Michael Charleston

Michael C.

Huntington Beach, CA
Everything Michael Teaches

Levels taught:

    Michael teaches

    5 & 75

    Teaching since

    September 2002

    Last background check
    Michael passed a background check on 11/07/2014 that included the following:
    • National Criminal Record Check
    • County/State Criminal Record Check
    • Sex Offender Registry Search
    • SSN Trace & Verification
    For more information, please click here.


    Average response time

    2.0 hours

    About Michael


    Hi! My name is Michael and I am excited at the prospect of teaching you or your child...

    I absolutely love to teach, but not just because of my love for the drums or my life-long appreciation of music, but because of my enjoyment of people and the learning process itself. I feel that this is important to mention, because if I didn't enjoy what I did and take pride in working with people, then my teaching skills, curriculum, and experience would mean nothing. As anybody who has played a musical instrument can attest to, learning something new is difficult, and having a patient teacher who enjoys working with people is mandatory.

    Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to study with some amazing teachers, including Carmine Appice (author of “Realistic Rock” and drummer for Rod Stewart, Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Jeff Beck), Jason Lingle (Berklee School Of Music), Keith Harris (drummer for The Black Eyed Peas) and Lee Nichols, to name a few. My experiences with these teachers has led to a proficiency in rock, jazz and Latin, as well as the ability to convey these concepts in a manner that promotes patience, personal challenge, and constant progress.

    Besides teaching private lessons at many local facilities, I have had the opportunity to teach group classes at dozens of elementary and middle schools, including schools in the Westminster, Ocean View and Huntington Beach school districts. I have also aided many students into attending the arts high-school/college of their choice by working with them to properly read and perform all audition material.

    Whether you are a brand-new beginner or a seasoned student of the instrument, I am confident that I can take your playing to the next level. Oh yeah, we will also have a great time. Maybe you don’t know yet, but playing the drums is FUN. Give me a call and I will prove it to you.

    *** Lesson Details ***
    I teach using the Freddie Gruber method, which promotes a natural grip of stick and the idea that we should allow the stick to “do what it wants to do” by using natural and fluid motions. This is an incredibly effective style of play and is used by drummers such as Neil Peart, Dave Weckl and Steve Smith.

    I teach with an emphasis both on rudiments and hand technique, as well as drum-set exercises and genre study. I encourage practice to be done on a rubber practice pad
    as well as on the drum-set, and for brand-new beginners, I often recommend that the practice pad be used exclusively for the first several weeks or months to allow for a great understanding of basic grips and hand techniques. This is especially true when the new beginner doesn't yet own a drum-set. I am often asked, “does my child need a drum-set to take lessons?” The answer is always a resounding “not at all!” A pair of sticks and a practice pad will do the trick, and will also allow you, as the parent, to see your child’s level of involvement.

    Within the first 3 to 6 months of lessons, my students can expect to:

    - Properly play and understand a handful of rudiments, including the single and double stroke rolls, the paradiddle family, as well as several flam and drag rudiments.
    - Play and begin properly reading many different drum-beats and rhythms, and connect these beats using fills that are fun and sound cool.
    - Begin learning songs of the their choice, from Metallica to Miles Davis.

    I am also inspired by many different educational sources, including the textbooks:

    - Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone
    - Rockin’ Bass Drum by Charles Perry and John Lombardo
    - Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice
    - The Art Of Bop Drumming by John Riley
    - The Drummer’s Bible by Mick Berry and Jason Gianni
    - Haskell Harr’s Drum Method

    …as well as many other awesome texts that provide both classic and contemporary concepts that are challenging, and most importantly, sound really cool.

    I teach out of an awesome private studio that features 2 drum-sets (the student never needs to get off the drum-set), recording equipment (lessons are often recorded and cited later) and a great headphone sound system (for effectively learning and playing along with songs.) Simply put, I believe my studio is the most fun and efficient place to study the drums in Orange County.

