Quick note about COVID... In addition to sanitizing common surfaces, I wear a mask during every lesson and require my students (and parents who stay during lessons) to wear a mask too. The drum room is approximately 13'x 35', so not a small space as drum rooms go. During warmups and pad-work we sit about 4' from each other facing a mirror, but on the drum sets, we're 6' apart.
Drum Lessons in Phoenix
(I'm not actually this cool, just a lucky photo by bassist and wonderful human, Troy Dixon!)
Whether you've been drumming for awhile or just getting started...
...the fastest way to improve is to study one-on-one with an experienced drummer who can help you set practical goals and work with you to reach them.
Goals you say? That sounds boring...like homework.
Sure there's work to do, but it's DRUMMING work, and what's more fun than that? Besides, without goals and a plan for achieving them, you'll end up practicing the same things over and over. You might even get bored, frustrated and give up. That would be sad, because drums are fun, and drummers are fun, and the world needs more of both!
A little secret
It's worth sharing that when I started playing drums at age 10, I was probably THE worst drummer to ever pick up sticks. I mean, I stunk big time! I had absolutely no natural ability. I couldn’t even clap to the beat of songs on the radio. I’m not kidding!
So no matter what your current ability is, I guarantee you I was worse! I got MUCH better though, and I can help you get better too!
A Bit About Me
I played drums and percussion throughout mid school and high school in the form of competitive marching band, concert band, symphonic band, and jazz band. I was an all-state percussionist, too.
Unfortunately, we couldn't afford regular drum lessons, so I studied and listened and worked a lot on my own. Without weekly drum lessons though, I learned everything slowly, and the hard way! It's not the best approach. Sure, you can set goals and figure things out on your own, but a qualified teacher will get you there faster and with a much stronger foundation.
After high school I headed to California for Musicians Institute. I'd known about "M.I." for years, mostly through Modern Drummer magazine. It was basically drummer Mecca for me and I was hell-bent on going. As I was grinding away at my stupid day job to earn cash for tuition (and hopefully enough savings so I could focus on school and practice) another musician told me about a place called The Grove School of Music. When I looked into their curriculum and who was teaching their drum program I opted for Grove, and absolutely loved it.
I was fortunate to study with David Garibaldi, Luis Conte, Peter Donald, Dan Greco, Chuck Silverman, and many other amazing and inspiring teachers, plus master classes with Jeff Porcaro, Alex Acuna, Ed Thigpen, Emil Richards and others.
Another great thing about Grove was that drummers were expected to learn music theory and harmony, and to compose music with melodies, chord progressions and structure. I’m definitely a better musician for it. I still practice and use lots of what I learned at Grove. I’d like to pass some of that on to you.
Nothin' flashy, just playing appropriately for the song.
Here's a video of me drumming to a great play-along track from Jim Riley's book "Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer." This is the type of work my students do here as well! Not only does it help identify areas that need work, it's really fun!
Learning a song note-for-note is a great way to hone your reading skills, listening skills, build on your vocabulary of grooves and fills, and of course practice your sense of timing and dynamics. "Figure it Out" by Royal Blood, is a song that a few of my students were working on, so I "figured" I'd better learn it too! Tip of the hat to Royal Blood's drummer, Ben Thatcher!
Repetition is an important part of practice. Playing something well once, doesn't mean you own it. To that end, I like creating musical loops to play with. You can build loops in Logic, GarageBand or any other DAW. I can show you how. This loop is only 60 seconds (for Insta), but I played this 40+ times before I was relatively satisfied.
I’ve been lucky to play in a variety of bands over the years, covering a range of musical styles: blues, jazz, funk, rock, pop and country. I’ve played for crowds of 20 people to 20,000 people.
These days I play drums with a diversely talented array of Arizona musicians whom I consider my extended family.
I'm always interested in other projects too: Drop me a line.
Let's get the ball rolling. Fill out the form below and I'll be in touch ASAP. This is NOT a mailing list opt-in.