn how to work with this thing here, right? So I don't care which way you're going to Go. So my hand technique, You took technique with me, you know might have I have a metal guy, a Latin guy, a rock guy all around, whatever your hands not working, nothing's gonna work, I don't care. Then feet, you got to work on your feet. And then the third thing is coordination. Right coordination of the limbs and what I call stylistic coordination, because when you play jazz, you're going to require certain kinds of coordination when you play pop rock. It's all the coordination Afro Cuban and Brazilian.
When you have that foundation it’s going to be easy to chart read and easy to do the other stuff because I was listening to the great Gary Shuster interview with Danny Godfrey[ 1:05:47] his audio interview.
He said something that's so true, like, let's say they put a computer chip on your head and you know, every rhythm that there is, right? And you read in the chart, but if you aren't coordinated, that's going to throw you off. You know, if you play in a songo, no one in three on the bass drum. Right and you playing Clive on your left foot and you go and then all of a sudden you have to read bap bap, bap, bap, bap, bap bap, without the every single gonna fall apart. You know the rhythm but you uncoordinated.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:06:23
Yeah, I absolutely yeah, I love that. Because like I've spent so long I've done Jojo Mayer’s hands, secret weapons for the Modern Drummer, the hands and feet one, the foot one changed my life because I went from playing in all the time, because I was never taught any different. And now I only play out because now you have an option of playing either in or out, you can do both, you know.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:06:45
You probably became a moster now, because I got those two DVDs, and I watched for two minutes are still hard, I just quit. And never waited.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:06:55
Yeah, I just love it. Because it's like, the analogy that I use in my head is like you get given a car at the start of playing drums, or your drumming, career. And you actually have the ability to make that car, go look go longer, faster, it’s more smooth, and that equates to your technique. So you know, you have the ability, just by learning technique to just do whatever you want, you can improve that car, you can have a Ferrari, and you could drive, really fast, really long. Or you could just focus on the wrong things or not really take, like technique into account. And you won't go anywhere, for not very long. That's right. That's right. And so the Jojo Mayer stuff was just like mind blowing, because I never really thought about it in terms of where are you holding it?, where's your fulcrum?, and then, your handgrips don't have to be the same. If you're in the right you might use in French, but then you're left, you might be using German, Australia, it's like, you start having those conversations with yourself and watching yourself and thinking like, where am I?, on the kit, and then, and then I did that, and I review it once a year. And now I do the same with my feet. And I never looked back. The foot technique thing was like mind blowing. And so I'm so glad you touched upon technique being the foundation of teaching.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:08:21
Yeah, it's gonna affect your sound and everything, it's gonna affect everything. Rudiments, if taught correctly, rudiment can help with so many things.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:08:37
Yeah, plus also the systems. What I love about your teaching is you teach the systems so, you can construct them yourself. You don't have to memorize those patterns. Right?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:08:49
Yeah, you have to take Gary Shaffer and Alan Dawson's. Those are two big you know, I learned a lot from them because especially Allan's because he had those building blocks. You know, everything was connected. You learn the 26 American rudiments, you learned the Swiss, you learn the innovation chop builds and then you got the ritual. Yeah, you learn the eight way coordination and you had these those drills you know, yeah, but you got to check out the ultimate handout. How we are doing that orchestrating the whole thing on this set is really exciting stuff.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:09:27
I definitely will have a conversation after the podcast because I would love to get your thoughts on some life coaching things so we'll definitely talk after the podcast about those. But when students who are auditioning for big I'm sure you've auditioned a lot of students and what what sorts of qualities you looking for in those in those drummers?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:09:49
Well, the there is different auditions Okay, there is the entering in audition, which is to see if you're going to be accepted for the college. And then once you accept in And then we check, like your snare reading, we check chart reading, we take a look at basic styles. Nothing, you know, we're just trying to figure out who this person is. And we ask that you bring a prepared piece.
And then and then if you get accepted, then there was a placement audition that you went through at five week, like, Where is this guy at. And then what we look for on a prepared piece is for you to be yourself, show us who you are. A lot of people fall in this trap that they want to play jazz for us, because the tradition of jazz at Berklee, but we don't want to do that. If you're a Rock guy, if you're good at that rock out. If your jazz guys play jazz, if you're a lot, play what you love, and let us know what that is. But both the answering audition, especially the placement of this is really based on how well we think you'd be playing the band. Here's a big thing that people don't understand how a lot of people think at Berklee, I can't speak for the whole college, you know, because every professor is different, but the placement audition and sub audition is based on because you can have you can have a student that spent three months learning Dream Theater song. And he rehearsed and he's going and it's gonna go bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad, bad, very challenging, amazing. And then us them to play some really simple they can't play they can't read they don't know the styles.
