By special correspondent and 6th Generation Gretsch Family member, Will Gretsch
On Monday, September 13, Mark Schulman displayed his jaw-dropping drumming to the people of Athens, GA at the Musician’s Warehouse. Jamming on a new Gretsch Renown Maple Series kit, he inspired the audience to play drums with not only passion but with the right “attitude”.
Mark’s clinic featured a state of the art audio visual presentation with him playing along to a series of tracks accompanied by exciting video montages. His performances across a wide variety of musical styles demonstrated his comprehensive knowledge of music from many different cultures.
Mark explained how he developed his “attitude” at a young age, playing cello in front of his entire school. One moment in particular made him realize the power of being able to play an instrument. After performing in front of the whole school, he explained how he was dreading going back into the classroom for fear of the ridicule and scorn his classmates would surely bestow upon him. Hands shaking, Mark grasped the knob and opened the door awaiting his embarrassment. Instead, to his surprise, he received a standing ovation from his classmates for his outstanding performance. This experience would shape Mark’s attitude forever.
Mark also explained how his love for drumming came from one of the most famous moments in music history. Replaying footage of the legendary 1964 appearance by The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, Mark told of how he instantly fell in love with drums and drumming. The fans screaming, Ringo’s head shaking, girls crying; the young Mark Schulman knew that playing the drums was what he wanted to do. It inspired him to pick up a pair of sticks and get his first kit, a cheap Sears Catalogue drum set.
Mark continued to impress upon the audience the importance of having a positive attitude and it was evident whenever Mark was in the room, because he brings it with him in everything he does. Judging by the expressions on the audiences’ faces, Mark’s clinic was a huge success.
The event was also a special occasion because it gave me and my Father, 5th generation Gretsch family member Fred Gretsch Jr., the opportunity to meet a great friend and ambassador of The Gretsch Company. It was also wonderful to be able to hear just how great the instruments which have been my family’s legacy for over 125 years sound in the hands of such a wonderful musician. Finally, Mark signed autographs for everyone who attended and offered one very important final piece of advice saying, “Play what you love; for me, I love Gretsch!”