Bolinas Drum Lessons

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John D.

Berkeley, CA

With over 10 years of experience with all ages. I use a combination of method books and real live jamming to give students the full picture of what it means to play drums. Students can learn their favorite music, and get a chance to perform it with professional musicians. Regarding hand drums: While living in Brazil or West Africa, I learned authentic hand drum techniques and have stacks of notebooks with materials for learning the music of Latin America, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

About John

*** Lesson Details ***
My students will develop a passion for music and a desire to play!

I like to get right to the experience of actually playing music. I start with learning songs, drum beats, and chord progressions and get to technique and music reading AFTER we have had some fun.

My key to successful teaching is to create a custom curriculum for each student. Some students are interested in the details of how to do it "right", and others just want to rock. I try to adapt to different learning styles and musical goals to give each student an ideal experience.

I want student
s to learn how to play, not just how to read or do drills. We will listen to music together, and talk about the function of each instrument. For drummers, I play bass lines on the piano and we lock into a groove. For piano students, I play along with drums or percussion. It's important for students to learn how to play with others, and to listen and get inspired by what's around them.

Students will have the option to perform in a student recital where you are backed by a band of professional musicians!

***John D.'s Biography***

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, where my father worked as an opera singer. While listening to vocal warm-up arpeggios, my mother bounced me on her knee and taught me rhythms and rhymes.

In my family we beatbox, play piano, and sing together. The family moved to the States in 1995 where my parents worked as music teachers. My Dad is a voice professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my Mom runs an amazing music program at Country View Elementary School in Verona, WI.

I played in the band program throughout high-school and had an amazing and demanding music teacher and highly talented friends. The drumset became my passion and I played, blissfully and recklessly, as often possible. Our teacher took the high school band on a concert tour of Europe in 2002 in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

The band program led me to classical and contemporary music at the University of Wisconsin, where I honed my craft and discovered the profound breadth of music around the world. I paid my way through college as a member of the WI Army National Guard Band, a great wind ensemble with jazz and rock band components, and slowly built a career as a musician. I took every gig that came my way and created my own if nobody was calling. Pretty soon I became "œthe guy in, like, 8 different bands", including Funk, Rock, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and West African bands. I've been working as a musician ever since, performing several nights per week, and teaching during the day.

I began teaching drum lessons to my friends when I was about 18 and realized I was really good at it. I began taking on private students and teaching group lessons and classes. Students of mine have achieved the highest ranks at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Wisconsin, and auditioned into the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am on the annual faculty Wildcat Percussion Camp, was adjunct faculty at New York University, and directed the world percussion ensemble at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked as a teacher with the Madison Area School District, Wisconsin Youth Company, YMCA, Global Arts to Go, University Settlement, and in many different public schools in the New York metro area. I taught a high school class called "The Spirit of Jazz", and

I've learned how to be a real teacher, to put myself in your shoes to help you achieve your potential as a drummer, and as a musician. My teaching style is to de-mystify the art of percussion: getting great sounds out of the drums, being prepared for any style, practicing productively, and focusing your mind.

I have a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from NYU, and have traveled to Africa, Europe, and Latin America to perform, record, and study. I have performed with Badal Roy (Miles Davis), Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Brad Shepik, Lenny Pickett, Chuchito Valdez, and many other great musicians. I was Adjunct Faculty at NYU'™s jazz program, and at the University of Wisconsin dance program. I've given masterclasses at Juilliard, University of Michigan, Lawrence Conservatory, and many other colleges. I played for 5 months in the Off-Broadway show "Fun Home", and toured and gigged with a wide variety of bands.

I've recorded on nearly 20 albums and have been involved in many other projects. Ask me anything you want in our music lessons!
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Reviews

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Mike T. September 22, 2014
Percussion · In studio
I have been a colleague of John's for 16 years and he has always impressed me with his constant dedication to the craft of music. Though he is incredibly talented, he has always been one that works hard and asks questions without fear. In my experience, this is the kind of person that makes the best teachers. He has always loved music, drums, all percussion and more recently has been learning so much about music technology and how to express yourself with any media available. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to study with him!
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Daniel P. August 24, 2014
Drum · In studio
I was pretty new to drumming when I first started taking lessons from John, and I could barely play a simple back beat. Long story short - within 6 months I was playing my first show!

I was looking for a teacher with both rock/jazz and classical background, so John fit the bill perfectly. He also knows a lot about Latin American percussion and other styles from around the world, and has a great understanding of how these different styles relate to each other and the various techniques which can be applied.

