Matthew Gittelson
Vista, CA
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Matthew Gittelson

Matthew G.

Vista, CA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Be it an absolute beginner or you're already rolling - let's play.

About Matthew G.

A drum instructor since 1988, I'm a graduate of Musicians Institutes Percussion Institute of Technology (P.I.T.) and hold a Bachelor of Arts from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

I teach beginning to advanced drums to students of all ages. Before relocating in San Diego, I was a full-time instructor for The Drum Circuit Drum School in San Luis Obispo where I was teaching 200 lessons a month. Originally, I'm a native of the Los Angeles area where I taught for the Van Nuys and Alamany High School music programs.

I've been lucky enough to study with some of the music industry's very best educators including: Steve Houghton, Jeff Porcaro (Toto), Joe Porcaro, Casey Schurell (Frank Zappa) Efrin Torres (Latin and World), Chuck Flores (Jazz Legend), and Ralph Humphrey. These professionals provided me with the foundation for a teaching career that is now into its 25th year.

Outside the practice rooms, I'm an on-call, independent performer / contractor and clinician. Some of my credits include performances/recordings with Jon Anderson of Yes, Award winning songwriter Maia Sharp, (Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks), nationally recognized blues band Pryor Baird and the Deacons, and many other noteworthy talents. I've also performed for various stage productions in the Los Angeles area, such as Little Shop of Horrors, How to Succeed in Business, and Once Upon A Mattress.

Currently, Matt can be found performing with what many call "the ultimate Santa cover band" Santana Ways as well as a number of other musical projects.

I work hard to implement teaching techniques that encompass all styles of drumming and performance. Sight reading, rudiments, chart interpretation, soloing, hand/foot control, independence, and working in a band are just a few areas of focus. It may sound like it's difficult - but you can do it all and I'll prove it to you. 25 years of teaching experience has not only taught me patience but has given me the tools to encourage, develop and refine the abilities of any student. (And that means you :)

*** Lesson Details ***
Don't worry. First things first, you're going to make mistakes so don't be afraid to. If you don't make any mistakes during a lesson, you can go ahead and teach me. I'm really laid back with my approach to lessons: we'll talk, we'll play, I'll explain a few things and boom - you're playing' drums better than ever.
If experience has taught me anything, it's that a student can not be forced to practice. However, even the younger students understand the idea of "you get out of it, what you put into it". I pride myself in being able to make lessons enjoyable and thereby the student is going to want to learn more and in turn, practice more. I will give you all you can handle - when you're ready.
Playing to music is essential - it's what we're going to strive to do right? Students should try to have an MP3 player of some sort: Ipod, ipad, smart phone etc.. I'll bring one just in case so we can plug in, listen to your jams and play.

*** Travel Equipment ***
Students should have their own drums. Minimum of a practice pad and Drum Sticks. (Available if needed). Music paper and a folder or binder.

*** Specialties ***
Drummers need to be versatile and more often than not, versatility is limited by two factors: physical independence and music interpretation. Out of the gate, I focus on these two hugely important aspects of modern drumming so that the student may better pursue their desired style with as much freedom and knowledge as possible.


Write a Review
16 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

My son and I take lessons from "Mr. Matt." He is always enthusiastic and supportive even if we're not the most musically talented. We love his mix of basic essentials, music style and theory, and plain rocking out to songs we pick that he shows us how to play.

Posted Feb 3, 2021
Profile-location-home Student's Home

We could not be happier with Matthew! He has the perfect deameanor and teaching technique for our 7 year old. Our son has learned an unbelievable amount in the last two months, but more importantly, he thinks playing is fun. We are so happy to have found Matthew!

Posted Sep 26, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Matthew has been great for my son, Michael! He has learned a lot in a short period of time!

Posted Aug 17, 2016
Curtis W.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Very knowledgeable and patient. My son has learned a lot in a short amount of time.
Highly recommend!

Posted Sep 17, 2015
Tim Y.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I had my first lesson with Matthew and it exceeded my expectations! Matthew was professional yet really down to earth and he made me feel comfortable from the get go. I look forward to taking my drumming to the next level with Matthew as my teacher.

Posted Jul 28, 2015
Ronald C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Awesome teacher! I am a self-taught drummer and he showed me exactly what I needed to do to improve myself.

Posted Mar 4, 2015
Stacey S.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Matt is AWESOME. He has been a great musical role model for me since day one. The knowledge that Matt has passed down to me has completely reallocated my purpose as a musician and challenged me to question my role as a drummer in an ensemble situation. What insight! I have absolutely no doubt that I will be prepared to confidently attend college university music ensembles in the next couple of months, because of Matt's mentorship and how it has inspired me (and of course, taught me how) to achieve my best. Matt has exposed me to styles of music I didn't even know existed. His talent is beyond the capacity of any other teacher I've had, and my family and I respect him very much. Very personable, easy-going, and intelligent. Thank you Matt, for everything. :)

Posted Feb 22, 2015
Erik H.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Matthew has been great with our son! A perfect balance between keeping our 6-year old interested but also teaching the essentials. Other teachers just didn't "get it" when teaching a young, active boy. We are very pleased with Matt's approach, and after only 3 lessons and some practice, I am already able to jam with my son on some simple rock n roll tunes.

