Valley Ford Music Lessons

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About Jim T.

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Fairfax, CA
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About Jim
My career in music began at an early age (four!) with classical piano lessons until the age of thirteen. After expanding my musical horizons in high school listening to jazz, blues and rock I attended Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA where I studied jazz & music theory with renowned jazz educator Ray Brown and jazz piano with Paul Nagle who has worked with Grammy award winning singer Bobby McFerrin among many others.
I have been performing solo and in groups since the Eighties in a variety of different genres including rock, jazz, blues, r&b, funk, reggae and everything in between! Performing with such artists as Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Dan Hicks, David Grisman, Tommy Castro, Eric McFadden, Mark Karan & Vinyl I have appeared at most of the major venues in the Bay Area including the Warfield Theatre, the Great American Music Hall,
Yoshi's SF, the Regency, Bimbo's & the Sweetwater.
My teaching experience goes back over twenty years and I relocated to Marin County in the Bay Area in 1995 where I've been teaching extensively since 2002. Since then I have helped hundreds of students realize their dream of learning to play piano and keyboards as well as read music, play perfectly in time and learn songwriting skills. Playing music is fun & easy......I can show you just how easy it is!!

*** Lesson Details ***
My style is laid back with a large supply of patience and devotion to my students. I teach beginning , intermediate & advanced piano and keyboards (including organ). For adult beginning piano students I use the John Thompson Modern Course for the Piano Grade One along with Thompson's Note, Scale & Chord Speller books and flash cards for a quick and easy route to learning how to read music and basic music theory. For kids (5-7) I like Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" along with the kid's music theory books by Linda Ng.
In the first six months students can expect to study basic finger exercises and scales, how to read music easily and quickly, how to play perfectly in time & develop a repertoire of songs to play. Once students have learned basic skills it is possible to explore many different genres including classical, jazz, blues, rock, reggae and much more. I customize the lessons to fit each student's needs and desires and can also help the students with songwriting and learning from the recorded works of great artists!

*** Studio Equipment ***
Beautiful 1884 carved English maplewood Estey upright piano!

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide the books and supplies at cost...students should have some kind of keyboard to practice on...preferably a real piano although I have taught many students initially on electric keyboards.

*** Specialties ***
I teach beginning, intermediate & advanced piano in the styles of classical, jazz, blues, rock, r&b, pop, country, etc. ages 5-105! Usually I start beginners in the John Thompson method & speller books along with music flash cards and then am willing to shift into different styles as the students gain basic skills.
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Reviews
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Al Lyle December 30, 2015
· Piano · In home
Great Teacher
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Lorne P. October 1, 2015
· Piano · In home
Jim was a great teacher. His patience and positive attitude made it easy for my wife and I to learn something new.
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dorothee C. March 4, 2013
· Piano ·
Great teacher for children, including jazz

Our 3 kids have taken piano lessons at our house with Jim for 6 years. Jim is a unique piano teacher, the kind that is hard to find in the bay area. He teaches classical music to beginners and confirmed students and goes to your house to teach. His training was in classical music, and he knows very well that it takes time and effort to get there, he is patient and encouraging, our kids NEVER felt pressured by him and still learned how to play in an exponential way. Thanks to Jim, they like to play for themselves AND in front of other people, which is one of Jim's important goals. Jim is now a renowned jazz piano player and cofounder of a band (Tre Mojo's) and we are always invited in his gigs when they take play in the bay area. Our son is learning jazz with him, it has been impressive to watch and hear, after a year he does know the jazz harmonies and can do impros. Every spring, Jim organizes a very nice recital where all his students come and perform various types of music (from Beethoven, Chopin, to the Beatles, to jazz impro. from beginner to professional level). Jim basically taught our children to play music with no stress, no competition, and still at a high level. Besides, Jim is highly professional, has NEVER been late, and always does what he says and -we believe- says what he thinks. There has never been a bump in our relationship. We would highly recommend him as a piano teacher.
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Jim T.

Jim T.

Fairfax, CA 94930
(3)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Rob F.

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San Anselmo, CA
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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, performer, 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 h
as 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.
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Reviews
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Barbara S. October 29, 2013
· Drum ·
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

About James P.

