I give in-home drum instruction through out the St. Louis metro area and in my studio in University City. I’ve taught privately in academies, school programs, music shops, and in homes since 2007. It’s a great privilege of mine to be able to share drumming with people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. I find that being an educator is just as important to me as performing and practicing. I’d like to share some of my thoughts to teaching along with testimonies of some of my students. I hope to give you a glimpse into my teaching philosophy and a sense of how I conduct my lessons.
QR Code Link to This Post
Free Trial Lesson:
I believe a good teacher knows how to the teach the material, but a great teacher knows how to teach the student. That’s why I offer a free trial lesson to all interested in studying with me. This trial allows me to get an in depth look to where you are with drumming and get a sense of where you want to go. I’d like to hear you play, observe your technique, know your musical interests, and most importantly get a sense of how you learn. If you have no prior musical experiences at all, we’ll examine what ‘raw’ materials you do have. After that I’d like to talk about your strengths, weaknesses, and carve out a few possible trajectories to your improvement. I’d also like to work out a practice routine with you. At your pace we’ll cover hand techniques, body coordination, grooves, reading, rudiments, soloing, performance practices and style vocabulary. Various books to work out of will be suggested as well as recordings to practice with.
This attention to detail and investment in your improvement is something I deeply care about. I’m confident that my methods, experience and determination as your teacher will help you become a better musician.
"Ben was always looking for what worked best for me. It was nice that he didn’t just have one thing for all students, but that he got how I worked and taught me that way. It seemed like he looked for what helped me best. It m likes he found out what I kind of learner I was and then adapted the lesson around that". Quinn R. 15 yr old
"With a mixture of book exercises, playing along to recordings, and visuals, Ben was always sure to make sure I learned a technique in one way or another. When it comes to music, I'm more of a reader than a listener, so Ben would play to my strengths by giving me book exercises to do, but still reinforcing and strengthening whatever concept we were working on by giving me supplementary recordings to listen to.” - Caroline J 17yr old
Young Beginners (ages 8yrs and up)
Kids want to be physical, and they want to have fun! Drumming is a great screen-free activity that strengthens motor skills, builds muscle memory and sparks creativity. Playing music with others builds character, self-discipline and leads to experience great achievements just as sports and other group activates do. If your child has struggled with music before, drum lessons provides a for a fun alternative. Plus a drummer in the house is a perfect accompaniment for any sibling that plays guitar or piano.
Teenagers with experience
Often young drummers who have taught themselves can be unaware of rushing, playing too loud, and losing time. With private instruction we’ll focus on these basics and establish a practice schedule in a way that won’t take away from the drive that your child has for drumming. Once again I base each lesson on student strengths and interest. If your child already plays in band at home I can coach them to rehearse effectively, aiming for clarity and tightness in their sound and offer insights on how to develop original music.
School ensembles require students to be fluent readers, have proper technique and some adequacy at snare rudiments. Along with helping your child to learn the school material, private lessons are an excellent supplement to the training they receive in music programs. I have also prepared students for all state competitions and college auditions.
"By taking these private lessons with Ben, I've been able to keep pace with my high school's marching and jazz bands. I was even selected as an eighth grader to play with the high school marching band because of my skill. Ben helped to put me on the same skill level as kids 5 years my senior". Caroline J. 17 yrs old
Have you always wanted to play an instrument but think you’re not a musical person? Are you interested in drumming but feel that body coordination, reading music or keeping up with a practice schedule will be too hard for you? Perhaps you’ve had negative experiences with lessons as a child, being forced to practice exercises and perform music you didn’t like? As I’ve mentioned before, these lessons are all about working with your pace and schedule.
By meeting up for a free trial lesson, you’d be moving forward with your goal of playing music. We’ll talk over your interests, see what raw skill you do have and discuss some basics to get you started. In doing so I hope that you will see that drumming is not as difficult as it seems. Remember talent is not something people are born with, it's developed!
I’d also like to show you some of the next steps: learning additional beats, reading rhythms, groove styles, and methods to train you're listening so that playing with recordings (and eventually with a group) will come naturally. Even if you’re on the fence with pursuing drumming and don’t have a drum kit, there are still many things to cover. All you need is a practice pad and a pair of sticks.
