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Inspiring children through music

Micah Charles instructs a student on drumming at St John the Baptist RC, San Juan.

By Tenisha Sylvester

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). Indeed 31-year-old Micah Charles is sharing his talents by teaching children all about playing and maintaining the drum kit (drums and cymbals). Charles has an undeniable love for the instrument and all that it entails. He has been playing the drums professionally for the past 15 years and initially started teaching children the techniques he learnt while attending school. “Children enjoy the practical aspect and they kept coming back because I try to make the sessions as interactive as possible,” said Charles.

A total of 38 students attend his classes and learn the fundamentals of playing and a variety of techniques. He gives both private classes and free lessons. Charles, a member of the choir at the St John the Baptist RC Church utilises its facilities on Friday evenings and also has classes on Sundays at his Quarry Road home studio in San Juan. Many of his students have gone on to pursue different musical programmes locally with several of them currently enrolled at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Attending St Augustine Secondary School in his adolescence ignited the flame within Charles to begin playing the drum kit.  He said, “Since then I have been playing seriously for 15 years. I consider myself someone who is continuously learning because every day something new comes out whether it is a new song or musical technique.”

From very young Charles “fell in love” with music while looking at various bands on television. “The first band I fell in love with was Earth, Wind and Fire. I told myself one day that I would like to play a musical instrument. I was always interested in playing the drum kit,” he said.

Some of his favourite drummers include: local drummer Richard Millien, a drummer for the People of Praise Ministry, and internationally, Carter Beauford— the drummer for the Dave Matthews Band, Teddy Campbell and Sonny Emory. “They all have motivated me with their distinct styles of playing,” he commented.

After 15 years of experience refurbishing and renovating old drum kits for clients, in 2014 Charles his took his goals a step further by registering his company, The Drummer’s Centre.

Explaining what distinguishes The Drummer’s Centre from competitors Charles said, “Apart from my classes, I do restorations of worn-out drum kits for clients in a timely manner, so they do not need to purchase new ones. I enhance the basic drum kit because I would add on bar chimes, toc toc, donkey call, thunder tube, sambago bells and toga shells which are accessories for different sound effects, so as a drummer you do not need a percussionist.”

His services also include: cymbal restoration, parts repairs, sale of drum kits, accessories, rentals and tuning. Charles’ clientele consists of musicians and members of the general public on a budget but also want exemplary service.

The father of two daughters, Naomi, ten years, and Asia, three years, also finds time to pursue landscaping, general construction and civil engineering. He finances his business by working hard, saving and investing in his company.

Asked about his support system Charles replied, “I am self-motivated being a self-taught drummer and my additional motivation is the people that I please. Apart from that I have many supporters from St John the Baptist RC Church to the archbishop and family. But I do this from my heart, for my love of music and to satisfy people.”

Some students were eager to give an insight into why they love drumming with Charles. Thirteen-year-old Zane Frederick who attends Queen’s Royal College enjoys making rhythms and aspires to become an information technology teacher, judge and excel in sports.  Quan Hall, ten years, of St Xavier’s Private School, St Joseph said, “I enjoy drumming classes because of how Micah explains the different techniques and I can express how I feel when I play.”

One parent stated that her children Giovanna and Mateo Webster-Da Costa fell in love with drumming as Charles is very patient and allows his students to develop good techniques.

Charles’ future goals are to develop The Drummer’s Centre into a leading refurbishment business and to also get a larger studio where he can better provide all the services related to drumming at one fixed location.

“Once you have a dream, work on it and you will become successful, but you need to want it for yourself. Be a visionary and always trust in God.”

Micah Charles can be contacted via email: