Since age 10, the drums have been Kevin’s life passion. Exposed to jazz and classical music at a young age, he quickly became obsessed with melodies, harmonies, and rhythm. His mother Luci Clifford, a classically trained pianist and teacher, was a model of musical expertise and passion. As he began to take the drums more seriously, she emphasized the importance of practice, but more importantly, the expression of joy and individuality when playing an instrument. It is this joy that Kevin wishes to share with his students.
As a student of Julliard percussionist Peter Saleh, he studied a variety of drum set styles as well as a rigorous classical percussion repertoire on marimba, timpani, xylophone, and snare drum. His studies with Mr. Saleh culminated in a senior year concert when he performed a Mozart marimba concerto accompanied by a full orchestra at Rutgers University. During high school he won outstanding soloist awards in jazz band and was nominated as a Carnegie Hall Young Musician. He graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans where he studied with first-call drummer Wayne Maureau and performed in the top Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. In New Orleans Kevin also wrote, sang, and played with folk, modern/traditional jazz, funk, hip hop/electronic, and singer/songwriter acts at various clubs and festivals before moving back to his hometown of Princeton.
Kevin’s private students are exposed to all styles of drumming from rock and roll, hip-hop/r&b, electronic, Latin, African, and jazz, but not before they learn the essentials and rudiments of technique, dedicated practice, reading, dynamics, and time. Lessons are enhanced with opportunities to play-along with students’ favorite songs, playing hand drums, and other fun activities. Kevin accepts students of any age or experience. His students never cease to amaze him, and he learns more about the beauty of music and life in every single lesson...but only if they practice!!
In addition to teaching music for the past ten years, Kevin is a professional musician, singer/songwriter, and co-founder (with Jonah Tolchin) of the band Dharmasoul. Their first recording Lightning Kid has over 550,000 streams on Spotify, and the song “Love Again” is featured on the official Blues Roots playlist. They play in Philadelphia and New York and tour nationally. To learn more, go to dharmasoulband.com and follow them on Facebook/Instagram.
Jonah is a proud Princeton native (Princeton Friends School alumnus) with a story of musical success that continues to unfold. At age fourteen he started learning the guitar. At fifteen he was performing on-stage with blues legend Ronnie Earl. At eighteen he recorded his first "EP," and at nineteen he made his first full-length album and was asked to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. At twenty he was signed to Yep Roc Records and was making albums (Clover Lane, Thousand Mile Night, and the forthcoming Fires for the Cold) and touring the world. Jonah has recorded in the studio with legends such as Jackson Browne and Rickie Lee Jones, played shows with Greg Allman and Vanessa Carlton, and gained over 21 million streams in over 78 countries. He has studied guitar with Wilbo Wright, Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, Arlen Roth, and others.
Jonah has lived in several states over the past decade (NH, RI, WA, ME, MA), making his living as a full-time musician, songwriter, producer, session musician, and educator. He has taught master classes at the Idyllwild Arts Academy in songwriting and given lectures about the music business. In 2017 Jonah and Kevin Clifford formed the band Dharmasoul and in 2018 released their first album Lightning Kid. They continue to write, tour, and record (as he also does for his solo work as well).
Jonah’s students will learn the skills of improvisation, ear training, rudimentary music theory, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, songwriting skills, basic audio recording, and more. Most importantly, over time they will learn how playing music can be a tool for self-discovery and empowerment in all aspects of life. Because of his own trials and tribulations, Jonah feels a strong calling for working with young people who struggle with “learning differences,” namely ADD/ADHD. Jonah’s students will also have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the music business.