Ventura drums policies:
RATE: $25/half or $40/full hour private lesson. Lessons are paid for by the month, on the first week of every month. Rate does not include occasional cost of materials such as books and transcriptions.
SCHEDULE: Lessons can be weekly or bi-weekly. The time slot you select for your lesson is yours and will not be moved unless at your request.
CANCELLATION POLICY: Lesson payments are non-refundable. Lessons cancelled by student must be at least 24 hours prior to lesson and rescheduled within the week.
PAYMENT METHODS: I accept cash, check, PayPal and Venmo payments. PayPal payments include a small processing fee.
perspective on teaching:
My career as a drummer began at thirteen, with private lessons. My parents weren't even sure if they would buy me a kit until I'd proven my interest (after about two months of taking lessons), so my initial lessons I took home and practiced on phone books. Then after eight years or so of playing, I myself became a teacher and have been doing it ever since, alongside the roles of being a studio and touring drummer (at the time of this writing, about fourteen years).
There are perhaps as many different teachers out there as there are styles of playing, and every teacher has something unique to offer their students. What I have always aimed to accomplish with my students is to inspire them to find their own voice as a drummer, and to motivate them to make themselves better drummers. My role as a teacher certainly is to teach and reinforce the fundamentals of technique, develop sight-reading, and the facility to play various styles and grooves. But rote knowledge of the instrument is hollow without the passion and feeling that drives a great performance.
So, while as a teacher I push my students to have these skills, I view my main job as helping each individual student dig down in themselves and find what inspires them most, and keep them on a path that never loses sight of it. I work hard to help my students forge a style for themselves that is centered around the music they love, not what I think they should play. But I also encourage musical diversity and am constantly exposing my students to new music I genuinely think they will love, or at the very least help them understand the roots of other music they love.
What I teach:
As a drummer, I have studied, performed and taught all major styles on the kit. In terms of recorded works, most of my professional playing has fallen inside the realm of rock and R&B music, but my experience and ability extends into jazz, country, latin, afro and hip-hop. I form the basis of my lessons around the individual student's needs and interests, but I teach with a consistently open style that encourages the exploration of all genres of music. I transcribe songs the student wishes to play as they develop, but also provide transcriptions of songs that will help them explore the kit and various styles.
My students can expect to learn to develop the fundamentals of sticking technique, time keeping and sight-reading through studies on practice pad and kit. I have developed a method to expand the student's facility on the drum kit through a combination of beat exercises, classic and contemporary songs of various genres that explore specific techniques and approaches, and also by choosing songs the student is interested in learning, which I transcribe for them. As the student becomes more advanced we work through various kit styles (ie. optional jazz studies or comparative genre study) and advanced techniques (ie. Moeller stroke fills, beat displacement, linear playing, etc). As an additional emphasis I focus my students on elements such as playing with 'feel', understanding song structure, and developing the facility for quickly recovering from playing errors without losing time or tempo. These are less talked about practical features of a good player that are important for real life scenarios players regularly encounter. A student under my tutelage will not just learn how to play drums, but will learn the necessary skills to become a professional musician. Whether or not this is the life path they take is irrelevant. The skills of a professional are life skills that can be applied to many aspects of life, not just the musician's.
I also teach marching snare and concert percussion for students in school band. My reading exercises and transcriptions adhere to PAS standards.
Note for prospective students:
For myself, both as a student and teacher, the tradition of music has continuously been transmitted through private one-on-one instruction from mentor to disciple. Though some people may look for college degrees or certificates to qualify a teacher's experience, you will find none with me. In fact, very few of the professionals I studied under had any of college experience, and some eschewed it. It does not invalidate the quality of degrees or certificates, but simply means that there are many highly qualified music instructors and performers who have learned the craft without any formal education. I say this to address the small percentage of students/parents who look for these types of credentials. To be sure, I am not a casually trained musician that teaches short-cut or technically deficient methods. Over the years I have trained with superb and rigorous instructors whose abilities are the best in their class and still work to sharpen my skills as both a player and a teacher. I encourage prospective students to feel free to discuss any questions they have about my lessons or method, or simply sit down with me for a trial lesson. My experience as a player and teacher has brought me incredible success, and I am confident that my students will in turn become great drummers under my instruction if they apply themselves!