Even when he's not playing the drums, Northal "Not" Gaddy is in motion to the rhythm of a beat.
"Everybody has a beat on the inside, and we take it for granted," said Mr. Gaddy, the owner of IDRUM2U - The Not Gaddy Drum and Piano Studio, which is on Damascus Road in Augusta. "It's called a heartbeat. Without it, you don't exist."
Mr. Gaddy teaches simple drum lessons to students ages 4 to 62 to demonstrate that anyone can play the drums.
Garey Cromwell, 15, of North Augusta, has taken lessons from Mr. Gaddy for five years.
"I enjoy taking classes here because I learn something new every week," Garey said, adding that he also plays drums at his church and is a member of Do Right Unto Mankind - a nonprofit group that provides team-building workshops and seminars in the community. "We just have fun."
For the past seven years, Mr. Gaddy, who used to give lessons in his home before he opened his studio, said IDRUM2U has offered classes such as piano, drum, guitar, bass guitar, group lessons, drum circles, recreational health drumming, voice coaching and music business workshops.
"It's a full-rhythm school with a five-member staff," he said.
Mr. Gaddy said he allows his cultural influences to steer him in teaching different drum rhythms. He also uses ethnic instruments such as the djembe, tubano and conga.
Growing up listening to rhythm and blues and gospel music, Mr. Gaddy said, he first fell in love with playing drums when he was a young child. He said his mother would take him to homecoming and Christmas parades in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., where he would beat his drum to the marching band's beat.
"Drumming was all in my heart," he said. "I saw that if I could drum, people would be happy."
Realizing his gift at an early age, Mr. Gaddy would go to the music store and teach himself how to read music every Saturday after delivering newspapers, he said. From there, he continued his training at Winston-Salem State University and earned a degree in performance.
After college, he joined the military and served as an Army bandsman and traveled throughout the world, performing in Europe, Japan and Australia.
After retiring from the military, Mr. Gaddy started teaching music in public schools in North Augusta, Augusta and in continuing education courses at what was then Augusta College.
"This has been in my heart since I was a little kid," he said. "This is what I have always done."
For more information, visit www.notgaddydrums.com.
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