Steve Houghton – Druming 101 Highlights from 2012 JEN Conference

By Miguel Monroy

Steve Houghton presented a great seminar entitled “Drumming 101” at the 3rd Annual JEN Conference.  The seminar was rich with educational pointers and tips for both jazz educators and jazz students.  The main theme that Steve promoted thoughout “Drumming 101″ was that both students and educators need to understand what their most valuble tool is…”your ears” as Steve stated.   Steve then explained that your ears are used for almost every valuble function as a musian and educator.  Your ears allow you to listen to the musicians around you, to feed off their energy, to understand which musical direction they are headed.  Your ears also allow you to listen to the generations of great musicians that preceeded you.  You can study what they have done, transcribe their parts, and add their musical knowledge to your own.  Steve also explained that there is a dangerous potential for students who focus only on the technical aspects of playing, while loosing sight of listening to the players around them and to the great musical examples of the past. 

When discussing how to work on the dynamic between musicans, such as bass and drums, Steve advocated recording your rehearsals.  Steve prompted that “The tape never lies,” and by listening to your rehearsals you can hear the tendancies from individual players.  Hearing those tendancies will bring up numerous oportunities to hone in and work on individual weakness and the overall dynamic between instrumentalists.    

For the duration of Steve’s seminar he discussed a variety of topics which included playing with different emotions and feels, melodic drumming and soloing, and much more.  Be sure to watch our video below which highlights over 16 minutes of highlights from Steve Houghton’s “Drumming 101” seminar.

Steve Houghton is currently Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Houghton is the Immediate Past- President of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) and endorses Yamaha drums and percussion, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Remo world percussion products and drumheads.

For more information on Steve Houghtong visit:

The 3rd Annual JEN Conference was conducted by the Jazz Education Network, who is  dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences.

For more information on the Jazz Education Network visit: