"Playing music opens vistas for you," he says. "You have a broader sense of what's possible in life."
At the age of four, Dean Aman started experimenting on the full set of drums his uncle kept in the family living room. He later studied with Ed Thigpen, best known for his work in the Oscar Peterson Trio, and took a number of courses at the Eastman School of Music while an undergraduate at the University of Rochester. Even after he began preparing for a legal career at the University of Chicago Law School, Dean Aman continued playing drums as a hobby, both live and on local radio.
Later, while a professor of law at Cornell, Dean Aman joined the Greenhouse Effect, a bebop band initially formed by several Cornell undergraduates studying environmental policy. His many collaborators throughout the years have ranged from undergraduates to music professors, and one of his groups even recorded a CD two years ago-though you're forgiven if you somehow missed its release date. "You cannot buy these in stores," Dean Aman jokes. "Operators are not standing by."
While jazz and law may seem strange bedfellows, Dean Aman finds a strong correlation between the two. Like top musicians, "great lawyers must have imagination and creativity," he says. Or as Dean Aman put it to the incoming Suffolk Law class this fall:
"The study of law and the study of music have important things in common: the development of technique and then the creative application of that technique to the legal problem or piece of music at hand. Your instrument is the law, and your mastery of it means at first mastering certain basic techniques: reading more carefully than ever before and writing more clearly and precisely than you may have imagined was possible."
ALUMNI PROFILESLance D. Clarke