Rudy Feinauer "Drum Master Rudy Feinauer"

Rudy Feinauer (photo by Amy Kerwin)
"Drum Master Rudy Feinauer"

Interview by Roger-Z (07/25/13)

Roger-Z: Which bands do you play in?
Rudy Feinauer: Currently, I play with Tramps Like Us, Gil Parris, and Roger-Z. I sub for many other bands including Petey Hop, Curtis Winchester, Johnny Feds, and Live Society. I also perform with marching, pit, and club-date bands.

Roger-Z: Which jams do you play in and how do you like them run?
Rudy Feinauer: I have worked as the house drummer for many bands over the years. Currently, on Wednesdays, I hold the drum chair for The Lazy Lounge Jam in White Plains, N.Y. with guitarist Gil Parris and vocalist Curtis Winchester. On Thursdays, I hold the drum seat at the Victor's Jam in Hawthorne, N.Y. with Roger-Z. I like to run jams with no attitudes. These sessions include players with varying skill levels and everyone should have fun -- including the audience! Obviously going to a jam and wanting to play with the best musicians or see the best music is the goal. But it won't always happen. It's hard to have fun when the music doesn't sound good or youíre not comfortable with the players you're put up with. Try not to get upset. Try to improve the situation. Think about what you could do to make it better. In reality, good musicians can improve any circumstance and the audience will hear it and appreciate you for trying.

Roger-Z: Your mother and father both performed music professionally. What wisdom did they pass on to you?
Rudy Feinauer: Both of my parents played the piano. My mother earned a Masters degree from Juilliard. Her career as a concert pianist included both studio work and gigging at Carnegie Hall. My father earned his Masters degree from N.Y.U. He worked as a jazz pianist in a variety of gigs in N.Y.C and also held the position of house pianist at a church. They both started teaching for more financial security. My mom built a thriving private practice. My dad taught music in a public school in the Bronx, N.Y. Both parents stressed to my siblings and I the importance of education. I remember my mom telling me to go back and practice after I had just played for four hours. It used to drive me crazy. She stressed rudiments, reading, and coordination. I just wanted to learn songs. But she was right! As my fundamentals improved, learning songs got a lot easer. My parents had a great work ethic. They put one hundred percent into every situation. I try to do the same.

Roger-Z: Where did you study music?
Rudy Feinauer: I started playing drums at age eight. I worked with private instructors -- sometimes with three different teachers at the same time. One would work on reading, another soloing, and another on genres such as latin, jazz, or rock. I also studied at music schools such as The Westchester Conservatory of Music and The Drummers Collective in N.Y.C. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in jazz percussion from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, M.A.

Roger-Z: Talk about your thriving teaching practice.
Rudy Feinauer: I thoroughly enjoy teaching! Iíve taught in college, public schools, and private music schools. Currently, I teach privately. My student skill levels range from adult, professional drummers, to young kids just starting out. I find it immensely rewarding to help my students become more comfortable on their gigs, to get accepted into All-State or All-County ensembles, to get accepted into university music programs, or to use their drumming experience to get into college. It makes me feel like Iíve made a difference. I don't teach as much as I would like because my playing career keeps me so busy. Iíve recently made a change that will allow me to focus more time on my students. I'm really looking forward to it!

©2013 Roger-Z