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December Teacher Spotlight

Matt Gieseke - Drum Teacher, Heid Music Appleton

Head_Shots_029Click for video introduction

Matt has played drums for more than 20 years and has experience in most styles of music. He has been in many touring bands such as The Cool Waters Band and Boxkar. He opened for many national bands and does a great deal of session work for artists and commercials. Matt is accepting students ages 7 to adult.

scan0001[1]Who or what is your greatest musical influence?  Why?  I would honestly have to say my father. He was a jazz drummer and while growing up when I would visit him I would play his kit as much as possible. He bought me a toy kit at the age of three and I played it so much that I put holes in it.  He bought me a real set at the age of ten and that lit a fire in me that still burns strong to this day.  For that reason he was my greatest influence.

What is your favorite band?  Being a musician this is probably my least favorite question to answer.  I try to take in as much music as possible and try not to bog myself down to one band or one style. I have listened to so many different types of music over the years and if you asked me the same question every five days for five years I would answer it different every time. I love music and listen to everything from Jazz to Rock and everything in between. The older I get the more my taste seems to change.

What is the best musical advice you’ve ever been given? With drumming it’s all about tempo, pocket, and feel.  Break down the beat and make it match the song. Don’t overplay!!!  Most drummers are notorious for this.  You want to show off as many chops as you can on any given night but it doesn’t help the music.  "Simplify and groove" was the best advice ever given to me, and I stress it on a daily basis.

What makes you a great teacher?  I feel that being young at heart myself makes it easy to relate to my students.  I also feel that being in the music business brings a whole new level of communication that I can share with my students. It takes more than just playing fancy drum licks, you have to also know how to recognize various musical opportunities and make the best of them whatever they may be.  Being a full time musician I feel answers for that.

ScannedImage-61[1]What is another instrument you always wanted to learn?  Why?  Even while playing drums at a young age I often fantisized about being the lead singer in a band.  I would set up a stage in my room and put on a show.  I would lip synch a couple songs then head to the drums to play a few songs on there to show off my many talents.  Oddly enough when the choice between band and chorus came up it wasn’t even a question in my mind.  I chose drums and can honestly say that I can’t picture myself doing anything else.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  When I get free time I really enjoy traveling.  I love vacations in the sun.  I also love to camp during the summer with friends and golf when I have some time off.  During the winter months my wife and I do a ton of bowling.

Tell us something unique about yourself:  Most people don’t know that I’m working on achieving my black belt in Karate.  I started doing it to get some exercise and I have found that it’s a great stress reliever and helps me stay disciplined.

What students and parenDec_2012_-_MattGts say about Matt:

I grew up with drums in the house.  My brother played and I became accustom to loud music. When he was killed in a car accident at age 22, our house became too quiet. I missed the music.  Later when I married and had children, I encouraged all 5 of them to play an instrument. When our oldest daughter, Chelsa, was a toddler she would take my wooden spoons and get out a kettle.  When riding in the car she had to bang on the dash board. In middle school she joined band and had to fight her teacher for a spot in percussion.  She struggled with note reading, so I went to Matt. Our daughter has learned so much.  He makes learning fun and teaches all aspects of drumming; like how important rudiments are, keeping a tempo, the importance of dynamics (because you are the drummer - you have to have control), and of course. . . how to properly twirl the drum stick. He also teaches good morals and coached our daughter what to do when playing in public and on stage, and how to handle situations. Matt has taught drum lessons to our daughter, Chelsa, for the past six years.  With Matt's good reference, Chelsa was picked up by a band who saw Matt's style in her drumming.  So at age 19, she is playing in a band called "Mad Cats," she is teaching drum lessons, and she plays drums in the church.  With Matt's help Chelsa has the confidence and talent to rock on!

- Anna Baum

Matt is a great teacher. I like him because he helps me to get ready for school talent shows. He give me really good directions and he makes learning fun because he gives me candy after lessons.

- Alex, age 8

Matt's drumming skill and experience make him knowledgeable, but it is his youthful energy that make him a great teacher. He has a laid-back approach, which enables his students to feel comfortable. It is this comfort level that enables Matt to instill high expectations without his students feeling pressured. Matt goes the extra mile to make sure our son has the opportunity to excel as a drum student by continuously introducing current music, using current methods, scheduling recitals, and encouraging performance opportunities. Our son enjoys Matt as a teacher. We can confidently say that Matt is a pleasure to work with.

- Stacey and Jason Rottier

I've been taking lessons with Matt for over a year.  I think he is a good teacher.  He makes learning to play the drums awesome.  He has us play real songs that you may hear on the radio.  I like the challenge of learning how to be a better drummer.

- Nicholas J.

Matt, I am so thankful to have a drum teacher like you. Through my few years of taking lessons, you have made a big impact on my life. I have learned so much from you. I remember walking into my first lesson, not knowing a single thing about drums. I think it’s incredible how much I’ve learned from you. I’m so glad you pushed me to try new things, especially when it came to the drum recitals. I never thought I would have had the guts to play in front of people like that, and thanks to your help I did it and now I am more corageous because of it. I really appreciate all you have done for me. I love taking lessons with you, and I always have something to look forward to on Tuesdays. You are the best teacher Ive ever had and even the funniest. You make lessons a lot of fun. Thanks for everything you have done for me, and thanks for pushing me to become a better drummer.

- Rachael P.