Hi All! Here's a little about me...
I grew up in Syracuse, NY. I think I began drumming while in my mother's womb. My Mom always told me I was a very active baby before I was born. Drumming has always been the major part of my life. My Mom also told me I used to have headaches when I was a kid and I told her “if I had some bongos, I think my headaches would go away.” (What a weirdo!!)
I started taking private lessons from a high school senior named John Sears when I was in the 4th grade. I was ravenous for information about how to really do what I was faking all the years prior.
My drum corps interest stared at a Fireman's Field Day Parade in Chittenango, NY (which is now famous for being the home of L. Frank Baum, the guy who wrote The Wizard of Oz... I know... random). Anyway, that day I saw the 76ʻers Drum and Bugle Corps. It turned out they were a small young corps but I was enthralled by the volume of the drums and brass, the synchronicity of the drum sticks, the white shoes all moving together; man, I was hooked!! I wanted to do that!!
I did join the 76ʻers and it put me on the path that I am on to this day. Mike Seabrook was my first drum corps instructor. Then at high school, I was able to play snare in 8th grade with all the cool juniors and seniors. We were lucky to be taught by one of my mentors to this day, Joe Wormworth. In upstate New York, Joe was and is still a legend in the drumming community. Mark Thurston and Jay Wanamaker also took lessons with Joe when they were growing up.
My next step was to join the Squires Drum and Bugle Corps from Watkins Glen, NY. Their claim to fame was missing 12 place in 1975 DCI by 6 tenths. We all truly believe it may have changed their future if they had been DCI finalists. I had great instructors at Squires too! Bill Calhoun and Bill Decker were the main guys there. Steve Rondinaro from the DCI telecast was also a member of the corps and later became the corps director.
I needed to take a couple summers off to make money for college so I worked for the New York Telephone Co. While doing that, I dreamed of marching with the Bayonne Bridgemen. I had a DCI record of the 1980 Bridgemen and played “In The Stone” over and over and over again!!
In 1981, I auditioned for and made the Bridgemen snare line. I have to thank Joe Wormworth again for convincing my Mom and Dad to let me do it!! Thanks Mom and Dad too for listening to Joe!!
I marched in the Bridgemen in 1981 and 1982, winning the DCI high percussion trophy each year. That has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Obviously, the instructors at the Bridgemen were world class. I got to meet and work with and now become great friends with the legendary Dennis DeLucia, as well as legends Bob Dubinski and Pat Scollin. Those lines also had incredible players!! Pat Petrillo and Tommy Igoe just to name a couple!
While marching in the Bridgemen, I also received my music education degree from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY. One of the biggest icons in the percussion industry, Jim Peterscak, was my teacher there and I learned so much from him not just about percussion but about the entire world of music and how to succeed in that world.
My next journey was to Los Angeles, California to attend the University of Southern California (USC) where I received my masters degree in percussion performance. Jay Wanamaker, another graduate of the Crane School was teaching there and I was able to be his teaching assistant with the Trojan Marching Band.
While attending USC I also began what was to be another amazing experience: teaching the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. I began there as a tech and was actually the only tech or instructor on most of the tour my first year there. Rob Carson was also teaching there at the time but needed to spend more time at Remo so I took over the caption head position in 1985 until 1989. This was creative “heaven” with a number of great instructors and designers including the legendary Bobby Hoffman.
In 1990 I moved back to the east coast accepting a position at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill as Assistant Band Director and Percussion Director for the Marching Tar Heels.
Along with teaching there, I still kept my hand in the drum corps world. I helped out for a couple weeks on tour with Star of Indiana in 1990, became caption head for Dutch Boy for a couple years, and then after helping out with Bluecoats in 1996 I became their arranger and caption head for the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
In 2012 my wife Amy and I were asked to write for Jersey Surf as they were doing a Bridgemen Tribute show. Having the opportunity to write some Bridgemen tunes with the blessing of Dennis DeLucia was a great opportunity and we enjoyed working with Dennis, Larry Kirchner, Mike Mecadante and Bob Jacobs on that project.
Being a freelance educator, composer, arranger, WGI Judge, clinician, drum circle facilitator, etc. keeps me very busy. I am especially proud of my rudiment development book Savage Rudimental Workshop as well as my signature sticks with Pro-Mark. I am proud to be on the marching band staff at Cary High School with band director Matt Minick. In the summers I host my Matt Savage Marching Percussion Camp as well as travel to Eugene, OR for the Alan Keown Marching Percussion Camp. I also help out with the Bands of America Summer Symposium and a number of Yamaha Sounds of Summer Drum Camps.
I am proud to be an endorser for Yamaha, Sabian, Pro-Mark and Remo. The relationships that are built with the people of these companies have been some of the best parts of being a percussionist!! Thank you everyone for your commitment to percussion instruments and education!!
I am blessed to be married to Amy Savage. Amy is a great percussionist in her own right and we enjoy working on many projects together. We have two cats Ivan and Galina.
Joining the DʼRumpus team is another exciting adventure and I look forward to contributing to this great company and working with Rob and everyone on the team!! I hope you enjoy my first contribution... Steam Funk!
Comments from D'Rumpus
Matt is a good person to the core. Looking at his percussive path/past it could be easy to feel intimidated by all of that experience and wealth of knowledge, but once you start talking to him you realize he’s just as passionate about music as you are and that he genuinely wants to help anyone who’s interested in getting better. When listening to Matt’s music we can't help but smile. There’s an enjoyable depth of intelligence and interplay in his writing style but he also has a gift of making it very accessible to the audience so everyone can enjoy it. With who he is and the music he produces, Matt embodies the D’Rumpus spirit wonderfully and we’re honored to have him as part of the D’Rumpus family!
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- John Philip Sousa Award East Syracuse - Minoa High School (P)
- Crane School of Music, Bachelors of Science in Music Education (P)
- University of Southern California, Masters in Percussion Performance (P)
- University of Southern California Graduate Performance Scholarship (P)
- Bayonne Bridgemen Drum and Bugle Corps 1981 DCI High Percussion (P)
- Bayonne Bridgemen Drum and Bugle Corps 1982 DCI High Percussion (P)
- Yamaha Performing Artist (P) (E)
- Member WGI Percussion Advisory Board (E)
- Author - Savage Rudimental Workshop (M)
- Multiple Signature Sticks with Pro Mark (E)
- Featured Remo Drum Circle Facilitator (P) (E) (M)
- 76ʻers Drum and Bugle Corps (P)
- Squires Drum and Bugle Corps (P)
- Bayonne Bridgemen Drum and Bugle Corps (P)
- USC Trojan Marching Band (E) (M)
- Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps (E) (M)
- Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps (E)
- Dutch Boy Drum and Bugle Corps (E) (M)
- Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps (E) (M)
- Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps (E) (M)
- University of North Carolina Marching Tar Heels (E) (M)
- Miami University Marching Band (M)
- Cary High School Marching Band (E) (M)
- Bands of America Summer Symposium (E)
- Yamaha Sounds of Summer Drum Camps (E) (M)
- Yamaha (E)
- Sabian (E)
- REMO (E)
- Pro-Mark (E)
- Founder of Rhythm Alive Drum Circle Events (P) (E)
- Matt Savage Marching Percussion Camp (E) (M)
- Alan Keown Marching Percussion Camp (E)
- WGI Percussion Judge (E)