I've been playing and teaching drums for over 15 years now and I'd be lying if I said that drumming hasn't been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done in my life! I started drumming with a band before I even knew how to play, rocking covers, and even originals with my brother and best friend in the seventh grade. I received no formal training but instead learned my first beat from the drummer at my church, and picked up tips and tricks from friends and drummers in my community. I also watched every drummer I could fervently and studied every technique I could set my eyes on. Eventually I purchased an excellent book on rock drumming and before I knew it I was playing a weekly gig at my youth group and playing shows in town with my first band.
After that band broke-up in high school (we recorded one demo) my brother and I formed a new band, recorded an EP, and played tirelessly around the bay area creating an excellent fan base.
It was around this time that I started teaching lessons. Having taken band all through high school I felt qualified technically and, certainly, professionally to share my passion with younger people. My first lesson was with a 5 year old kid, which was challenging but also extremely rewarding as I saw his passion and excitement for the instrument grow. By this time I was regularly playing at church, filling in for my mentor (the one who had taught me my first beat), and that exposure generated more and more students from my community.
By the time I left town for college, I had been in yet another band with high school friends and played around the bay area, but my studies in theater arts in Santa Cruz and subsequently UCLA kept me from teaching many formal lessons for a while. Instead I taught my friends beats and concepts in exchange for vocal lessons or just for fun. I also joined a band in Los Angeles during my senior year at UCLA and began playing clubs around the LA area.
After the leader of that band moved I almost immediately jumped into a band with one of my best friends called The Venus Illuminato. With Venus I got my first taste of touring, as we headed east, as far as Austin, Texas and eventually played the famed South By South West music festival there. When we got there we had our newly recorded second EP "Children of the Earth" to give out. That EP is the recording I'm most proud of as a musician and I'll be sure to get all my students a copy as I know they'll enjoy and learn from it!
Currently I work at an elementary school as a teacher's aide and drama teacher and also teach lessons and after-school classes in everything ranging from music, to drama, and even lego robotics. I'm a camp counselor at a beach day camp during the summer called Fitness By The Sea, and I continue to teach drummers young and old as much as possible. I'm passionate about kids and about education (and certainly music and arts education specifically) and will hopefully grow that passion in my students through, not only playing the drums, but really appreciating the long expansive history and culture of drumming, music, and art in our society.
*** Lesson Details ***
I am a very friendly, easy going guy, but when it comes to lessons I think discipline is extremely important. I like to build relationships and friendships with my students and my passion for education and people in general always shines through in my teaching, but when it's time to work, it's time to work.
We'll mostly learn songs and work on techniques within those songs. I find that students do best when they're having fun and challenging themselves at the same time. My typical lesson starts with a warm up consisting of sticking exercises, then review of what we learned last lesson, then introduction of a new concept or song. That's usually plenty to fill up the time.
With beginners I always teach a 4/4 rock beat right away because it's fun and easy and shows a student just how fast they can learn. I like to add things from books such as the first Rock Drumming book I learned from and also Carmine Appiece's drumming book The Ultimate Realistic Rock Drum Method as well as exercises from the book Stick Control.
After 3 months my students should be able to play an array of rock beats and hold their own with a band, and after 6 months will be able to learn songs mostly on their own and have quite a few specialty fills, skills, and methods that'll almost always impress and liven up their experience as drummers. I also like my students to be able to have an understanding of reading written music for drums and be able to play various percussion instruments as well.
*** Studio Equipment ***
studio area in apt, sound proof room w/ seating for parents
*** Travel Equipment ***
I have a drum set they can use if they like, but set-up would probably take too long. I have sticks and things they can use too, but it would probably be best if they had a drum set with all the necessary accessories at their house.
*** Specialties ***
Rock, Funk, Fusion, Pop, Folk, Percussion, Punk. I like to teach students how to play their favorite songs as well as the fundamentals of the drum set.