John Synhavsky

John S.

Saint Paul, MN

About John S.

Background check: Last verified 11/30/2015
John passed a background check on 11/30/2015 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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John teaches: Ages 5 and up
Special needs
Teaching since: April 2008


I have spent over 10 years gigging, recording, and teaching drums in the Twin Cities. I am a full-time musician, splitting time between original indie-pop band Step Rockets and Minneapolis-based variety band Soul Tree. I teach from my music studio in St. Paul as well as traveling to students' homes.

I started drumming at the age of 10, honing my chops under the tutelage of drummer/vibraphonist Steve Roehm, member of the acclaimed Twin Cities jazz trio, The New Standards. I continued my musical education at St. Olaf College, where I played drums in the college's nationally accredited Jazz One ensemble while studying percussion with highly regarded Twin Cities musicians Phil Hey and Dave Hagedorn. Since graduating, I've found a niche in the world of teaching. I spent three years teaching students in St. Paul Public Schools while developing a strong base of private drum students in and around the Twin Cities. I have a thorough understanding of drumming technique coupled with an in-depth knowledge of different styles and genres, which I've accumulated through playing with a vast variety of bands and ensembles. Check out my website ( for more information about my musical endeavors.

I love sharing my passion for drums with people of all ages and musical backgrounds. I provide a fun and stimulating learning environment in which students can foster their drum skills and grow their love of music.

*** Lesson Details ***
John provides a laid back atmosphere, ensuring that lessons are equal parts fun and education. Based on his teaching experience with a wide range of ages and experience levels, John tailors his curriculum according to his students' input and the exercises that are most effective. John can teach any number of drum set skills, from basic mechanics and music reading to advanced technique and improvisation.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Sound-Proof Studio w/ Full Drum Kit

*** Travel Equipment ***
Given the short duration of each drum lesson, I expect the student to provide all of the drums, cymbals, and hardware for which he/she desires to learn the instrument.

*** Specialties ***
Genres: Funk, Rock, Jazz, Latin (Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Latin-Jazz), Pop, Country, Hip-Hop; Sight-Reading; Rudiments; Improvisation; Technique

Photos and Videos

"Kisser" by Step Rockets



Jan 2006 - Present
Drum Instructor & Performing Artist


B.A. - Psychology

Sep 2006 - May 2010
St. Olaf College

Languages Spoken


Fluent / Native Proficiency


B.A. Psychology

May 2010
St. Olaf College

Write a Review

8 Reviews on John S.

Lisa T. May 27, 2015
Drum · In studio
John quickly won over my son with his great personality and fun teaching style. I am impressed by how quickly Blake has improved in such a short amount of time. It's fun to see how much he looks forward to his weekly lessons. Thanks John!
Joseph W. May 25, 2015
Drum · In studio
John has helped me take my drumming to the next level. When I started lessons I was fairly new to the drum set and did not know how to read music. Over the past two years he has completely transformed me from a beginner to a gigging musician. John is patient, laid back and very knowledgeable and I would highly recommend him to drummers of all skill levels.
Ann W. May 23, 2015
Drum · In studio
I played drums in a school band and haven't played in a few years. I approached John about getting back into the art even though I was a little rusty. Previously I have taken lessons with people who were skilled gigging drummers but not the best educators. John is a great combination of professional musician and a skilled educator, as shown through his patience and ability to explain techniques and skills. I highly recommend John as a teacher for any level, because he has been so wonderful in getting me back on my musical feet!
Natalie W. Oct 28, 2014
Drum · In studio
John is a very talented musician with thorough knowledge of the drums! He makes lessons productive and light-hearted. I have taken lessons from him for two years and I am excited to continue building my skills alongside such a wonderful teacher!
Mary M. Aug 6, 2014
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
I worked with John for around 9 months so far, starting as a complete beginner. He has moved me through multiple genres of music and despite my limited schedule has me progressing much further along in lessons then I ever thought possible! He is great to work with, very accommodating to the students interest and very professional! He has helped me with technique and music theory as well, which has been really helpful. I would recommend him to anyone, young or old, interested in learning the drums!
LisaS7 Apr 29, 2012
Great teacher

John is patient, on time and very thourough! He has great knowledge and is very personable. Gets along great with me and my son.
GloriaB Apr 12, 2011
Great Instructor

John quickly figured out my learning. style. I have learned a lot in a very short period of time. John knows all the genres and he knows how to teach. He has a great personality and would be a great teacher for all ages and abilities.
BillS1 Nov 22, 2010
What a great instructor!

I would recommend John to anyone for drum instruction. He quickly figured out my playing style, gave me excercises for improvement and had me 'thinking' instead of just hitting the drums. On top of that add a great personality and fun lessons. Thanks, John!

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