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Yamaha Drums today has announced the signing of Chicago-based drummer, educator and author Rich Stitzel to the roster of Yamaha Artists.
“Rich is one of those rare, consummate artists who has garnered widespread respect and recognition as a drummer, percussionist, author, composer and educator,” said Greg Crane, manager of Artist Relations, drums, Yamaha Corporation of America. “His unwavering dedication to music education aligns fully with Yamaha, and we look forward to supporting Rich and to help broaden his influence, both on the stage and in the classroom.”
In his nearly three-decades-long career, Rich has toured the world extensively and played with such notables as jazz-fusion violinist Christian Howes, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, The Jim Widner Big Band, country music superstar Miranda Lambert, and many others.
As a dedicated advocate of music education, Rich has taught drum set and percussion masterclasses as well as rhythm section clinics to a large range of music programs all over the country, including big band jazz and rock camps. On a local level, Rich is a teaching artist with Ravinia Festival and visits underfunded Chicago Public Schools to expose kids to classical and jazz music.
In addition to teaching, Rich has written three books. The first, “Directions in Drumming,” is based on four-way coordination. The second, “Foundational Series,” guides drummers through a series of exercises intended to strengthen coordination, rhythm awareness, concentration, timing, phrasing, and creative expression. The third, “The Primary Series,” focuses on the 3:4, 5:4, and 3:5 polymetric relationship. His books and online courses are used by students in 40 countries.
Rich is also the creator and presenter of The DrumMantra Podcast which seeks to advance the listener’s confidence, insight, and inspiration through discussions on topics like approaches to practice, rhythmic concepts, technique, theory, creativity, gear, and the music business. Soundfly named the podcast as one of “The 11 Best Podcasts for Exploring Music Theory Concepts on the Go” and the “Top 10 Music Theory Podcasts You Must Follow in 2020” by Feedspot.
The drum sets that complement his versatile style are the Yamaha Recording Custom in a Classic Walnut finish and the Oak Custom in a Blue Ridge Blue Oak finish. His snare of choice is the 14” X 5.5” Maple Custom.
“Besides being elegant, timeless, and beautiful, Yamaha drums are the most reliable, consistent, easy-to-tune instruments in the world, and the hardware is second to none,” said Stitzel. “I know I can trust the drums to be perfect, which allows me to focus 100 percent of my attention on playing. As a kid, the music that made me fall in love with drums was being played by drummers using Yamaha instruments. I’ve always associated the brand with the finest players and educators in the business, and now to be part of the Yamaha family is truly an honour.”
For more information on the Yamaha Artist roster, visit
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