Episode 5 – Ed Soph: “Open Mind and Open Ears”


In January 2017, when Drum! Magazine published “10 Drumming Educators Share Their Number One Piece Of Advice For Students,” they talked with a veritable who’s who of those at the very top of their field. Among them, today’s most honored guest, Ed Soph, whose work as a professional drummer, clinician, and ground-breaking college professor has made him one of the most respected people in drumming today.

Soph’s career includes playing with such as Stan Kenton and the Woody Herman band. You may have even played along with him as the drummer on a number of the Jamey Abersold play-along records. In 1987, after twenty years on the East coast, Ed and his wife returned to his alma mater, the University of North Texas, where he eventually became the first tenured professor of drumset at any public university in the US. Some of Ed’s students have become famous in their own right, including Jazz drummer Ari Hoenig, LA-based Jason Sutter, and the legendary Dave Weckyl.

Born in California and raised in Houston, Ed—like so many of the drummers we’ve talked with in this series, began around age four or five, when his father, who enjoyed playing ragtime piano, came home with a wood block and encouraged Ed to play along. Drum lessons soon followed with teacher Elder Mori. Soon Ed was playing gigs and learning from the older, more experienced member of the band.

Recently retired from UNT, students still learn from Ed, his books and videos, and the many YouTube interviews and lessons, including a series of Quick Tips he made for Evans. A new series of videos is coming soon to The Drum Channel.

Before you do anything, watch Ed’s Jazz Trio video from Drummerworld. Ed’s as great a player as he is an educator!

For a quick biography, read the excellent Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame entry for Ed by Lauren Vogel Weiss.

The following titles are available on amazon.comMusical Time: A Source book for Jazz Drumming; Musical Time: DVD; Essential Techniques for Drumset: Book 1

Check out the first of Ed’s 7-Part video lesson on playing brushes, just one of many Ed Soph videos and “Quick Tips” produced by Evans.

Photo credit: Folletts