Bio | Images | Schedule | Audio | Video | Knowledge Base | Drum Setups | Press | Credits | Percussionology | Contact
Press > Reading Eagle, December 06,2001

In drum circles, you can't beat John Rozum

The renowned local skins player and teacher will present a workshop at Zeswitz Music Store.

By Jim Speese
Eagle/Times Correspondent

John Rozum, a Berks County drummer of some renown, will present a free clinic Saturday at noon at Zeswitz Big Z Music, 5550 Perkiomen Ave., Exeter Township.

Called "Adventures in Solo Drumming", this presentation will include exercises such as "Shifting Accents", "Sticking Variations with Sextuplets" and "5 Against 4". In addition, topics like "Stick Response-Rebound Control" and "Feet Patterns-Foot Technique" will be covered.

If, like me, this is all Greek to you, be assured that basic topics such as "Quality of Sound", "Grooves" and "Creativity" are also on the docket.

Also be assured that drummers, those most often overlooked of musicians, know what Rozum is talking about. And when Rozum talks, drummers listen - for good reason.

Rozum has grown up with the drums, and has trained many of the best drummers in the Berks area. (In fact, one of Rozum's more notable pupils is his own son, Shane, now playing with Mercy River.)

The elder Rozum has been playing and teaching drums professionaly for 34 years.

In that time, he has placed many of his students in county, district and state bands and orchestras, and even in many of the top Drum Corps Association and Drum Corps International drum and bugle corps in the country.

Along these lines, Rozum has arranged and instructed more than 40 percussion lines for drum corps and marching bands - everyone from Reading's own Buccaneers to Harrisburg's Westshoremen to Montgomery, Alabama's South Wind.

And established free-lance jazz drummer, Rozum has played with big bands and combos all over the Northeast. As such, he is an accomplished live and studio musician, and has played with a number of celebrities, including Helen O'Connel, Dick Shawn, Al Cohn and Richie Cole. He has also performed with former members of the Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Glenn Miller, Henry James and Tommy Dorsey orchestras.

Additionally, Rozum was the percussionist for more than 30 Reading Civic Opera musicals, and he was the musical director of the marching percussion segment for the NFL animated cartoon "Grunt and Punt".

He has been honored by being listed in the International Drum Teachers Guide for Modern Drummer magazine. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, and is on staff as percussion arranger for the periodical The International Association of Rudimental Percussionists, and is the three-time Drum Corps Association drum set champion.

These days, Rozum performs with the Sam Peters Swing Band and the Kutztown and West Chester Aluni Jazz Bands. He also is the percussion arranger and instructor for the Reading and Oley Valley marching bands, and spends a lot of his time judging for marching and jazz contests throughout the state.

What all this means, of course, is that drumming is the John Rozum's life. And instinctual feel for the instrument and a disciplined adherence to practice, as well a sa curiousity that always drives him to listen to new and different players, has combined to create Rozum, essentially the archetype of the drummer/drum instructor.

If not for love of the instrument, he might get frustrated. If not for the discipline, he might grow careless. If not for the curiousity, he might become apathetic. Luckily, Rozum is none of these, and his energy, desire and love of all this percussion continue to drive him to new heights.

Rozum the instructor is not new to drum clinics either. He has been a clinician for the Vic Firth drum stick corporation, The Percussive Arts Society, The Berks Jazz Fest, The Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society, The Cavalcade of Bands and The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

Any drummer who has not had the opportunity or pleasure to meet and learn from this Berks drumming legend needs to visit his clinic at Zeswitz this weekend. As an added incentive, Zeswitz will be giving away door prizes, including a snare drum.

A splendid (if somewhat noisy) time is guaranteed for all.


Jim Speese is a member of the local band Cloud Party. You can email him at