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Drum shop floor with instruments

  Our Teachers  

Our Teachers
John Sanfillipo
Gus Schnable
Todd Schied
Rosemary Frey

John SanFilippo / Percussion

John SanFilippo has been playing the drums professionally since dirt was young. His illustrious career history is much too long to list here, and since he is a sincerely humble individual, it doesn’t seem appropriate to brag anyway. Plus, being the slacker that he is, he didn’t submit his bio for us to put up on the site, so here I am writing it for him.


But in all seriousness, he has been teaching drums for many years and has the experience to help a drummer of any level to reach their full potential. John actually has 40 years of playing experience under his belt. He attended Berklee College of Music and Musician’s Institute in California. We feel that he is more than qualified to teach you or your child music. HECK, 35 years of owning The California Drum Shop. That’s older than some of the teachers at those other places.

John Sanfillipo

Gus Schnable / Guitar, Piano

Gus Schnable has been a professional musician for over nineteen years and has been teaching guitar privately for the past ten years. Well versed in numerous styles of music, including jazz, funk, r&b, rock, and classical, Gus enjoys a full roster of students and is continually active in recording and performing locally in various group settings. Along with teaching guitar, he also teaches piano.

Gus holds a Masters Degree in Music Theory from Temple University and received his Bachelors Degree from Berkley College of Music with a concentration in Jazz Theory and Arranging. He is an active member of The Society of Music Theory, The Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, and an avid participant in the SMT Jazz and Popular Music discussion groups. In March of 2004, Gus presented a paper at the Mid-Atlantic music theory conference in Philadelphia based on his research in Generative Theory and its applicability to jazz music, specifically in the music of Charles Mingus.

With his education and professional experience, Gus has had success in helping students with placement into college music programs throughout the country.

Some groups that Gus has recorded and performed with include: Rhino Campground, Devils Half Acre, Scott Bradoka, Flirtiní with Mama, The Starlites, and Blitz. In the summer of 2006 Gus toured Germany with Scott Bradoka opening for Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy. Currently he can be heard playing with the instrumental band Drop 3.

Contact him by:
Phone: 610-905-6240 or Email


Gus Schnable
Todd Schied

Todd Schied / Percussion

Interview with Todd Schied, October, 2005


Question: So you play the drums eh?
Todd: What are you from Canada?


Q: Easy!
T: Sorry. Yes I play the drum set as well as lots and lots of percussion.


Q: How long have you been playing?
T: Well, I got my first drum set when I was two. I quickly destroyed that one and got another one. I banged on everything for a few years and finally got my parents to get me drums lessons at the beginning of third grade. I’ll never forget coming home from my first drum lesson with Buddy O. and being so happy!


Q: So you were hooked?
T: Still am!


Q: Did you continue to take drum lessons?
T: Yes. I took lessons with Buddy for about five or six years and was in all the school bands up until graduation from high school. Buddy stopped teaching when I was in like ninth grade and it was then that I started to study at the Settlement Music School in Philly.


Q: Settlement, isn’t that a pretty serious music school?
T: It was pretty serious. I studied classical percussion with some serious cats and it was then that I started to get into jazz a bit as well. It was at Settlement that I really started to learn the difference being a drummer per se, and being a really well-rounded musician. It helped me earn the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award my senior year of high school! 


T: Yep.


Q: What did you do after high school?
T: I went to Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. I didn’t study music as a major, but I did take some private lessons and played the drums in the jazz band for all four years.


Q: How did you get to be a full-time musician?
T: Well, after graduation...


Q: Sorry to interrupt, What was your degree in?
T: I graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology , but it was my frisbee skills that really went to that proverbial “next level.!


Q: So anyway?
T: Yeah, after graduation I worked for about two years with kids with behavior and emotional problems at Kids Peace. It was during this period that I really started to get reinterested in music and drums on a very serious level. I started to study again, but this time it was different.


Q: How so?
T: I practiced a lot. I was saving money and living cheaply with the hopes of quitting my job to focus 100 percent on being the best drummer I could be. I’ll never forget telling my parents that I wanted to quit my job and try to make a living as musician.


Q: How did they take it?
T: They were totally cool and unbelievably supportive. They went out and bought me a really nice stick bag, the drummers equivalent of a briefcase, and told me to get health insurance.


Q: So then what? You sound like a real musician, at least the ones I know; unemployed and broke!!
T: easy partner, musicians are people too. Like I said, I practiced a lot. I would Practice for 10-15 hours a day then go out and find places to play at night. I didn’t want any steady gigs at this point. I just wanted to practice. But then I ran out of money so I had to see if I could get a gig. My first professional gig was with a cover band that was ok, but it paid a salary and paid for me to buy gear!


Q: Did you continue to Study?
T: Absolutely. I studied jazz with Bill Goodwin who played with Chet Baker, Phil Woods and recorded an album with Tom Waits! I studied hand technique with legendary teacher/player Joe Morello. Joe was the longtime drummer with Dave Brubeck. I also studied a lot of Middle Eastern and South Indian drumming with Jamey Haddad who has been in Paul Simon’s band for the last several years. I also went to Brazil during the summer of 2001 to study music. That was an amazing experience!


Q: How did you get into teaching at the California Drum Shop?
T: I became friends with John, the owner, and he started to ask me if I wanted to do some teaching. At first I was reluctant because I didn’t think I had a real philosophy about how or what to teach, but eventually I just decided to give it a shot. I started with one student, his name was Louis, and after almost ten years, I now teach close to 60 students a week.


Q: What are some of your teaching philosophies?
T: I keep it pretty simple really, but it really depends on what the student wants to learn. If it is a young student I like to teach them how to read. I feel like that is essential and makes learning so much easier.


We’ll learn the rudiments, how to hold the stick and we’ll start playing the drum set pretty much right away. Even if they don’t have a set we’ll do coordination exercises that will help them when they do get a kit. Teenagers usually want to rock right way, so we’ll play to a lot of music, but I’ll also work on technique and try to get into some other types of music like jazz, latin and other world music. I teach some really young kids as well, 3 years old has been the youngest, and I also enjoy teaching adult students. It’s all the same really. I like to keep it simple, break it down, and most importantly I like to make sure that the student is having a good time!


Q: What have you been up to lately?
T: Still teaching between 50 and 60 students a week and loving it. I play in a band called aderbat that is really cool. It’s an original group indie/pop/rock type thing. I also bought a house and have a recording studio in my basement. I have really been into trying to learn as much as I can about the recording process.


Rosemary Frey
Rosemary Frey - Violin

Rosemary Frey

Rosemary Frey is a string specialist. Classically trained, she has a Bachelor of Music in Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Moravian University, and graduate work in the Suzuki method at Ithaca College where she watched and mirrored the nation's top

Suzuki teachers.

She was a string teacher at 3 elementary schools in the Northampton school district, and taught general music in the middle school. She coached after school programs, where at concert time conducted an orchestra of 250 students. She also directed an orchestra of Homeschool students, who played yearly at Christkindlmarkt, and different venues.

Aside from performing for 25 years in orchestras at Lehigh and Moravian Universities, she toured Italy, playing violin with the opera/ instrumental performance group 'Orvieto Musica.' Although she is flexible to a student's musical wishes, her basic teaching philosophy is that a student can first learn rules through classical means. She has been educated in Russian methodology, combines traditional and Suzuki methods, and has set goals for success.

And in the end, music is certainly its own reward!

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