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Eric Okamoto is your Teacher's Teacher.

PercMan@Juno.com

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I first had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting Mr. Jim Chapin at 2112 Percussion in Raleigh, NC, when he gave Master lessons there in 1998 or so. He was truly a classy man and could pick up on anything you played. A gentleman and world class teacher, I have the utmost respect for him  I knew of him while attending the School of Music at  East Carolina University, but finally meeting him was the thrill. I plunked down 20.00 back then to get to be in the presence of greatness for 1/2 an hour [ I actually stayed over an hour]. What a deal!  I introduced myself to him when he immediately wanted to see me play. But, the one thing I wanted to do is show him my drum method book to get his blessings. He showed me his technique and played , so I then started to play for him, and he floored me when he said, "How did you learn how to play like that? You're the first person to pick up on the Moeller  method the first time!" [ I like to call it the "Chapin" method]. We went through some exercises and he fine tuned my technique. To make a long story short, we played some more and he finally agreed to look at my book [The Drumset Book] and said and wrote in my book, "Excellent book, Eric! Beautifully laid out, and very useful!". He said I could use that quote in the book. That was it! The MAN Ok 'd my book! After that, I said "I hope you remember me in the future," and he said " Oh, I 'll remember you Eric." [Yay!]  

In 2003, I competed in the World's Fastest Drummer Contest at NAMM and while there, lo and behold Mr. Chapin was there. Yikes, so I dared to ask him if he remembered me, and sure enough, he said, "Hi Eric!"  I was shocked!  What a great person. I got to ask him all sorts of questions and have him tell me about his stories from the Hollywood days, etc.... Amazing!  I also got to play a demo drum kit there within ear shot of Mr. Chapin, and he gave me his blessings again. I was speechless. Look up www.percman.com home page for the brief footage.

In 2005, I competed in the World's Fastest Drummer contest again and ran to see if he was there, and sure enough, surrounded by drummers, Mr. Chapin was teaching and wowing everyone. It was his 86th birthday and I finagled him to attend the World's Fastest Drummer contest with me and take pictures with everyone. Everyone was in awe. You can look it up on the www.WorldsFastestDrummer.com site and click on the video of the "2005 Summer Session World Finals." He was coming off an injury to his foot at the time, but nothing could keep him down.

In the brief time I got to know with Mr. Chapin, it will last a lifetime.

He was born to teach. I am surprised he wasn't a Professor at a college or something, but he was there for everyone.

To Mr. Jim Chapin, Master teacher, legend, technician, Musician, percussionist, friend, he will be a difficult void to fill. To the creator of the Chapin Method [a modified  improvement of the Moeller method], thank you for being the World's Mentor for all drummers.

Sincerely,

Eric Okamoto