Our Teachers

Altaf “Bwana” Moto




 

Altaf was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and began his music career in the vibrant mid-seventies music scene in Nairobi. He has lived and worked in Germany, U.S.A. and Canada since leaving Nairobi in the eighties. He is fluent in playing drum set and percussion and tours internationally performing at major concert venues, clubs and festivals as well as recording with various artists ranging from Funk, R & B Soul, Worldbeat Fusion to Pop & Rock music. Altaf is a drummer & percussionist of the 21st century; open to music from around the world. His knowledge of rhythms and music of the African Diaspora and World music afford him a unique style. His teaching concept focuses on both the roots of a rhythm and its practical application to popular music. He has also developed a hand drum method and repertoire of Rhythms of the African Diaspora for “One-Drum”. This method connects all students from the beginner to the professional with their passion for hand drumming.

In December 2005 he released an educational Cd/Book “African Grooves for Drumset” featuring some of his favourite African rhythms adapted for the drum set.

Altaf teaches drum set, congas, djembe, darbouka, talking drum, timbales, shekere, cajon (Altaf plays Jimidrumz cajons), tambourines and other percussion. He also conducts drum circles in the spirit of sharing music and rhythms of the African Diaspora.

Visit Altaf’s Website


Richard Greenspoon

Born and raised in Toronto, Rich has been a mainstay in the Toronto music scene for many years. Rich has been with Soul Drums since the beginning, and brings over 25 years of teaching experience to the table. As a professional, Rich has studied with the venerable Jim Blackley, and has performed and recorded with numerous artists in many different genres, including: Rare Air, Oliver Schroer, Njacko Backo, Suzie Vinnick, Katherine Wheatly, Soozi Schlanger, Jack Dekyser, The Betty’s and the Bob’s,  David Woodhead,  David Celia, Waleed Abdulhamid, Anne Lindsay, Carlos del-Junco, Jaron Freeman Fox, Teresa Doyle, Wayna, and many more. As a session drummer, Rich has more than 75 credits to his name, as well as more than 30 credits as a producer/engineer.

Max Trefler



 
Max began drumming at an early age after his parents bought a drum set from a customer at their record shop. After teaching himself to set up the drums, Max began a serious and creative study of the drum set, learning from Don Pham, Paul Delong and Jim Blackley.

After playing in multiple bands during high school and studying at Humber College, Max joined the band Whosarmy. Whosarmy went on to compete and win on CBC’s “Cover Me Canada”. After the show, Whosarmy recorded a record with producer Gavin Brown and toured Canada. At the same time, Max joined the band The Mohrs fronted by Jackie Mohr and guitarist Marc Girardin. The Mohrs debut record, produced by Hawksley Workman, will be released in spring 2014. The band recently signed with Vancouver based record label 604 Records and The Agency Group. Max also plays with LYON, Molly Thomason, and various other studio and live projects. Max is also an educator and teaches private drum lessons in the Toronto area.



Naghmeh Farahmand



 

Naghmeh Farahmand is a Persian percussionist who comes from a musical family. She is the daughter of one of the leading percussion masters of Iran, Mahmoud Farahmand. As she grew up surrounded by music in a full house of drums and lisr father teaching and performing she showed great interest in rhythms during her childhood and started playing the tonbak when she was only six years old.

While learning the rhythmic patterns of Persian traditional music under the supervision of her father, she was encouraged to learn a melodic instrument to gain insight into the melodic aspect of music as this would make her a better accompanist. So, she started playing the santoor under the guidance of Faramarz Payvar and Pashang Kamkar.

Besides learning traditional music, Naghmeh found the daf to be very powerful and spiritual and began learning Sufi and Kurdish rhythms on the daf from Bijan Kamkar and Masoud Habibi. Naghmeh has performed in many well known Iranian traditional bands in Iran and festivals around the world in places such as Germany, Switzerland, Japan (Min On Festival), France (La fete de la music), Italy, Kuwait (Women festival), Austria, and London. She was honored to perform with Hassan Nahid, Iranian master of the ney and Hengameh Akhavan, a famous singer of traditional music for years.

​In 2010 she moved to Canada and started working with world music, Arabian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Indian and also Jazz. She has been teaching in different music institutes for over fifteen years and has taught master classes and workshops around the world.

Naghmeh founded a percussion ensemble (Sharghi) while collaborating with Iran’s national TV and recorded numerous pieces and performed live for a decade. She is also skillful in playing darbuka (doumbek), dayereh, cajon, udu and drumset. She has published a book, Helheleh, that includes some pieces for the daf and is currently publishing her percussion CD Drums&Dreams.

Tom Grosset



 
Tom Grosset born in Grantham, England moved to Canada in 1996. Tom drew influences from jazz drummers such as Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Buddy Rich, Phil Collins,and many others. With an appearance at Summer NAMM in Austin, TX in 2007 and was introduced to Louie Bellson who was already familiar with Tom’s fast hands. Tom competed in the WFD-World’s Fastest Drummer competition against ten other finalists that year with 1,156 single strokes (the highest record ever achieved at a WFD Final Round) and his preliminary score was a staggering 1,194 beats in one minute (bpm). This speed drumming record labeled him as the 16-and-under world record holder and the third fastest drummer in the world in all age categories. After winning the WFD finals, Tom was no longer allowed to compete again but was strongly encouraged to return and break his old record and perhaps even try and beat the two other fastest drummers in the world – 1,199 bpm held by Jotan Afanador and 1,203 bpm held by Berkley professor and Steve Vai / Dream Theatre drummer from Boston, Mike Mangini.

While temporarily retiring from speed drumming activities, Tom moved to Toronto, to attend the Humber College Music Program. Since 2009, Tom has developed a strong online following on his YouTube channel where Tom made a drum cover for the “Man of Steel” soundtrack, which was quickly recognized by Hans Zimmer (main composer) and the additional composer, Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL). Tom’s video was so exceptional that it was featured on the Huffington Post and even shared on Zimmer’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. As busy as Tom is performing, he still continues to broaden his fan base with video content. On July 13th, 2013, Tom returned to the WFD at Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN. That day, he not only broke his old record but he also managed to beat Mike Mangini’s record with 1,208 single strokes. That day, he officially became the fastest drummer in the world. Bernard Purdie, the world’s most recorded drummer of all time, congratulated Tom immediately after the record was broken. Saying “ that’s one hell of a Title!”
Since these events, Tom has been interviewed and featured on DRUM! Magazine, Modern Drummer Magazine, TIME Magazine, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, The Digital Spy, ITV News, CNN News, FOX News, NBC, msnNOW, miPRO, Deccan Chronicle, Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, NewsTalk 1010, CTV, Global News, CP24, CBC, Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun among many other news media outlets spanning the globe. Tom recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and continues to create a variety of professional video content and perform around Toronto with his six-piece jazz-fusion band called Snaggle. Tom has always been very ambitious about music and he believes in the philosophy that it is good technique that enables musical abilities and ideas. With all of Tom’s musical endeavors, he constantly strives to retain the groove and to push himself musically.