PAS Hall of Fame

Roy C. Knapp

by Frederick D. Fairchild

(b. Oct. 26, 1891; d. June 16, 1979)


Known as the "Dean of American Percussion Teachers," Roy C. Knapp's long tenure in Chicago dated from 1921. He became well known as a drummer, percussionist, and xylophone soloist, recording and working for the large radio stations. From 1928-1950, he was on the staff of station WLS, playing such shows as The National Barn Dance. In 1938 he started the Roy C. Knapp School of Percussion, which received college accreditation in 1946, allowing it to offer the B.M. degree and the Performer’s Certificate. He became widely recognized as a teacher, and his roster of former students included Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Dave Tough, Baby Dodds and Bobby Christian. Knapp retired from playing in 1960, but continued teaching, running his school and his own drum shop until 1966, when he accepted Maurie Lishon’s invitation to teach at Franks Drum shop, where he continued until his death in 1979.

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