Freddie Gruber Scholarship



Application Opens: 
March 1, 2024

Deadline to Apply: 
April 30, 2024


Freddie Gruber began his drumming career in New York in the late 1940s. He played in the only big band to feature bebop sax innovator Charlie Parker, and he became close friends with Buddy Rich, a relationship that continued until Buddy’s passing in 1987. In the early ’60s Gruber played his way through Chicago and Las Vegas, eventually arriving in Los Angeles, where he became a key player in that city’s jazz scene. But Gruber soon discovered his true calling—teaching others how to play drums. Over the next forty years, Freddie’s students included a cross-section of drummers whose playing profoundly influenced the music of the times, among them John Guerin, Ian Wallace, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Mike Baird, Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez, David Bronson, Peter Erskine, Burleigh Drummond, and Neil Peart. One early student, Don Lombardi, founded the Drum Workshop company. Freddie had an unparalleled understanding of the physical “dance” involved in playing the instrument—the ergonomic relationship of the drummer to the drums. Without ever trying to disrupt a particular drummer’s “character,” he helped each student discover, express, and refine his own voice.

 This annual, one-year scholarship, is to assist an incoming college freshman or current college student with tuition to an established, accredited institution of higher education, for the purpose of advanced study in the area of percussion, including but not limited to drumset. The scholarship is for one academic year, students may apply in subsequent years (no more than three years total). Applicant must be an active PAS Member. The scholarship monies will be paid directly to such institution. An expert panel will evaluate the student’s skills in the area of drumset performance.

Application Materials: 

  • Completed application
  • Letter of recommendation verifying age and school attendance
  • Video that is no longer than ten minutes in length

Criteria for Video:

  • Applicants must submit a video consisting of a performance demonstrating the essential elements of drumset performance: style, time keeping and general musicianship. The performer may choose the setting to exhibit these skills, i.e. solo, with small group, big band, etc.
  • The applicant must be visible throughout the submitted performance(s).

If you have any questions, please reach out to us by emailing

Contact Us

Percussive Arts Society
127 E. Michigan Street Suite 600
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499