Kim Plainfield

Professor
617 747-8508

"Since fusion is my specialty, I think students come to me looking to be as stylistically diverse as they can. I try to move things out of the theoretical world and into the practical world as soon as possible, so I do a lot of play-along in my teaching. I use Music Minus One using material with different styles. I want to get students playing so they can see how the mechanics work practically."

"My students know the material I'm giving them is field-tested, because I'm out there playing and I back up what I teach with facts. I've spent many years working very hard to understand the roots of different styles, and I convey to them the basic rhythmic structures that make the styles unique. It is through those basics that they learn how to make something that sounds genuine. I always tell my students, 'You've got to learn the rules in order to break the rules.' That's a very strong truth."

"Playing in a band is the culmination of everything my students do in music. All the practicing, all the listening, all the training—it all comes together in a band. It's important to understand all those dynamics and what's necessary to support them. Developing the capacity to listen while playing is paramount in becoming a good musician."

"In the ensemble I instruct, we work on developing this ability. I'll often stop the band and say something like, 'You're playing cymbal crashes every four bars. Is the piano player doing anything that requires that kind of support?' The answer will usually be, 'Uh....no.' And I'll say, 'Well, check it out, and we'll try it again.' Generally this draws attention to the importance of listening, and you can hear the difference."

"It's an incredible gift and a privilege to be a musician. I really want my students to know that, and understand the beauty and positive force in the world that music is. Along with that, they have to understand the serious price that must be paid in terms of discipline: to practice and be diligent."

Career Highlights

 

  • Alumnus, University of California, Berkeley
  • Leader of the Kim Plainfield Trio
  • Performances with Jon Lucien, Kenny Rankin, Andy Narell, Tania Maria, Didier Lockwood, Bill Connors, the Pointer Sisters, and Edgar Winter
  • Recordings include Night and Day with Lincoln Goines; By Request, Mother Nature's Son, and Listen Love with Jon Lucien; Live in Europe and Bela Vista with Tania Maria; and Double Up and Assembler with Bill Connors
  • Publications include Advanced Concepts from Warner Brothers Music and Fusion: A Study in Contemporary Music from Carl Fischer
  • Faculty chairman, Drummers Collective, New York