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1990 - McDonald's Jazz Festival NYC - Outstanding Performer
1991-1995 Berklee Achievement Scholarship
1997- Voted best Jam Band Drummer, Revolving Door Magazine
2000 - Featured in DRUM! magazine
1996-2005 Toured with Schleigho, signed with & released 2 CDs for Allman Bros'. Flying Frog Records
Thereafter, I taught a full 40-student/week roster privately and worked as percussion, band and ensemble teacher at Rye Country Day School from 2005-2013, I have most recently been teaching 40 weekly lessons at Google, Inc in Mountain View, CA from 2015-2019, while playing jazz at many Bay Area venues in 3 of my own trios.
I love teaching all levels; the joy of introducing drumming to a new student is as satisfying as sharing afro-cuban poly-rhythmic ideas with an advance player.
I have taught in a school setting as well, at Rye Country Day School for 8 years, a very rigorous K-12, with a 30 student drum studio, as band and orchestra assistant director and coordinating the entire private music lesson program of 15 teachers, 275 students and 15 practice rooms- a great way to hone my organizational skills and administrative abilities.
Most recently I have had the honor of teaching 40 weekly adult students at Google Inc in Mountain View, CA in my own studio with 2 sets and PA system for play-along opportunities. Many students have joined or formed rock and jazz bands with other googlers after only 2-3 years of lessons. Over 80% of my students have continued since their first lesson, a very high retention for this program. I teach ALL styles, as the goal is to learn to play the instrument, which will allow you to play any desired music, as opposed to only teaching through songs. With my method you will develop the ability to play ANY song or piece, as well as improvise. I have a teaching method that incorporates all the best bits of my best teacher's input, adds what they lacked, built in a sequence that is musically universal, using many popular drum study books and my own proven system of development. And with 30 years of live playing and recording experience, the CONTEXT of what we are learning and how to apply it musically is vital, rewarding, exciting and admittedly unique to my curriculum.
I have a very successful and progressive teaching method. I base my curriculum on 'rhythmic vocabulary'; a method that instills reading skills, rhythmic recognition, immediate application in Rock and Pop music, improvisational ability, soon advancing to Jazz and World Music applications.
In a nutshell, we begin at a students current reading level, or from scratch, and play all rhythms in a logical, progressive order; whole notes and rests, half-notes and rests, quarters and rests, eighths and rests, 16ths and rests. We begin by playing simply and slowly on the snare drum, focusing on stickings, control, dynamics, technique and mechanics, move the rhythms around the kit in common patterns, add bass drum and sometimes HiHat support. Meanwhile, common rock/funk/pop grooves are introduced and combined with the rhythmic exercises to achieve fluidity to playing rock repertoire. The same process is used with Triplet meter as jazz and blues styles are developed, then with world music contexts, Bossa Nova, Samba, Baiao, etc.
Master Studies by Joe Morello (for technique, control and endurance)
Stick Control by George Stone (the quintessential book of stickings)
Alfreds Drum Method Book 1 (do entire book with stickings provided- Alternating all strokes), repeat entire book with Right-Hand-Lead (sometimes called 'traditional' sticking), repeat entire book again using doubles for all pairs of notes (2 consecutive 8th, 2 consecutive 16ths, 32nds, etc)
Alfreds Drum Method Book 2 (more advanced rudiments and more challenging context).
Anthony Cirone's Portraits in Rhythm (a good 1st book of advanced snare drum etudes, using all previously earned skills, but forcing new applications and challenging passages).