    Whether you are a drum-line student who needs help playing a piece, a rock drummer who wishes to learn the basics of jazz (or vice versa), or a brand-new beginner who wants to see what this whole drumming thing is all about (spoiler: it’s awesome), I have the patience, the passion and the skills to help you get the most out of this wonderful instrument. Let’s play the drums!

    *** Studio Equipment ***
    I teach out of an awesome private studio that features 2 drum-sets (the student never needs to get off the drum-set), recording equipment (lessons are often recorded and cited later) and a great headphone sound system (for effectively learning and playing along with songs.) Simply put, I believe my studio is the most fun and efficient place to study the drums in Orange County.

    Check out the photos in my profile for some pictures.

    *** Specialties ***
    Years of teaching group classes to elementary and middle school students has given me lots of experience with a multitude of learning styles. My specialty lies in not only conveying lessons and concepts in an easy to understand manner, but doing so in a fun way that encourages progress. Simply put, you will want to practice, simply to see exercises and grooves evolve.

    While I am most proficient in rock music and have played in many rock bands, I am also very proficient in formal snare playing (marching/classical) as well as standards in jazz and Latin.

    Photos and Videos


    Private Instructor

    Dec 2003 - Present
    SideNote Music

    Private/Group Instructor

    Feb 2012 - Jul 2014
    Virtuoso's Russian Music Academy

    Private Instructor

    Jun 2005 - Aug 2011
    Orange County Music

    Associate Director

    Jul 2005 - Feb 2011
    The Music Factor

    Languages Spoken


    Fluent / Native Proficiency


    Certificate Of Drum Set Instruction - Private And Group

    Jan 2005
    J.R.S. Music Conservatory


    National Association for Music Education

    Sep 2014

    Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

    Percussive Arts Society, The

    Feb 2014

    We offer students and professionals opportunities to grow artistically and professionally. Students can learn have a music industry experience through the PAS Internship program or apply to receive a PAS scholarship or grant. Professionals can create new percussion programs or gain recognition through PAS grants and contests. Many individuals have significantly impacted the world of percussion through the Percussive Arts Society and they are recognized in our Hall of Fame and Awards pages.

    Write a Review

    23 Reviews on Michael C.

    Ryan B. Jun 22, 2015
    Drum · In studio
    Mike is one of the best drum instructors out there. I've been taking lessons with him from middle school, and he has helped me succeed to become the jazz drummer and drum captain at Marina High School. Mike understands several different styles: rock, jazz, Latin, metal, and more. In addition, he teaches students the proper technique, rudiments and how to read sheet music. Most importantly, Mike stands out from other instructors because he spends time trying to understand his students' interests and incorporates them into his lessons. He is very outgoing and energetic, so his lessons are always fun and educational. Overall, I highly recommend him because he challenges and inspires his students to become better drummers.
    Ha B. Jun 9, 2015
    Drum · In studio
    If you have been looking for a great drum teacher, Michael is your last stop! He has the ability to communicate with the students and parents and make drumming fun. His students response to him very well and enjoy going to weekly lesson.
    My son started with Michael when he entered 6th grade and is now a Junior playing for Marina HS Marching Band, Drum line, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band.
    If you have the time and sit in a lesson with your children, you will soon realize that your money is well spent...not a wasted minute in that 1/2 hour lesson.
    Becky G. Jun 3, 2015
    Drum · In studio
    As a piano teacher, I am amazed at the progress my 16 y.o. son has made in one year of lessons with Mike. Mike definitely has a talent for reaching his students in fun and creative ways, and does a great job at teaching to each student as an individual. I've seen him interact with other students, and you can just tell he loves what he does and sincerely cares about his students. My husband has also sat in on a lesson and saw how Mike has a gift as a drummer as well as a teacher. We look forward to the next level he will take our son as a drummer and musician.

