The second edition of the KoSA Miami/SFCPA weekend intensive workshop, a collaboration with the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts founded by Brandon Cruz, took place this past January. Registrants participated in classes of Brazilian percussion, African drumming traditions on drumset, Cuban rhythms, and advanced snare drum techniques in the marching context. The schedule also included classes and performances on classical marimba.
Friday evening was dedicated to a welcome session followed by master classes conducted by KoSA co-founder and artistic director Aldo Mazza and renowned faculty members Eriko Daimo, Bill Bachman, and Marcus Santos.
Saturday began early, with Santos giving hands-on classes concentrating on the maracatu rhythm of northeast Brazil. Marcus gave a history lesson on the music and discussed special playing techniques. Aldo Mazza followed with a West African class on djembe and dun dun that covered several traditional rhythms. Participants explored various approaches to perform these traditional rhythms on drumset. Mazza explained the importance of learning the tradition first, and then adapting the learned language to the drumset so as to play with the right cultural context. Participants worked on several pieces to perform publicly at the close of the event.
Bill Bachman then taught the participants many invaluable technical exercises to improve speed, precision, and performance in marching percussion. The class worked on a number of personal techniques that Bill has developed from his books while preparing some pieces to perform at the end concert for the public.
Eriko Daimo worked closely with her class on techniques of the marimba and rehearsed the participants in preparation of their live performance at the end of the weekend.
Besides making music, a special highlight of the event was addressing the business aspect of music, which was hosted by Aldo Mazza. This year, KoSA Miami welcomed the Sessions, which is a special seminar presentation featuring panelists Dom Famularo and music business lawyer and specialist Paul Quin, who covered the topics of professional development, how to take care of business as a musician, organization, professionalism, royalties, legal aspects, having the right attitude, and much more. The faculty and attendees participated in discussions and gave their own opinions, making it a very exciting and fulfilling class. Saturday’s full day of classes was followed by an informal concert at the SFCPA venue for all who attended and gave a chance to rehearse for the final concert.
On Sunday, Santos continued his journey through Brazilian rhythms by encouraging everyone to perform various parts of group pieces while learning the traditional techniques of each instrument. The group then rehearsed in preparation for the finale concert.
Bill Bachman continued the KoSA program by teaching his class a more specialized quad technique and additional snare drum techniques. He put everyone through a great workout, as well as taught the class “how to rehearse the section for ultimate results.”
Grammy-award winner and drummer extraordinaire Terri Lyne Carrington worked with the class on jazz concepts and musical drumming. She worked with the participants by highlighting the techniques she was taught by Allan Dawson, as well as explaining the methods she has developed to perform more musically on drumset. Carrington finished the classes with a rhythm section lab with bass player Jaime Ousley and pianist Hal Roland. Participants were taught the importance of learning the forms and structures of music, regardless of style. Participants were also treated to some highly inspirational performances and discussions on musical aesthetic and various approaches to improvising.
True to the long-standing KoSA tradition, the event closed with a grand finale concert at Florida International University. The concert was free and open to the public and was recorded for future broadcast. This spectacular concert featured Marcus Santos, who performed some special Brazilian pieces prepared over the weekend workshop. Eriko Daimo wowed the audience with a beautiful marimba solo, followed by a piece that she prepared with her class. Aldo Mazza performed a solo work and then was joined by his class to perform an arrangement of the Abodan rhythm of the Ivory Coast for djembes, dun duns, and drumset. Terri Lyne Carrington performed several jazz works with the house band (Jaime Ously on bass and Hal Roland on piano) wowing the audience with some intense musical performances. Bachman performed a solo on his quad setup, and the class ensemble joined him for a finale piece bringing the whole event to a great finale climax.