About Cedar Sanctuary Studio

Cedar Sanctuary Studio is Southern Utah’s most unique and adaptive music studio, offering lessons in all styles of drumming, orchestral percussion, marching percussion, keyboard percussion, beginner guitar, beginner bass, theory/composition, improvisation on all instruments, transcription and chart-making.

Founder and teacher Jason Gottfried holds a BA in music performance from Western Kentucky University where he studied percussion with award-winning composer, conductor, marimba virtuoso Christopher Norton as well as composition with former Aaron Copland student and ASCAP Composer of the Year Charles Smith. He also studied percussion under John Feddersen at the Eastern Music Festival.  He began private drum study at age six and piano study at age ten and was playing as a drummer in musicals by the time he was in middle school.

From 2010 to 2013, Jason lived in Gainesville, Florida, performing, composing and recording with Levek, Orchal and Vir, Euglossine, Kane Pour, Jovian Junction Orchestra, MILAGROS, the UF Department of Theatre and Dance, Monroe Station, Kenji Rayne, and The Dirty River Band–performing with these groups as a drummer, vibist, guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist.  Prior to living in Gainesville, he played and recorded for years in Nashville as a drummer, vibist, percussionist, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist with artists and groups such as The Aeronauts, Kid B, Shane Ownby, Thee Japanese School Girls, Eddie V Garcia, Mandy Cook, Last Minute, The Trey Boyer Band, Melissa Medley, Penny Dale (of Nightbird), The Mickeys, The Danny Ray Martin Quintet, The Southern Fly-By-Night Singers, Kendall’s Overflown, Cape Town, the Disney Marching Band, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band, and the Belmont Percussion Ensemble. Jason performed as a guitarist at the John Hewitt in Belfast, Ireland as a part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival with Last Minute in 2009.  He also performed with the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001.

Currently, Jason is a writer and editor at The Independent. He has also been the editor of event magazine, SOKY Happenings; general manager of The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant in Nashville; and co-owner of Gainesville’s vegetarian restaurant, Book Lover’s Cafe.

Soon after moving to Utah, Jason co-founded the acoustic duos, Evergreen and Kaleidoscope and played as a drummer and bassist for variety act XLNT. So far, he’s played with Utahn musicians like Laura Lounsbury, Jake Ryan Shepard, Ryan Tilby, and Dave Bowen. He plays regularly with the Darin Caine Hellhound Express and David Jorgensen, with whom he also recorded an album. He has played at local music festivals like the Earth Day Festival at Zion Canyon and Groovefest. He collaborates with Sean McDonald, a Floridian composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer and owner of the tape label, Mmmm Sound. They have released two collaborative albums as Vesica Pisces, Optical Mystic! and Twin Yang. Additionally, he is working on his latest solo act, Electric Kirtan: loop-based music inspired by the traditional Hindu genre of devotional music known as kirtan, incorporating several instruments and voice and mixing elements of live composition and improvisation.

Jason has taught, composed for, and arranged for drumlines and front ensembles at Barren County High School in Glasgow, KY; Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green High School, and Greenwood High School in Bowling Green, KY; Ballard High School in Louisville, KY; and McGavock high School in Nashville, TN where he also directed the McGavock High School Percussion Ensemble.  He has also been teaching music privately since 2002.

Nominated the KMEA Outstanding Collegiate Composer in 2002, Jason writes songs and composes and arranges music for soloists, mixed ensembles and electronic media.  His transcriptions have been performed at the Percussive Arts Society National Convention, the PAS Day of Percussion, and in universities by percussion ensembles including Project 166 and Sympatico Percussion Group (Susan Powell, Joseph Krygier, Christopher Norton, Scott Herring, and Kris Keeton).

Jason teaches various styles of drumset, orchestral percussion, and keyboard percussion, catering to a variety of learning styles, ages, and ability levels with a teaching style that is flexible, comprehensive, and adapted to the student’s specific goals. He teaches both sight reading and playing by ear–both skills are invaluable.  He teaches both general ear training and training specifically for timpanists.

Jason offers beginner guitar and bass lessons as well as theory/composition and improvisation lessons on all instruments, and he strongly encourages students to try more than one instrument and to learn about music theory, believing that both deepen one’s understanding of how music works.

Jason also offers transcription and chart-making lessons. Whether you are auditioning for a band or simply trying to learn songs, it’s essential to know how to make a chart or lead sheet. Over the years, Jason has created a system—similar to the Nashville Number System—for drums, guitar, and bass that is quick and easy to make but will keep you nailing songs from the first rehearsal until the last gig. You don’t even need staff paper!


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