Yuichi Hirakawa

Yuichi H.

New York, NY

About Yuichi H.

Yuichi teaches: Ages 12 to 80
Special needs
Teaching since: July 1996
Last sign in: 2 days ago


Yuichi H. was born in Tokyo, Japan. His musical career started at age 10 when he performed marimba in a music recital. He started playing drum set at age 14 and joined a wind ensemble, a few rock bands, and a jazz big band. With some of these groups, he performed at several live music venues in Tokyo. In 1991, he composed the music and performed drums and percussion in a production of Othello, at The Globe Tokyo Panasonic Theater.
In the fall of 1991, with a full scholarship, he attended Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA. He studied jazz drums mainly with Joe Hunt and Jon Hazilla, and orchestral percussion with Dean Anderson. Also, he took many classes in jazz composition and arranging with Gregg Hopkins and Jeff Friedman. He was the recipient of "The Cuccinello Percussion Award" and the "Berklee Percussion Department Achievement Award." Outside of the school curriculum, he joined several bands and performed at several venues such as the Willow Jazz Club, Middle East Cafe, and Copley Square Hotel. With one of these bands, he appeared at a jazz festival called "Jazz Improv." in Kingston, NY in 1993.

In the spring of 1995 he earned a Professional Diploma in Performance and Jazz Composition from Berklee College.
His ambition to learn and play music made him move to New York City. He continued his studies at The City College of New York, CUNY, NY, and earned a Masters degree in jazz performance in the spring of 2000. There, he studied jazz and contemporary drums with Charli Persip, Kim Plainfield, and Mark Walker. Also, he studied jazz ensemble, and arranging with Grammy award winning bassist Ron Carter.
Currently, as a full-time freelance drummer, he appears at various live music venues in New York City, and around the tri-state area as well. His own jazz band has performed at Arthur's Tavern in Greenwich Village every Tuesday since September 2001, and he has also appeared at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He has also been touring in Tokyo and Kyushu, Japan.

As a sideman, he has performed at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York with the Morris Brothers Band in 2000, and also at the April Jazz Festival in Finland with the Jay Sweeney R&B Experience in 1999. With his wide-ranged interest in music, he plays not only jazz, but also rock, R&B, funk, blues, country, Brazilian and afro-Cuban.
John Scofield, Larry Carlton, John Abercrombie, Robben Ford, John Petrucci (Dream Theatre), Percy Heath (MJQ), Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, and Barry Harris are among some of the more notable musicians that Yuichi has performed with.

Yuichi is an excellent and experienced educator. He taught drums at the National Guitar Workshop since 1997 and also at the Roosevelt Island School in 2004. His students range from 9 years old to experienced adults. He has clear objectives and a passion for all lessons, units, projects, and is able to share these objectives with his students very clearly. Also, with his skill to plan instruction programs for music that meets individual needs, interests, and abilities of students, he worked for the Jazz Workshop in Yamaguchi, Japan in 2002, 2003, and 2006. There he played a very important role as a program coordinator as well as a translator. At this workshop, he worked with jazz legends, Barry Harris, Richard Davis, and Lewis Nash.

*** Lesson Details ***
After so many years since I grabbed a pair of drum sticks for the first time, I still get the same joy and excitement when I play music with drums nowadays. The better I have an idea about music, the more fun I get. It seems that my drumming gets better as long as I have specific goals every time I practice playing drums, and that keeps me wanting to play more.

By teaching how to play drums, I like to share this fun with you. In order to do that, I will make an ideal practice plan specifically designed for you.
If you know what songs you like to play, then I will show you what to practice on drums and how you are doing. It might be helpful if you understand the song in terms of what it consists in term of verses and choruses, chord changes, instrumentation, etc. Whenever you like, I can talk about these things as well. You could take it as a kind of music theory, but I keep in my mind that your primary interest is getting better on drums.

If you do not have particular songs in your mind right now but you want to play drums, No problem. I will be happy to introduce you many different kinds of songs/tunes until you find one to play.
Or if you just want to play some hot drum solos, I sure got some great stuff to work on to it.
Either playing a song or playing just solo drums, I will show you many different techniques to work on, and I will keep watching how you are doing on drumming.
I look forward to meeting you and starting work on building your fun with music!
Thank you for visiting my profile site!
Yuichi (pronounce 'you-each-ee')

*** Studio Equipment ***
Drum set, PA, guitar/bass amp., keyboard

*** Travel Equipment ***
Snare drum, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass guitar

*** Specialties ***
Drums, Percussion, Electric Bass (beginning to intermediate level), Music Theory, Guitar and Keyboard (beginning level)
Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Funk, Latin includes Afro-Cuban, Brazilian

Photos and Videos


Percussion Teacher

Sep 2010 - Present
Riverdale Country School

Drum Faculty

Jul 1996 - Jul 2012
National Guitar Workshop

Teaching drum class and music theory class, coaching band playing class,

Drum Teacher

Feb 2004 - Apr 2004
Roosevelt Island Youth Program New York, New York


Master of Art (MA)

Sep 1997 - May 2000
The City College of New York, CUNY

Master of Arts in music

Sep 1996 - May 2000
The City College of New York

Languages Spoken


Professional Proficiency


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Write a Review

12 Reviews on Yuichi H.

Ikuko S. May 11, 2013
Verified Student
Great Teacher

Yuichi has been a really great teacher for our 7 years old son. He is very patient and really great with kids. He's made a real effort to get our son interested in drumming and music more generally, introducing to different sounds, rhythms and types of music. My son really enjoys his lesson and is making good progress!
David S. Nov 6, 2012
Verified Student
Inspiring teacher

Yuichi inspires you to improve, and shows you how. Simple as that.
MelissaW Jan 6, 2012
Our son is 7 years old and started drum lessons with Yuichi several months ago. My son absolutely loves his classes with Yuichi and would go more than once a week if he could. We are very happy with Yuichi. He makes the lesson fun and interesting for our son, and at the same time teaching him what he needs to know so he continues to make progress. He is a great match for our son.
EveP Feb 6, 2011
Great Teacher

Yuichi is a great teacher. He is very patient and very easy to be around. The studio was a great atmosphere for learning.
AdamK Feb 4, 2011
Easy, fun instruction style

My 9 year old daughter had a great experience learning drums from Yuichi. He is good with kids, very patient, and gives useful feedback. Highly recommended!
MichaelO Feb 5, 2010
Yuichi is doing a fine job with Nate.
NormaH Nov 11, 2009
caring, excelent instructor!
JodiO Jan 27, 2009
Yuichi is excellent

I have just had my first lesson with Yuichi and he is excellent!
HenryS Nov 17, 2008
Have been getting an hour lesson each week, and every minute is fun and worth it. Yuichi works very hard and makes sure that I enjoy and have fun with the drums.
LaurieZ Oct 29, 2008
Madison's Bass Guitar Lessons

Madison is thoroughly enjoying her lessons and is excited to be learning songs that she wants to play. Yuichi is a great teacher and is very kind in sharing his knowledge with her.
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