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Inside the Teaching Studio


Featuring the Jazz Drumming Studio of
Professor Steve Houghton
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

In this new educational series from Vic Firth, we take you “Inside the Studio” of some of the world’s top instructors to give you a peek into the time-proven curriculum that has motivated and educated generations of successful teachers and performers!

In our first series, we take you inside the jazz drumming studio of Steve Houghton from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In each video, Mr. Houghton will describe the curriculum segment, which will follow with a lesson & demonstration from a student from his studio. With each student’s presentation, you’ll see the immediate application of curriculum to the real world of performance and explanation!

Whether you’re an educator or student, you’ll be sure to benefit from the concepts and lessons from this series! We encourage your thoughts and questions in the discussion below.


INSTALLMENT ONE: How to Sound Like Elvin Jones with Hannah Johnson

In this segment from the Vic Firth series “Inside the Teaching Studio”, Hannah Johnson presents the topic “How to Start Sounding Like Elvin Jones”. Hannah focuses on two aspects of Elvin’s unique playing style: the triplet ride cymbal feel and “Elvin Latin”.

INSTALLMENT TWO: Brushin' Up on Your Brushwork with Tanner Guss

Tanner Guss talks about some of the ways to move beyond the vertical “stick approach” to playing brushes to a horizontal approach. In this video, Tanner describes a few of the basic motions for brush playing.

INSTALLMENT THREE: Three Ways to Get Closer to Gadd with Jay Tibbitts

Jay Tibbitts demonstrates some of Steve Gadd’s favorite sticking patterns and how he applies it to the drum set: Mozambique, Inverted Doubles and Sextuplet Fills.

INSTALLMENT FOUR: Creative Rudiment Practice with Rocky Martin

In this installment of “Inside the Teaching Studio”, Rocky Martin demonstrates his condensed version of Alan Dawson’s “The Rudimental Ritual” that makes for an effective, concise daily practice routine.

Download Rock’s Ritual here

INSTALLMENT FIVE: The Groovin' Hi-Hat of Jeff Porcaro with Brad Schulz

In this installment of “Inside the Teaching Studio”, Brad Schulz demonstrates many of the subtle hi-hat variations that Jeff Porcaro utilized in his recordings.  Including exercises and practice routines!

INSTALLMENT SIX: Melody in Linear Coordination Exercises with Jake Richter

Jake Richter shares excerpts from a book he’s working on that include linear & coordination exercises and solo concepts. The potential outcomes of these exercises present some very melodic phrases.

INSTALLMENT SEVEN: The Cymbal Beats of Jimmy Cobb and Billy Higgins

Sam Bryson focuses on the ride cymbal beats and swinging style of legendary jazz drummers Jimmy Cobb and Billy Higgins.




  • Free

    SD4 Combo

    Barrel tip. Light and fast for jazz quartet or chamber music.

    • Diameter: .545" [1.38cm]
    • Length: 157/8" [40.32cm]
    • Taper: Medium
  • Free


    This model is a cross between our Rock Rake and the original Rute. A great choice for light jazz and combo playing. With thirty-one plastic bristles (.094”) secured in a vinyl handle.

  • Free

    Heritage Brush

    A retractable wire brush featuring light gauge wire and a smooth rubber handle. Fast and easy to play.

    • Diameter: .530" [1.35cm]
    • Spread: 5"
  • Free

    Essentials Stick Bag

    Designed to hold 4-5 implements. Features a hook-and- strap system for hanging, internal pocket and elastic drum key loop. H = 19”, W (when open) = 8 1/4”

steve-houghton-2016About Steve Houghton

Internationally renowned jazz drummer, percussionist, clinician, author, and educator, Steve Houghton initially received acclaim at age twenty as the drummer with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd. Since then he has shared stage and studio with luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Stryker, Clay Jenkins, Shelly Berg, Jared Gold, Lyle Mays, Bob Sheppard, Billy Childs, Bobby Hutcherson, Pat LaBarbara, Bobby  Shew, Wayne Bergeron, Bill Cunliffe, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Allee, Joe Henderson, Ray Brown, Karrin Allyson, Dianne Reeves, among others.

As a band leader Houghton’s discography includes: The AHA! Quintet – Freespace, The Manne We Love: Gershwin Revisited , a recent release of John Williams’ charts for big band and quintet,  Live @ The SenatorSteve Houghton Quintet, Windsong, Remembrances, and Steve Houghton Signature. In total Houghton attributes more than one hundred recordings to his credit as a participating artist. As a classical percussionist, Houghton has performed with the Boston, and Philadelphia Pops orchestras, U.S. Army Band, as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He frequently appears as a soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world.

As an author, Houghton’s publications boast more than thirty educational books, videos and DVDs including: Drumset 101, Kid’s Drumset Coursebooks 1 & 2, Essential Styles- books 1 & 2 , The Ultimate Drumset Chart Reading Anthology (Alfred), Play and Teach Percussion (GIA), and The Drumset Soloist (WB), and his latest project, Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors (Alfred)  is a DVD-book series that addresses the entire rhythm section. He has recently created two new educational series for the Vic Firth website, entitled  Rhythm Section 101, and The Jazz Trio – An Inside View.

Houghton is Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.  In addition to his academic duties, he presents yearly clinics and master classes to students around the world; most recently Germany, England, China, New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan.  Houghton is a Past- President of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) a founding member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN) and endorses, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Yamaha drums and percussion and Remo world percussion products and drumheads.

Visit Steve online at http://www.houghtonmusic.com

IUB LogoAbout Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

The IU- Jacobs School of Music has a long history of excellence, featuring a world-class performance faculty comprised of soloists, orchestra members, chamber musicians and jazz artists.

The faculty also boasts music scholars, award-winning composers, NEA recipients, Pulitzer Prize winners and Jazz Masters. In addition to studying with a world-class percussion faculty, our percussion students enjoy a variety of performance opportunities including symphony (5), opera, and ballet orchestras: concert (3) and marching bands; percussion, steel pan and hand drumming ensembles; jazz big bands and combos.

Students in the BM, BME, MM, and DM programs are trained in virtually every aspect of percussion performance including: orchestral percussion, timpani, solo marimba, chamber percussion, drum set, jazz vibes and world percussion. Percussion majors working toward the BM or MM in Jazz Studies focus on and perfect their drum set and jazz mallet skills and are also exposed to a variety of other areas in percussion.

More Information online at


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