Percussion Faculty

Gustavo Agatiello

Instructor, Percussion | 617-747-2838

"Playing an instrument is like having a conversation; when you don't have anything meaningful to say, you listen until you have something to enrich that conversation and make it worthwhile."

Sergio Bellotti

Assistant Professor, Percussion | 617 747-8241

"My teaching approach is very practical; I'm not much into intellectualizing the music. I like to put my hands on the instrument with them and act like a sort of a coach on the field. I also believe our best teacher is our own body. Repetition will actually empower your body and teach you the most effective way to do what's best for you. And the drums are very physical, so when we sweat for half an hour, the body is sending messages about what to do and what not to do. It's like learning how to whistle. I wouldn't be able to teach you how to whistle. You have to try to imitate me till you get it."

John Blackwell

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617 747-6140

"I tell my students, ‘When you play with a group, you don’t play chops; you’re the timekeeper of the band. If you don’t groove, if you don’t lock with the bass player, that group doesn’t function, and they’re going to call somebody else.’"

Terri Lyne Carrington

Professor, Percussion
Also affiliated with: Berklee Global Jazz Institute

"Teaching is a real one-on-one experience. It's mentoring. The mentors I've had communicated to me the essence of what this music is all about. Jazz is a lifestyle. It's a language."

Eguie Castrillo

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8514

"If you want to really know the language of any instrument or any music, you have to go to the roots. I always say, I can teach you A-B-C-D-E-F-G until Z, but if I don't teach you how to put those letters together, to make words and make sense, you don't know what to do with them." 

Henrique De Almeida

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-6238

"Berklee is the only music school in the world with this type of community. One that keeps inspiring you daily to be the best you can be."

Kenwood Dennard

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8184

"A good percussionist starts with a good human being. Being a good percussionist technically is to execute the rudiments so you can support the rest of the musicians."

Ernesto Diaz

Assistant Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8297

"I really want my students to understand rhythm not as something written on a piece of paper or a board but as something they can really feel."

Dave DiCenso

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8452

"To me, being 'centered' means addressing the instrument that actually plays the instrument: the body, the mind."

Marko Djordjevic

Assistant Professor, Percussion

"As a performer, the most important thing for me is to inspire people to find something fulfilling in their own lives."

Larry Finn

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8174

"Whether you're with a small group or a drum corps of 130 people, when everyone's doing something together and it clicks, it's an amazing feeling. There's nothing like it, nothing even close."

Richard Flanagan

Assistant Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8408

"I work with my students to think musically, not just think about playing the exact notes or the exact time. Whatever you're laying down as the primary timekeeper, to make the time and the musical sense correct, it needs to have a musical purpose."

Ian Froman

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8183

"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."

Joe Galeota

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8135

"Playing music is all about making a heartfelt connection. I couldn't tell you how many students just play—and good ones, too—but they have a hard time making a connection."

Robert Gullotti

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8065

"I think that with the way the economy is, if you're a good player and you've got a good attitude on the bandstand and knowledge of what you're playing, it's as stable as any other industry."

Skip Hadden

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8201

"What drives people to percussion is that experiential thing. It's hitting things. Drummers tend to be people who want to do things, to build things, who like to use their hands."

Jon Hazilla

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8213

"Honesty and integrity are really important to me, and that relates to in-class critiquing. Being honest in a constructive way, I think, would be the greatest thing I would want my students to take away with them, because that transcends music. It's a life quality."

Yoron Israel

Assistant Chair, Percussion
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617-747-2703

"Drummers don't play an instrument where we're consistently called upon to play pyrotechnics and get paid for it. We have to blend with other musicians around us and make them feel good."

Robert Kaufman

Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8360

"If you think of practicing as food, you will realize the importance of feeding yourself a complete and nourishing diet. Your body and mind will assimilate this information, and you will be living with it in the years to come."

Jerry Leake

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-6134

"By focusing on the process of learning music (taking small steps), after years of work you will have traveled a great distance in your own journey."

Bertram Lehmann

Assistant Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8292

"Knowing the function of percussion in different stylistic contexts and traditions is very important, as is an awareness of the instruments and what they can do. And when you decide on doing something, you need to be able to do that with consistency in sound and expression."

Victor Mendoza

Professor, Percussion
Also affiliated with: Valencia, Spain Campus | 617-747-8282

Vibraphonist and composer Victor Mendoza, a Mexico native, is a leading international artist in the Latin jazz and world percussion spheres. Mendoza has performed with a long list of music greats, including Paquito D'Rivera, Danilo Pérez, Claudio Roditi, Antonio Sanchez and Lee Konitz.

Ricardo Monzon

Associate Professor, Percussion | 617-747-8515

"I would say, respect the tradition and study it, but then build from there. Experiment and express yourself, make it your own."

Rod Morgenstein

Professor, Percussion
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses)

"It's a mindset that involves attention and just recognizing that at times, simplicity is what it's all about. It's not the notes; it's how you play each of those notes."

James Murphy

Assistant Professor, Percussion | 617-747-6920

"Soloing on the drums can be as personal as telling someone your life story, so you want to get it right."