Ian Froman

Associate Professor

"I hated piano lessons as a kid. But when I saw a jazz band in grade school, the drummer really made an impression on me. At 13 I convinced my parents to let me stop the piano and buy my first drum set. My father and I got it from the son of a friend of a friend for $300. As soon as we set it up in the basement I started playing and I haven't stopped. When my parents mentioned drum lessons I said, 'No lessons. I want to learn my way.' So I was self-taught."

"I started gigging at 15, and it went great for about three years, until I realized I was stunted technically on the instrument. I was up against a wall, limited by my self-teaching. So I took lessons with two different teachers, which ultimately led to my coming to Berklee. I've had to work really, really hard to get where I am musically. I tell my students this story to let them know, 'If I can do it, so can you—if you want it badly enough, work hard.' The flip side is that if you don't do the work, you're not going to get better."

"I don't teach a standard drum lesson with books and exercises. I use a very conceptual approach: Open up your ears, listen to yourself play every single note, and be responsible for those notes so you can make mental—versus physical or technical—changes to your playing. If you play something you don't like, you can identify it and delete it from your playing. If it's something you do like, you can expand on that."

"I'll call my students on everything. They'll play one note and I'll ask, 'What was that? Why did you do that?' After a while they start hearing what they play, and taking the kind of responsibility I'm talking about."

"I've always been interested in teaching, and always felt I had an affinity for explaining how to do what I do, even as a teenager teaching neighborhood kids. So even though I consider myself a player first, it always felt natural to juggle a performance career with a teaching career. Now when I google myself I've started to see people's credits saying 'studied with Ian Froman.' That's a new twist!"

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Performances with Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Miroslav Vitous, and others
  • Recipient of Canada Council Grant for the Arts
  • Faculty member at Drummers Collective, the New School, City College