From his earliest days of studying drums and percussion, Garwood (Gar) Whaley has been surrounded by talented and accomplished musicians. His earliest teachers hailed from Juilliard and the West Point Band, so it's no wonder that developing a solid background in performance AND education would become the hallmark of his successful legacy in music. Of course, adding Morris Goldenberg and Saul Goodman (while studying at Juilliard himself) to the list didn't hurt his chances at success!
That doesn't mean that Gar hasn't suffered setbacks – as we all have. Being "next in line" for Saul's recommendation for a professional orchestra job was sidetracked with a draft notice from Uncle Sam. An early decision to sell the rights to his first method books prevented him from reaping the financial rewards from their hugely popular success. But each time, life's twists and turns became a blessing for Gar. Instead of a symphony gig, he landed a spot with the U.S. Army Band ("Pershing's Own") and was able to complete his Masters and Doctorate degrees from The Catholic University of America. In fact, selling the rights to his first books spurred him to start his own music publishing company.
Along the way, teaching privately and providing instrumental music education to thousands of students in Catholic Schools in Northern Virginia demonstrated to Gar that there were opportunities to help students around the world by creating much needed educational materials. This simple opportunity eventually resulted in his authorship of 30+ books that have sold over 400,000 copies. With the addition of numerous publications from like-minded friends and colleagues to his catalog, Gar managed to create a full library of resources to aid the percussion instructor and band director.
In addition to the many awards he's received, the Percussive Arts Society recently inducted Whaley into the P.A.S. Hall of Fame. It is an honor that's the culmination of a lifetime of following his passion – to create music and to help students and teachers in the process.