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April 10, 2021

Drum lessons with Neil

standing by the clock drum set

Neil, admiring a clock-themed drum set. Got to stay on time!

Neil has been giving drum lessons for over 30 years! In our interview below, he shares his story and offers great advice and book recommendations for those who are just getting started with drums. Neil gives studio and in-home lessons in the Los Angeles and Malibu areas. He offers online lessons too! (available everywhere via Zoom or FaceTime). Drop us a line to schedule or sign-up!

What inspired you to start playing drums? Banging on pots and pans inspired me to start drumming 😉 Got my first drum set for my 10th birthday.

What was music like for you as a kid?  I was self taught for 3 years by listening to music and playing along with songs. Also spent lots of time jamming with my brother who played guitar.

Tell me about some of your favorite musicians? Neil Peart is my all time favorite. Other favorite drummers are Steve Smith, John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Buddy Rich. . . There are so many great musicians out there and one can learn something from all of them.

What advice would you give a beginner? Definitely take lessons right from the start, learn how to read music and play with as many different people as you can. Listen to all styles of music and strive for being able to play every style. Versatility is key. Spend lots of time practicing with a metronome.

Favorite instructional books and materials?

Basic Drumming by Joel Rothnam.

Future Sounds – David Garibaldi

The New Breed – Gary Chester

Advanced Funk Studies – Rick Latham

Brazilian Coordination For Drumset – Maria Martinez

Afro-Cuban Coordination For Drumset – Maria Martinez

Contemporary Rudimental Studies and Solos – Lalo Davila

What are the essential things for a beginner to have? 5A weight drum sticks, a practice pad, and a basic five piece drum set with a ride cymbal and two crash cymbals.

What are some of your favorite things about teaching? I love imparting knowledge. I love teaching different age groups and people from all different walks of life with different personalities. Teaching for me is not a job, its my passion!

Favorite styles of music to teach? I’m a firm believer in versatility and love teaching all styles of music.

Where do you teach, geographically-speaking? I teach locally in Malibu, where I reside. I also have a studio in West Los Angeles. I also do a lot of house call lessons on the west side.

Memorable gig story? 15 years old, 15000 people and the set stated with a drum solo, so had to walk on stage on my own. I ended up playing all the songs twice the speed! A very fun, memorable, but nerve racking experience.

Favorite thing about living in Los Angeles? Blessed to live in Point Dume, at the beach and enjoy small town beach living!

Interested in drum lessons with Neil? Give us a ring (310) 893-0776, or sign-up!