James Murphy

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • Drum set player for the Blue Man Group
  • Published articles in Modern Drummer
  • Endorsements: Vater percussion, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads, Pearl drums, Protection Racket, and 64 Audio in-ear monitors
  • Clinician for Vater percussion, Zildjian cymbals, Pearl drums, and Remo drumheads
  • Owner/Instructor of the online drum lesson site, Peace and Drums
  • School Name
    Berklee College of Music
    State or Province
    Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
    Field of Study
    Percussion Performance
    Date Degree Received
In Their Own Words

"Listening can be one of the most important tools of a musician. I also think it's one of the most important tools for an effective instructor. I listen to what my students want to develop and take it seriously; the topics that a student chooses to develop helps to keep him or her engaged and motivated in the journey of learning. Creating a customized curriculum based on the core fundamentals of reading, technique, pocket and styles, married with the topics that follow the interests of a specific student, is my main approach to meeting a student's goals."

"Groove / pocket / feel…one of the most important topics that I teach and the most important building block in drumming. The most dangerous players out there are the cats that can lay it down in any style and marry their fill phrasing to the pocket. Pocket doesn’t mean perfect time like a computer; time is breathes…time moves with everyone on stage. I teach students not only how to feel the time, but also how to visualize it. The distance between the 1’s can also be seen, not only felt."

“Developing a student's core fundamentals as building blocks is so important at any step in the process of learning. Making sure that technique, styles, reading, and independence are in check empowers any student to find his or her own voice on this instrument.”

"Soloing on the drums can be as personal as telling someone your life story, so you want to get it right. Having a clear, concise method of developing vocabulary, gluing vocabulary together, and having a strong connection to the pocket will make you an articulate and powerful storyteller. Captivate the audience.”

“I love this instrument; I want to help my students find that same passion. It is what has made me successful."

"Berklee has not only chosen world class musicians to be the core of the teaching faculty, but has also created a safe and professional environment for a student to begin their professional networking base. It is not only the education here at Berklee that makes the investment worth it, but the network of peers and faculty that become your lifelines in the professional world."

"Real world applications are the most valuable lessons to share with my students, giving them the insight they will need to get the gig. Painting a clear picture of the real world is something that can give a student a better understanding of the demands on a professional musician."