Simon Hill

Simon Hill

Bio

Musician, Drum Maker and Educator Simon Hill.

BFA Pitzer College, MFA Cal Poly Pomona

I am educator an artist and a musician.

 

   As an educator I currently teach fifth grade and encourage my students to delve their interests and to see what they discover. With my focus area in teaching mathematics I continue to explore patterns I have learned to learned though the arts. Almost all cultures historically have shared the usage of drums for hunting, communication,

ritualistic functions, and other forms of the human experience. I find this fascinating and continue with my endeavor to bring people together through the common rhythms we all share.

 

    I first met clay my freshman year of high school and followed that fascination through MtSac where I made traditional and mostly functional vessels. Around that time I discovered the work os  Mickey Hart, percussionist; an ethnomusicologist; who studied and plays drums with other musicians from around the world.  I dove deep into The ancient, ritualistic world of percussion and the physics of creating functional sound chambers. From which I was led, or found my way, to three true masters in their field that provided true guidance and wisdom. Brian Ransom, 

Paul Soldner and Carl Hertel.

 

   Brian Ransom, a master ceramic instrument maker and musician who invited me to apprentice at his studio and taught me most all the tricks of the trade of drum making. Paul Soldner, Master ceramicist, who opened my eyes to an infinite number of possibilities of firing and  developing ceramic art. And Carl Hertel. my educational path mentor, who helped me to craft my BA degree in art and percussive studies. In these classes, co-designed by Carl and myself at Scripps, Pomona College, and Pitzer; I studied ethnomusicology, physics of sound chambers, musical performance/theory, and fine art.

 

   I continued in the field of Ceramics and spent seven months in West Africa studying wood carving, mainly in Nigeria. I studied with a 6th generation Yoruba master wood carver named Shagun while working 6 days a week for 10 to 12 hours a day hand carving wood drums and masks in a traditional carving Studio. My love affair with Clay has a duration of 43 years so far. 

 

   In my role as an educator I still go back to that pulse, that commonality. This passion and pursuit of making drums and other instruments which has lasted to this day. I continue to make drums that are both functional and also ritualistic pieces of art to  elicit joy and respond to one's heartbeat, which we all share around the world.