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“Memphis: The Sixth Chakra” by Michael Waldrop


“Memphis: The Sixth Chakra” by Michael Waldrop

Performed by Michael Waldrop

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Gifford Howarth Signature M161

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Soft. Deep open bass sound in the lower two-thirds of the instrument while still speaking through the mid-range.


Gifford Howarth Signature M162

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Medium. For a lush quality in the lower range with the attack needed through most of the upper range.


Gifford Howarth Signature M163

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Medium hard. For general playing on the entire instrument, with excellent clarity in the upper range and rich tones in the lower and mid-ranges.


Memphis: The Sixth Chakra was written in dedication to my teachers at the University of Memphis, Frank Shaffer and Jack Cooper. It was written for a recital I gave there in January of 2011. The title is a reference to the fact that it is a six mallet piece and I had read that the ancient city of Memphis in Egypt was regarded as analogous to the Sixth Chakra in Egyptian Folklore. The Sixth Chakra was the seat of intuition (also known as the Third Eye). The style of music is bluesy and funky which is a reference to the musical style of the American Memphis. The sequence was done using Sonar and employs synth pad sounds, shekere samples and tuned hand drums to create a bass line. The piece is being published by Drop6Media and will come with the sequenced accompaniment as a CD.


Michael Waldrop is a percussionist skilled in both the jazz and classical idioms. He excels in all aspects of percussion performance while specializing in drumset and mallet instruments. He is currently the Professor of Percussion at Eastern Washington University. He teaches jazz drumset, classical percussion, percussion ensembles and percussion methods at EWU. He has a Bachelors degree in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, a Masters in Jazz Studies from the University of Memphis and a Doctorate in Performance from the University of North Texas. He has been a professional musician for the past 25 years.

Dr. Waldrop’s career has been extensive and varied, ranging from rock and jazz styles to performances with two major symphonies in the United States and abroad. He was a member of the Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band and recorded two CD’s with the group and has been on several tours, including a European tour of the Broadway production “42nd Street,” and a tour of Turkey with Prix di Rome prize-winning composer, Kamran Ince, and his ensemble. In addition, he has performed with Maureen McGovern, Della Reese, Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Eliane Elias and Slide Hampton. Dr. Waldrop was also a member of Blue Note Recording artist, Bob Belden’s quartet. He has played and recorded with many of the greatest percussionists in the world including Gordon Stout, Neboisa Zivkovic and Airto. He has played on many recording projects ranging from the Warner Bros. movie, “Christmas Vacation,” national Pillsbury jingles and two CD’s of original jazz (see audio links below.)

Dr. Waldrop was the Director of Jazz Studies and Percussion at Mesa State College in Colorado from 1999-2004. While in Colorado, he was Principal Percussionist with the Grand Junction Symphony as well as Director of the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra. For the past two years he was Professor of Percussion at the University of Toledo. While there he performed in the Faculty Jazz group with legendary jazz vocalist, Jon Hendricks. He is currently a member of Jack Cooper’s Jazz Orchestra of the Delta based in Memphis and is a new member of the Spokane-based Bob Curnow Big Band.

Dr. Waldrop’s former teachers include: Robert Schietroma, Ron Fink, Henry Okstel, Greg Bissonnette, Ed Soph, Gordon Stout, Frank Shaffer, Keith Copeland and masterclasses with Leigh Stevens. He endorses Yamaha percussion instruments and Vic Firth sticks and mallets and is a clinician for both companies.

Michael currently teachs at Eastern Washington University as Associate Professor of Percussio. nHe is available for clinics and performances in both the jazz and classical percussion idioms.

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