So that individual gonna have a high grade on the instrument is skills. But then the reading slow the style, slow rhythm occurs slow, so he really, although he played that song high level, he's really not a good musician on a band yet.
So we put emphasis on not how well you prepare something, but how well can you play with a band right now that you never played.
I'm coming from that generation and I was a session musician, which that professionals and they exist anymore. Yeah, like I made a living playing drums. I was a session guy. So I had to play Afro Cuban, Brazilian, funk, rock, Big Band jazz. I get a lot of stuff for HBO, Sunday listen [1:12:30], documentary, Malcom X documentary with Kamala Kimball, Producer, Jingles, big by me. I played a lot of stuff with people that I never saw before how you do that, like Vinicola is a great example of that. In order for you to be able to walk in we play with any band you have to read. You have to have a vast knowledge of Brazilian styles Afro Cuban styles, New Orleans style pop rock, and when I say pop rock, it means early swing, rock and roll. Blue shuffles, halftime shuffle the stuff I teach in my pop rock class, hip hop shuffle, 12 eight shuffles, eight note grooves, rock ballad, cross stick, funk, reggae grooves, funk grooves, counting the western grooves, you name it. You have to know all that stuff and play somewhat with authority. Brazilian styles bossa nova, Samba, parte de Waal, tobi om, maraca 2 , Afro Cuban six songo mambo. Guan Cole, conga dig, we know all that stuff. Because you don't know what they're going to ask you to be. That's actually interesting topic because my drum set is kind of the same, for 30 years, like my drum set is not a jazz drum is on a rock drum. It has cowbells because I don't know if I need to play like it has a double paddle. I'm not a thrash metal player, but I can play if I needed to. Yeah, and now I can play jazz. It's like all around approach. And and a lot of guys in order to be able to be on a position that you can like, you probably have to play quite a bit a different things I'm assuming on a cruise ship, right? So if you get a guy that's I'm a rock guy. I’m a half metal guy you're not gonna work as much.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:14:23
Yeah. So you're looking for students who are massively adaptable then.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:14:27
We're not looking for students. We try to help students to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish with the responsibility that they can understand they need to understand the consequences of their choices. I give you example. I'm teaching this half metal guy private lessons. And at that level, I think it's level three that has a lot of brushes on the final exam. You need to learn bollard, swing what basic brush stuff you And I said, you know, we're gonna have to do that stuff. Do you have a pair of brush? “Man I don't have brush. I never played I hate brushes.” I said, Well, we got to, you know, at this level, we're gonna have to study some jazz, he said, “I hate jazz.” I love his honesty, you know? he hated brushes, hated jazz, all of that.
And I had a conversation with him. I said, “Listen, we're gonna practice this enough for you to pass this proficiency. But I want to talk to you about something. And then we, I said that go to lunch with me tomorrow”. And we met for lunch. And basically, I took him to lunch, but I talked to him about in a nutshell, I was telling him, I was coaching him and counseling him. Do whatever you want to do. But understand that when you take a certain path, you're going to work a lot less. You hate Latin, jazz, all that stuff. That's fine, play what you want to play, but you're going to play a lot less gigs. So sometimes, you're going to have to work at FedEx or bagging groceries. Or you might have to be you know, be a driver cab sometimes, if you have metal bands not working. Why this other guy can have all those other gigs. He did what he wanted to do out his band also had a lot of profanity, on the lyrics and I tell him, that's fine. You want to just insulated this whole other costumers. This entire side of the population is not going to buy your music. I'm not criticizing or judging anyone. I just wanted to understand that. You feel to go punch somebody in the face? You're gonna be arrested. You might be in jail. That's what comes with that. The last time I went to PAS was two or three years ago. And Erica was with me. And I had a chance to go to lunch with a lot of people. Greg Bissonet on that, Paul Werko, Alfred Ohaze [1:17:11], who else was there? Cindy Black man. I mean, a lot of great drummers. And I'm always thinking about my students everywhere I go, right. And I ask all those guys, “send a little message to my students” “What is your advice for my students?” Because those guys are the top guys. Yeah. And once in a while there's different things. But one common theme was, everybody was saying learn as much styles as you can, because it's getting tough out here. You got to play everything. So basically, that one thing that kept repeating itself.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:08:00
Yeah. So that would that be your advice as well?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:08:03
It worked for me. When I got the gig at Berklee. I couldn't believe I got this gig man. Because you know, the drummer from The Voice. He auditioned. He didn't get the gig. Yeah, he auditioned, I got the gig. The drummer of Billy Joe audition I heard, and he didn't get the gig. The drummer of Joe Mc Laughlin audition, he didn't get the gig. You know, so when I got the gig, I was like, “What the hell?”, it's like, God is amazing, right? So then I show up to work. They said, “Hey, we don't care about if you famous.