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Petaluma, CA
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About James
I've played keyboards and sang professionally for the last 25 years. During that time my home has been in the San Francisco Bay Area but I have performed all over the country and have toured several times in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. I’m a two time winner of the West Coast Songwriters “Song Of The Year Award” and I write music and lyrics as well as record and produce songs for myself and others.

Over those years I've developed a wealth of knowledge and experience that I’m very excited to share with my students. I want you to tell me what your musical dreams are and we will develop a plan to reach them and I will be honored to guide you there.

*** Lesson Details ***
I see music lessons as a partnership between the instructor and the student. I like to start this partnership by helping each student clarify their goals. Then
we can proceed to plan our path to the stated goals. This plan will of necessity be unique to each student.

Obviously, expectations for the lessons would depend on the student’s starting point but I would say that for a child piano student who is just beginning, it would be reasonable to expect that within 3-6 months they would be able to play songs by reading the music. These would include some songs of their own choosing as well as some that I might recommend. For adult piano students, although reading is highly encouraged, our goals might take us in a different direction.

For songwriting students, we might choose to forego working at the piano entirely and instead take our lessons into my recording studio. It all depends on our goals and the path that we choose to get there. We might spend an entire lesson on lyrics. But I really like to see a student leave each lesson with some concrete progress on their song, and preferably with it documented on a recording. Depending on the level of the student, after 3-6 months I anticipate that we would have at least a few songs written and demoed.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Music Room: 2 vertical pianos

*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect the student to provide a piano or appropriate keyboard in a well lit room. I would also expect a bench and music stand.
I could provide a digital recorder and a metronome.

*** Specialties ***
blues, jazz, pop and rock
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Reviews
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Michele L. November 7, 2016
· Piano · In studio
I came away from my lesson with James feeling so happy and knowing that he will be teaching and encouraging me all the way going forward. I am actually lost for words to express what an incredibly positive experience I had today. I am also looking forward to my grand daughter taking lessons from James now too. I feel I got lucky that James is the teacher that was found for me.
MIchele
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Marcus C. July 16, 2015
· Piano · In studio
First lesson for my grandson and James was excellent, looking forward to future lessons.
Thanks James.
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Mike W. March 24, 2015
· Piano · In studio
James is a great teacher. Patient and inspiring. I have just begun my late in life music learning experience and he is perfect for that.
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James P.

James P.

Petaluma, CA 94952
(8)
starting at
$39 / 30-min

About Lars R.

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Petaluma, CA
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About Lars
I began to teach guitar at 16 years of age. I have taught students from 7 to 60 years old in a wide variety of styles. From age 12 to 21 I took private guitar lessons regularly. Now I have a lesson every once in a while. I studied jazz guitar primarily with Randy Vincent, one of the San Francisco Bay Area's greatest guitar players. Aside from teaching lessons as a job, I have played guitar in many concerts and continue to do so. Before moving to San Francisco, I gained a lot of experience and valuable education with guitar. I played in the jazz bands in Junior High and High School. I went to four years of a week long summer jazz camp called jazz camp west where I took classes, played open mics and had fun with many musicians, making some good friends. I hold BA degrees in Music (Jazz Guitar) and Spanish, as well as an MA in Musi
c, from San Francisco State University. By now, I am confident in working with whatever musical material students offer! Thank you.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am a laid back teacher, but I definitely expect students to practice what I suggest they practice. I advise that students use method books or sheet music of some sort, and I will certainly make notes for them and create materials they can learn from. I always teach based on the goals of the student and what type of music they enjoy, but I also like to guide the student in a direction I think would benefit them. I usually introduce music to play right away, conforming of course to the skill level and interest of the student. I now play seven-string guitar, which is just a six-string guitar (same tuning and technique) with an extra low string. It will be practical to aide students by accompanying with a bass range instrument.

*** Specialties ***
Guitar
I consider myself a Jazz musician, but I am happy to consider a very wide range of styles. I am focusing now on music of the Spanish Golden Age, 1500-1700.
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Reviews
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Ava April 18, 2017
· Acoustic Guitar · In home
Wonderful guy who gives a well rounded lesson!
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Peter M. March 30, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Excellent class and a good teacher.
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Star February 27, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Lars has picked up on what we wanted to learn from the start. He listens well and is a good communicator in instruction. My daughter had only learned how to play certain songs, which she did quite well. With Lars she is learning how to pick and other techniques in strumming and chord change that she's never been taught before. We look forward to continuing with Lars and adding some voice instruction as well. Wonderful personality, great disposition !
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Lars R.

