by Jason Sendaula
In the high tech world of the present there are far too many non-“do it yourself” types out there who look at the obstacles and rather than get off of their ass and do so that they can get to where they want to be, they just don’t. It is perhaps even more rare for someone to get up and do for others when it comes to art. The Philly Drum Project is a labor of love with the purpose of bringing the musical art form to as many as possible through performance and education.
“It all started around the topic of drummer gear,” founder Ryan Crump tells us. “As drummers, we all have lots of moving parts to our equipment. At the time I had just bought a 1970’s Ludwig drum set and I needed to get a wing nut for it.” After searching around he found that the prices for this specific piece that said “Ludwig” were incredibly high “for something that’s probably in somebody’s basement. At the time I was like ‘I have all of this gear in my basement that I don’t need and there has to be a better way that we can share our resources.’” And so, Crump went about making the way and expanded the focus beyond just the tangible resources of gear to include lessons, beats and gigs.
Crump continues, “Lessons are lessons, teaching each other and learning. Beats, just being able to play with each other. And gigs. If people or bands are looking for drummers we want them to come to this community- The Philly Drum Project. “
He points out that music shops tend to have a place for people to go in and try the equipment, but that’s not necessarily the right place for drummers as, “there’s usually somebody there behind the counter on the phone. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to do that in a space but for right now we work with what we have.”
Crump has been playing drums from a young age and has studied jazz and funk at U of A where he played in several pop and rock bands. At the University of Delaware his focus was on classical and marching percussion. “It puts me in a good place to be able to network the different kinds of drummers that come to the events.”
The Drum Project holds a monthly meet and greet known as “Beats, Brews, & Banter” at R Bar (former Roosevelt’s) on 23rd and Walnut. They have a featured performer and give members and visitors an opportunity to help each other. The meetings, and the drum project as a whole, bring people closer to the resources they need to be successful in person “instead of doing it online or on Craigslist or on a forum. We do it in real life,” Crump says.
Membership is free and the group put out a monthly newsletter detailing events, deals on tickets for shows, events and equipment offers. It is a lot of work for one person and the community is growing. Crump is currently working with a company in Harrisburg to get the group non-profit status. An Education Committee that is working on the camp that meets every two weeks.
It was through these connections that Crump started working with Marc Dicciani, the director of the School of Music at the University of the Arts and a professor of Drumset and Music Business. “Marc has offered to do a one-time evaluation for project members free of charge. We’ve had members take advantage of that and identify things to work on. We’ve been able to connect the dots from there and the camp will be the first thing we are running.”
This August they will be conducting a one day work shop for high school students at the University of the Arts called DrumPhil with plans to expand their offerings by eventually becoming a non-profit. They have kicked off a fund drive for the DrumPhil workshop and are taking donations through Paypal. “we need to raise about $3500 for the program and we started out with $800 through sponsorship from MCD Percussion and some gifts that have come in already, so we are fund raising. A lot of it has come from friends and family. It’s pretty grass roots. And it’s all going toward the summer program.”
“We started the monthly event with the goal of having a place to do it. We started the events to build a network. The first four months were mainly on Twitter just getting the word out. We had our first event in April [of 2012] with Eric Slick of Dr Dog.”
The Philly Drum Project’s one year anniversary party is April 23 at World Café Live.