Dave DiCenso

Associate Professor

"If I can help my students become aware of being 'centered'—and know what that means—they learn better. To me, being 'centered' means addressing the instrument that actually plays the instrument: the body, the mind. I need to look not just at my drums, but also at how my body feels playing those drums. I need to look beyond my ego and intellect into the creative center of my mind. If I do that, I'm going to become the musician that I want to be more quickly and profoundly. Pursuit of mastery of any art form is pursuit of mastery of the self."

"A major challenge is consistency, night to night, week to week. We musicians want to be great every time we sit down behind our instrument. Part of achieving that—and this is a really important thing—is to stop wanting it. Stop putting so much stock in being great every night. Change your inner dialogue. As you start to get a taste of that freedom—and it's a process; it doesn't just change overnight—you start to perform more consistently, because you're not so attached to it. It's a wonderful paradox."

"If you only focus on the task of playing with consistency, then you're not going to have a great feel. As musicians, we need to be great at multitasking. To open up your imagination is a form of multitasking. A drummer who's playing a groove—supporting a band—has to go beyond the strictly technical and physical places to find that great feel. One way is to focus, close our eyes, and imagine something related to what we're playing. That's going to inject feeling into our groove that's a little deeper than what it was a moment ago."

"Another way to have a great feel is to listen, because when you're opening up your ears and listening, your groove's going to get deeper. There's going to be more feeling, because you're feeling more of what's going on around you. And that's also multitasking. It seems obvious, but a lot of people can't do it at first, because it's so easy to get caught up in just listening to yourself."

Career Highlights

 

  • Recordings include Another Mind with Hiromi, Mantra with Shelter, Medazzaland with Duran Duran, Need I Say More with Gary Cherone, Revenge with Cro-Mags, the soundtrack for The SaintSuspended Animation with John Petrucci, Telelove with Suze DeMarchi, and Wicked with the Jon Finn Group
  • Tours with Josh Groban, Cro-Mags, Hiromi, Johnny A, and Steve Morse
  • Performances with the Aaron Katz Band, Dave Fiuczynski, Stu Hamm, Dave LaRue, John Petrucci, Two Ton Shoe, and Carl Verheyen,
  • Appearance on Modern Drummer Festival 2006 DVD
  • Publications include Universal Rhythms for Drumset (Alfred) and Rhythm and Drumming Demystified (C.M.I.)