Lars R.

Petaluma, CA 94952
(3)
starting at
$15 / 30-min

About Carl G.

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Santa Rosa, CA
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About Carl
Private Music Instrument Lessons by Professional Player. Lessons for Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced students. Focus will be reading, Basics, Sound production and performing. 30 minute, 45 minute and 60 minute sessions. Lessons can be once a week, one every 2 weeks or once a month. 38 years experience teaching private.
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Karen B. May 1, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Carl has been an excellent guitar teacher for my 15 year old son Robert. We highly recommend him!
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Scott February 15, 2016
· Trumpet · In studio
Carl is a good teacher. Very patient and easy to understand. I look forward to future lessons with him.
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Alan October 13, 2015
· 5 String Banjo · In studio
Friendly, knowledgeable and patient. Everything you could ask of a music teacher.
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Carl G.

Carl G.

Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(3)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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About Ruth E.

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Santa Rosa, CA

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About Ruth
I've been a professional musician for many years in the classical singing world. I love all kinds of music and have been teaching for over ten years. I'm known for being very kind and supportive. I have two degrees in Music, one from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England. I've been active on classical choral and early music recordings and therefore I get to vote in the GRAMMYs ... my high school students usually help me to consider the Best New Artist category although I have strong opinions of my own because I love pop music too! I teach beginning piano, and all levels of singing. I've raised two great kids of my own and am married to another professional musician. I love helping people to bring more music into their lives!

Here is an article I love about returning to music lessons as an older person: https://nyti
.ms/2jG2kL8
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Reviews
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Aaron Arabian February 14, 2017
· Singing · In studio
Exactly what I was looking for - classically trained, teaches professionally, connected to many types of of music and explains technique in an easy to understand way,
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Anasuya December 9, 2016
· Vocal Training · In studio
Ruth is one of the best teachers I have had on any subject and my favorite voice teacher of the 3 that I have received lessons from. Ruth is deeply compassionate and highly skilled at bringing out the natural voice that wants to express from my heart. The first few lessons I was in tears, feeling the joy of my own beautiful voice make its way from the cave of my heart. Ruth's teaching technique is lovely and loving. I highly recommend her to anyone who wants to explore the freedom of finding their voice!
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Steven D October 19, 2016
· Piano ·
Ruth is an awesome teacher and really knows a lot about the piano. She really teaches everything and is very knowledgable about all genres of music. She is very helpful and really makes learning to play the piano a fun experience!
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Ruth E.

Ruth E.

Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(9)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

About Giorgia G.

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Rohnert Park, CA
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About Giorgia
I started my solo and backup singer career at the age of 12, working for RG Recording Studio (Italy). When I was 15 I founded a children's choir (ages 5 to 15) called Voci di Pace. I trained them as soloists and as an ensemble, as well as conducted them through the professional recording of dozens of CDs. I also trained and conducted students for the recording of highschool musicals.

I began my conservatory bachelor degree training in cello and chamber music in 1997, and graduated 2010. Since then, I have studied singing technique with pop star Silvia Mezzanotte and with opera singers Chiara Fiorani and Noa Frenkel.

I love to teach singing, singing in Italian and Italian diction to students of all ages and backgrounds who are ready to explore their own souls and bodies and to learn how to be themselves through sound and music.
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Reviews
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Paul May 13, 2016
· Singing · In studio
Giorgia is an awesome teacher! I was nervous about singing in front of people, but Giorgia creates a comfortable environment and makes every lesson informative and fun. I have a much better understanding of the fundamentals of singing and I feel more confident. Unfortunately I am moving out of the area, otherwise I would definitely continue lessons!
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Cecilia November 30, 2015
· Singing · In studio
Giorgia was my first teacher in singing when I was just 8 years old. Since then she has always been a model for me: her talent, her competence, her determination really impressed me. She is able to teach very delicate and complexed topics with genuine irony letting your hair down. I strongly recomend her as a teacher, and I will always thank her for letting me able to apreciate at best music.
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Kiki November 19, 2015
· Singing · In home
Giorgia is amazing! She has an incredible ability to make you feel safe to be vulnerable and open. I was very shy with my voice and Giorgia was the very first person to be able to make me sing in front of another person. She takes you through the basics and explains very constructively how things work. I can recommend her to anyone who is wanting to discover their voice!
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Giorgia G.