We care about can you teach Brazilian Afro Cuban, Big Band, brushes, Double Bass, polyrhythm”. that stuff in essence. Oh, that's why I got the gig. Yeah, right. This is funny, like I'm gonna share something with you that's very private, that goes on my head sometimes please. You know, stuff that goes in your head. You don't want to say it right.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:19:10
I'm thinking as a joke. I want to put a job offer for my school. Yeah, the drumset coach Academy is looking for a full time teacher position. Requirements: have to have two black belts, two degrees, including a master's degree. At least 20 years of college teaching experience. Must have written that really stem book with major publishing companies and the books must be adapted in a major university. Area of expertise: orchestral playing, must have played on a professional orchestra for 10 years. Have to have military rudimental expertise, have to be played in a military band for 10 years or more, have to be an expert on Brazilian music, must have played Brazilian pop artists and Afro Cuban pop artists, have to have studio experience, have to have a record of employment for 20 years, with the last 10 years, making a six figure salary. So that means that you're not a pain handling on the street. Have to be bilingual. Okay. And we prefer that you have a family, So you understand kids. Yeah. I mean, I can go on and on and on. You're not gonna find anybody.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:20:43
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:20:44
Have to have study with that list five matches of all time.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:20:47
Yeah, it's a pretty high bar.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:20:55
And have to be currently teaching over 100 students, currently to get the job.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:21:01
Yeah, I don't think you'd find anyone to be honest.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:21:05
It’s weird, right?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:21:07
Yeah. absolutely. But it's such a good endorsement for your business. Right? It's incredible.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:21:12
I would never say that.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:21:14
I mean, I'm talking about you like you are your business. You're an incredible endorsement. If I was in Colorado, you would want to be taught by you. Right?
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:21:23
Yeah. But people don't know. This is the thing. I can’t say that because I'm not a marketing guy. And here's the kicker. Like we started this interview, you know, there are days I think I suck. Yeah, but I think it's funny, like life presented those opportunities. And on a serious note, I was goofing around. But on a serious note, I bring this to the classroom when I'm teaching you about certain things I lived it. Like if I'm teaching you rudiments. I use that. I know the reason for that. Why were rudiments created? Do you know?
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:22:03
Yeah, well, and you probably refined a bunch of it. Right? You've probably used an old system and then refined it in your own way, which again, is like shows expertise in that area.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:22:13
Yeah. I saw a guy one time playing a rudimental piece on a final exam. He's playing really fast. I said “do you know why rudiment was created.” He said, “No.” I said, “Do you know why we use rudiments?” He said “no” I said to march soldiers. You playing too fast. Or, somebody play too slow. I had a world class drummer, step into my office. He's afraid of a mockey, a legendary drummer. And then he walked into Hangout, I said, “Hey, yesterday on your clinic, you told students that rudiments are not important. I would stop saying that if I were you.” Because on the old world, that not might be I said, “How many matching bands do you think exists in the United States?” Take a guess I don't know the number. A lot. I don't have the answer. How many marching bands each day knighted states, how many orchestras is on the entire United States, including on the school system? How many drum corps groups there is in the United States, Blue Devils and all that stuff. How many colleges has music program? Somebody needs to teach rudiments to all these people. Right?. Another professor told me one time. You know, everybody's saying, because on my office, I had a Piccolo snare. A few drum and a regular snare. They don't even know why. Because they never play nakijin Yeah. And then this guy, he's one of my heroes. He told me “Yeah, this rudimental thing is cool, but you know where you're going to use it?” he said. I said, “Man, when I was on the Air Force, I played snare drum when I was in Brazil play snare drum. I place snare drum in orchestra and I'm making money with rudiments right now.” I'm teaching rudiments right I bought a house teaching rudiments. Yeah. You know, I told him works for me. He didn't say anything. Yeah, what do you say to that?. Alan Dorsey used to say there's two types of drummers and ones that play rudiments and know they play rudiments. And they wanted to play rudiments, but they don't know they play rudiments.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:24:30
