Ted Sirota was born May 3, 1969 in Champaign, IL and grew up in South Suburban Chicago, in Flossmoor, IL. Ted began playing drums and percussion in 1980 at the age of 10. By age 15, after hearing the great Max Roach perform at The Jazz Showcase, Sirota decided (against all warnings!) to pursue a career in music. In high school Ted developed a love for both Reggae music and Jazz, and was inspired to play his instrument by drummers like Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Sly Dunbar, Carlton Barrett, and Style Scott.
After graduating from High School, Sirota left Chicago for Boston to attend Berklee College of Music in the fall of 1987. Shortly after arriving in Boston, Sirota began studying with the legendary Jazz drummer/teacher Alan Dawson at his home in Lexington, MA. Dawson’s methods and guidance had a profound and lasting impact on Sirota’s drumming style. Ted’s tenure at Berklee was a crucial period in his development as a young musician.
Along with studying with Dawson, Ted studied with Boston drumming legend Joe Hunt at Berklee. Hunt’s unique musical conception and teaching style, combined with Dawson’s emphasis on technique and musicality, helped to form a musical road map for Ted’s studies and development.
This was a fertile time for musicians at Berklee, and Ted absorbed as much as possible by playing with and learning from his peers and teachers. Ted met guitarist Jeff Parker in early 1988, and the two formed an enduring musical friendship that continues to this day. Sirota jammed frequently with other students/friends such as Lalah Hathaway, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, Dwayne Burno, Antonio Hart, Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Geoff Keezer, Chris Cheek, Jorge Rossy, Joshua Redman, and many others.