Alfred's Beginning Drumset Method Books 1 & 2
THEN, Rockin' Bass Drum by J. Lombardo (a very old but classic book of very common and useful rock beats). repeat this book at least 20 times, using the following Right Hand patterns on HiHat, paradiddle stickings and odd-meter variations in lieu of the provided 8th notes:
1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a x--- x--- x--- x---
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx (all RH) xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx (RLRL)
xxx- xxx- xxx- xxx-
x-xx x-xx x-xx x-xx
-xxx -xxx -xxx -xxx
xx-x xx-x xx-x xx-x
x--x x--x x--x x--x
-x-x -x-x -x-x -x-x
xx-- xx-- xx-- xx--
-xx- -xx- -xx- -xx-
--xx --xx --xx --xx
-x-- -x-- -x-- -x--
--x- --x- --x- --x-
---x ---x ---x ---x
Paradiddle variations (works for pages 6-28 only)
RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL
RLLR LRRL RLLR LRRL
RRLR LLRL RRLR LLRL
RLRL LRLR RLRL LRLR
Convert to 7/8 by eliminating the last 8th note in each example.
Convert to 9/8 by adding an 8th note to every example.
Play HH with Left Foot on quarter notes, eighth notes, and off-beats (&'s) for entire book, with RH aon Ride Cymbal
Invent your own simple open-HH placements throughout book.
Rockin' Bass Drum with the xxxx (RRRR & RLRL) patterns will work for basic funk
Advanced Funk Studies Book 1 (yellow cover) by Rick Latham
Future Sounds by David Garibaldi
Alfred's Beginning Drumset Method (pages 32-45) & Book 2 (jazz section)
Then, Advanced Techniques For The Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin (The quintessential book of jazz independence)
Then, my progressive system to full independence and musical jazz drumming, using Ted Reed's Syncopation, 24 ways.
Alfred Drum Method Book 2 and both of Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials 1.0 & 2.0 (generally amazing books with patterns of varying difficulty for all styles and time signatures, with a very important play-along Mp3 CD) books have great starter patterns.
We begin with Bossa Nova, Baiao, Samba, 6/8 Afro Cuban, Cha-Cha, Rhumba, Mambo and Guaguanco variations.
I am friendly, fun, outgoing and encouraging. I will find student strength's, pinpoint and work on any weaknesses, and enjoyably introduce necessary topics in a musically progressive order. I will never yell at or talk down to a student. Any behavioral challenges will be discussed with parents. I do not skip steps. I accept differing techniques of all accomplished drummers and will help the student use the tried-and-true, explore the many variations, and help develop their own style and voice. I give weekly assignments and encourage parents and students to keep practice logs, and i set bench marks up so students can see their progress over time.
My unique method is straightforward and its pace can be tailored to any student.
We will always additionally work on material the student is individually interested in.
I started studying drumming with Erik since 4 years ago as a starter. I still remember how excited I was after the first lesson, felt like I could do something like a real drummer (though what I played in that lesson was actually basics LOL)! Erik is a great drummer, and extremely experienced in teaching that he has deep knowledge of different styles of music, and can quickly find out what's the correct way to teach each single student. He pays attention on basics, helps me to build up a strong foundation, while he's also caring about what students want to play. He always encourages me to bring songs I like, demonstrates how to play according the sheets, finds out bars that are common in other songs as well, etc. Besides, he encourages us to play in real bands, and perform on the stage. The learning process with Erik is lots of fun without pressures, while I can tell I've learnt a lot. Erik is definitely the right drum teacher to choose!
I've wanted to play drums since I was 5, and it's only now (at 40), that I gave myself the chance to learn. I lucked out getting Erik as my first drum teacher, and I've been studying with him for two years. Erik is one of the most versatile musicians I know. He has a really deep knowledge of so many styles of music. When I first came to him, I expressed how I was interested in Afro-Cuban and jazz styles, and he managed to craft our lessons so we could dive into guaguanco, bossa-nova, samba, and several other styles early. He's also incredibly perceptive. If I'm having difficulty with something, he can often spot it way before I can articulate it, and he's always ready with a way that I can internalize the fix. I've also been really impressed with his patience; there are weeks in which life/work gets in the way, and I show up to our lesson with almost no practice-time in the last week. Erik is super patient, and always has a way to turn the lesson-plan on a dime, and make use of the time to do something completely new and interesting, and then pick up where we left off in the subsequent week. Over the last two years, I've not only become a better drummer and musician, I've also become a better listener of music, since Erik's always quick to point out references to interesting albums and snippets of songs. I've come to rely on him as a mentor and friend, and will miss him terribly when he moves back to the east coast. Folks there will be lucky to have him in the neighborhood to learn from him in person!
