Jim Chapin, Drummer Who Shares His Knowledge

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Jim is one of the most impactful drummers in terms of sharing his knowledge. It’s known that he’s great as a drummer, but he’s also famous as a good music teacher and a writer.

Jim Chapin likes to share his knowledge with other aspiring musicians by writing books. He also shares his expertise in music by offering private lessons and clinics worldwide. 

Jim Chapin and His Family Background

James Forbes Chapin (Jim Chapin) was born in Manhattan on July 13, 1919. He is the son of painter James Ormsbee Chapin and Abigail Forbes. Even though he comes from a family familiar with the art, he started being interested in music and playing drums when he was 18.

His love for drums began to bloom when he was inspired by drummer Gene Krupa.

Career as a Drummer

Jim Chapin Masterclass

Jim Chapin was taught by Sanford A. Moeller, a rudimental drummer who popularized the Moeller method or whipping technique. Within two years, he was already at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York to play opposite Krupa.

He had been performing and touring with various bands from the 1940s to 1960s, including the Casa Loma Orchestra, Glen Gray, and groups led by Mike Riley.

Not only with these fantastic musicians, but Chapin also performed on occasion with his sons, Tom, Steve, and even Harry Chapin, one of the most popular singer-songwriters in the 1970s and the founding member of the World Hunger Year.

Jim Chapin is also famous as someone who has ‘Chapin magic’. The name came from how he gave birth to many great modern drummers, including jazz drummers. He regularly traveled around the world, teaching and presenting seminars. One of his students is Peter Criss.

He was also actively produces books about drumming and instructional video. He got many achievements from his contribution to the music world. Chapin received honors from the American Eagle Award and Berklee College of Music in 1994. Meanwhile, in 1995, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame Percussive Arts Society.

Authors of Books

His books are a few of the things he’s proud of. He began writing in the early 1940s. In 1948, his first drum instruction book, Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, Volume I, Coordinated Independence as Applied to Jazz and Be-Bop, was published.

He had ever caused a massive discussion among the best drummers. It’s because of his explanation about how he always had drumsticks in his back pocket. Jim did that to prove that he could play every pattern in the book he wrote if someone called him.

His other books are also popular among drummers in the past 60 years.

It’s all thanks to Chapin’s book so they can grow as an amazing drum player. Some of his other books are “The Art of Jazz Drumming” and “Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, Volume II, Independence–The Open End“. Volume II is still considered as the handbook for modern drummers even though it is about 40 years old.

Jim Chapin might already be gone from this world. He passed away on July 4, 2009, in Florida. But his thoughts and contributions to the drum world are amazing. His books prove it all. The ideas and thoughts that are written in the book are still impactful for many drummers now.

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Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.