John Mears

John M.

Carlsbad, CA

About John M.

Background check: Last verified 02/20/2016
John passed a background check on 02/20/2016 that included the following:
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John teaches: Ages 5 to 80
Special needs
Teaching since: 1993
Last sign in: 5 days ago


I have 36 years of playing and 12 years of teaching beginning and intermediate drummers by ear, performance & notation. Preforming drums has brought so much joy to my life and expanded my creativity more than I would have ever realized when I started in 1978. Teaching/sharing my drumming experience is a passion, my students are taught not only how to play drums but also about music structure (verse, chorus, bridge, etc.), how to perform with other musicians and how to dissect a piece of music. Various styles and rhythms are taught and rudiments are covered thoroughly, nothing better than an impressive double stroke roll! I have always been a teacher that I feel can understand each personality and adjust my approach to each lesson as needed and furthermore, I always treat my students with respect, courtesy and patience which I find makes them more apt to relax, listen, learn, feel the music and have fun!

Photos and Videos

Live at the Belly Up!


Drum Instructor

Apr 1993 - Present
Private Lessons

I began teaching drums after college in 1993 in Colorado Springs, CO. My wife and I relocated from San Diego on a wing and a prayer, and with quality jobs thin at that time I decided I could start my own business doing something I knew and loved, drum instructor. I transformed our basement to a studio and ran classified ads (no internet then) and the phone started ringing and friends told friends and before long a nice cliental emerged and I landed myself in a great band to boot. I was always looking for new and fun teaching ideas/techniques in the private lessons, and during these years I really learned a lot about customizing each lesson for each personality and ability. This kept (and to this day still keeps) things fun, interesting and makes for a great learning environment. After nearly five years of consistent teaching and performing in Colorado we returned to San Diego County and I picked up where I had left of with bands I performed with prior. I continued my teaching but on a lesser scale do to the demands of performance and recording for the next ten years. The experience gained during this period elevated my drum, music, performance, etc. knowledge to a new level and I began my passion again, and continue now, teaching all ages - with a full arsenal of fun!
For beginning students my method of teaching combines a balance of learning the fundamentals such as rudiments with notation, stick control, dynamics, meter, etc. while also teaching the student to play by ear, which is imperative for a drummer perhaps more so than any other instrument. Lessons are always designed to be fun, interactive and engaging -never tedious or mundane. For practicality, drum practice pads are used to learn rudiments, but since the whole idea of learning drums to play a drum set/kit I get the student on the set on day one, and every lesson. I discuss what music styles the student is interested in and work on learning rhythms and songs by performing with the actual recordings. Also, with a practice pad set and a drum set in my studio I am able to play side by side, or I can also step into the role of guitarist or keyboardist and the student can perform songs with a live musician - a very valuable teaching technique I have found. Finally, I often employee computer based programs such as Acid Loops, Sound Forge & Garage Band to assist with fully hearing and dissecting drum beats and rhythms as well as to record the student so they can hear themselves as others do and to chart progress.

Professional Musician/Drummer

Jun 1984 - Present
Various Bands, Preformances & Recordings

Bands: Crash Carter, Michael Tiernan, Tower 7, The Surf Chiefs, The Standards, The Late Walter Phobicman (w/ Matt Beckley), Life of Wryley, Tom Yermak's Tomfoolery, Head Full of Zombies plus many others.

Performances: The Fonda Theater, The Palomino Club, The Belly Up, The La Paloma Theater, Rusty's on the Santa Monica Pier, The Casbah, Humphrey's, DiPiazza's, The Hard Rock Café, The Del Mar/San Diego County Fair, Festival Del Mar, San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon, Canes, Fiesta Del Sol, The Sony Art Walk, Winston's, The Bacchanal, The Calypso and numerous other venues, events, corporate shows as well as live performances, Air Play and/or interviews on Television (NBC, FOX, KPBS, KUSI) and Radio (91X, 94.9, KPBS, KGB, KPRI, KKSM and others in and outside the San Diego area).

Recordings: Over 50 recording sessions in Los Angeles and San Diego. Crash Carter's release "Red Buttons Blink" and Michael Tiernan's "Jumping In" is available on all digital sites such as iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc. for purchase and/or streaming.


BA in Business Adminstration

Jul 1991 - Mar 1992
National University

Studied Music Theroy

Aug 1990 - May 1991
Palomar College

AA in Radio and Television Communications

May 1985 - May 1991
Palomar College

Studied Music Appreciation

Aug 1988 - May 1990
San Diego State University

Studied Music Production/Engineering

Jun 1989 - Aug 1989
Mira Costa College

Private Lessons and Clinics

Feb 1978 - May 1982
Professional Drum Instructors

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency


Honorable Mention in Billboard Magazine's World Song Contest (Top 1500 Globally)

Jul 2007
Billboard Magazine

Triple A Album of the Year

Aug 2005
Los Angeles Music Awards


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

Jan 2005

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Write a Review

5 Reviews on John M.

Katja Jun 17, 2016
Drum · In studio
We would like to thank John for becoming our all time favorite drum teacher. In just 7 lesson John managed to not only give our daughter the support and teach the techniques she needed for her upcoming concert, but also boost her self-confidence tremendously. Our daughter is a quite girl and as the only percussionist in the school band, she needed and needs to learn from someone with John's experience at teaching children.
Thank you, John. We can't wait to take more lessons soon!!!
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Greg May 9, 2016
Drum · In studio
I have had a couple different drum teachers and learned to play pretty good, and then I saw John performing at the Belly Up! I was able to get his contact info through a mutual friend. Called for lessons and he was so cool, he asked all about my musical styles and direction and really made me feel comfortable and confident. I jumped from feeling like a 5th grader on drums to a legit drummer in just a few weeks (got paid for my first gig last month:)) Yes, Recommend!!!
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Garret May 9, 2016
Drum · In home
John was my drum teacher a few years ago, always on time and ready to go with fun and cool new stuff to learn - he's your man if looking to be a solid drummer.
Sam May 7, 2016
Drum · In studio
Thank you John, when I started last year I wasn't sure I could ever do this, but I am and so stoked -5 star teacher no doubt!
Ammie Mar 9, 2016
Drum · In studio
I took beginning lessons from John about five years ago. I learnd so much about drumming and music! Awesome teach, super patient and motivating. Time for band rehearsal... Thx John!!
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