Background, professional training and performance history
Merlin Showalter’s experience spans the musical gamut from rock to jazz, country to hip-hop, funk to salsa, breakbeat and beyond. Graduated from the University of Oregon School of Music with a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance, he is classically trained in addition to having performed with various bands throughout the Pacific-Northwest. Merlin has performed in cruise ships around the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and has performed in over 20 musical theatre and ballet productions. He has been a featured soloist with the Oregon Jazz Ensemble, Oregon Percussion Ensemble, the Emerald City Jazz Kings, and more. He has performed with a variety of notable artists such as jazz piano heavyweight Danilo Perez, Motown girl-group The Crystals, and comedy legend Rich Little. Merlin has also won awards for drumming in events such as Guitar Center’s Drum-Off and the Sabian Cymbal Award in the Reno Jazz Festival. In addition to performing around the West Coast, Merlin is also an active studio session musician and frequent participant in the Oregon Festival of American Music.
Artist statement and teaching philosophy
“Why do we study music? For me, it ultimately boils down to a fundamental desire for self-expression. Music is a language, and mastering a musical instrument is a means to gain the fluency to express oneself without limits. I see myself as a perpetual student of my instrument. There is always something more to discover, and it is that discovery process that keeps me hungry to learn. For my students, I hope to foster this desire for exploration and discovery in them. With that, they will go on well beyond their student years continuing to become more and more fluent in their language of self-expression. It is also part of my teaching philosophy to integrate some music theory and history into lessons, as to give students context for their instrument's role in an ensemble and the different music styles they play. It is my hope as a teacher to give students not only solid foundations in their playing, but to also equip them with the necessary tools to help them attain their next level of ability, regardless of their musical background. As I consider myself a perpetual student of drumming, I hope to pass on a desire to always continue growing as a drummer and as a musician, helping other students perfect their language of self-expression.”
Instruments & classes taught
Merlin teaches drum set of all styles -- rock, jazz, funk, fusion, latin, country, hip-hop, breakbeat, anything! -- from the absolute beginner to advanced techniques and concepts. All ages are welcome. Merlin also teaches classical percussion (concert snare drum, mallet percussion, tympani, auxiliary percussion) and hand percussion (congas, bongos, djembe).