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Hi, my name is Willis and I’m a new drum instructor at TakeLessons. I began studying drum set at age 14 and took private lessons for 4 years before attending The College of William & Mary, where I studied percussion with two amazing jazz drummers Howard Curtis and Tony Martucci. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in both Music and Environmental Policy (2005), and a Master of Education for Higher Education Administration (2007) from William & Mary, I began playing music professionally.
I've traveled all over the world with my main band, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. In that band, I toured the United States and Canada extensively, and had three tours of Europe as well as a trip to Tokyo to promote the Japanese release of their record. Their music has been on TV shows, commercials for Ford and Clorox, and received international radio airplay. I played major festivals including Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, Coachella, and the Radio4 festival in Vienna. My other recording projects include Positive No, My Old Ways, The Light Footwork, Portland Cello Project, Ophelia, and Jonathan Vassar & the Speckled Bird. After traveling all over, I’m so glad to be in Richmond permanently, a city I truly love.
My teaching is focused on technique, groove, and incorporating percussion into drum set playing. In my 7 years of teaching, I place a strong emphasis on developing a unique curriculum for each student based on their learning style and demonstrating drum set technique through modern, musical applications. I love all music genres but focus my playing on rock, basic jazz, indie, hip-hop, ska/reggae, and country styles. I welcomes all levels of students, so let’s make some music.
*** Lesson Details ***
A relaxed instruction environment will create a comfortable setting where students can be expressive and grow in their playing and confidence.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Works in living room with drum set and also has a studio space at Booyah Drums. Seating for parents.
*** Travel Equipment ***
Students expected to provide their own sticks, and drumset for practice.
I will provide sticks, hand percussion, metronome and full drumset when teaching in my studio.
*** Specialties ***
Indie rock, jazz, reggae, rock, ska, punk, soul, country