I've been taking lessons from Erik for several years now. I knew after the first lesson that I'd want to keep coming back. I'd been playing drums for 15+ years, but was mostly self-taught and had a lot of bad habits. Erik quickly determined my skill level and problem areas and went from there. We've covered everything from odd meters, world beats, jazz, rudiments, and good ol' rock. He makes every lesson productive, and I'm able to make progress even on weeks I'm not well-practiced. Lessons with Erik are often one of the highlights of my week.
I started my first drum lesson with Erik over 2 years ago with absolutely no experience in drums. Since then, I have gained a strong foundation to jam with other fellow musicians and pick up new songs! Erik puts everything taught into context, allowing you to understand the what, why and how.
Erik taught 2 of our children for 10 years. He is an incredibly talented teacher as well as drummer/musician. My children (5 years-16 years) adored him and looked forward to their lessons every week. He teaches to each and every student individually (as opposed to just using preplanned lessons) and is constantly evaluating what the student needs to be be challenged and learn. He is extremely professional - on time, never missed lessons and simply an absolute pleasure to work with. He is also a working drummer, so he is on top of current music, always learning and evolving himself and can show the kids work he's done (which they love). He is patient, kind, funny, insightful and an overall wonderful person. We highly recommend him!!!!!
I have been learning drumming from Erik for two years, started as a total beginner. I enjoyed the all lessons, the practices and the performance this entire time, and was impressed by how much I progressed with his help. Erik knows how to teach for sure. He listens to his students and re-adjust his teaching styles to whatever works the best for the individual. For any new skills, he always has different approaches for student to try out, to find the one that could help the student masters the skill without too much frustration. It matters to Erik that I am playing what I like and he always makes the best use of the song. He could always magically link the song to new skills that I could learn. I definitely recommend Erik to others!
I'm a senior who has taken lessons from Erik for almost 2 years. I have been a practicing musician on and off throughout my life learning a variety of instruments. When I started with Erik I decided I wanted to concentrate on drums. I can say uncategorically that Erik is the finest music teach I have ever had. He knows exactly what he wants to accomplish in every lesson and each lesson builds on the previous one in a structured manner to reinforce what you have already learned and steadily introduce new concepts and techniques. He knows how to accommodate personal preferences in his teaching. He writes every assignment down in my lesson book, lesson after lesson and my library of lessons are now treasured possessions. I simply am amazed at how fast I have progressed and how enjoyable my drumming has become. Finally, Erik's teaching style is supportive, encouraging, relaxed and he is simply fun to be around. Don't pass up the opportunity to take drum lessons from Erik!
Within 2 minutes, Erik knew exactly where my skills were lacking, emphasized my strong points, and has been encouraging me to become the sheet music reader and jazz player (eventually) that I have always wanted to be. I've been playing for a while on and off, but Erik's style of teaching has really opened up my ears and eyes to really understand music and the drums. I couldn't be happier to have met Erik at the rehearsal studio, exchanged contact, went to see him play and finally made the time to start taking lessons. My only regret is that I wished I started sooner. Keep practicing what he says to do and you will improve drastically. Reading music has always been a challenge and his step by step approach to learning all note combinations in fun ways is really helping me understand notation. If you want to improve your overall drumming skills and technique, start taking weekly lessons with Erik and be ready to practice, and then practice more.