During the first few lessons, we discussed my background and aims, and came up with a solid plan for how I should proceed. John's broad experience was really helpful for this process. I had been playing guitar and piano for many years before I started on drums, so I already had a decent grounding in musicality and theory. We therefore focused mainly on technique during lessons. John has a real gift for explaining things in an easily understandable way, as well as going into detail when required. Whenever I had trouble with a particular technique, John's advice would help me overcome it. He is also very helpful in suggesting suitable exercises and repertoire. John also provides a private blog containing lesson notes and useful links, and he was also happy for me to record lessons, which I found very useful. With John's help, I was able to progress pretty quickly, and after 6 months I started playing in a band with some friends, which has been awesome fun.

John is super friendly and engaging, and this makes lessons with him great fun. As well as being a fantastic drummer, it is clear that he really cares about the quality of his lessons, and about his students. I'm sure he would make a great teacher for students of all ability/background. John, you rock! Thanks!
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Annie H. October 13, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Great Musician & Great Teacher

My son started taking lessons with John when he was 7. During the past few months my son has become more aware of the music around him. He looks forward to drums every week. John has great patients and is amazing at connected with children. He is able to keep my son focused, which can be a hard task of itself. He offers instruction while still valuing the individual's personality and taste. John not only shares his knowledge and personal experiences, but his passion.

I would recommend John to anyone in a heartbeat.
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John D.

John D.

Berkeley, CA 94708
(4)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Rob F.

San Anselmo, CA

About Rob

Rob (aka R.J.): Born in Detroit, Michigan, RJ studied r&b and jazz from Motown drummers and Funk Brothers Benny Benjamin and Uriel Jones. From the age of fifteen he played in rhythm & blues and jazz combos around Detroit. He then studied privately with Berklee School of Music drum maestro, Gene Stuart, mallet studies with Mark Johnson at Michigan State University and earned a Bachelors Degree from Michigan State. He moved to San Francisco where he studied North Indian percussion and tabla with Zakir Hussain, trap set with jazz recording artist George Marsh. He is a consummate producer, perfo
rmer, recording artist and teacher. He plays and teaches all styles of rhythm including jazz, funk, blues, rock, latin, and world fusion. He teaches drumset, congas, djembe, tabla, cajon and hand percussion. In addition to teaching privately, RJ has directed special week-long drum and percussion focused ensemble productions at Drake High School and Marin Academy and was Music Director at Cascade Canyon (K-8) School for two years where he directed variety shows and produced scores for the drama department. In his teaching practice all ages are welcome and all levels including: beginners, intermediate students, advanced players, and professionals.

*** Lesson Details ***
My approach to drum lessons is simple. I want my students to be excited about every stage of the process. I want to be as productive as possible with each student and want the lessons to be fun and focused.
I want beginning students to learn the essentials of good posture, correct hand positions or grips (how to hold the sticks in matched and military grip), how to best use their hands and feet to get around the drumset and to then develop a solid foundation of applicable rudiments, rhythms and patterns. In fact,
I have master drumset rudiments that help facilitate fluid movement around the drums in all directions. My studio is equipped with a top level TAMA drumset with Zildjian cymbals, congas, timbales, hand percussion, piano, vibes, excellent recording and listening equipment and speakers.
I provide the necessary foundations of rudiments, rhythms, patterns and grooves. Then I show how to combine these essentials to the drumset. I combine these developments with essential reading studies so the student learns to read drum music and charts from the very beginning.
I find out what kind of music the student listens to and likes and then I will use some of the more familiar tracks by those artists to help the student apply each pattern stylistically into actual arrangements…like a guitar teacher would teach some scales and chords, then apply them to actual songs. That way the student will remember the different patterns and remained engaged in the process. It’s a “see, say and do” approach.
I have a saying that I use: “FREEDOM follows FUNCTION and function follows FORM.” First you learn the forms (rudiments, rhythms and patterns). Then, with practice, you become functional with the forms, rhythm patterns and combinations. Then you are free to use everything you learn as it relates to the music. Your are “free” to create and improvise both alone and with others.

Within six month my students will have a firm grasp of essential rudiments, rhythms, patterns, sticking, single and double bass drumset techniques and be reading charts for the drumset.
Later on, as part of the student’s development, I will introduce them to different styles of music including jazz, African, Afro-Cuban, Latin and Brazilian rhythms and patterns so that the student becomes a well-rounded player.

*** Studio Equipment ***
My Private Studio is on the first floor of my house: there is a six-piece professional series TAMA drumset and an assortment of K. and A. Zildjian cymbals, a piano, set of vibes, timbales, congas, bongos, djembe and a variety of hand percussion. There are additional chairs to sit on, Parents are welcome to sit in on lessons.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Five and six piece drum sets, hard cases, three congas with cases, bongos in a hard case, timbales in a hard case, trap case for stands, cymbal case and stick bag.

