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Most of my students have never played drums before studying with me. With beginners I believe it's most important to learn a good technique for striking the drums as well as introducing the student to fundamental rhythms and musical practices. Many students want to learn to jam immediately and that's great. I suggest learning some basic reading as well as playing by memory and improvising. It is also fun and beneficial for beginners or advanced players to play drums to recorded music. I do often bring in new custom written material for the student as a supplement to their etude book.
I often ask my students to bring in a song that they have been listening to and want to learn the drum beat for. We then deconstruct what the drummer is doing and figure out the best way to replicate the drum beat. I then address any technique or coordination issues that the student may run into and we work on exercises to comfortably perform the drum beat. This style of reverse-engineering is very helpful in teaching students how to figure out drum beats on their own by using their ears. I also have two drum kits in my studio which allows me to quickly demonstrate exercises and also drum along with my students.
I am interested in music of many cultures and I specialize in drum set, African drumming, keyboard percussion, and orchestral percussion. I also play steel drums and guitar. I have performed with numerous professional orchestras including the Federal Way, Tucson, Phoenix, and Juneau symphonies and was the principal percussionist and timpanist for the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra in Arizona. I have a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance with a minor in Ethnomusicology.
My teaching experience varies for each of the instruments I instruct. I began teaching private lessons for guitar in 2004. My voice instruction began in 2009, and the rest of the listed instruments I began to teach in 2012. I believe consistent daily practice is essential for improvement in my students, and encourage my students to log their practice time. In the words of my professor Todd Woodbury, "You do not become a master from what you do within these lessons. You become great by how much effort you put into the application of my guidance through your own practice." I cannot make you the performer you want to be. I can only guide you through the process. This is why I am always excited to bring on a new student. Each student I have worked with holds a special place with me. I strive for those key moments when my student comes to a new musical understanding.
I have come to learn that all students learn in their own unique way and at their own pace. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to identify these unique traits, encourage their strengths and improve their weaknesses. I also make sure they are learning what they want to learn, but more importantly, teach them what they need to learn to continuously excel musically.
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Typical drum kits usually come with a high hat, crash, ride cymbal, and a pair of drum sticks. Students who are studying other types of drumming can us a snare drum, bongos, conga, or djembe for their lessons. Another option for the beginning level player is purchase a drum practice pad, which are found at almost every music store.
Many adults of all skill levels take drum lessons. Your teacher will develop an individualized lesson plan based on your musical needs and goals. Adults taking drum lessons for the first time can expect to learn a lot of new things about rhythm and music, and have fun in the process!
Our recommended starting age for drums is around 8 for students wishing to play a drum kit. For the snare drum, the youngest recommended age is 5 or 6, as playing can prove tiresome on younger hands. The drum is an instrument that is great for all ages and skill levels, whether it's a complete beginner at age 5 or an experienced musician who wishes to study rhythm firsthand.
Lessons focus on learning the technique of the instrument as well as how to read music. Focus is placed on learning the appropriate rhythms, patterns, and technique for holding the drum sticks. Beat patterns will be emphasized, as will exposing the student to various types of drumming styles.
In home drum lessons are a convenient option for improving your musical skills. In home lessons are virtually the same in every aspect as lessons taught in a studio. Lessons are taught once a week and significant progress can be made in a short time, especially if students are practicing every day.
Review by Steven G.
Laura is the kind of teacher you wish you had in all your studies: gracious, easy-going, light-hearted, yet behind the easy going exterior is an excellent musical mind with everything at her fingertips. I've had about 5 teachers in my life who count as really influential people, and Laura easily fits that category. She lets you be yourself so that you are fully present rather than old-school doctrinaire style, what I call "stiff as a German, sig-heil" teachers. She's the polar opposite. Brava, Laura! Thank you so much!
Review by Nancy
Darrell is A-Maz-Ing! He demands results from his students and therefore results come quickly. The time he spends teaching is intense and packed with great instruction. He is a tough teacher but offers lots of valuable instruction that is applicable for music as well as life in general. I highly recommend Darrell if you are ready for results!
Review by Alamu Vinai
Usually I don't write reviews. I am compelled to write for Feng. I've experience finding/working with many music teachers over the years for different instruments (piano, flute, sax) for kids. I think Feng is the best, he is so passionate about music, he encourages the kids. He teaches thoroughly - you can tell he knows lot about saxophone. I would definitely recommend Feng!!
Review by Christopher Perrone
Mike has been working with my son Robert for over a year and has just started working with my daughter Kate. Mike is both a great musician and a good teacher. He connects with the kids and keeps them engaged. He is able to tailor the lesson to focus on music that is interesting to each child. He also encourages the students to participate in a public setting which is great. I would highly recommend Mike.
Review by Thomas Pickens
"I've been taking lessons with Richard for just a little over six months now and all I can say is that he is an amazing instructor. He hasn't followed a set one size fits all script in his lessons but has instead worked with my musical interests and at my pace in a way that is truly valuable. He has also kept things fun, interesting, and engaging even at times when I've felt overwhelmed and discouraged. This is an instructor that is truly adaptable to his students and will make sure that they get the most out of their lessons. I would definitely recommend him to anybody that truly wants to unlock their musical potential."
Review by Kaleen Todoroff
Noel is amazing. She is helping me to work toward my vocal goals for auditions to several musical theaters. She has helped me choose strong audition pieces and is teaching excellent ways to get the sound I need in a safe and healthy way. She works outside our lessons on new warm ups and new music pieces. She is the best.
Review by Clinton Poskozim
Martina has been a great teacher. Our son is 8 and had taken some piano lessons before starting with Martina. She came right in and got him to improve. She does a great job of giving him just enough of a challenge to make him work and learn but not any pieces that are so overwhelming he can't get them. She has helped him through a lot of early music theory so that he not only can play the piano but understands the music he is reading in all of its complexity.
Review by Robert Stallone
I am in my 60s and decided to get back into playing my guitar. I thought taking lessons would be a good way to formalize the endeavor. I did have some concern about whether working with a teacher would work out as I've behave only played for my own enjoyment for a long time. Peter and I have had a few lessons together and I am truly enjoying the experience. He is very supportive and flexible. We arrived at a three gold approach that is really working for me. We focus on developing a playlist, learning some of the more iconic tunes from leading artist that I would have a hard time learning on my own and developing some technical skills related to style and music theory. Now I look forward to my next lesson and am already playing better and enjoying the journey. Peter is a great teacher I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work with him.
Review by Bradford Putt
Angela has been a perfect match-up for me. She is warm and welcoming, and also serious about teaching - she keeps our time focused and on track. What I truly appreciate, as a new singer anxiously preparing for an event, is the confidence she gives me. Angela is very encouraging. I enjoy coming to class.
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