Ralph Humphrey - Department Chair
Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles' most demanded studio drummers, recording for TV, motion pictures, albums and jingles. His most recent projects include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Charmed, Piglet's Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca-Cola, and Ping golf clubs. His past touring and recording experience includes the Don Ellis Big Band, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, Seals and Crofts and Free Flight. He can also be heard on album projects by Wayne Shorter, Tom Rainer, Mike Miller, Jeff Richman, The Outsidemen, and Babaghanoush, among many others. Ralph is the author of the drum book Even in the Odds and contributes occasional articles to Modern Drummer Magazine.
Joe Porcaro - Department Chair
Joe Porcaro's musical spectrum ranges from jazz and rock to opera and symphonic. He has recorded with jazz artists including Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Freddie Hubbard, Don Ellis, Mike Manieri and rock/pop artists such as TOTO and Madonna. His credits includes numerous television shows and movies. One of the most highly regarded percussion and drum instructors in the world, Joe is the author of two drum books: Joe Porcaro's Drum Set Methods and Odd Times, and the instructional video Joe Porcaro on Drums. Please visit Joe's Drummerworld page for more info.
Dave Beyer is an in-demand professional drummer and educator in the Los Angeles area. He toured and recorded for 3 years with Melissa Etheridge, and has played or recorded with The Motels, Jewel, Joan Osborne, Gregg Allman, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Stephen Bishop, Helen Reddy, Jango, and Debra Davis. He has performed at major venues worldwide, including the Greek Theater, Universal Amphitheater, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Woodstock, Madison Square Garden and Royal Albert Hall; and has played on The Tonight Show, David Letterman and Ally McBeal, to name a few. Dave also stays busy as a session player, a producer and runs his own recording studio.
After his first recording at the age of 17 with Shirley Bassey, Gary began touring in the mid-70's with Etta James, Olivia Newton-John and Cher. Since then, he has also toured/recorded with Eddie Money, Ray Charles, Glenn Hughes, Jim Messina, Roberta Flack, Yoko Ono, David Benoit, Les Dudek, Michelle Phillips, Bette Midler, Susanna Hoffs, Charlie Sexton, Billy Preston, Melissa Manchester, John Hiatt, the New Radicals, Stevie Nicks, Lani Hall, Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Edgar Winter, James Ingram, Billy Bob Thornton, K.D. Lang, Pat Benatar, Ben Folds, and many more. In 2000, he performed on the Women Rock Lifetime television special, featuring Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks and more. Gary has also recorded on many film and jingle dates and has also contributed tracks to the GarageBand Drum Libraries.
Richie Gajate Garcia
Grammy nominated Richie Gajate Garcia is a world-class studio percussionist, drummer, clinician, author and educator. Richie, who is also known as "El Pulpo" (which means "The Octopus"), has taken independence in playing multiple international rhythms and instruments to the next level. Richie has performed with such artists as Sting, Phil Collins, Diana Ross, Hiroshima, Don Henley, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, to name a few. Richie enjoys sharing his passion for percussion with the world. Latin Percussion has honored him with the debut of his own line of congas, bongos and the famous Gajate bracket (designed by Richie) used by drummers and percussionists everywhere. Richie's percussion books have become a standard in the industry.
Tony Inzalaco received a Bachelor’s degree (percussion) and a Master’s degree (music education) from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, The Guggenheim Music, The New York World’s Fair, the Apollo Theater and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. While in New York, he played in all the major jazz clubs including the legendary club Birdland. He has traveled extensively, performing in major club venues and festivals in the U.S., Canada and throughout Europe. He has played in person, on radio, on television or recordings with the following jazz masters: Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Maynard Ferguson, Donald Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Cleveland, Frank Rossolino, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Drew, Roland Hannah, Ron Carter, Slam Stewart, Niels H.O. Pedersen, Kenny Clarke, Anita O'Day, Carmen McRae, Irene Reid, Jimmy Rushing and Lionel Hampton. In addition, he has the unique distinction of being one of the very few drummers to have ever worked for Buddy Rich. He also spent one year as Bobby Darin's personal drummer. He now plays in the L.A. area with a quintet that spotlights him not only as a jazz drummer but also as a jazz composer.
Originally from France, Samuel is a freelance musician and teacher based in Los Angeles. From the Utopia Jazz club in Paris to the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, he has played many venues, working with a broad array of artists such as the experimental band the Elegantes Machines, led by Francis Lassus, Taiwanese pop artist Cindy Chaw, guitarist-singer Roy Ashen (Rock), keyboardist Russell Ferrante (YellowJackets), producer Frank Renaudier and singer-songwriter Thena Dare. His recording credits include Nicolas Ternisien’s live album with bassist Dominique DiPiazza, and Kenny Peavy's studio album Resonate. Samuel began to play drums at church at an early age and has been involved with worship ministry since then. He studied under renowned teachers Ralph Humphrey, Joe Porcaro, Claude Gastaldin, Joe Hammer, Jerry Steinholtz, and Raynord Carroll. His involvement at LAMA includes teaching a class for vocalists and private lessons. He also plays for Ensemble Workshops, where he has worked along side Jerry Watts, Tierney Sutton and Dorian Holley, and played with guitarist Oz Noy.
