By Angel Nogueras
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Rob Smith does not only teach at three colleges and play in several bands, but he is soon to be an author as well.
The 44-year-old adjunct has a bachelor’s degree in American history and jazz performance from the Temple University. He holds a master’s degree in jazz history and research from Rutgers University.
Smith shares his knowledge of American history, jazz performance and jazz history with students attending Camden County College, Rutgers University-Newark and Bucks County Community College. Smith teaches subjects from music history to jazz history, conducting ensembles at all three colleges and even holding private drum/percussion lessons as well.
As to why he is teaching at the college level, Smith said, “I’ve done all other levels – elementary, middle and high school, but this is the level I should be teaching because of the leverage,” which allows him the freedom to teach what he wants in the way he feels is best.
Toby Warfel, a liberal arts major who intends on switching to a music career program, said, “Professor Smith is great. He is very knowledgeable about music, especially jazz. I’ve learned how to read music sheets better now than ever before. I would recommend him to my friends or anyone who needs a humanities course.”
After school hours, Smith transforms from a music professor for three colleges to what he is accustomed to doing since he was 10 years old – playing the drums. Smith plays for several bands. One of the bands is the Mike Monterey Band (MMB). MMB is an original rock band that plays what Smith would call “Bruce Springsteen American old rock.” Another of the bands is the Hoppin’ John Orchestra. The Hoppin’ John Orchestra plays a mixture of modern/historic jazz, pre-rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues.
“With the MMB, we want to make a living out of it, but we not looking to be millionaires and fame is not the goal,” Smith said of his work in the bands.
Although Smith started playing drums at age 10, he said it wasn’t until he was 25 years old that he was doing it correctly. Smith studied under jazz legend Joe Morello, who won the Downbeat Magazine award for best drummer five years in a row.
“Joe taught me how to hold the stick properly, how to read music, but most importantly he was my role model,” Smith said.
Smith is in the process of writing an autobiography about his good friend Morello. Smith wrote for Modern Drum Magazine in 2003 and 2008 and Drum Business Magazine in 2007. He has a blog on which he gives students, faculty and the public tips about starting a band and owning a business. The blog is at http://jabondo-thestateimin.blogspot.com/.