About Damon Martinez
Damon Martinez began playing the drums when he was 11 years old. He started by hosting jam sessions at his home and jamming with his friends to cover songs by popular rock/pop artists. Soon, he began writing music with various bands that he and his friends formed and performed with at school events, birthday parties, and public shows in San Antonio, his hometown.
While pursuing formal studies in percussion in middle and high school, Damon also achieved personal accomplishments such as receiving first place at the 2007 P.A.S.I.C. solo marimba competition, earning a spot in the top All-State Orchestra, and studying at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artist’s Orchestra program and the Juilliard Summer Percussion Symposium. He also marched with the Ronald Reagan High School marching band, one of the most successful marching bands in the country at the time.
After graduating from high school, Damon pursued a music performance degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Along the way, he achieved numerous personal successes, such as winning the school’s concerto competition, touring and recording as the youngest member in one of the school’s elite “new music” chamber ensembles, and spending summers performing with the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra and Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Damon continued jamming with friends throughout his time at Eastman.
After graduation, Damon returned to San Antonio to continue creating music and jamming with friends. Eventually, he ended up in Los Angeles, where he recorded and performed with various artists, including Dawn Richard, playing drum set and electronic percussion at venues such as Webster Hall in New York City and at SXSW for numerous events, including the SPIN Magazine showcase at Stubbs and the Pitchfork showcase. In 2021, he toured Germany as a percussionist with the Neue-Philharmonie orchestra of Berlin.
Damon has taken private lessons with many of the country’s top orchestral percussionists, timpanists, solo percussionists, and drum set players and teachers. He has developed a broad array of teaching methods, resources, and ideas that he shares with his students. His lessons focus on developing his students’ ability to read and interpret various types of musical notation and form charts. He also teaches them how to utilize common grooves, styles, rudiments, exercises, and warm-ups to develop their own technique and musicality. He emphasizes improvisation and encourages his students to bring their own creative voices into everything they play. Each lesson is a synthesis of physical, intellectual, and creative energies, and of course, includes jamming.