In a career spanning more than 50 years as a teacher, author and performer, Gary has traveled the world introducing literally thousands of students to his unique concepts. Having performed with numerous bands and given clinics in England, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Norway Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Yugoslavia, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, Brazil, Finland, Canada, Croatia, as well as innumerable events in the US. His influences on the drumming world are substantial.

"Gary doesn't teach you how to play a beat, he teaches you how to conceptualize a style. In one day, he changed my whole perception of playing." 

- David Beal:
Joe Cocker,
Jullian Lennon

During his tenure as Chairman of the Percussion Department at the Berklee College of Music as well as in his own private teaching studio in Boston Gary worked with some of the top players in the industry. Names like Vinnie Colaiuta, JR Robinson, Steve Smith, Kenwood Dennard, David Beal, Joey Kramer, and Larry Mullen Jr. all studied with Gary. Hundreds of other successful drummers came out of his "school" of drumming. 

"Gary has a certain method of teaching polyrhythms and independence that's really cool. He shows you how it's broken down and what it's based on. It is really interesting and is planned out very intelligently."

- Vinnie Colaiuta: Frank Zappa, Sting

As an author Gary has released many books demonstrating his unique concepts. Among these are his highly popular 4-volume Patterns series as well as two companion videos. His newest book, "Odd-Time Stickings' continues this tradition of unique and trailblazing ideas.

"After playing on my own for 20 some odd years, Gary Chaffee has helped me to open up new doors for myself. My playing is now more fun and more challenging." 

- Joey Kramer:

Throughout his career Gary has organized many different and innovative percussion ensembles. At his first teaching gig at Western Illinois University he started a large ensemble that explored group improvisation. Then, after moving to Boston to teach at Berklee he created a unique Jazz/Rock ensemble which combined a large percussion group (three drumset players, three mallet players, and four percussionists) with a rhythm section featuring guitar great Bill Frisell, bassist Kermit Driscoll and pianist Jim Burt. This ensemble was so successful that it became the first one from Berklee to ever go out on tour, playing at a variety of venues throughout New England. 

Having been familiar with Gary’s materials for a few years, I feel that they are really in touch with the directions that drumming is going in. The books open the doors to many new ideas, and are presented in a way that people can grasp.

- David Garibaldi, Tower of Power

Gary Chaffee is not only a Master Drummer, but also a Master Instructor. The Patterns books should be included in every drumset player’s library. The volume on stickings offers limitless possibilities. Most stimulating for the creative juices.

- Ed Thigpen, Jazz Great

Perhaps the most unique and innovative ensemble Gary was involved with was a duo that he formed with drummer Steve Houghton. With performances throughout the US as well as in Canada and England, this ensemble garnered rave reviews wherever it went. Although much of the music was improvised the skill and camaraderie of the two performers was evident from the first note to the last Gary said, "Of all the groups I have played in, this is the one I'll miss the most."

Every time I open Gary’s books, I discover many new and innovative ideas to add to my drum vocabulary. These materials are a must for all serious players at any level.

- Jonathan Mover, Joe Satriani


Noisy Old Men Features Mick Goodrick (guitar), John Abercrombie (guitar), and Steve Swallow (bass).

Quintology: Features Greg Hopkins (trumpet), Bill Pierce (sax), Mick Goodrick (guitar), Jim Stinnett (bass), Gary Chaffee (drums).

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Biorhythms: Features Mick Goodrick (guitar), Harvie Swartz (bass), Gary Chaffee (drums).

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Sunscreams: Features Mick Goodrick (guitar), Jerry Bergonzi (sax) Bruce Gertz (bass), Gary Chaffee (drums).

Reality Check: Features Greg Hopkins (trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet), Bill Pierce (tenor saxophone), Mick Goodrick (guitar), Tim Ray (piano), Dave Zinno (contrabass), Gary Chaffee (drums).


Rhythm & Meter Patterns introduces the student to a wide range of rhythmic and metric possibilities, including odd rhythms, mixed meters, polyrhythms, and metric modulation.

In Sticking Patterns, Gary's unique approach to the use of stickings is explored. Completely different from the rudiments, Gary's system is designed specifically for drum set performance, both for creating time feels as well as for filling and soloing. Also included are sections on accented single strokes, as well as the use of double strokes on the set.

Time Functioning Patterns includes materials dealing with rock cymbal ostinatos, jazz independence, and the new linear phrasing concept that Gary developed.

In Technique Patterns, the student is challenged with a variety of routines designed to increase technical facility in the hands and feet. Included are exercises on finger control, endurance, multiple-note playing, hand-foot combinations and more.

With CD!
This book from Gary Chaffee contains his continuing exploration of linear time playing. The first section will help students to develop basic linear playing skills, voice coordination, dynamic balance, accenting, and more. The second section deals with the development od time feels in the linear style, including 4/4, half-time, shuffle, and odd meters. Ample space is provided for the student to create his or her own ideas.

This book is an extension of Gary Chaffee's popular Sticking Patterns. Since the use of different meters has become much more common in contemporary music, the book explores how stickings can be used in a variety of odd meters. It includes a number of sticking phrases for each meter that can then be used to create your own time feel and solo ideas.

This video focuses on phrasing and motion. Steve Smith, a former student of Gary's, makes a special appearance to demonstrate the techniques explained on this video in an unbelievable solo performance.

This video focuses on sticking time feels, linear motion and rhythm and meter. Jonathan Mover, a former student of Gary's, makes a special appearance to demonstrate the techniques explained on this video in a fabulous solo performance.