*** Specialties ***
Trapset all styles, African djembe and shekere, Latin congas and timbales, Indian tablas.
...

Reviews

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Barbara S. October 29, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
I Got Lucky

A year and a half ago I decided to try to learn how to play an instrument, and chose drums. Learning how to also read and write music for drumming was high on my list. I also needed this to be a fun adventure with no real public performance goals for the first couple of years. It needed to be a stress reducer from the demands of the day job. Finding and working with RJ has been a total kick in the pants. I couldn't ask for a better coach. He hasn't let me get stuck in any one form, I'm learning all of them. It's hard! But I couldn't imagine not drumming now. It's very exciting, and I look forward to learning more over the coming years.
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KatyV January 11, 2012
Rob Franco

You won't find a better teacher than Rob. He obviously knows music, both theory and application. He is concerned about proper technique, but also enjoyment and variety, which means that you get it all. I'm learning tons more than I thought I would.
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Rob F.

Rob F.

San Anselmo, CA 94960
(2)
starting at
$60 / 30-min
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Ben L.

San Rafael, CA

*** Lesson Details ***
Drum Set Beginner:
Care and tuning of the instrument (including snare, tom toms, and bass drum).
Proper positioning of the drum set.
Development of good hand and foot technique.
Style studies for the drum set; rock, alternative, funk, commercial, gospel, etc…
Develop time-keeping skills by working with a metronome and click tracks.

Intermediate:
Style studies – students can pick from various styles such as rock, funk, commercial, jazz, Brazilian, and World Beat etc…
Enhance time keeping skills by working with a metronome and click tracks.
Introduction to 4-way independence which includes linear, and layered drumming.
Students begin to learn how to be creative in developing endless ideas on the set for grooves and or solos.
Double bass drumming concepts.
Introduction to transcribing rhythms for the drum set.

Advanced:
Continue style studies of rock, funk commercial, jazz, Brazilian, Cuban and World rhythms.
Continue 4-way independence ...

About Ben

Originally from West Virginia, Ben has quickly made a name for himself within the music community since moving to San Francisco in 2009. Having performed in a wide array of musical situations early in his career Ben draws on those initial performances to shape his current music experience.

While earning his degree in philosophy and music from West Virginia University, he had the opportunity to travel to China in the summer of 2008 to perform with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. During his time at WVU Ben performed with the €œLittle Big Band€, WVU'€™s premiere jazz ensemble, along
with other Jazz and world music ensembles.

A teacher himself, Ben has had many influential teachers including: Tommy Igoe, George Willis, Tim Adams, Mike Dawson, Al Wrublesky, Scott Amendola, and Chuck Brown.

In addition to his freelance playing and teaching schedule Ben is a music teacher at Marin Catholic High School, the Mt. Tam School, and a guest clinician at Davidson Middle School.

*** Studio Equipment ***
In my studio I have a Roland electronic drum set, practice pads, audio and video recording equipment, and access to my full library of method books and percussion publications.

*** Travel Equipment ***
When traveling for lessons I bring various method books, as well as a practice pad to our lessons. I expect students to have a drum journal to record our lesson notes, sticks, a practice pad, and a drum set if we are focusing on drum set instruction.

*** Specialties ***
I Specialize in many areas of percussion including; Concert percussion repertoire, drum set - jazz, pop, rock, funk, R&B, world - marching percussion, and contemporary marimba.
...

Reviews

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Carole C. March 23, 2015
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Ben is an awesome teacher. He is patient and kind with my 8 year old and he covers a lot of material during the session. Would definitely recommend him.
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Nathan B. June 3, 2014
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Ben is fabulous. My son is 5, nearly 6, and Ben he loves his drum lessons with Ben. Without much prompting from mom and dad, our boy has decided that he loves rock n' roll and Ben has really channeled that enthusiasm. He's learning notations, theory, and rhythm. And having a great time doing it. Thank you Ben!
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Maggie H. December 2, 2013
Drum
Great teacher in a great environment!

Ben has been teaching my son Jack for the last seven months. Jack leaves each lesson with more excitement for the drums than the previous week. Ben's enthusiasm for music is infectious! Jack has improved tremendously since initially starting lessons with Ben. Each lesson is structured very methodically and he gives a very well rounded approach, covering rudiments, music theory, and drumset studies.
I would recommend Ben for anyone interested in taking drum lessons.
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Ben L.

Ben L.

San Rafael, CA 94903
(4)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Dan G.

Fairfax, CA

feel the groove. let it sing.

About dan

Hi!
I have studied, performed and taught the violincello (the cello), electric bass and contra-bass (acoustic, upright or double bass) for over two decades. I have played in symphonies, orchestras, chamber music ensembles, rock , blues , R&B, funk, and bluegrass bands, jazz combos, and Indian kirtan ensembles, performing everything from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Among numerous outstanding players and teachers, I have studied with Cameron Sawzin of the Boston Virtuosi as well as with renowned bassist Victor Wooten at his camp in Tennessee and California.