Michael Packer graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Michael has studied privately with Ralph Humphrey and Jeff Hamilton. Performance credits include Free Flight, Nils Lofgren, Carl Anderson, Ben Vereen, Steve Allen, Michael Bolton (CableAce Awards) and Cirque Du Soleil (CableAce Awards). Television credits include 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Annual CableAce Awards (TNT), The EasterSeal Telethon (National Broadcast), KTLA Morning Show with Leeanza Cornet, World Cup Closing Ceremonies (World Wide Broadcast) and the New York New York Casino & Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. (In-house recording). His teaching experience consists of 15 years of private instruction and several clinics in the USA and Europe. Michael is the author of Feet Don't Fail Me Now (Hal Leonard Publications) and Feet First (Michael Packer Publications). Michael has also written for Modern Drummer Magazine. Please visit www.michaelpacker.com for more info.
Steve Pemberton, a musical chameleon, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music. His work spans all styles, from touring/recording with noted jazz artists such as Mel Torm? Doc Severinsen, Grover Washington, Jr., John Pizzarelli, the New York Voices, Patti Austin, Peter Nero, the Count Basie and Quincy Jones Orchestras, Ray Charles, Ken Peplowski, Don Menza, Pete Christlieb and Tom Scott, to being a member of the Boston Pops Orchestra as the featured drumset artist. In the world of film and Broadway, he has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne and Jerry Herman. Pop/rock/country artists include Jeffrey Osborne, Johnny Mathis, Melissa Manchester, Maureen McGovern, Peabo Bryson, Crystal Gayle, Amy Grant and Vince Gill. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl to the White House, including 5 performances at Carnegie Hall, and has worked with over 125 orchestras worldwide. A published composer of percussion music, Steve has had numerous pieces premiered at the Interlochen Arts Academy, New England Conservatory of Music, University of Miami and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Please visit www.steve-pemberton.com for more info.
Aaron Serfaty has been playing professionally for 20 years. From 1980 - 1990 he was a first call session drummer in his native country of Venezuela. He moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to attend the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Soon after he began touring and recording with Arturo Sandoval and Jon Anderson, and performing with Sergio Mendes, Dori Caymmi, Oscar Castro Neves, Frank Gambale, Shelly Berg, Juan Carlos Quintero, Rique Pantoja and Don Grusin. Aaron is currently the director of the Latin Jazz Ensemble at the University of Southern California (USC).
Matt Starr is a Los Angeles based drummer and producer who spends his time doing recording sessions and live dates in a variety of genres. He has performed with pop artists and singer-songwriters like Christopher Cross, Kevyn Lettau, Kiki Ebsen, D. Booker, Lily Wilson, Sara Lovell and Dan Carlson and jazz artists such as Russell Ferrante, Jeff Richman, Steve Tavaglione, Joe Bagg, Bill Reichenbach, The Andrew Campbell Network, Brad Rabuchin, Billy Mitchell, the Mark Harrison Quintet, and 2azz1. Matt has shared the stage in concert and clinic situations with legendary guitarists Mike Stern and John Scofield. He has performed live with Latin pop artists Pablo Montero and Pamela Cortes, both in the United States and South America. He has played at the Hollywood Palladium, the Wiltern Theatre and legendary jazz hotspots like The Baked Potato in North Hollywood and Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood. Born in Toronto, Matt has studied under drummers Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, and Vito Rezza. He moved to Los Angeles in 2001. Please visit www.starrdrum.com for more info.
Master Class Instructors
- Cliff Almond
- Tom Brechtlein
All School Instructors
John was born into a musical household and raised in San Gabriel, California. He began playing guitar at six and bass at sixteen. John cut short his musical studies at East L.A. College to tour with El Chicano and soon found himself on tour opening for Santana. John later toured with jazz vocalist Randy Crawford, and, in 1981, he co-founded Food For Feet. He then joined New Wave band Oingo Boingo in 1984, who he played with until 1995. During his tenure with Oingo Boingo, John co-produced four full-length releases with Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek. Since 1995, John has run his own recording studio called Brando's Paradise, producing bands such as Reel Big Fish, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Quetzal, and Robbie Krieger. During this time, he also played bass on recordings by Steve Vai and the Stewart Copeland Orchestra. He also sang lead vocals on Disney's Another Goofy Movie.
