At 10 a.m. on April 15, 30 or so aspiring musicians clustered themselves in the Casella Theatre around world famous percussionist Aldo Mazza as he talked to them about playing music. But not more than two minutes after introducing himself, he sat down at the drum set on stage and said to the crowd, “I’m just going play a little.”
Then, what words failed to define about the man on stage, his drumming explained.
It became immediately obvious why Aldo Mazza has earned the title of “world renowned musician,” and why these 30 or so aspiring musicians were so eager to listen to what he had to say. The man has clearly earned his title, but even after standing up from his several-minute drum piece, he explains that showing off was not his plan.
“I’m not playing to show you how fast I am, that irrelevant. Those kinds of things are just tools we use for creating music,” Mazza said.
Throughout the clinic, Mazza really seemed to drive home the idea of simply “playing music.” Even as he passed out a wide array of percussive instruments — from claves and to tambourines to African Djembe drums — he stressed the aspect of creating music over technical performance.
However, it was quite clear that Mazza is quite versed in both, and could play all of the instruments he handed out with great proficiency.
Once all the various types of instruments had been handed out, the clinic switched from a seminar to a hands-on experience. Using handouts as a guide, Mazza broke up the group into various sections, having each perform a different section of an African beat called the Kuku.
After some banging around and faltering starts and stops, Mazza managed to turn cacophony into symphony, as he led the way with his own Djembe.
After the Kuku, Mazza invited two other student musicians up on stage, a bass player and a guitarist. The three then played two pieces; Blue Bossa, a classic Bossa Nova groove, and another Samba groove that the entire group played along with.
Despite having never met or played together, the three sounded incredibly tight and together as a group, putting a wonderful finished touch on an already incredible morning.
After a morning of drums, percussion, and great music, Mazza wrapped things up with a few good words of encouragement and advice. He encouraged the whole group to work hard, practice and be patient.
“Be real, be honest with yourself. It’s not going to come by mail . you have to be honest, sincere, and work hard,” he said. “Bring something to the table.