Rick Kress

Associate Professor
617 747-8413

"Growing up there was this mélange of different musical influences and I absorbed that interest. Both my parents were musicians; my mother was a singer and my father played jazz guitar. When I saw Buddy Rich play with the Dorsey Brothers in New York, I was hooked. I began taking drum lessons at 11 or 12, but found myself becoming more and more enamored of the harmonic and melodic aspects of music, so I pursued that."

"I try to impart to my students what I love about the musical language; the best I can do for my students is to show them some of the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic aspects of this language that I love."

"Transcription can easily fall into drafting, but without hearing it, it means practically nothing. So I always integrate hearing and writing, and with the software we use, students can create bits of music, so we can hear them back and make a judgment about how it sounds. What's the melody-harmony relationship? Are the phrases balanced? Are they coherent? Is there a note that sends the phrase in a direction that is never realized? I think the more we do that without students becoming overwhelmed by the prospect, the better."

"I tell my students, 'If you want to be a player, you can't be tentative. You have to believe in what you're doing because you're putting yourself in a position where rejection lurks at every corner. You could have all the technique in the world, but whatever you're going to do, figure out what it is and what kind of impression you want to make.'"

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., DePauw University
  • Graduate studies, Indiana University, University of Illinois, and New England Conservatory of Music
  • Composition studies with George Russell and William Thomas McKinney, and percussion study with Fred Buda
  • Jazz drummer and composer