Posted Sep 30, 2014
Bharathy T.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My son had just 3 Drum lessons with Matt and he was very encouraging while teaching him the Drum rudiments. Vikram made progress in leaps and bounds considering it was such a short time and we thank Matt for his easy going approach. He was always on time and great with communicating ahead of time if there were any changes. I wish him the very best.

Posted Jul 19, 2014
Greg C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Matt is a true professional!

Matt teaches my 10 year old on drums and has done an amazing job. He has instilled the basics and foundation of drumming while still holding the interest of my son. At the same time he is developing his ear and teaching him how to play and adapt to different styles of music.

I highly recommend Matt for all ages of drumming kids and adults alike.

Posted Jun 11, 2014
Gerry H.

To the point...

Matthew is very good at knowing where you should start. Instead of pulling out basic rudiments from the start, Matthew had me play my set first. It was then he got a good understanding where I needed to start.

Matthew is very laid back, allows you to progress at your own speed, and always makes sure you got your lesson(s) before he leaves...

I would recommend Matthew to any drummer wanting professional instruction.

Posted May 13, 2014
Lori N.

My Grandson has come so far with his Drum Lessons!

My 9 year old Grandson has been taking lessons with Matthew for over a year. This is his very first experience with any drum lessons and because of Matthew's excellent teaching style, he has come so far!

I might add that my Grandson has Down Syndrome but that never stopped Matthew from being the Great Drum Instructor that he is complete with a rather relaxed, easy going but very professional teaching skill.

When my Grandson was at a MLB Game when presented with the spur-of-the-moment opportunity to play drums with some professionals, he had the confidence to just jump right in because of his experience with Matthew's drum lessons.

Thank you Matthew, we appreciate all you have done!

Posted Apr 26, 2014
Vasilisa S.

If You Want Beyond a Great Teacher, Then Go With Matt

I have been taking lessons with Matt for over a year. I can honestly say, if you want drum lessons, then he's your guy! He is professional, personable, highly knowledgeable, patient, explains things very well, and very reliable. I have had 3 guitar teachers, 1 voice teacher, and 1 drum teacher before Matt and out of all those teachers, he was by far the best. There is a big difference between someone who does it for a hobby or just a little extra income and some one who has a passion and Matt has the passion and he really cares about his students. I can be really bad about practicing but he hasn't given up on me and is always encouraging. From my past experiences with teachers, a teacher that believes in you is a very important element in teaching, Matt has that element. If you want the best, I mean really the best you can find, then go with Matt. You will NOT regret it and nor will your child.

Posted Jun 2, 2013
Conahey T.

Great teacher for our 8 year old!

Matt has taught our 8 yr old for about 8 months and he has learned so much! Though our son is a bit shy, Matt has been very patient, positive, and makes his lessons fun. He lets him know it's ok to make mistakes too which is very comforting to him. He is now able to play with his older brother who plays guitar. Matt worked with them together to teach them a song for their school variety show and they are so excited! He is friendly, always on time, and very passionate about teaching. He explains things clearly and gives him a few beats to work on before the next lesson. He loves drumming now:) We highly recommend him.

Posted Apr 3, 2013
Lisa V.

Best Drum Instructor North County

We couldn't be happier with Matt. He has taken a shy, not-so-confident young boy and turned him into a proud, musically knowledgeable and darn good drummer !!! Matt is extremely patient, positive,reliable, FUN and a skilled drummer to boot. My son states, "Matt explains things clearly" . I would highly recommend him.

Posted Mar 22, 2013
Joe P.

Best instructor I've had in years

I've been taking lessons with Matt for about a year now, and within that time my skill on the drum kit has improved tenfold. Matt teaches with a vast number of strategies to help me understand the lesson and improve my technique. He makes learning an instrument entertaining (as it should be) and not a chore or boring task. Matt is friendly, relatable, timely, and the best drum/percussion instructor I've had in California. 10/10 would recommend.

Posted Mar 20, 2013

Photos & Videos

10 Photos & Videos


Drum Instructor
Mar 2012 - Present

Rock U. - Escondido CA

Private in home drum instruction

Drum Instructor
Jan 2011 - Present

California Music Studios - Encinitas CA.

Private home and in studio drum instruction

Drum Instructor
May 2011 - Nov 2012

YMCA (Ecke) Encinitas

Group and private drum instuction

Drum Instructor
Jan 1993 - Nov 2008

The Drum Circuit - San Luis Obispo CA.

Private home and in studio drum instruction


Bachelor Of Arts
Jan 1993 - Jun 1997

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Drums and Percussion
Jul 1989 - Aug 1990

Musicians Institute (P.I.T.) - Hollywood CA.



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Professional Musician : Drums / Percussion
Aug 1990

Musicians Institute (P.I.T.)

A one year full time course of study. In-depth instruction from acknowledged leaders in music education.


Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
Jun 1988

Van Nuys High School

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