Michael Charleston

Michael C.

Huntington Beach, CA
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About

Michael passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Michael delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
and Ages 5 to 75

Teaching since:
September 2002

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.

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Experience

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

English
Fluent / Native Proficiency

Certifications

Certificate Of Drum Set Instruction - Private And Group
Jan 2005
J.R.S. Music Conservatory

Affiliations

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.

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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.

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Photos & Videos

Photo by Michael C.

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Photo by Michael C.

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Photo by Michael C.

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Photo by Michael C.

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Photo by Michael C.

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Photo by Michael C.
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29 Reviews

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Eddie R. Jul 19, 2017
Drum · In home

I can't recommend Mike enough! I always wanted to learn drums but it felt daunting and somewhat inaccessible to me. From my first lesson with Mike, that changed completely. I left his studio feeling like I could absolutely learn to play. In just one lesson I learned a lot about proper technique, reading music, etc. without feeling overwhelmed or bored. Mike explains everything clearly while also making it fun to learn. And, most importantly, he has a clear (and proven) structure to his lesson plans. Concepts are taught in a cumulative manner so that each lesson you make progress towards a clearly defined goal - a goal that you get to help define, be it a specific song you want to learn or a certain skill/level to attain. Mike is knowledgeable about the subject matter and provides insightful tips and homework to make sure you're learning the right skills in a fun and challenging manner. If you want to learn drums, Mike is your guy.

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Ryan C. Jul 11, 2017
Drum · In studio

My son started learning the drums at age 5. Not only is he able to keep a beat but he is learning to read music. He is also being taught proper drumming techniques and that there is more to it than just banging sticks. Within these past two years, Mike built his confidence and gave him enough skills to go perform at his school's talent show. Each lesson my son comes out smiling and has a sense of accomplishment. He says his lessons are fun and that Mike is a cool teacher. Mike shows that he loves to teach and I couldnt be more pleased!!!!

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Shane R. Mar 18, 2017
Drum · In studio

Michael is extremely knowledgeable about drumming. He relates to a 13 yr old advanced drummer teaching and having fun at the same time. Excited to work w Michael again

Eniko B. Aug 23, 2016
Drum · In home

I am a 20 year old college student and I've been taking lessons with Mike for almost a year now. There hasn't been a time when I left the lesson without learning something new or improving on my previous skills. Mike is an excellent teacher and is very familiar with many different genres and styles of music. I always look forward to going to my lessons because every week there's something new and challenging waiting for me. I would highly recommend Mike as a percussion teacher to anyone, as he is incredibly nice and talented at the same time!

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Jeannie Skidmore Mar 20, 2016
Drum · In studio

I am 14 years old and have been taking drum lessons for about 6 years from Mr. Mike. I don’t think I can find the words to say how awesome he is! I only liked drumming when I started with Mr. Mike, but he has inspired me to absolutely love drumming. He has been the only drum teacher I have ever had I would be crushed if I ever lost him as my teacher. He takes the time to teach me the music I love to play and learn. He also teaches me the not so fun stuff like reading music and rudiments to make me a great drummer. No matter what Mr. Mike teaches me, he always makes it fun. I look forward to my lessons with Mr. Mike; he is simply the best!

Mr. Mike is not only my drum teacher, he is also my friend. Every time I arrive at his studio, he always asks me about my life and how I’ve been, and he makes me laugh all the time. I hardly remember my life before Mr. Mike. I look up to him, and he has always been a great role model to me. Mr. Mike has inspired me to be as accomplished as he is on the drums when I grow up. Even when I am struggling to learn hard parts, he is always supportive and helps me through it. Mr. Mike never makes me feel bad about myself; in fact, he has made me more confident not only as a drummer but as a person. I think the world of Mr. Mike. I think he has helped to shape me to be the person I am today.

Mr. Mike is one of the kindest and warm-hearted people I have ever met. He inspires me to be the best drummer I can be. Mr. Mike is a huge part of my life, and I hope he always will be. I am so lucky to have him as my teacher. They don’t make words to express how highly I recommend him to be your drum teacher.

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Christina M. Oct 31, 2015
Drum · In studio

He is amazing! Pack full of knowledge! He is passionate about giving you a strong foundation to build on. Very fun and very easy going! Drum lesson day is the day I look forward to and it won't come soon enough.

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.

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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.

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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!

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Luis May 28, 2015
Drum · In home

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. :-)

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christine W. Mar 24, 2015
Drum · In studio

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.

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Clarence G. Aug 20, 2014
Drum · In studio

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!

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Libby W. Apr 11, 2014
Drum ·

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!

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John S. Mar 5, 2014
Drum ·

AMAZING!

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.

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Ellen S. Mar 4, 2014
Drum ·

Very Pleased with Lessons

My 10 year old son has about 5 lessons under his belt now. The lessons are fun, focused, and strategically improving his skills. I am very impressed with how the lessons are paced and the amount of material that is covered. Michael is super kid-friendly and is patient. The homework is consistent and appropriate.

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Ann N. Jan 20, 2014
Drum ·

Excellent drum instructor

Our son, Jonah, has been taking lessons with Mike for a little over 18 months. It was one of the best decisions we ever made for him. Mike established rapport with Jonah very quickly. He has learned our son's quirks, likes, capabilities - and tailors instruction accordingly. Mike is very professional, reliable, and there has never been a disconnect with communication. His studio is inviting to visitors, and we're so lucky to have him teach in our neighborhood.

