DRUM INSTRUCTORS

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ERIC WEIDMAN

Drums | Piano

Eric Weidman is a drummer and pianist who has over 15 years of experience performing rock, pop, blues, jazz and funk. He has graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor’s in Music and Audio Engineering, and a minor in Music Business. Over the years, Eric’s passion for teaching drums, piano and occasional production courses has continued to grow, and this passion is reflected in the success of his students. As a teacher, Eric’s mission is not only to help students develop musical excellence and diverse skills, but also to help them emotionally connect to music and become lifelong music lovers. He aims to inspire positive learning and help students think critically and creatively as they develop the skills and appreciation they need to achieve their goals. 

 

In addition to playing and teaching drums and piano, Eric also has a strong passion for songwriting and electronic production. He has been producing music on the side for over 5 years and has had a number of successful songs signed to illustrious labels including Artist Intelligence Agency, better known as EDM.com and has been featured on OneEDM, the #1 EDM news source.

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TIM GIRARD

Drums | Guitar | Piano

Tim Girard received a BM in Composition from the University of Rhode Island in 2001, and between 2001 and 2011 he did a variety of teaching, performing, and composing. He taught private lessons on snare drum, drum set, percussion, music theory, and composition as well as beginning piano, guitar, and bass guitar at More Than Music and The Purple Piano, and he was the Classical Percussion Instructor at the Community College of Rhode Island. For two seasons he was the Drumline Instructor for the Franklin High School Marching Band, and for 10 seasons he was the Drumline Instructor for the URI Ram Marching Band. As a percussionist he performed with the Thayer Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Wind Symphony, Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony, The American Band, Milford Concert Band, Symphony Pro Musica, Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra, Brown Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble, and Wheaton College Wind Ensemble. He also played drum set for musicals at the Prout School, Johnson and Wales University, and Franklin High School. He was also commissioned to compose music for the Woonsocket High School Concert Band, the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra, the Ocean State Youth Orchestra, the Ocean State Music Collaborative, and the URI Concert Band.

 

In 2011 Tim moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Music Theory II, Aural Skills II, and Orchestration until he received his M.M. in Composition in 2013. Since graduating he has kept himself busy teaching and composing. He has been tutoring college students in Music Theory, Aural Skills, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Technology, and for one season he was the Drumline Instructor for the Castle View High School Marching Band. For two seasons, he was the Composer for Opera Colorado’s Page to Stage program, and he has had numerous orchestral works performed at the Lamont Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Concerts. He has also collaborated with local directors and has composed the music to various podcasts, video games, and short films, including LEGO stop-motion animated films, and the trailer for a Star Wars fan film.

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DOMINIC FANTE

Drums

Dominic Fante is a 29 year-old drummer and percussionist from Denver, CO with over sixteen years of performance and recording experience involving orchestral percussion, hand percussion, and drum set. He has attended master classes at Berklee College of Music taught by such legends as Mike Mangini, John Blackwell, and Richard Flanagan, and has taught private and group lessons for all ages in Colorado for the last six years. Along with earning a degree in music, stage, and media production from Colorado State University, Dominic has spent his formative years playing in university drum lines, orchestras, and nationally-touring bands of multiple genres. He also has a wide catalog of recorded music, some of which has been licensed for television and digital ads.
 

Dominic seeks to encourage the artist within by helping students tap into their excitement and passion for music throughout their journey, and by building confidence through consistent review, practice, and improvement of technique. He emphasizes patience and positive affirmation in his teaching style, as well as promoting progress and excellence over perfection. Regardless of their age or skill levels, Dominic strives to show his students how to power through setbacks and personal resistance, and believes that their breakthrough is his breakthrough. 

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ORLANDO COTTO
 

Drums & Percussion

Raised in the traditions of Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican music, Orlando Cotto learned to play conga drums when he was just five years old. Since that time he has developed a successful career as a marimbist and percussionist. Orlando was awarded the Pro Arte Ferdman Grant as the most outstanding student while completing his bachelor's degree in percussion performance at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. While pursuing graduate work at Indiana University, the Mayor of Cayey honored Orlando as a distinguished resident for his outstanding achievement in music. Orlando was the first marimbist to receive the Artist Diploma from Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins Universityand that same year, he appeared with Peabody Symphony Orchestra as the Winner of the Yale Gordon Concerto Competition.