Absolutely love that. And I just love that, your line and sheet mentality and attitude. I think it's so important in today's world of unlimited possibility and just to be uniquely yourself, like being yourself is what makes you different now.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:24:49
That's right. Yeah, I think it's like not only like be yourself, because, you really influenced by all my mentors, but yeah, if I rephrase it, stick to your convictions if you think this is right. Be courageous, like what do you did on your audition? You had to have some sort of courage?. You know that was a defining moment for you like, do you stick to your guns and to your gut feeling that you believe this is the way to go? Or you're going to be a sheep?, everybody's going that way Yeah. And then you're going to just follow them. You are lying. You took a risk.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:25:32
Yeah. Because I think the payoff was is I would never be able to live with myself, afterwards, if I didn't. That was my consequences that I would have to live with that decision.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:25:46
Yeah. My wife is my… she's the one that pushes me because she said, we are Christians. She really believed that we are supposed to be back here. Yeah. And I she had that conversation with me. And I said, “Hold on a minute”. After 10 years, I just got promoted. I teach at the best music school in the world. I just got my early promotion and you're telling me that I'm going to quit all I said to her, “do you know how many people wants this job?” Probably 1000s. And you tell me to quit out that go to Colorado Springs and open my own school? That's the plan. And I'm glad we did it, man. It is amazing. I still to this day, I teach there every day, every night when I leave my school. Before I shot everything, I swear, I kneel down and I pray and I thank God I can't believe to this day. I always pray on their way in and their way out. I can't believe it still, I can't believe I have my own school.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:26:52
Yeah, because I think hope leads by sight but faith doesn't. Right?.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:26:57
Yeah, well, that's a whole other conversation. I have a lot of… really I need to write the book of Henrique with all my testimonies. He really changed my life and I had so many signs that He's involved. Yeah, on a lot of but you know, I just thank God, because you know, I can die tomorrow, we can lose stuff during the pandemic, check this out during the pandemic, we are more profitable than ever before. How is that possible? We shut down the school move everybody to, to Skype and zoom. And we kept going, and we are more profitable during the freaking pandemic. If you told me that, and when we left Boston, we didn't know that pandemic was gonna happen. Like, right on time.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:27:53
It worked out divine timing. Right?. But I would just want to thank you so much. This has been so incredibly energizing. And everything that you've said, is just resonated so much, especially the bits about like credibility and things like that. It certainly helped me again, thank you. Because in 10 years’ time, I'll probably message you again and be like, Oh, you remember when we had that podcast? And now I'm doing x, y, and z. That was because you know, you.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:28:18
I hope we talk more often.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:28:20
We definitely will, I’m just saying it's like those moments, those things in your life that happened. You think that guy said this at that point in my life where I really needed it. You know what I mean? Yeah, so thank you for that.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:28:35
Welcome. It was a pleasure. I would like to say sometimes I hate watching my podcasts and my interviews with people. Because when I watch, I was like, Man is so much energy. It's like over the top. I love it. But I think you need that. You got to do what I do. You kind of need that. And sometimes it's like, if you make a living doing that, it's kind of hard to shut it off. But I'm working on this.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:29:04
Yeah. So I'm going to add the podcast there. So thank you very much.
Speaker: Henrique De Almeida 1:29:08
One thing that I forgot to mention all the way from the beginning of my career here in 88 till today, one thing that happened because you see how you do accountability is very important. Like if you're on a ship, and you say I want to practice every day for two hours, by yourself, you might not be able to do it. But if you find another drummer on the ship, that you guys gonna practice together, you probably gonna do better with somebody else. I mean, like, if you have a deadline, if you want to say I'm gonna do podcast, you're never gonna do it. But if you have a deadline is Friday, you told everybody is going to be out. Now you do it.
Speaker: Dan Lewis 1:29:46
Yeah. And so there you have it, the amazing Henrique De Almeida on his life and his teachings. So I hope you've got something from that as much as I did. At least I got loads from that, especially the energy. So again, Thank you so much to Henrique and Erica for sorting that out and for giving me two hours of your time is so kind. I know what a busy guy he was. So thank you so much for that and thank you all for listening. I'm so glad you made it to the end of the podcast and I will see you in the next episode.
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