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The Denver Music Scene - A Drummer’s Perspective

Let me introduce myself. I’m a drummer with 24 years in the music business, and for the last decade I’ve been lucky enough to be an active and integral part of the music scene here in Denver Colorado. It’s been a long and interesting ride so far and I thought I would use this opportunity to share some of my experiences through the unique perspective I’ve gained as an in demand drummer with those of you who are currently taking or looking to take drum lessons in Denver.

Colorado has a diverse musical background, and there seems to be more room for hybrid musical sty
les here, rather than most places that have an older, more established scene. Between the location, the weather, the close proximity to the mountains and the sister vibe of neighboring Boulder, Denver just seems to be a better place for experimental bands to flourish. Funk, Reggae, Jazz and Electronica for example are a big force on the Front Range in the festival circuit, and also in the mountain towns. Despite being far from an ocean, where these musical styles typically dwell, Colorado really gives the local musician a platform to express more creativity in between what you would normally expect from a specific genre. There are a variety of outdoor festivals that draw big crowds during the summer and bands that offer a wider musical palette are everywhere here.

This has treated me kindly as I have a background in auxiliary and hand percussion in addition to drum set, and have been known to dabble with electronic interfaces as well. One of the most interesting groups I have been a part of was a group called Aphelion, which was a live progressive trance and dub-step group focused on mixing organic elements such as live afro-Cuban percussion set-up with pre-programmed beats. Of course most of what we were performing on stage was live, but using a mixture of tracks sequenced in real time or performed in conjunction with an electro-acoustic set up yielded very interesting results. Later we added a live keyboardist and live guitarist to the mix, which was received with even more enthusiasm. One of our biggest shows was playing a mountain festival on the Fourth of July opening for a Pink Floyd Tribute band. There’s something about looking out over a sea of people and noticing little kids doing back-flips to your music in an open space near the stage that helps you realize your potential in a place where there is no fixed norm.

To take it even further, I’ve recently had the opportunity to join an Afro-Funk ensemble that will be brining the music of Fela-Kuti and other well-known African artists to the jam scene and festival circuit. (It’s been a few years now since I’ve had the opportunity to play in a band with a full horn section, so needless to say, I’m stoked!) Again, Denver just seems to leave more room for individual thinking and while this group could have come together anywhere, the range of players here that are into unique projects like this one never ceases to amaze me.

As if this weren’t enough for my plate, I’ve also been actively perusing a career in Rock for the last 3 years with my main group, Genre Theory. Taking some time off from the stage recently to finish up our upcoming self-titled EP, GT has been a strong force recently in the Indie Rock establishments of the Hi-Dive, the Marque, The Bluebird Theater, and Gothic Theater here in Denver. Not that these are predominantly rock venues, but there does seem to be a strong foothold for this type of music here; again, I feel that this is because we’re allowed to take some chances musically that would be a hard sell to crowds immersed in the standard issue rock mentality. I don’t take this for granted, and neither do the other musicians embedded in the scene. A few notable groups have even used this liberated platform to rise to great heights, including Rose Hill Drive, The Epilogues and most notably, The Fray.
By Mike M. - Denver Drums Teacher

If you’re taking drum lessons in Denver, make sure to get out to some local shows to experience this for yourself, even from the audience’s perspective. The most important aspect of any show is the interaction between the audience and performers. Support for any scene is support for all scenes, and with populations on the rise here on the Front Range, it won’t be long before everyone gets to be a part of our collective evolution. I feel lucky to be able to survive as a musician even on the local level, and with a constant influx of young musicians and audience members, I feel a real sense of belonging to something greater than myself. So keep an eye and ear open, and I’ll catch you in the scene.
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Beau J.

Denver, CO

I've been playing drums for over 15 years and I honestly enjoy playing it more than guitar.