According to the San Juan Star, Orlando is "an artist of musical sensitivity and accomplished technique." As a solo marimbist, Orlando brings together his solid classical training and Latin American background to create a powerful combination of rhythm and music previously uncharted in the marimba world. He has performed at numerous international festivals, including Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and conducting workshops and master classes in colleges and universities throughout the United States. He has also been invited to perform as guest artist in Asia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Central and South American. According to the Washington Post “Orlando Cotto is the invaluable percussionist” Orlando must resent tour of 7 concerts around the Island of Puerto Rico as a debut timpanist with the International Chamber of Orchestra of Puerto Rico under the direction of Emilio Colón. 

As a virtuoso on the conga drums, Latin Beat magazine calls Orlando’s “solid conga drumming . . . a percussive pillar.” He was the lead conguero of the Rumba Club, one of East Coast's popular Latin Jazz ensembles. The band has performed at major venues in the U.S. including the Telluride Jazz Celebration in Colorado, The Blue Room in Kansas City, Blue Note and Birdland in New York City, Blues Ally and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Orlando was one of the Semifinalists at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Hand Drum Competition, performing in front of an impressive panel of judges including Candido, Ray Barretto, Milton Cardona, Big Black, and Babatunde Olatunji. 

A sought-after recording artist, Orlando has collaborated with music legends of this generation, including Andy Gonzalez, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Edwin Colón Zayas. His first solo marimba recording Caribeños – Latin American Music for the Marimba received critical and popular acclaim. Percussive Notes praised it: “The immediacy and vitality of the music on [Caribeños] impresses the listener from the very first selection.” His second marimba recording A Little Prayer is a tribute to his classical training. Orlando is exclusively performing artist endorsed by Yamaha, ProMark and Latin Percussion. Mr. Cotto is a faculty member at The Carter School of Music in Baltimore City. University of Delaware, and has taught at Northern Illinois University, Morgan State University, Loyola College (now Loyola University Maryland, Assistant, The Sunderman Conservatory in of Music at Gettysburg College. Many of his students have gone on to develop successful careers as professional musicians and educators.

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WILL TRASK

Drums | Percussion

Based in Denver, CO, Will has been a professional drummer and percussionist for the last 10 years. His musical journey started at 11 when he was introduced to the drums in music class. After a few years of teaching himself to play, he was fortunate enough to study with an incredible multi-instrumentalist, Derrick Jordan, as well as Plymouth State University percussion instructor Tim Gilmore. Will studied drum set, congas, timbales and percussion with both of these instructors. Will started gigging while in high school and has kept at it ever since. He feels very fortunate to play so many different styles of music with so many amazing musicians, as well as being able to travel extensively to do so.

In 2012, Will embarked on a career as a full-time musician when he joined Denver's Magic Beans and subsequently built a steady schedule of gigs with a variety of local bands. Since then he has toured, recorded and played with many bands including Great American Taxi, Analog Son, Arthur Lee Land, Gold Leader and most recently The High Hawks, as well lots of local and nation festival collaboration. While touring has always been his primary focus, Will has taught many students over the years. He is grateful for his teachers, and greatly enjoys sharing his passion and inspiring young students to pursue musical knowledge. He feels it is one of the great joys in life to teach and share in the history of this great art form with students of all ages.

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KIRK LARSON

Drums

Kirk Larson is from Chicago, IL., and has lived in Denver for 5 years. He has been drumming for 16 years, has been playing live for 8 years, and has been teaching for 5 years. Currently, Kirk plays drums with the local Denver band, Kessel Run and does all of the management for the band as well. Aside from playing, Kirk also very much enjoys teaching students of all ages how to play the drums and has been doing it for years. Kirk likes to take a fun, challenging and engaging approach to teaching drums lessons. He will challenge his students by pushing them to step out of their comfort zones, while still making the learning experience enjoyable and rewarding. Music is Kirk's favorite thing in this world, because music is a feeling, and we all deserve that feeling. Kirk has dedicated his life to music because he believes everyone deserves to enjoy and experience music in all of its forms.