I take an intuitive approach to my lessons, focusing on the feel and tone of the music. I have found this to be the fastest and most effective way for my students to learn. I also put emphasis on technique, specifically healthy posture and body alignment in relation to your instrument.
You should take lessons with me if you want to realize your dream of becoming a great auditory artist . I never employ pressure tactics with my students. I only facilitate inspiration, knowledge and understanding. I love teaching and sharing the Joy of music with others. Working with music for so many years I have become aware of the fears in our society surrounding playing music and learning a new instrument. I help my students to see through these fear-based thought patterns compassionately and patiently so that they can truly Make Their Musical Dreams Come True. All ages welcome. It is never too early or too late to start!

Cheers, Daniel
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Reviews

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Chengjin Z. May 20, 2015
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
I had a great experience learning drum with Dan.I have zero experience with drum, I asked Dan to help me play a song based on the video I like, he figured out how the drummer did it right away and taught me different style of playing it.
He is very patient and professional on what he is teaching. He knows how to help me to process different drum beats on my own pace, and encourage me to try out new things in each lesson. After taking his class, I enjoy playing and practicing drum on my spare time.
I am very happy to learn drum from Dan, and recommend him to people who is interested in learning or improving their music skills.
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Mia R. July 14, 2014
Cello · In studio
I would highly recommend Daniel! He has a true gift for teaching in a way that supports students to blossom in their own unique way. A deep listener with a talent for finding what lights up each person's musical inspiration; Daniel is patient, supportive, and a talented musician. I left lessons feeling inspired to practice instead of obligated to. Best teacher I ever had!
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Ben M. March 28, 2014
Bass Guitar
Finally a teacher I can learn from!

Dan came over to my apt and was very polite and a good listener. I told him what I wanted to learn and the types of music I liked. We talked for a bit and I instantly felt comfortable. After a good laugh we launched right in! I found his teaching style to be invigorating! We "jammed" on the first chord pattern he showed me and it actually sounded good. After a few more tricks I was hooked. I left my first session with Dan feeling not only inspired, but also informed. I had material to practice. Dan is a very fun, smart, broadly trained talent to learn from. I highly recommend him. A true musician!
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Dan G.

Dan G.

Fairfax, CA 94930
(6)
starting at
$30 / 30-min
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Carmen C.

Emeryville, CA

"I teach all styles of drumming, but I try to match the student with the style that they love. It’s that love of music that will push them to try harder, reach farther and become a true musician. My students have the opportunity to learn how to read, write and transcribe drum charts as well how to maintain and tune their drums. I teach my students how to play along with recordings and encourage them to join a band or ensemble so that they can experience the joy of music from the start."

About Carmen

I have been a teacher and performer in the San Francisco Bay area for over 30 years.

I teach Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Latin, and Classical styles on drum set and percussion instruments.

I provide all of the sheet music as well as the recordings that I utilize for the student's assignments.

I also provide Sibelius drum music, so that the student can play along with the music with their Ipad or other device.
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Reviews

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Maria Farah Gwendolyn R. July 23, 2015
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Effective instructor. She spreads positivity and makes learning fun. The best indeed!
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Agata O. June 1, 2015
Drum · In studio
Carmen has been teaching drums to my now 10-year old son for three years. Her patience, extensive repertoire of teaching methods always adapted to his learning style and progress, her contagious energy and her love of all things drums kept my son's motivation high and let him grow his abilities. I am very proud and impressed when he reads drums scores or figures out the beat of a song. Perhaps the two hardest parts for this young man were learning to play with the metronome and regularly practicing his rudiments. Carmen's many teacher's tricks, including books, posters, recordings, apps and well timed challenges with awesome awards have helped him stay on track.

Carmen keeps detailed notes about each of her students so her attention is always spot on and personalized. She makes herself available for any questions outside the classroom. A great person to be around and a talented musician, Carmen will find a way to make you into the drummer you dream to be.
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Lawrence C. May 28, 2015
Drum · In studio
To learn a cool instrument, you need a cool teacher, and Carmen is the coolest! It's so fun to take her class. I even love it as a parent, hanging out during the lesson and I see why my 8 year old loves coming to class. She's a true professional and her passion is infectious.

Carmen also has a way with kids. She pays enough attention to the kid to figure out their personality and draws them out. Little prizes, lots of praise, and my kid is highly motivated to learn and even practice at home.

Carmen uses a lot of technology to help them practice at home. I wish we had that when I was a kid. And did I mention how cool she is?
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Carmen C.

Carmen C.

Emeryville, CA 94608
(14)
starting at
$45 / 30-min

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