"When I turned 55 I decided it was time to learn to play the drums so I bought a drum set and started looking for an instructor. When I started studying with Ben he made learning the drums a fun, relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable experience. I went into every lesson knowing I was going to be challenged and learn something new so I always looked forward to 'lesson dayI went into every lesson knowing I was going to be challenged and learn something new so I always looked forward to lesson day. We always progressed at a pace that I was comfortable with and fit my abilities and level of experience. If I was having issues grasping a particular concept, we would take our time and work through it comfortably, successfully, and stress free". - David O. 59 yrs old.
Intermediate and Advanced
As a student, I’ve had the privilege to study with teachers who’ve encouraged me to undertake learning this instrument as a creative venture. As an educator I'm curious about the various conceptual approaches, techniques and methods that fellow drummers have produced. I always enjoy putting my own spin on the materials. Thus practicing for me is a place for creative inquiry rather than a regiment of routines. I hope that my knowledge and experience will make a positive impression to your development.
An example of one way that I teach advanced material is to work from reading based books such as “Syncopation” by Ted Reed and “New Breed” by Gary Chester. Using the phrases as a starting point, I’ll assign stickings and limb combinations to play rhythms inside, around and on top of those phrases. This method pushes your technical ability while being based in a musical foundation. I don’t go for technical complexity without a purpose. Everything i practice and teach is done with a musical foundation.
Some examples of the materials i use include rudimental solos, time and phrasing exercises, jazz coordination and vocabulary, funk, R&B and linear grooves and improvisation techniques.
"I had been playing drums for around 16 years before taking my first lesson with Ben. I had taken lessons with teachers previously and was involved in many musical outlets in high school such as pep band, jazz band, marching band, percussion etc. I had taken many online lessons as well up until my first lesson with Ben. Every teacher I had previously cared more about playing beats and exercises rather than making something sound musical. Technique and musicality is what I was searching for and something that Ben provided." - Eli F. 34 yrs old
New to Lessons?
Have you played for years but feel constraint by your limitations? Perhaps moving around the kit is an issue, or the coordination is hanging you up in places. Often proper technique, timing and feel suffer if not checked by an objective ear that a teacher has. With a free trial lesson I’ll get a sense of where you are, discuss issues you may have and offer some materials that will help to you.
I can understand those who prefer to play on their own without seeking instruction. They are many drumming resources online to pick up tips, licks and tricks. There is obviously much to be learned from method books, videos and clinics too. But only private instruction provides for a cohesive and disciplined focus on your practice and improvement. The insights, feedback and accountability, one gains with regular lessons is invaluable.
"Initially I wanted to learn some “sweet drum licks” to incorporate into my rock playing, but Ben set me straight and started me back at the foundation. I had ability, but the basics needed relearning to get a clean start as I had developed some bad habits. We dove into jazz (something I never thought I’d touch) and it opened up a whole new world of music to me. Ben taught me how to read and sing the rhythms out. Having a song, or phrase in your head to play along with was a new way to sit behind the kit for me; I usually had an idea but it was more instinctual then thought out. The spaces in between the rhythms I never could quite hear either, nor was I cognizant of them. Another thing I saw improve were my hands. Being able to “drive” on the ride or hi-hat with meaning and consistency." - Mike S. 31 years old
"I think the most important way you have helped me is by not allowing me to get away with bad technique! I have learned about how the motions of playing drums work and how the music comes out of the motions." - Eric D. 34
One of the great things about the drum set is that it’s completely customizable. Many companies offer adjustable drum hardware so that pieces can be arranged to what best suits you. Yes, drumming is physical it should never be strenuous. My take on the subject is all about viewing your body as a musical instrument. You are a vehicle for creativity. If you are injured or unable use some parts of your body, I’ll work with you to get to play your music.
I have taught many students who live with ADD, MS, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and other nerve/muscular conditions. By setting incremental goals, and adjusting certain aspects of physicality, these students have excelled regardless of any trait that might be perceived as a hurdle.
"At the time we started lessons with Ben in 2012, my son was moderately Autistic but had an affinity towards music. Derek at the time had substantial problems paying attention during lessons, but Ben found a way to teach him by teaching by ear to the music that he loved and enjoyed. He thrived as a result of Ben's teaching and started coming out of his own world. During the last two to three years, Ben had helped him advance so that he could read music and play with others in a band-" Lynn T. (Derek’s Mother)
Rates (After free trial)
$40 - 45 min lesson
$50- 60min+ Lesson (recommended)