Ed Soph

089 – Ed Soph: Teaching drummers how to make a living playing music.

In this podcast I interview drummer and educator, Ed Soph.  Ed, who is currently a Professor in the Jazz Studies and Performance divisions of the College of Music at the University of North Texas has made his name for serving as the drummer for Clark Terry, Bill Watrous and Woody Herman, as well as the small groups of Bill Evans, Marvin Stamm, Randy Brecker, Joe Henderson, Pat LaBarbera, Bill Mays, Cedar Walton, Dave Liebman, Chris Potter, Carl Fontana and Slide Hampton, amongst others. Over the years Ed has taught some of the worlds greatest drummers including: Ari Hoening, Keith Carlock, Rich Redmond, Jason Sutter, Dave Weckl and others.  Although there is no real “secret to getting gigs“, listen in as Ed goes into the details of what he teaches drummers to get themselves to the next level musically and professionally.

“My wealth is in my knowledge of self, love, and spirituality.” – Muhammad Ali (Tweet this)

In the podcast you’ll hear Ed Soph talk about:

  • How he got started playing drums
  • His move to NYC
  • Playing and touring with multiple different bands, including Woody Herman
  • His concentration on clinics and teaching
  • The common thread of some of his most famous students
  • Where most drummers make mistakes in their playing
  • much more

Drummer’s /  Songs Mentioned:


Ed Soph’s Gear:

  • Zildjian cymbals
  • Innovative Percussion (Ed Soph signature stick)
  • Evans drum heads
  • Yamaha drums

Photo Credit: Folletts

15 replies
    • Nick
      Nick says:

      WOW! You just blew my mind with that. Thank you very much for listening…I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks again, Gulli!

  1. Paul McAteer
    Paul McAteer says:

    What a wonderfully wise and humble man is Ed Soph.
    Really insightful and informative interview. I first heard Ed on Woody Hermans “Giant Steps” album.
    Incredible band propelled by the most fiery and exciting drumming. I got loads of Milage out of that one. Great to hear Ed is playing such an influential role in raising the standard. Thanks for making this interview available to all.

    • Nick
      Nick says:


      I completely agree, his humbleness blows me away. Such a FORCE in the drumming world. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it! Thanks for listening!!

  2. RJ DeLorso
    RJ DeLorso says:

    Ed Many Years Back Ed did a Clinic Here in Ct. at Bob Gatzens Creative Music. Which I attended with my Friend who worked at Creative Mark Carter and Geoff Brown While There. Ed Took an intermission he Smoked then and He Traded me he taught me a trick of holding your Drum Key on Both hands in your Fulcrum while holding your stick. It helped align your stick and helped with articulation dynamics and stroke. He is one of the most educated and knowledgable cats I know Smokin drummer. And His Work Books are Fantastic. I Graduated Berklee and Even Chaffee agree that Soph was the man

    • Nick
      Nick says:

      Really?!?! I’ve never heard of that before. Now I’ll have to give that a try. Thank of sharing….great story! Agreed, Ed is the man!

  3. Cooper Heffley
    Cooper Heffley says:

    Completely awesome! Thank you guys so much for this interview! So, I attended the UNT Summer Jazz Camp in high school 2 summers in a row. I believe I was 15 the first year I auditioned. Walk into a room with a drum kit and Ed sitting in the corner. Played the songs until he said stop, which wasn’t very long. He told me EVERYTHING I was doing wrong for about 15mins. I came out of the room where all my peers were waiting to audition and was red in the face and almost cried. Maybe like 1 single tear. Ha! (Lesson:Leave your emotions at the door.) Made a very low combo group that year. Practiced everyday the next year and listened to everything Ed Soph said to me for that 15mins. Came back the next year when I was 16 and played the tunes for Ed. I played through all the tunes and Ed looks at me and said something like, “Okay.” Made the top jazz group that year and had the best time. (Lesson:Listen.)Ed totally changed my drumming in 15mins and he’s absolutely one of the best teachers in world. Thanks Nick! Keep it up!

    • Nick
      Nick says:

      Cooper, that’s an amazing story! I’m sure that Ed would love to know that he completely changed your playing in 15 minutes. Incredible!

  4. Albert
    Albert says:

    Hello Nick!

    I was forwarded to this podcast from the DrummersWorld Forum. I have been inspired, motivated, and amazed!

    Thank you so much for a time well spent!

    • Nick
      Nick says:


      Wow, that’s awesome! I’m so glad to hear that people in the forums are suggesting DR! Thanks so much for stopping by and for sending me a note. Do you happen to have the link of where I can find the discussion? I’d love to say hello to everyone in the forum! Thanks!

  5. Tony
    Tony says:

    Every single time I hear one of the greats, be they respected musician or respected instructor (frequently they are BOTH), they use the same language. I suspect there is a reason for that similarity! Ha! Thanks for this resource. The link will be shared with all of my students and fellow teachers and musicians. Be well.

  6. Robert Castelli
    Robert Castelli says:

    I had the great pleasure and good fortune to study with Ed at the Westchester Conservatory of Music. I have studied with many great, well known drummers and the ones that affected me the most were Kim Plainfield and Ed Soph. We need more like him because these guys won´t be around for ever. And his Tony Williams quote I use when I give clinics. “How many of you here today are drummer?” that gets a laugh because it´s a drum clinic, but I´ve had bass players show up & people bring their wives/kids etc. The I ask “and how many of you are MUSICIANS who play the drums?” Thank you Ed

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