Willis Thompson

Willis T.

Richmond, VA

About Willis T.

Willis teaches: Ages 6 and up
Teaching since: November 2005
Last sign in: More than two months


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

Photos and Videos

Here's a clip from my teaching studio. Terry, a drummer of 40 years, learned still soem new tricks as we play along to this shared favorite song, Talking Heads - "Psycho Killer". I often incorporate lesson ideas onto real musical examples as well as using music to demonstrate improvising within a song structure.

4 Reviews on Willis T.

Write a Review
CariS Mar 6, 2014
· · Great teacher!

My 7 year old daughter has been taking lessons with Willis for 8 months. Willis is an excellent drummer and teacher! He is very patient with her and does a great job teaching to her ability so that she's challenged but not frustrated. Highly recommended!
PattiH Mar 6, 2014
· · Drum Lessons

Willis is a wonderful drum instructor. My daughter began her lessons with another instructor, who she liked very much. When Willis replaced that instructor my daughter liked Willis even more! He relates very well to her, and does a great job teaching her.
jason L. Mar 6, 2014
· · glen allen 2013

My son has taken drum lessons from Willis the last 1 year and has improved dramatically. Willis takes his lessons with his students very seriously. He is very encouraging but also expects our son to practice what he teaches . The practice habits we have learned have been very helpful and the improvements in our sons drum playing are very noticeable. Willis has been on time and always has offered make up lessons if a cancellation occurs. Recommend this teacher very highly to anyone who is interested in learning drums. We have been taking lessons from him at the Center for Creative Arts in Glen Allen, VA
jason L. Jan 17, 2014
· Drum · willis

My son is 8 and has been playing drums for the past 2-3 years. Willis has been his teacher for the past 1 year and my son has improved very significantly during this time. Willis is very serious about his lessons but also very kind and wants all of his students to improve and play well. He has expects his students to practice what he teaches and also develop good practice skills. I recommend him highly to anyone interested in taking drum lessons.
Willis Thompson
Willis T.

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