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Ben R In HomeHome In StudioStudio Teaches OnlineOnline
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Instruments: Drums, Latin Percussion
Styles: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, R&b, Gospel, Musical Theater, Latin, Funk, Hip Hop, Electronic, Salsa, Showtunes, Reggae, Merengue, Latin Jazz, Swing, New Age, Samba, Bossa Nova, Soul, Punk, Avant-Garde

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Ben R In Home In Studio Teaches Online
Instruments: Drums, Latin Percussion
Styles: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, R&b, Gospel, Musical Theater, Latin, Funk, Hip Hop, Electronic, Salsa, Showtunes, Reggae, Merengue, Latin Jazz, Swing, New Age, Samba, Bossa Nova, Soul, Punk, Avant-Garde

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 16-80
Levels Taught:

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:
BA, Harvard College, English and American Literature and Language-AA, Musician's Institute College of Contemporary Music, Drum Performance (Magna Cum Laude)
Overview:
Growing up in Washington, D.C., I begged my parents for a drum -- any drum. One Christmas, my aunt bought me a shiny, stainless-steel snare. Whether she intended to nurture my love of music, or just needle my parents, it's never been clear. Either way, I would become a drummer for life. A few years cobbling together a homemade drum set gave way to proper lessons, with DC-area teachers Steve Larrance and Chuck Ferrell. I got my start performing at school, eventually winning several competitions as a member of the Sidwell Friends School Jazz Ensemble, from 1999-2003. During high school, I also joined my first band, played my first gig, and recorded my first record. Anchoring cult DC punks The A.K.s gave me a window into a world of do-it-yourself rock and roll which was instantly appealing. Although I studied English in college, I was never far from the kit; I continued to perform and record. My Star Wars-themed campus quartet So Long Princess was featured on Season 3 of the CW reality show Beauty and the Geek -- though not because of its beauty. Relocating to San Francisco in 2007, I played with a succession of working bands in the city's vibrant scene. I recorded as a session player at Motor Studios (owned by Fat Wreck Chords label head Mike Burkett), and had the chance to tour up and down the west coast and beyond, including North Carolina, Germany, and Finland. One of my personal and professional highlights during this time was playing on Wild Eyes 2014 release Above Becomes Below. In 2015, I began studying at Los Angeles Musicians Institute, graduating with an Associate of Arts in Drum Performance. Though I had been a drummer for fully 20 years when I started at the school, my playing was transformed by the knowledge and patience of their faculty, particularly Albe Bonacci, Kevin Stevens, Jon Rygiewicz, Ronen Gordon, and Drum Performance chair Stewart Jean. Through MI, I also had the chance to pass my knowledge along as a volunteer drum teacher in a local middle school with the SLAM! Music Education program. Happily combining years of DIY experience with a musical education, I'm eager to bring my drumming to the stages and studios of Los Angeles.
EXPERIENCE
Though my teaching career is just beginning, I'm eager to share over 20 years of drumming experience with students of all ages. Learning an instrument is a fun, fulfilling challenge, combining solid fundamentals without ever losing sight of the joy that comes from hitting things with sticks. Each student can expect to learn technique, reading, and performance in a manner tailored to his or her ability level and unique approach to the instrument. I am comfortable with any contemporary style, and want to make sure that my students are learning how to play the music that they're most passionate about. Some of my strengths include: VERSATILITY -- from gypsy jazz to grindcore, learn the styles that YOU want to play! TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE -- Now more than ever, musicians can take advantage of technological tools to improve their practice and their playing. I am keen to pass on my familiarity with these tools to my students, especially my mastery of Polynome, a revolutionary music practice app that has transformed my own playing. PASSION FOR TEACHING -- Many great players teach lessons, but many do it grudgingly. In my brief time teaching, I've found it to be an exciting and rewarding way to share my love of music with other people -- something that's an end in itself, not just a means.
METHODS USED
For beginning students, I believe it's important to establish solid technique and fundamentals, while remembering to always to keep the experience fun! That said, here are some concepts that I would plan to cover: proper playing posture and hand technique, snare drum and rudimental studies, drumset technique and coordination, four-way independence, rock, funk, hip-hop and pop patterns, blues patterns, jazz patterns, Latin patterns, double-bass drumming, and polyrhythms. I would plan to ground my instruction in classics such as Ted Reed's Syncopation, Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone, and Gary Chester's The New Breed. Other, more recent publications such as The Language of Drumming by Benny Greb are also immensely useful. In addition to this general approach, I always want to cater to the particular goals of particular students; for both children and adults, enabling them to play their favorite songs and styles is crucial and I always encourage students to come to me with songs, fills, or concepts that they are excited to learn.
LESSON STYLE
I have a tremendous passion for music, and drums particularly, and I try above all to make sure that my teaching style is positive and enthusiastic. I want to try to communicate and transmit this passion as much as I possibly can. Enthusiasm can go a long way, but having specific goals and targets is also important. I encourage students to set high standards and ambitious goals for themselves, then I give them the support and encouragement they need to meet them. I also always try to remember that every student is different; an approach that might work well with one might not work with another. I try to be perceptive and adjust my approach based on what best inspires and motivates a student, always striving for the maximum supply of fun and creativity!
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