Dave Samuels

Associate Professor
617 747-8283
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  • Career Highlights
    • Mallet player
    • Leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project
    • Performances with Spyro Gyra, Pat Metheny, the Yellowjackets, Frank Zappa, Oscar Peterson, Double Image, and Paquito D'Rivera
  • Awards
    • Two-time Grammy Award winner
  • Education
    • B.A., Boston University

In Their Own Words

"My teaching style is based on the needs of the students. It covers more than just the obvious. In private instruction, I'm not just talking about how to play vibes or marimba. I'm talking about how to compose and improvise and express feelings through the music. A musician who doesn't know how to write and arrange doesn't have the scope of a musician who does have those attributes."

"As far as classes go, it is much more about the community of the ensemble. We all must learn to interact and take a variety of different roles. Aside from learning the role of your instrument, you also can learn to take a leadership role in rehearsing an ensemble, to get the experience of not just being told what to play, but also learning to tell what to play."

"My priority as a teacher is to help students unlock their own goals and aspirations. It's personal, but it's also global in that they learn to define themselves as musicians, not just instrumentalists. If you define yourself as an instrumentalist, your instrument defines everything you do in music. When you define yourself as a musician, everything about music becomes something you want to explore. You need to learn a lot about different aspects of music to explore your own talents and your own strengths. That's the function of any undergraduate college: to push students to explore things they wouldn't normally explore."

"Good ensemble players need to be able to listen and play, in that order. They need to have enough of a musical vocabulary to interact with other players. They also need to have enough command on their instrument to change the way they play according to the style of music and the direction they are getting. Technique is not just about speed or dexterity. It is about how many different ways you can play."