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Kristy S. Dec 21, 2013
Drum ·

Mike is the best teacher!

My son has been taking drum lessons from Mike for about 6 years consistently. Mike is an amazing instructor and all around great person. My son has learned so much from Mike, enjoys going to his lessons every week(the ONLY activity that he has done that there is NO complaining about going to lessons, only enthusiasm). He has grown leaps and bounds with his level of drumming, all due to Mike. Mike's studio is high tech, his teaching ability and knowledge of all kinds of genres of music and general positive encouragement and attitude make Mike the best drum instructor. He is a great role model for my son, as well. You can't go wrong with Mike!

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Robert S. Dec 13, 2013
Drum ·

Best drum teacher in Orange County

I've been talking lessons with Mike for about 5 years. He is both a great teacher and person. He combines a high level of skill and teaching ability with unmatched enthusiasm. His lessons are a combination of practice on the pad and on the kit, culminating in learning to play songs. Learning a new instrument is not easy, but this approach works and is very rewarding( as well as fun). Mike is also very friendly, fun, and energetic. To summarize, you WILL NOT regret choosing Mike. He is great teacher, and is someone who you or your child can become friends with. I will never regret having Mike as my drum teacher.

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Daxton T. Dec 13, 2013
Drum ·

Mike is an amazing teacher and all around person.

Mike is an awesome drum teacher. I have been taking lessons from him for a couple months now and he has made me able to do much more than I expected. He is very organized with an endless amount of different worksheets and charts to work on that challenge you just enough. He is a nice person and is fun to be around, I wouldn't take drum lessons from anyone other than mike.

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Margott H. Oct 15, 2013
Drum ·

Excellent quality of instruction!

I'm a 37-year-old drum student and I find this class very well organized. Mike comes to class very well prepared for each lesson and I don't feel that he goes too fast or too slow. The speed of the lesson is just perfect! I like being challenged and he does just that. At our 7th lesson, we started learning a song from my fave band, Guns n' Roses, and we're having so much fun!

I like very much that he has his own lessons printed for me to take home and practice. He is very good at writing down the "homework" for the week, which is pretty much what he feels I should practice on from what we have learned during the lesson. Everything he teaches prepares me for the next lesson.

In addition, one great thing about his studio is that I get to play on actual drums while he sits at another drum set in front of me, and via microphone and headsets, he teaches me the patterns. He is very enthusiastic about each lesson and I go home wanting to go straight to my drums and practice! No matter how tired I may be after a long day of work.

In every single aspect, the quality of instruction is excellent! I'm very glad to have found Mike on TakeLessons.com.

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Megan K. Jul 16, 2013
Drum ·

Great Teacher!

My son is 11 and takes Drum lessons from Mike. He is extremely patient and knowledgeable. My son enjoys going to his lessons every week. We were lucky to find Mike.

Sian P. Apr 18, 2013
Drum ·

Awesome Teacher - Definitely would recommend

Michael has been a great teacher to my 5-year old. My son and I both came to him with no experience with drums/music education and Michael was able to teach my son in a way that was fun and kept the attention of a 5 year old, while still being able to grasp the concepts and foundations of music. As a parent, I admired his enthusiasm and excitement of my son’s progression. He is very passionate about what he does and it is exemplified through his lessons. My son truly enjoys the lessons and even practices on his own throughout the week and this is definitely attributable to Michael’s instruction style and passion for his craft. I would absolutely recommend Michael as a teacher.

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Robert P. Feb 13, 2013
Drum ·

The lessons have definitely been worth while and fun.

I came to Mike with no prior experience in playing drums or reading music. Mike's teaching technique is easy to follow and he explains things in a manner that is easy to understand. Mike is very comfortable to study under and he is always so positive.

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JerryS2 Jul 2, 2012
·

Mike is a great teacher. He is very knowledgeable and encourageing. He is friendly and pleasent to be around. I would recommend him.

SusanC3 May 6, 2012
·

perfect fit

I was looking for a drum instructor that would fit my son's personality, foster an enjoyment of playing music. The goal was for my son to enjoy learning to play the drums. Take Lessons made it so easy to find the "perfect fit" for him. From the moment, my son met Michael, they hit it off! It has been amazing watching my son progress and so much fun watching him enjoy the drums. Michael has a natural gift for teaching. You can tell he loves what he does.

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HeatherT Mar 9, 2012
·

Great Drum Teacher!

My 7 year old daughter loves her drum lessons with Michael. I love how patient and understanding he is with her. He always gives her appropriate feedback on what she needs to work on and gives her great praise when she does well. I would recommend him to anyone who is thinking of learning the drums.

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ColetteN May 27, 2011
·

10 Year Old Daughter- Future Rock Star!

Michael is an awesome teacher! He is patient, kind, gives clear instructions, models the technique, encourages and motivates. WOW! His studio is really cool too! He welcomes the whole family to sit in and observe the lessons.My daughter is catching on quickly and getting better with each lesson. We are so impressed with her progress and we attribute this to Michael. He established a comfortable rapport with her and uses his sense of humor to help her get through the tough exercises. He consistently gives positive praise and ends the lesson with a jam session and homework. He is very organized and follows structured lessons. Best of all, the entire experience is FUN!

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