Rick Garcia grew up in South Texas and began his music career as a drummer. He performed and toured with numerous bands before making the switch to that of singer/songwriter. Currently, he is the lead singer and co-songwriter for the band The Green Car Motel. Besides live performing, Garcia has become a sought after singer/songwriter in the film industry. He has written/co-written and performed songs for such films as the Oscar Award-winning Brokeback Mountain, Hancock, Seven Pounds, Collateral, The Interpreter, Glory Road, The Kingdom, Next, My Best Friends Girl and Domino, among others. In 2008, he was asked by ASCAP to participate in the program FREE STYLE, Creativity In The Classroom. The program was conceived by actor Jason Alexander and ASCAP and designed to have professional songwriters collaborate with aspiring songwriters from inner city schools throughout Los Angeles. In 2009, he co-composed the award-winning film score to Another Harvest Moon. Over the years, he has been active in mentoring upcoming songwriters and performers and has served as a guest panelist for both Grammy and ASCAP held events. He is currently working on songs for several upcoming films.
After studying at a classical Conservatory of Music, this Northern California native packed her heart and soul and everything else she owned into a truck bound for Los Angeles and the freedom it offered. Kacee wrote, produced, and released her debut CD Seeing Red in 1996. Shortly after, her career branched out into modeling, acting, and commercial work as a singer, writer and producer. In the summer of 2001, Kacee was cast in the role of a lifetime: playing the lead in Off-Broadway's Love, Janis, an extreme rock musical about the life and music of legendary singer Janis Joplin. Over the last decade, she has performed this role in various cities, including San Diego, Kansas City and Rochester. In early 2002, she was asked to join Big Brother & The Holding Co., Joplin's original San Francisco-based band, as their lead vocalist. She continues in both of these capacities as time permits. In 2005, she joined forces with rock icon Joe Cocker as a background singer on his Heart & Soul world tour. In early 2008, she completed a second world tour to support his CD release Hymn For My Soul. Kacee's sophomore recording effort Mama Came To Sing, released in 2005, delivers the raw vocals and powerful lyrics which are the cornerstones of Kacee’s success as a singer/songwriter. Kacee was honored to join the faculty of LAMA in 2008 as a vocal and performance instructor. She has been instrumental in designing both the performance program and rock division of the vocal department. In the summer of 2008, Kacee began singing behind the incomparable Luis Miguel on his Complices tour. Recently, Kacee has had the privilege of joining Rickey Minor and The Tonight Show Band. She was also thrilled to be part of the cast of Your Town Follies, a Cirque Comique directed by Cirque du Soleil Comedy Designer Stefan Haves. For more info, please visit Kacee's website at www.kacee.info.
Native New Yorker, long-time studio musician, and session guitarist Chris Juergensen is in constant demand as a sideman, frontman and clinician. He has played sold-out venues as intimate as the worldfamous Blue Note and as large as the Long Beach Auditorium. After teaching guitar for six years at the prestigious Musicians Institute in Los Angeles alongside Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Scott Henderson and Joe Diorio, Chris left the states to become the Director of Education at Tokyo School of Music in Japan where he resided for fifteen years. He currently divides his time between Tokyo and Los Angeles where he continues to write, record, play and teach. His first solo CD Prospects was critically acclaimed worldwide and his second release Big Bad Sun painted a completely new portrait of him, showcasing his singing talent as well as his guitar playing. The opening song "Sweet Melissa" was used by Australian filmmaker Sean King in his short film Regrets. His newest CD Strange Phenomena was released in early 2008.
Dave Pozzi has been a Los Angeles based free-lance artist since 1979, recording and playing with artists like: Henry Mancini, Mel Torme, Celine Dion, David Foster, Johnny Mathis, Jeff Hamilton, Rich Little, Charlie Shoemake, Melissa Manchester, Marvin Stamm, Bobby Shew, Pete Christlieb, Don Menza, Roy McCurdy, Bob Cooper, Jeff Berlin, Diana Krall, Billy Childs, and others. Big band credits include Ray Anthony, Bob Crosby, Bill Watrous, Louie Bellson, Bob Florence, and Doc Severinsen. Dave is featured as a soloist on recordings with John Patitucci, Nick Brignola, Dick Berk, Bob Magnusson, Ray Pizzi, and Milcho Leviev. Other recording work includes radio and TV commercials, TV shows like The Osbournes, and numerous demos and record dates.
After receiving a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music, Howie moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a musician/composer/arranger. He soon took a slight detour to go on the road where he played lead trumpet with the Woody Herman Orchestra. After two years, he moved back to LA, and has since performed on countless TV and movie soundtracks, commercials, Broadway shows and recordings. Howie has performed with Tony Bennett, George Benson, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Natalie Cole, Linda Ronstadt, and Mel Torme, to name a few. In addition to performing, Howie has been an active composer/arranger/orchestrator getting his first big break as the musical arranger for the Joan Rivers late night talk show, where he composed for a 16-piece big band 5 nights a week. Howie has also scored several movies. He received his doctorate in music from the University of Southern California in 2002.