As a drum instructor in Atlanta, GA,  I am almost 70, I’m bald and have shrunk two inches in height. I’m not a world famous drum ambassador. I haven’t made “the big time” drummers scene….I’m a drum instructor with a lot of experience playing gigs with all types of bands on many different levels, on many different stages all across the land. I’ve taught almost every class of students; beginners, pro drummers, grade school kids, high school kids, high school band directors, young wanna-bees, rock stars, hobbyists and old people like me, men and woman, one legged, wheel chair bound and even blind drummers. My students get the auditions and if they are so inclined, succeed with confidence on into the music college scene and beyond. Most everyone has the same issue. One hand isn’t as good as the other…that’s how I make a living.

It was 2005. I was the last in line to shake Steve Smiths hand after he had played a great concert with “Buddy’s Buddies”. “Nice set Steve! I’m Ted MacKenzie. I just revised The Buddy Rich snare drum book.”

“Well let’s go have a beer”!

I’ve studied with 8 different drum instructors. Some world famous. Some local hero’s and my dad. I landed on Henry Adler ( in the late 60s. A world class teacher from NYC, Henry collaborated with Buddy Rich in writing Buddy Rich’s Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments in 1942. It’s been the best selling snare drum book for 75 years.

The mechanics I learned from Henry placed me in a new paradigm of drumming. Since then I have taught hundreds of drummers the same method…all with the same results.

In 2005, after revising the book the double DVD edition was released along with my method The Ultimate Drummers Workout. A couple of years later I authored “Buddy Rich’s Rudiments Around the Kit”. Simply applying all of the snare drum Rudiments in the original book to the drum kit.

After we sat down at the bar, Steve disappeared. After about 20 minutes I was about to leave and just then he returned. His back was to me. He eventually turned around and said something like, “who are you? Why are you revising Buddy’s book?” I was surprised at his candor. His attitude would show what was to come.

There are unknown quantities when big opportunities arrive and are acted upon. I knew I would face problems when I signed the contracts with the publisher. One of the other issues was the fact that Buddy Rich never practiced. He never warmed up. He never learned how to read music, yet he garnished the infamous title, “The Worlds Greatest Drummer”. Yet, Buddy Rich’s Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments is a masterpiece and is a must for every serious drummer to study.

In my next blog I’ll write a little bit about being “discovered” by the president of the biggest music publisher in the world…he asked me if I would revise the book in a three minute conversation.