Giorgia G.

Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(7)
starting at
$65 / 45-min

About John T.

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Novato, CA

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About John
My name is John, and I have been a guitar teacher here in Marin County, Ca since 1990. Before that I taught guitar and played gigs in the Kansas City area since 1974. I taught at Mt Tam School in Mill Valley for 10 years 1999 to 2009, and I taught part time at Branson HS in Ross Ca from 2006 to 2017. I am a patient, fun teacher and I teach everyone from beginner to semi pro. I can teach you to read, and to improvise over songs, and my specialty is chord, scale relationships, and chord building. I travel to you if you live in Marin or southern Sonoma County. My fees are reasonable and are figured on distance from me to you. I also teach over the internet which I have done with numerous students over the years.
I'd like to say a few words about my early lessons with you. If you are a beginner, we will start by becoming comfortable with th
e guitar, and explaining how it works, i.e. how to hold the guitar, how to hold the pick, some strumming tips, and explaining a bit about how the musical alphabet works, and any questions you have will be answered. If you've played before I will ask you some questions about what direction you want to take, and if you can, I will hear you play. If you are shy don't worry about that, you won't need to play for me. We will learn to find all notes on the guitar neck quickly, and will make sure your technique is proper. If you desire to learn to read music, I will also introduce that subject to you. Some other early lesson topics will include some picking exercises, and technique related issues. The lessons are geared for you, so you can let me know what you want to work on. Thank you and looking forward to our first lesson.
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Reviews
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Marc July 17, 2017
· Guitar · In home
Excellent Instructor with loads of information from the first lesson!
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Sophie March 23, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
I've been working with John for a while and have learned so much! We've been working on everything from acoustic guitar to electric bass, and I couldn't ask for a better instructor. Not only is John a great teacher, he's a fun person to be around!
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Tony March 10, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
John has been a respected and valued member of our music faculty at The Branson School for over 12 years where he has taught worked with our jazz ensembles and taught our guitar students both in class and privately. He is well liked by both students and faculty, and his knowledge of technique and music theory is both extensive and practical. John is a wonderful colleague who is always upbeat and positive, and his students appreciate his approachability and warmth. John is a teacher of unimpeachable integrity, and I am happy to give him my most enthusiastic recommendation!
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John T.

John T.

Novato, CA 94947
(10)
starting at
$60 / 60-min

About Chris T.

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San Francisco, CA

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About Chris
My love for the guitar began in high school in 2001. After a few years of private lessons, and some time at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, I moved to the Bay Area where I have been performing and recording music since 2008.
...
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Chris T.

Chris T.

Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
starting at
$60 / 30-min

About Erik H.

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Novato, CA

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About Erik
I am a professional touring and recording drummer currently playing with the rock band Eyes On The Shore and several other projects and groups. I graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in drum set performance.

I started my musical journey on the piano at 5 and picked up my first pair of drumsticks when I was 11. I quickly fell in love with the drums as an instrument and dedicated my life to mastering my craft behind the kit ever since. Notable past performances in my drumming journey have included two concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall as the lead timpanist, the 2014 Progressive Nation At Sea festival hosted by Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, the 2014 All Stars Tour, a special performance at the 2016 NAMM show, and SXSW 2016 with my band Eyes On The Shore.

My students tend to be w
ide-ranging in terms of both ages and skill levels. Beginning drummers can expect to develop a solid foundation on rock beats and fills while playing along to some of their favorite bands/artists and having fun doing it! We will also make sure you are playing with proper technique and staying fluid and relaxed as you get used to the motions required between your limbs.

Intermediate and advanced students will dive into the deep end as we explore a wide range of topics including linear drumming, jazz swing and improvisation, funk and latin grooves, drum soloing, double bass drumming, rudiments and snare drum solos, recording drums, and much more!

The most important aspects of teaching for me are to keep our lessons fun, exciting, and to never lose track of why we picked up this instrument in the first place. I am here to help you achieve your greatest drumming goals and look forward to working towards them together!
...
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Erik H.

Erik H.

Novato, CA 94947
starting at
$34 / 30-min

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