Dave holds a Masters of Music in Jazz & Studio Music (drum set) from the University of Memphis. At Memphis, he studied jazz drums with Nashville studio drummer, Karlton Scott and Memphis jazz mainstay, Mike Assad. He also attended Appalachian State University where he studied studied jazz drums with Rick Dilling, orchestral and ethic percussion with Ludwig Publishing composer, Scott Meister and Philador Percussion Group member Rob Falvo. While at ASU, he also studied frame drum with Glen Velez, and timpani with North Carolina Symphony principal timpanist, Chris Dean.
Dave has over 20 years teaching experience in the US, Germany, Hungary, and the UK, including clinics, masterclasses, lessons, and classroom lectures. He has spent the past 15 years in higher education in the US.
As a jazz drummer, he has performed around the country with artists such as Cordone and Kilgore, Steve Luciano, Suzy Park, Scott Montgomery, the CFC Arts Big Band, The Joshua Glen Wilson Trio, the Sy Rosenberg Big Band, Gerald Stephens, The Bebop Broadcasting Network, The Neal Bowen Trio, Wally West, and his own combo – The Teachers’ Lounge.
Dave has over 23 years of professional musical theater experience covering a broad range of shows and company levels from community theater to professional productions. Performances range from Fiddler on the Roof to Footloose and from The Secret Garden to Sweeney Todd. As a theater musician—and especially as a theater drummer—he has leveraged his extensive musical experience to gain a deeper understanding of jazz forms, phrasings, dynamics, harmonic structure, and song craft. To understand Broadway is to understand jazz, this being no more evident than by exploring how often jazz musicians borrow from its composers.
He served as music director and jazz arranger for the 2016 Orlando Fringe Festival production of A Night at Sara’s Lounge, and the upcoming Cordone & Kilgore’s 80’s Night. Additionally, He has also served as music director for jazz engagements including corporate performances at the Ritz Carlton and local events.
Beyond his experience as a jazz drummer, Dave has performed with rock/pop artists Dani McCulloch of American Idol, Donnie Smith of Winger, Crazy & the Crutch, Dave Isaacs, The Kathryn Stallins Band, Rob Caudill & the Tonight’s the Night Band, and contemporary Christian artists Vicky Beeching, Aaron Strumpel, Autumn Fox, Cayerio, the beep, and Marty Parks. He can also be heard on drums, vibraphone, blues harmonica, and with drum programming on recorded projects from Unified Sounds, Lillenas Publishing, Nazarene Publishing House, Visible Music College, Inside Sounds, Madison Line Records, and Ardent Studios.
With over 115 works to his credit, Dave’s compositional emphasis is on commercial and film music. His expertise ranges from orchestral to electronic music production with works being featured on the NFL of CBS, College Football on CBS, The Masters Tournament, The PGA, The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as well as projects with Sony, Mediacom, Timid Monster, and other local Central Florida businesses.
Dave began his career in higher education in 2002 at Visible Music College in Memphis, TN. As the percussion division head, Dave developed and oversaw the curriculum for the percussion program, taught applied private drums set lessons, taught percussion masterclasses, planned student events and group trips, coordinated fundraising efforts, and was responsible for student recruitment into the program.
As a music professor at Visible, Dave had many duties beyond the percussion program. He developed curriculum and taught several courses for the college that include Repertoire and Improvisation, Electronic Music and Technology, History of Popular Music, World Music and Cultures, Music History, and Music Theory.
Beginning in 2009, Dave accepted the role of Music Department Chair. In addition to my continued teaching duties, he managed and supervised the music faculty and their respective divisions (songwriting, guitar, bass, keyboard, and vocals). This position also required him to work closely with the Academic Dean and Vice President for Academics in the areas of staff recruitment, budget planning, and institutional effectiveness and assessment.
Since 2012, Dave has served as a Course Director of music composition at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. There he developed and taught curriculum that prepares students for engaging careers in an ever-changing entertainment industry. He has substantial experience with both on-campus lecturing as well as online course delivery, virtual lectures (via live webinars), video feedback, and LMS integration.
Member SESAC, the Percussive Arts Society, and Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity. Former member ASCAP, IAJE, and MENC.
Film production is a constant game of balancing turnaround time, budget, and quality, and Dave is one of the few time-tested professionals who delivers on all three. I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else.
Dan Baker – Film Maker/Producer, Timid Monster
Dave Kropf is a versatile and wonderfully talented musician and composer. We are fortunate to be able to call him friend, teammate and a part of our RRHOT family!
Rob Aster – Publisher/Producer, Radical Rob’s House of Tunes
Finding someone with the talent, personality and reliability that Dave brings to a session or show is a godsend. He not only has exceptional follow through and communication but also the musical knowledge and chops to play with the best of the best. As soon as we get a booking he’s our first call!
Natalie Cordone – Vocalist, Cordone and Kilgore.
Wow Wow wow!!! Totally nailed the music!
Patricia Wolfe – Television Producer/Director, ABC, NFL, Autism Speaks
I think our message comes across with great emotion and is very touching.
Tracy Brown – Trustee/Chair, Monmouth Medical Center Foundation
Nailed the emotional content. Bam!
Stephen Cox – Owner/Producer, Unified Sounds
Dave is one of the best instructors I’ve had at Full Sail. He’s professional, patient, explains things clearly, and demonstrates by example.
Full Sail Student