Erik is a damn good drum teacher. If you do what he says and practice consistently, you will impress yourself with how quickly you improve. When I first started learning from Erik, I had several years of guitar experience but no drum experience whatsoever - complete scratch. Erik worked with me to figure out what I wanted to play (hard rock and metal) and developed a game plan for how to get there quickly without sacrificing fundamentals. Under Erik's teaching, I was burning through several pages of exercises a week. Erik helped me build a rhythmic vocabulary. He has a way of thinking about music that builds on itself. Everything he teaches seems like a logical continuation of something he taught in the past. For example, he taught me a bunch of 8th-note patterns, then showed me how those are the same building blocks of 16th-note patterns, and how those could be used to create interesting drum fills on the fly. Erik can quickly pinpoint and help correct my mistakes. I could practice the same phrase for an hour and not quite get it, but when Erik points out the correct way to think about and practice the phrase, I'll learn it in a few minutes! Erik is more than willing to help you work up to your specific goals. For example, he was more than happy to take a break from his set lesson schedule to work me through a song I really wanted to play. A friend (another student) and I really wanted to learn double-bass technique, and he came up with lesson plans for us to get up to speed and jamming along to songs really quickly. Erik is an excellent teacher who really cares about helping his students achieve their goals. You'll thoroughly enjoy learning from him.
I look forward to my lessons with Erik every week, and I can't really say that to most of the other hobby lessons I've had in the past.. Not only is he a master drummer (teaches advanced drummers, many for several years), he makes the learning process interesting and empowering for everyone (beginners or experienced), not to mention he's an awesome person. Erik is structured in his teaching style (he'll list out your practices very clearly) and gives out reasonable amount of things to practice so you don't feel overwhelmed but still challenged. He really knows how to breaks complex things into smaller and achievable steps! Of course if you want to make progress, you should put in some time to practice, which I'd say about 2-3 times per week for a 45 min weekly lesson. I'm super grateful to have Erik to be my drum teacher. As a beginner, he made me love drumming, showed me how amazing it is, introduced me to new and impressive artists, and I have all the more admiration and respect to all drummers. No hesitation if you were to ask me who I'd recommend for drum lessons.
Erik is a phenomenal teacher. He is engaging and encouraging, and his method has taken me in a year from zero to being able to pick out and play variations on common patterns from rock songs by ear, improvise with a basic vocabulary in both rock and jazz, and sight read some simple rock songs. If you want to really learn the instrument beyond just knowing how to play a few songs, all while leaving every lesson feeling respected as a musician (even as a beginner!), I can't recommend Erik enough.
I have been taking lessons with Erik for 4 years now and I've got to say that he's the most amazing, knowledgeable, compassionate, and enthusiastic music teacher I have ever taken classes with. While I've been wanting to play drums since I was in middle-school, it took me all the way to my late 20s before I actually decided to learn. So, you know, I thought it was going to be a slow and long process before I got any good. Enter Erik and his method --and man, does he have a method. Very quickly we were doing easy rock beats, while learning how to read music and do rudiments at the same time, and once I was more comfortable he added jazz and latin to the mix. All at the same time. We went through an entire Led Zeppelin book, I was improvising on top of some latin songs within two years, started learning jazz standards, moved to harder metal songs, and started playing the snare more musically by working on Cirone's Portraits in Rythm. For first 3 years, we were doing 4-6 things on each lesson. Just 45 minutes which translated into 10-20 hours of practice during the week, and that's because I was often busy with life -- I should've practiced more! In the last year we started doing harder things so we can only cover 2-3 topics each lesson, but still with 4-6 topics on going, we just alternate. This is all just to say that Erik will make you into a very well rounded musician. He knows how to make the lesson fun and will be able to keep you engaged and excited -- at least he was able to keep *me* engaged. If you want to see what he's capable of, look for his band Schleigho on YouTube.
I enjoy every lesson with Erik. He is a great teacher and friend.
Has been getting lessons from Erik for more than a year and it was one of my best decision made. From no drumming experience at all to playing several songs contribute to Erik's teaching method. Very structured and efficient teaching method. Highly recommend to people wanted to learn or improve their drum skills.
Erik, I enjoy your classes so much! Just within a year, I'm from no knowledge of drumming at all to being able to play 11 rock songs already! The time when you overheard me struggling on some rudiments in a practice room outside of our class and came in to correct my errors really meant a lot me me.
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