Drums & Percussion Teachers

NEW TEACHER

Mariana Ramirez

Drums • Percussion • Piano

Mariana studied at the National Coservatory of Mexico in Mexico City and Rutgers University. She performed with orchestras in Mexico and the US, on TV shows including Stephen Colbert, Mozart in the Jungle, NBC Universal Upfronts at Radio City Music Hall, and others. Mariana is endorsed by Sabian cymbals, Pearl drums, and Innovative Percussion, and she is passionate about music education.

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EDUCATION
National Conservatory of Mexico, Mexico City
Rutgers University

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS
Mariana was percussionist of the First National Broadway Tour of Once on This Island for which she also subbed on Broadway. This led to two more Broadway shows: Head Over Heels and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. Currently she is one of just two female Mexican drummer/percussionists performing on Broadway. Off-Broadway shows include Merrily We Roll Along and Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, and others.

Mariana has performed with orchestras in Mexico and the United States, including the National Symphony of Mexico, Orquesta de Minería, Dartmouth Symphony, South Florida Symphony, the first all-Women Orchestra of Mexico, New England Ensemble, Fairfield Orchestra, and most recently with The Dessoff Choir, premiering works for choir and orchestra at Alice Tully Hall. 

Mariana has collaborated with many ensembles such as The Pit Stop Players, Orquesta de Camara de Nueva York, and most recently the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has performed on TV shows including Stephen Colbert, Mozart in the Jungle, NBC Universal Upfronts at Radio City Music Hall, and others. She is endorsed by Sabian cymbals, Pearl drums, and Innovative Percussion.

TEACHING FOCUS
Mariana is passionate about music education: “It is an effective way to share and learn traditions from my Mexican culture and other cultures.”

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NEW TEACHER

John Leister

Drums • Percussion

John is a graduate of Juilliard, Rutgers, and the University of Illinois. John had a 30-year career as a music educator and principal in area schools, including 18 as a band director. He focuses on reading, technique, style & groove, history, listening, composition and transcription. He has performed with Renee Fleming, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Bruce Springseen, and many others.

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EDUCATION
Graduate of Juilliard, Rutgers, and the University of Illinois.

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS
John has played behind artists Renee Fleming, Paul McCartney, Idina Menzel, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, James Taylor, and The Paul Taylor Dance Company. He has toured in Europe and Africa with the musicals “West Side Story” and “Hair” and was a substitute drummer and percussionist for six Broadway musicals (Les Miserables, King and I, Little Shop of Horrors, Scarlet Pimpernel, Tommy, Blood Brothers). Recently, he performed with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, the Princeton Symphony, the Montclair Orchestra, and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

TEACHING HIGHLIGHTS
John had a 30-year career as a music educator and principal in area schools, including 18 as a band director. He helps students gain confidence and succeed in the school environment in areas ranging from marching band to jazz band to concert band to musical theater. John has helped countless students prepare for Jazz & Marching Band auditions, Region/All-State auditions, and college auditions.

TEACHING FOCUS
John has a methodical approach to assist students with snare drum, drum set, keyboard percussion, timpani, world percussion, and auxiliary percussion, focusing on reading, technique, style & groove, history/listening, composition/transcription. Of equal importance, John wants his students to have fun!

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Anthony Amodeo

Drums • Percussion

Anthony studied at the Musicians’ Institute and has over 20 years of experience teaching privately to all ages. At Elefante, he also teaches group class Beginner Drums. Anthony also recorded and toured extensively with NJ-based band All Parallels and performs as a session drummer throughout the tri-state area. He teaches all styles, focusing on the roots of rhythm and overall percussion technique.

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EDUCATION
Musicians’ Institute
Studied with Elvin Jones, Steve Smith, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl, Will Kennedy, Keith Carlock, Joe Porcaro, Ricky Lawson, Ray Luzier, Mike Clark , Maria Martinez, Dave Allen, Fred Dinkins, Gary Hess, and Chuck Silverman

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
20+ years teaching privately
Anthony taught for 11 years in Los Angeles, California and Boston, Massachusetts before returning to New Jersey, where he teaches full time

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS
Anthony recorded and toured extensively with NJ-based band All Parallels and performs as a session drummer throughout the tri-state area

FAVORITE GENRES TO TEACH
Jazz, roots of rhythm and overall percussion

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Dave Heilman

Drums • Percussion

Dave has over 10 years of experience teaching privately. He performed on Broadway with Swing!, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Burn the Floor, and STOMP. He is co-founder of nationally touring synth-pop group Jupiter One. He also collaborated and recorded with Grammy-nominated artists Regina Spektor, and performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with David Letterman.

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EDUCATION
New Jersey City University

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
10+ years teaching privately
Dave mentored on Norway’s The Voice and served as a clinician for jazz ensembles at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS
Dave’s Broadway performances include Swing!, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Burn the Floor, and STOMP; he is co-founder of nationally touring synth-pop group Jupiter One, which signed a two-album deal with Warner Music Group. He also collaborated and recorded with Grammy-nominated artists Regina Spektor, Lars Vaular, Bernhoft, and Sondre Lerche and has performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with David Letterman

FAVORITE GENRES TO TEACH
Jazz, Samba, pop

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