sam’s disciples

Sam with Rome’s Roberto Pistolesi:

“Sam’s the greatest teacher ever!”


“To me a mentor is more than a teacher. A mentor is somebody who helps us along life’s path, somebody who helps us with more than the subject they’re actually teaching and Sam definitely fits in that category.”

Linda Jaffe, mother of a drum student

“His enthusiasm towards what he loves - he loves this music, the art form, he loves his instrument.  He loves drums - and he loves people, most of all. “

Marvin “Smitty” Smith

“When you’re a great teacher, you know how to transmit that love of your craft.” When you’re a great teacher you know how to transmit that fun, that love of your craft.  That’s Sam.”

Tony “Thunder” Smith

“The lessons with Sam were always fun and interesting.  His methods, of course, were controversial.  But his methods worked.”


“When I play a set now my hands flow across the set all the time. 

I don’t lose time, my hands don’t sweat; I used to have a bad problem with that before I went to him. “


“What separates him from teachers that I’ve had, is that he’s paid a lot of attention to things aside from the actual notes on the page…he’s taught me a lot about preparation, to be prepared for anything that might come up. “

Paul Rubino

“He taught me Greek 7/8 and Greek 3/4; no one ever taught me that. He taught me about Horas, another variation of Calypso, Reggae, Tarantella ...  People, if you ask them, don’t want to show you;

I appreciate that Sam broadened my scenario.“


“After a few month’s experience, I started playing with a school band and they really needed me - I’m the only one in the school that can read.!” 


Giovanni (middle school student)

(Sam worked Monday afternoons in the Alex Musical Instruments store on West 48th St. from 1980 - 1985;  many young drummers met him for the first time there, and often ended up becoming students.)

“I went in to Alex’s Music Store.   Sam whipped out one of his books and challenged me to play the page down and offered me a drum set if I did.  I got about two-thirds of the way down the page and choked.  I stayed and talked to Sam for a while about music, about the stuff he had written, and found myself back there a week later asking if I could study with him.” 

Jonathan Kane

“People say to me - 

‘John, at this point in your career, why are you still studying

And why are you still studying with Sam Ulano?’

It’s because I’ve been successful at what I’m doing and I’m able to

make a living through music;  why change a winning coach?” 

John Sarracco, Sam’s longest drum student  -  44 yrs!

Sam’s passion for music, progressive approach to drum instruction and interactive tutoring style has attracted thousands of students over his 76-year-long teaching career.  His students include John Sarracco, Alan Schwartzberg, Joe Bonadio, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Rudy Collins, Mousey Alexander, Ron Tierno, Dave Bailey, Billy Taylor, Stu Martin, Charlie Perry, Stan Spector, Russ Moy, Bill Rotella, Glen Weber, Fred Klatz, Les Jenkins, Barry Altschul, Tony “Thunder” Smith and many, many others.

If you’re one of Sam’s former students and want to send in a testimonial, please e-mail it to us at