Kevin White. His attitude, work ethic and popular Breaking It Down book series have made him one of Charlotte, North Carolina’s busiest drum teachers. Experience Drums took note of Kevin’s exceptional efforts and we had questions. What’s it like to work with the kids of Charlotte? Why did he create a series of drum books aimed towards the needs of young children? What has always driven his desire to mentor the next generation? Join us for this exclusive interview with Kevin White and we’ll share with you what he shared with us.
EX D: Hey Kevin! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your work. How long have you been teaching drums?
Kevin: Oh wow, hard to believe but it’s been 20 years now. I started at a local music store in Greensboro, NC as soon as I graduated from college at UNC-Greensboro with a BA in Percussion.
EX D: It’s so easy for people to take demographics and culture for granted. What’s it like teaching folks in North Carolina?
Kevin: Well I’m teaching in Charlotte, North Carolina, the second largest banking center in the U.S. And so I’m teaching kids from all around the world. Teaching such a diverse group of kids is one of the many perks of my job. It’s really fascinating to interact and learn from them. They even introduce me to new music.
EX D: You teach a lot of kids in your practice? What’s that like for you?
Kevin: I usually keep between 40-50 weekly private students. I have studios at two local Music & Arts locations, teach at The British International School of Charlotte and provide one-on-one lessons at private residences. I really enjoy being at different locations. I’m on a different side of the city every day and it helps keep things fresh. Driving to people’s homes is becoming a challenge for me because traffic is no joke here in the Charlotte area. When are those flying cars coming out?
EX D: Wow! It sounds like you qualify for frequent flier miles! Kevin, what do you love most about working with kids?
Kevin: Working with kids can be a challenge, especially the young ones. It seems like my students are getting younger and younger. With that said, it can be the most rewarding gift. Every student is unique and brings his or her own personality. You have to find out what makes each kid tick and figure out what the best way is to teach them. When you’ve been working on a particular lesson that they may have been struggling with, to see them finally get it…well that’s a great moment, for both of us!
EX D: With so many younger kids now taking lessons, how do you encourage parental involvement?
Kevin: I’ve always felt that the more involved the parents are, the better the chance the student has to succeed. I always try to interact with the parents after the lessons, give them an update on how things are going and a run down of what we’re working on. I encourage my students to perform in front of their parents at home too.
EX D: Kevin, You’ve developed a series of method books for kids. What prompted you create this line?
Kevin: There are so many great books out there! But I was having such a hard time finding books that were practical for young beginners. Most kids struggle with coordination and there was really nothing out there that helped them go through the stages of actually learning how to play a drum beat. So fifteen years ago I developed the Breaking It Down series. My books teach young kids how to read real rhythms and how to turn them into real beats. I also designed the books to flow in volumes. So instead of getting bogged down in some huge book with no end in sight, my students are progressing quickly because they feel that they’ve accomplished something when they finish one book and are ready for the next one. Parents are also letting me know that their seeing their children progressing because they’re moving on to the next book at a faster pace.
EX D: Thanks so much for your time Kevin. We’d like to ask you one more question. What do you wish for when it comes to the next generation of musicians whom you teach?
Kevin: I think the biggest thing is to keep it going. With so much music becoming electronic, along with life itself, you always have that fear that people will quit playing instruments. I hope we don’t let that happen.
About Kevin White
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kevin White has been teaching private
drum and percussion lessons for over twenty years. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in percussion from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Music. Kevin has studied legendary teachers such as Jim Chapin, Rick Dior, Cort McClaren and Frank Katz. He also studied at the world famous Drummers Collective in New York City.
Kevin has performed with numerous ensembles, most notably, the UNCG Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Orchestra. He has also performed with many local and national groups covering styles of rock, blues, soul, and jazz.
His other working credits include Mitch Easter, John Anderson,
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Don Dixon, Michael Burritt, Tom Constanten
(Grateful Dead), Bessie Mae’s Dream, Treva Spontaine, Donna Duncan, and
Kevin White also writes and publishes the Breaking It Down drum book series.
For more information on Kevin White, visit him on the web at http://www.drumsrfun.com.