My Story

Judy Bruneau

My father had been a drummer and was always playing big band music in the house while I was growing up. Once I discovered his old snare drum in the attic I was hooked. I started drum lessons at age nine and was playing in the drum corps by twelve; I loved hearing those drumlines in our local parades. Piano lessons followed in my teens as well as my first gigs in musical theater and a wedding band.

I studied music at UMass, Amherst, and earned a degree in percussion performance. While in college, I got my first taste of teaching at Deerfield Academy and the UMass Performing Arts Division.

I moved to D.C. after college and worked as a freelance musician and traveling teacher. I really branched out here and expanded my playing abilities through performances in orchestra, concert band, big band, chamber jazz groups, fife and drums, alternative rock and blues bands as well as cabaret and musical theater pits. Playing at the famed “Ford’s Theatre was one my most memorable gigs.

Before I left the DC Metropolitan area, I studied massage therapy and continued part-time work at the school as a teaching assistant and tutor. This is where I realized that teaching was my gift. My students always found me approachable-perhaps because I handled them with kid-gloves, the way I wished I had been handled when I cried in all those drum lessons, not feeling good enough. Those early experiences turned me into “the teacher I never had.”

I moved back to New England in my mid-thirties and resumed a career performing locally and teaching music privately. I really started to enjoy mentoring kids and teaching them discipline, responsibility, organization, ethics, treating others decently, etc. Along this path, I also taught informal classes in fitness and health maintenance.

Since returning to the Pioneer Valley, I’ve been transitioning my work to encompass all of my teaching experience over the years   Current projects include:

  • Group drumming

  • Fitness motivation group

  • Organizing your life & business consulting

  • Easy car maintenance class

  • Life skills class


Judy Bruneau teaches