Leo Sitting in Boomwhackers
Photo By Leo Brooks

About Leo

At an early age Leo Brooks used to pull the pots and pans out of the cupboard to bang on them. While most children outgrow this, he never really did, and his love of drumming and percussion has been developing ever since. 

He was raised in Alberta, where he earned his Bachelor of Music with distinction at University of Lethbridge in 1996, but moved to the Ottawa/Gatineau region shortly after. There he strove to increase his experience and knowledge of drumming traditions from around the world. Through his enterprise known as Treefrog Percussion, (Founded in the year 2000) he has built, refurbished and repaired hundreds of drums and other percussion instruments. He has also worked and travelled extensively as a Workshop Instructor and Drum Circle Facilitator. 

Ever pursuing his lifelong love or learning and developing new skills, he returned to the U of L in the summer of 2019 to begin his Individualized Multidisciplinary Masters of Arts. He will graduate with distinction in the fall of 2022.

Leo Brooks was born in Calgary in 1974. In his youth, he was influenced by one of the great drummers of our time: Animal from the Muppet Show. He got his first real drum at Christmas when he was 9 year old and never looked back.

After doing the school band in junior high, he studied percussion privately with Gordon Chadney. In high school he was accepted into the Mount Royal Academy of music and was a member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra. He continued his studies at the University of Lethbridge and graduated with honours in 1996 with a Bachelor’s in Music. During his time in Lethbridge he was a member of the Lethbridge Symphony and the 1995 National Youth Band of Canada.

After moving to Ottawa in 1997, Leo became engrossed with hand drumming traditions from around the world, particularly the West African Djembe. He soon started teaching Hand Drumming classes for children and adults at the Ottawa Folklore Centre and continued to teach there for 8 years. He played djembe and balafon with a number of local ammateur and semi-professional groups, including Pecussimo, Yayé and Kunundrum. In 2005 he underwent a 3 month study tour of West Africa to further deepen his understanding of this musical tradition.

During this time, Leo also founded Treefrog Percussion, his company which builds and repairs hand drums and other percussion instruments. He continues to make beautiful, Hand-Crafted instruments from domestic and exotic hardwoods.

Since 2006, in addition to his work with Treefrog Percussion, Leo has been contracted to do hand drumming workshops in communities throughout the national capital region and beyond, particularly in elementary schools. He also conducts highly successful drum building workshops with children, allowing them to design and create a instrument of their own in a variety of styles. Since embarking on these ventures, Leo has introduced hand drumming to thousands of students, and built almost 5000 drums in school classrooms.

Leo is also practiced in the art of drum circle facilitation, and has studied with the father of the drum circle movement, Arthur Hull, both at home and abroad. In 2009 he started Rainbow Rhythm Circles, a project which seeks to build community through rhythm. He has conducted a large number of team building and leadership workshops for government, labour union, corporate and educational institutions.

In 2019 began his Masters of Arts degree. He is enrolled in an Individualized Multidisciplinary program, working at the intersection of Music, Education and New Media. Leo resides in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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