About Beau

I'm a performing musician and guitar and drum instructor, as well as a certified Yoga teacher. I love learning my crafts anew by teaching it to others. I bring a lifetime of experience to lessons, performances, and audio engineering. Here are a few milestones and specifics in my background: * Attained a bachelor's degree in music and audio engineering from UC Denver. * Performing artist with two decades of dedicated practice. * Performances include the Fort Collins Art Museum, Loveland Art Museum, Fort Collins and Denver area galleries, cafes, restaurants, venues, community volunteering, weddings and mountain ranches, and private homes and businesses. * Recording engineer for a commercial Denver studio, recording and producing Denver area bands and musicians. * I've operated my ...

Reviews

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Christian B. May 15, 2013
Guitar
Very easygoing and fun lessons!

I was lucky enough to meet Beau back a few years and then had several guitar lessons. I feel like he helps to make the lessons as fun and interactive as possible by not just helping out with theory but including some songs I wanted to learn, which helped with motivation for sure... Thanks again, man!
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Chris S.

Aurora, CO

Drums! The backbone of the band! I play a wide variety of instruments, but I hop on the drums any time the opportunity presents itself-they're so much fun! You control the time, set the mood, and get to express yourself however you want! When you take drum lessons with me, we really work on your sense of time and how every piece of music revolves around you keeping time with your new instrument. As we develop an understanding of keeping time, we also discuss rudiments. Rudiments are the building blocks of drumming-with each new rudiment you learn, you discover a new way of expressing yourself on the drums. The more rudiments you know, the more you can express yourself freely in your music! As we learn rudiments, you will also be learning how to read drum music, so that you'll not only learn to play, but you'll be learning how to seek out new techniques for yourself to become an independent learner. And, as with all the music lesson I teach, we'll be focusing on songs that YOU

About Chris

A short history of my experience with music and education: The first instrument I learned to play was the guitar in 2001. I played the guitar on the worship team at FBC of Midway in Plant City, FL from 2001 to 2005. I began teaching private music lessons in 2003. I played bass guitar in a Christian rock band called of Anastasis from 2003 to 2005. I played acoustic, electric, and bass guitar on the worship team at Family Worship Center in Lakeland, FL from 2006 to 2012. I worked as a freelance audio engineer with my in-home recording studio throughout college (and now I just do it for fun). I played bass and sang background vocals in a worship band called Skyline from 2007 to 2009. I taught music and trained a student led worship team at Hope Christian Academy from ...

Reviews

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Anja T. March 6, 2014
Verified Student
Excellent, patient teacher

Chris is a very patient and encouraging teacher. Also delivers fast success learning a new instrument. Our boys look forward to every lesson and don't mind practicing in between. Great fit for our family and very convenient lessons in our home instead of shuttling the kids to another activity.
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Elizabeth W. February 7, 2014
Guitar
Verified Student
Guitar lessons with Chris

Chris is a wonderful and patient person who truly understands the concept of music and kids. I am very pleased and so grateful to Chris... he has helped my son come out of his shell....!!!!
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Scott B.

Denver, CO

About Scott

Hi! I'm Scott, and I'm a native of this great State of Colorado! I fell in love with the drums in 6th grade, and have never looked back! I too, began by taking private lessons, having been fortunate to be able to study under one of the best performers and private teachers in the Rocky Mountain West at the time. Beginning private instruction in Elementary School, I continued for 7 years even while embarking on a performance career in high school. Since then I've both performed and recorded a wide variety of styles including most forms of rock, country, jazz, pop, Gospel, symphonic/orchestral styles, and concert and marching band styles. I've also been fortunate to be able to teach many other students over these last 29 years of my career, and watch them achieve their own goals in drumming.

Reviews

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Michael R. August 22, 2014
Drum · In home
Verified Student
Scott is an incredibly patient teacher. Our 6 year old has been working with him for quite a few months. Its really difficult to keep the attention of a 6 year old, but Scott has different techniques to keep him interested. He has taught our son to read music in a very short time. He has taught the importance of practice as well as warming up. He has no problem coming to our house to teach, which gives our son the comfort of home. Scott is very patient and extremely flexible and we are enjoying working with him.

