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Teacher Feature: Glenn Thilman


Teacher Feature: Glenn Thilman

by Claire

Glenn Thilman is a percussion instructor who has been teaching at Music & Arts (and formerly Mill's Music) since 2001.  Known for his friendly demeanor and the occasional Hawaiian shirt, Glenn brings joy into each student's musical journey.

You've been playing percussion for over 40 years.  What first drew you to the drums instead of another instrument?

My father was a professional musician (drums, guitar, banjo, etc.) He involved us in his everyday life in the best way he could before passing when we were young (I was 9 years old). Part of me wanted to be like him. My generation was inspired by the music of the day - late 60's and 70's, The Beatles, Motown, classic rock, and jazz too. My dear mother (I'll always, always be thankful for this) provided lessons for me from age 12 through high school, after playing with my dad's old drum sticks around the house.


You've played with many different local musicians and theater productions.  Is there an experience from a gig that was particularly memorable for you?

In 1980 I was with an original artist, Ray Campi and His Rockabilly Rebels. We toured Northern California in the S.F. Bay area with The Blasters (Phil Alvin). We played the Keystone Palo Alto, which was broadcast live on the radio that night. In Sacramento, we had the unlikely befriending experience of a local biker gang who came to the show and wanted us to hang out after the show. We respectfully declined. We were so thankful they liked us (and The Blasters too), as it could have been our "last show” ever.  J


If you could play a gig with any three musicians, alive or dead, who would they be and why?

A dream band for me would be to play drums with Jimi Hendrix (guitar), Keith Emerson (keyboards) and John Coltrane (sax). I left out a bass player, but you said only 3. I think Keith and Jimi would fill it up enough.  J


What advice do you have for the aspiring drummer?

Be dedicated to practice, understanding the rudiments and music theory, and how to express yourself on drums and percussion. Play with others every chance you can. And always be passionate about drumming and music. The more passionate you are, the more you'll find your unique and individual place on your musical journey.