John Doing was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where his father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-ups and concert arias, his mother (a school music teacher) taught John rhythms and rhymes. Soon, John was singing, tapping, and beat-boxing along with television and improvising his own melodies.
John attended the University of Wisconsin School of Music on a 4-year scholarship to study classical percussion. He performed in the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and the Wind Ensemble. John excelled in the World Percussion Ensemble, exploring songs and rhythms from Brazil, Cuba, and the Middle East. He developed passion for traditional Afro-Cuban rumba and batá, and Brazilian samba.
John has been a full-time musician ever since, performing several nights each week, teaching students, accompanying dance classes, and composing. He was in the Wisconsin National Guard Band from 2003-2009, and won a Madison Area Music Award in 2009 for "Instrumentalist of the Year". John performed in Madison with Chuchito Valdez (Cuba), Guillermo Anderson (Honduras), Philip Montalban (Nicaragua), and Bolokada Conde (Guinea). While in Wisconsin he formed Spectrum Trio, which performed his compositions at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and at the Juilliard Percussion Seminar. He composed Metabolic Dances (2009) for Jin-Wen Yu at the University of Wisconsin Dance Program; and Mali Denou: Children of Mali (2010) for the University of Minnesota at Moorhead State percussion ensemble.
While living in Brazil for several months, John studied constantly with many teachers of samba and other Brazilian styles in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Recife. He joined the band of Nildo Ribeiro and performed around Recife for Carnaval. In Africa, in Guinea and Mali, John studied djembe and Malinké music and performed on drumset, djembe, and dunduns in clubs, weddings, and ceremonies. He played on a recording of Malian djembefola Abdoul Doumbia, featuring some of Bamako's finest drummers.
From 2010 to 2012 he studied at New York University and completed his Master of Music degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music. He studied drumset, vibraphone, and jazz arranging with Dafnis Prieto, Stefon Harris, John Hadfield, Jean-Michel Pilc, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, John Benitez, Rich Shemaria, Dave Pietro, and Dave Schroeder. He performed with Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, John Benitez, and Mike Richmond. He performed weekly at the Peruvian Tutuma Social Club in Manhattan with many legendary Peruvians and studied and toured in Peru. John learned Flamenco in New York from Albert Alabedra and performed and recorded with Noemi Perez, Melissa Aldana, and Richie Flores. Other work in New York included the Broadway musical Fun Home at the Public theater, The Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, 55 Bar, Fat Cat, and many other music joints.
John currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He plays with the Oakland band Makeunder and commutes regularly to New York City for performances and recordings.
John Doing endorses Dream Cymbals and Gongs