Its amazing seeing our little boy reading the music and playing the drums.

We highly recommend Scott in every way!
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Scott B. December 25, 2012
Drum
Scott is one of the best teachers I've come in contact with.

He is great with people! He really goes into the need for knowing basics if you're going to do well at any of the playing styles. It makes it so much easier to play just about anything, instead of having to start from scratch to learn every individual style of music there is, which is really important when you're doing recording like I am. He's also great in encouraging individual creativity in playing, and not just staying "inside the box." That really makes a person stand out from everyone else, which is what needs to happen if you're going to be noticed and be successful.
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Alan M.

Denver, CO

Because of my skills as a Elementary and Middle School Music teacher I will be able to give you a quality experience in beginning to learn Drums.

About Alan

My name is Alan M. I have been the Denver music area for over 30 years. I have been playing professionally for all of that time playing Drumset to Timpani in many professional orchestras, Dance Bands and small Jazz and Rock Combos. I have also had the pleasure to perform some great Musicals and Operas over the years. My students have been selected for some very prestigious scholarships. I have also had my fair share of students win positions to the Denver School of the Arts. *** Lesson Details *** Private lessons are usually an half hour. During this time we will be working on fundamentals. Which is how to read and understand the music that is front of you. One of the most important goals that I impress on the student is learning how to be their own teacher for lifelong ...

Reviews

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ChrisF March 21, 2012
Great
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Mike M.

Littleton, CO

30 years of experience playing all styles, and over 13 years of private drum and percussion instruction. If you have specific goals on your instrument and need some polishing and a fresh approach to your instrument I have just the curriculum for you! Newbies are also a specialty of mine as the majority of my longest running students, some of whom have been with me for over 8 years, started from scratch. Not only do you get a very qualified and respected teacher, but you get a friend and mentor in the local music scene as well. I have performed professionally in over 25 bands of all instrumentation, size and style you can think of! If there is a specific style that you are into, chances are I have performed many live concerts in that genre and will be able to directly help you achieve the same respective goals. I am more than happy to help you or your son or daughter hone their skills through real world application of Rudiments, Chart Reading, Speed and Endurance drills and Creative ...

About Mike

Hi, I'm a professional drummer, percussionist, and composer here in Denver offering a fresh new approach to drum instruction. I teach at two separate locations complete with dual drum sets and a complete sound system that allows for both my students and I to play simultaneously and at full live volume! As a Graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, I've been lucky enough to have studied with some of the most diverse masters of drumset and percussion from several continents around the globe. I've been a player of the drums for over 26 years now, and I'm still practicing and perfecting the art, gaining new friends, students, and live stage experiences on the way. Let me start by saying that I highly value the freedom that I've been able to enjoy by passionately perusing ...

Reviews

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Ande W. December 31, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
First Time Student

My son has been taking drum lessons with Mike for several months. He had never played drums prior to his first lesson and Mike has been nothing but patient and very professional with him. My son really enjoys the lessons and is learning so much more than I expected. Super happy with Mike and his knowledge of the drums along with his patience and communication. Would highly recommend him!
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Stefan B. November 19, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Excellent Teacher

Mike is a great Drum instructor. I am a beginner and felt he did a great job with my skill level. He has a lesson plan but is very flexible in learning the style of music you want to hear. He helps you achieve the goal you have with drums whether it is to be in a band or just for a hobby.

Lessons are fun and detailed without being boring.
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Eileen W. May 5, 2013
Drum
Verified Student
Mike is very excellent at teaching the drums

Mike creates a fun environment when he teaches drumming,i would definitely recommend people who have an interest in drumming to go learn from Mike. He's very talented and admits he's a bit weird but the way he teaches is just fun. he's always telling you what he liked about how you're drumming and how you can improve.

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