CT Spotlight is intended to spread word about the great things happening around the state of Connecticut. We will feature a local artist, educator, ensemble, or program each month. If you have suggestions for future features, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Greg Estabrooks has been exploring the drumset since age 13. In 22 years of playing drums he has performed a variety of musical styles in a wide range of settings. Playing out regularly all over CT, RI, and MA has established Greg as an in demand player and educator in this region. As an active member of the Percussive Arts Society, the Vic Firth Education Team, the D’addario Education Collective, and the Sabian Education Network, Greg is committed to education and finds great pleasure in passing on what he has learned in his experience as a musician. He currently teaches private lessons at the Music Shop in Southington, CT as well as in his private teaching studio in Canterbury, CT, where he recently hosted his first masterclass. Additionally, Greg also maintains an active gig schedule with his bands Three57 and The Infinite Groove.
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Check out the below interview with Greg!
How did you get your start in drumming?
My first exposure to the drum set was when I was visiting my best friend at just thirteen years old. We took a walk over to his neighbor’s house where there was a full drum kit set up and ready to play. After his neighbor gave us a brief demonstration of how to play the instrument, he gave us each a chance to sit behind the kit. I remember being both overwhelmed but also excited by the possibilities that were directly in front of me. I had no idea where to begin, but I started to just explore the different sounds. When I finished my friend told me that I was really good and couldn’t believe it was my first time ever trying the drums. From there I started into some private lessons with a teacher at a local music shop and continued from there.
What groups did you play with in or outside of school growing up?
After I started playing drums I formed a group with my cousins and a their friend. We were a garage band that played some covers, but most of our material was original. It was a really great experience for me because they got me listening to music I’d never heard before. The guitarist was a big Alice in Chains fan so we covered some of their songs. Sean Kinney’s playing with Alice in Chains is so tasteful and turned out to be a big influence on my drumming. It also gave me the opportunity to create my own drum parts for the original material we wrote which was a fun and exciting skill to develop.
Who were your biggest influences growing up?
My dad used to play music by Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Bad Company and the Steve Miller band while he was working out in the basement. I would go down and hear that music and I was always drawn to the rhythm that was happening with the drums. I’d have to say that John Bonham, Joey Kramer, Simon Kirke and Gordy Knudtson all influenced my desire to want to learn to play the drums.
What groups do you play with now and where do you play?
I’m the regular drummer for two bands. Three57 (Classic Rock, Country, Blues) performs at town events, fairs, campgrounds and different live music venues all over CT. The Infinite Groove which is a fusion of rock, funk, blues and jazz, performs all over CT, RI and MA. I’ve also been the house drummer for a few different local jam sessions, and as a result of that I get calls to sub for various different bands when they’re in need of a drummer.
Tell us about opening a drum studio. What were the challenges or what were things you wish you knew before hand?
Opening up a drum studio has been a vision of mine for years. I began teaching drums in a local music store when I was 22 and shortly after started studying with Dom Famularo in January of 2006. Dom has been guiding me through the process of becoming the best drum set educator I can be since that first lesson. We’ve spent hours together exploring different ideas and resources as well as developing business skills and everything it takes to develop a private teaching practice. There have been plenty of challenges along the way in this process, but I’ve been able to persevere because of my true passion for learning and teaching about the art of modern drum set playing. I would like to add how grateful I am to be a member of PAS, as well as the Vic Firth Education Team, the D’addario Education Collective and the Sabian Education Network, all of which are indispensable resources for drum teachers. I can’t recommend these organizations highly enough for anyone who teaches in any field of percussion.
What advice would you give to young drummers?
The best advice that I can give to young drummers is to seek out the best teacher you can find, and be inquisitive and curious all the time. Ask questions and learn from your teacher’s experience, then take that wisdom and apply it to what you’re doing, but most of all enjoy your personal journey with the instrument.
Past CT Spotlight Features
- October, 2018 - Greg Estabrooks
- September, 2018 - Arthur Lipner
- August, 2018 - Jeff Calissi
- April, 2018 - Molly Sayles
- March, 2018 - Jaco Lindito
- February, 2018 - Alex Casimiro
- December, 2017 - Mike Blancafor
- November, 2017 - Dr. Greg Haynes
- October, 2017 - Kevin Thompson
- September, 2017 - Elliot Wallace
- August, 2017 - Paul Pedro
- July, 2017 - Brett Berardi
- June, 2017 - Bryan Garbe
- May, 2017 - Jay Northrop
- April, 2017 - Doug Perry
- March, 2017 - Brendan Mason
- February, 2017 - Reuel Camacho
- January, 2017 - Gerald Myles
- December, 2016 - Arti Dixson
- November, 2016 - The Funky Dawgs
- October, 2016 - Kevin Fox
- September, 2016 - Michael Bourbeau
- August, 2016 - Deborah Teason
- July, 2016 - Lindsay Artkop
- June, 2016 - Nick Cannato
- May, 2016 - Chris Romano
- April, 2016 - Eric Hyland
- March, 2016 - Rebecca Walsh
- February, 2016 - Balkun Brothers
- January, 2016 - Lee Caron
- December, 2015 - Chris Rivera & Norwalk HS Ensembles
- November, 2015 - Tim Walsh
- October, 2015 - Chris Latournes
- September, 2015 - Sam Carlson
- August, 2015 - Jake Huffman
- July, 2015 - Jay Wood & The Woodshed Drum Studio
- June, 2015 - 7th Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps
- May, 2015 - Doug Alley