Manoj Mavely is the first-ever drummer from the Indian sub-continent to be awarded the Berklee entering student talent scholarship to study at the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. During his years at Berklee, he studied with greats like Dave Dicenso, Dave Samuels, Kim Plainfield, Larry Finn, Casey Scheuerell, Jon Hazilla, John Ramsay, Skip Hadden, David Cowan and Eguie Castrillo.
“i started playing at the age of 18, and it went great for about seven years until i realized i was up against a wall, limited by my self-teaching. This ultimately led to my going to Berklee on a scholarship. I’ve had to work really, really hard to get where i am musically. I tell my students this story to let them know, ‘if i can do it, so can you—if you want it badly enough, work hard.’ the flip side is that if you don’t do the work, you’re not going to get better.”
He is also highly regarded for his unique concepts in developing the “drummer’s mind” through advanced reading skills, styles, groove, independence, odd meters, ostinatos, cross-rhythms, and technique that have challenged students of all levels for the past 27 years. The list of prominent students clearly reflects his unparalleled success in the field of music education.
“besides teaching a standard drum lesson with books and exercises, i also use a very conceptual approach: open up your ears, listen to yourself play every single note, and be responsible for those notes so you can make mental—versus physical or technical—changes to your playing. If you play something you don’t like, you can identify it and delete it from your playing. If it’s something you do like, you can expand on that. I’ll call my students out on everything. They’ll play one note, and i’ll ask, ‘what was that? Why did you do that?’ after a while, they start hearing what they play and taking the kind of responsibility i’m talking about. Simply put, i teach them the art of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.”
I have always been interested in teaching and have consistently felt a strong affinity for explaining how to do what i do. Although i consider myself primarily A performing musician, it has always felt natural for me to balance a career in Performance with one in teaching. Now, when i search for myself online, i have noticed people’s credits stating “studied with Manoj mavely.” it’s an exciting New twist in my journey!