    I highly recommend him as a teacher to any age student. His curriculum is solid and he keeps it fun and engaging. You won't be disappointed!
    Luis May 28, 2015
    Drum · In home
    Verified Student
    Really enjoying it. He's very enthusiastic
    tina M. May 15, 2015
    Drum · In studio
    I would give Mike C. 10 stars if I could! 5 just doesn't seem like enough! He is such a great teacher!! My ten-year-old son has been taking drum lessons from Mike for a few years now. He continues to look forward to going to his lessons every week. Mike makes it fun and keeps things interesting. He takes the time to get to know his students and the music they like. He incorporates it in to the lessons along with proper technique and reading music. I can't say enough positive things about him as teacher and just an all around great guy. :-)
    christine W. Mar 24, 2015
    Drum · In studio
    Verified Student
    Michael is an amazing teacher, he understands kids and music .He's not only funny but fun, happy, and upbeat. I'm 11 years old and I loved my first lesson! He's Fantabulous!
    Brandon L. Sep 23, 2014
    Drum · In studio
    Definitely the best drum teacher ever!

    I received a package of drum lessons for Mike in 2008, for my 12th birthday. I loved them and learned a great deal, but soon I ran out of lessons. A few years later, I was able to continue drum lessons in early 2011, until about July of 2013. During this time, Mike was never at a lack of content, in fact he had a fun worksheet for almost any style of drumming you want! Mike is great at teaching every style; rock, jazz, metal, and much more! I had a great experience, and Mike was a wonderful teacher! I was forced to put a pause on my lessons again in 2013 because I was busy starting my senior year of high school, and balancing a job. At the end of that year, I used some of the money I had saved up to continue my lessons throughout the Summer of 2014. It was well worth every penny!

    Mike is a great teacher, for any age! His fun style of teaching allows you to learn, and want to practice as you are mastering even some of the toughest exercises. Over the six years I have known him, he has become more of a friend than a teacher! I would recommend him to anyone wanting to learn to play drums.
    Clarence G. Aug 20, 2014
    Drum · In studio
    Verified Student
    Mike is an awesome teacher who takes interest in each student's personality and is able to customize the learning experience accordingly. My son is only 6 and yet he is making excellent progress and always enjoys his lessons. Mike makes sure there is always a personal connection and that makes the student comfortable and confident in playing music. He is always attentive to detail and is able to pinpoint what the student needs to work on and therefore there is always an improvement in technique. We were referred to him by a friend and are very happy with our decision to enroll our son. Highly recommended!
    Libby W. Apr 11, 2014
    Verified Student
    Perfect Drum Teacher for a 6 year-old!

    Mike is simply the perfect drum teacher for our high energy 6 year-old son! He has taken the time to get to know Annan and understand how to best teach him. As a result, he is able to push our kid to challenge himself, while still making it so fun that he doesn't want the lesson to end. Mike is also very organized, which makes it easy for the parents to understand what your child is supposed to be practicing throughout the week. He also gives exercises for practice that the kids actually want to do. As a result, Annan practices on his own and is often trying to push himself to do even a little more so that he can impress Mike at this next lesson. If you have a young son who is interested in drums, I can't think of a better teacher than Mike!
    John S. Mar 5, 2014

    This is it! Michael C. is it! I have taught music for years and I have watched my children take music lessons for years, but I have never been so impressed as when I watch Michael C.! My son has been taking lessons with Michael C. for a few months now and without fail he is always so sad whenever Michael's lessons comes to a close. Michael C. has developed his own - (that's right his own work sheets, his own methodology, his own songs) - style of teaching that is so incredibly fun for my son, and as a parent watching I cannot stop wanting to pull out my phone to take video of every moment! My son is learning and building a foundation based on the clear fundamentals of drumming, while at the same time learning how to really control the drum set at a very high level of musicianship. What my son has learned, and how much Michael is able to motivate my son to achieve is simply unbelievable. I have never witnessed a teacher who is this concise and thorough in teaching the core fundamentals and yet so creative and fun in teaching REAL MUSICALITY! Michael C. is a must for your child or students! This guy and his teaching methods are exactly what a parent dreams for their child to experience in a drum teacher.