Pete Fairley

Pete F.

Kings Beach, CA
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Lesson Details



Pete delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 8+

Teaching since:

My drumming adventure began when I was in elementary school, where I joined the school band. I soon branched out to marching band, learning the rudiments and developing stick control. Of course, I also started playing drum kit, both in school and with friends. Playing rock music for fun eventually lead me to drum circles, where I discovered the wide world of percussion. At this point, I started studying several instruments with world-class teachers, including Babatunde Olatunji on African djembe, Zakir Hussain on the tablas of India, and frame drumming with Layne Redmond. These great musicians not only demonstrated technical and artistic skill, but they also helped me to see that we are all connected by rhythm - we are surrounded by it and filled with it all the time. Day turns to night, the heartbeat moves our blood, the seasons turn - these are just a few of the rhythms that people express musically in unique ways around the planet.

Soon I wanted to share what I had learned with others. This lead to the creation of Pangaea Percussion, an ensemble featuring drums from around the world along with a variety of melodic percussion, flutes, and didgeridoos. I also played with a Middle Eastern Folk / Jazz group called Slow Djinn Fez, and the new age jam band, Mandra. Each of these groups was asked by Reno's Pioneer Center Youth Programs to perform for schools and libraries in the region. Today I continue these school assembly programs with Petroglyph, a duet that includes ethnic instruments along with drum kit and electric guitar.

In the mean time, I started teaching drumming. Using my educational experience as a high school science teacher, I developed both private and group lessons that break musical concepts down into a series of components. Students are invited to pick up the pieces that fit their needs and abilities, and then we add layers to build skills and add variety. These lessons have been presented in a variety of settings, including dance studios, private homes, and music festivals such as the California World Music Festival in Grass Valley.

Whether you want to jam on the drum kit in our great American rock and roll tradition, learn interlocking polyrhythms from Africa, or explore complex cycles like 7-beat or 10-beat rhythms from India, I'd love to help you take your percussive skills to the next level!

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Drummer / Percussionist
Sep 2017 - Present

Duet presenting "The Evolution of Music" to schools and libraries. Starting with simple click sticks, moving on to hand drums, and eventually playing electronic drum kit while my partner plays didgeridoo, flutes, electric guitar, and rock n roll vocals.

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Percussion Workshop Presenter
Jul 2013 - Present
California World Music Festival

Present multi-day percussion workshops for people attending the California World Music Festival. Titles include, "Beyond Four-Four," which explores unusual rhythmic cycles, and "Middle Eastern Drumming," with an emphasis on patterns played on the doumbeck from Egypt.

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Drummer / Percussionist
Jan 2010 - Present

World Fusion / New Age / Jam band combining ethnic drums, flutes, guitar, and vocals.

Drummer / Percussionist for School Assemblies
Jan 1999 - Present
Pioneer Center Youth Programs

Present musical programs for school groups and libraries which combine geography, history, science, math, and multicultural themes. Pangaea Percussion, Slow Djinn Fez, Petroglyph and several duet and solo offshoots have participated at different times.

Science Teacher
Aug 1990 - Jun 2018
Washoe County School District

AP Environmental Science, Anatomy, Biology, and more.

Drummer / Percussionist
Jan 2002 - Jan 2015
Slow Djinn Fez

Middle Eastern folk tunes meet jazz, rock, bossa nova, and more!

Drummer / Percussionist
Jan 1995 - Aug 2002
Pangaea Percussion

Percussion ensemble combining drums from around the world with melodic instruments such as marimba, steel drums, flutes, and didgeridoo.


MS Biology
Sep 1981 - Jun 1985
University of California, Irvine
BS Psychology
Sep 1977 - Jun 1981
Washington State University


Secondary Science Teacher
Oct 2015
Nevada State Department of Education

Certified to teach several fields, including biology, environmental science, geology, math, and more. First certified in 1985.

National Board Certification in Adolescent / Adult Science
Nov 2012
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

First certified from 2002 to 2012, recertified from 2012 to 2022.

Photos & Videos

Playing Tar at Tahoe

"The Music of India" School Performance


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