Drum Lessons

Parent Q&A

Piano/drum teacher Nov 10, 2021 (2 responses below)
African Drum Lessons for 6 year old (Oakland) Dec 5, 2019 (2 responses below)
Tabla/drum classes for a 3.5 year old? Jan 9, 2019 (0 responses below)
Suggestions for drums & guitar classes for 6-year old Aug 28, 2018 (5 responses below)
  • Piano/drum teacher

    (2 replies)

    Looking for a music teacher who teaches piano and drums to elementary school children.

    We have a little guy who wants to do both.

    Any recommendations?

    RE: Piano/drum teacher ()

    Yes! Joe Osbourne teaches both is a GREAT with kids. Very chill and the kids get to play music that they like. 


    RE: Piano/drum teacher ()

    Give Jimi Marks a call. Berkekey educated, trained in piano and drums for 25 years, and connects very well with young kids. DM me for his number/email. 

  • My 6 year old son would like to take "hand drum" lessons. I believe he means congo drums. Can anyone recommend group drum lessons in Oakland for 6 year olds in this style? I would love to support him and his desire to learn to drum with his hands.

    Check out DRUMMM Rhythmic Events! Jeni Swerdlow and her co-facilitators are amazing, world-class drumming teachers, and many of their public events are very family-friendly. The library events are especially focused on kids; the 2nd Sundays monthly East Bay Drummm Circle is usually attended by many folks of all ages, including kids, and its FUN! Ear protection is recommended for kiddos. Hope to see you there!


    Malonga Casquelourd in Oakland has djembe lessons.

  • Tabla/drum classes for a 3.5 year old?

    (0 replies)

    Hi everyone,

    My 3 and a half year old son is obsessed with the tabla (a type of Indian drum), and is constantly drumming on anything he can find.  I would love to find some kind of a tabla or drumming class for him around Berkeley but haven't been able to find anything.  Does anyone have any ideas? 

    Thank you!

  • Looking for suggestions for drums classes/instructors in Berkeley, and preferably offering guitar lessons as well. Most recommendations on BPN seem quite old. Thanks in advance. 

    [Moderator Note] Music teachers with current openings can be found in the Tutor/Teacher Listing on the BPN website. These are local teachers and tutors who support BPN by purchasing a subscription.

    We LOVED Jon’s School of Music. My son started in the general music class when he was 4. He was exposed to several instruments and learned basic music skills. At 5 he joined one of Jon’s “rock bands” - where the kids make up the songs and learn how to play together on a variety of instruments. My son was particularly drawn to the drums and electric guitar. Jon is quirky and fun, and really gets how to engage kids in developing a passion for and skills to explore music.

    Yes! I have the perfect recommendation—Jon’s School of Music, which is located at Totland in Berkeley. My son is in the “rock band” class, where kids have the opportunity to play keyboard, drums, guitar, and sing. They even write songs, which is super fun and sweet. Check it out—I think he offers a free trial class.


    Hi!  I would recommend Jon's School of Music.  Jon is wonderful with kids, and truly enjoys teaching them and watching them progress.  My kids have been taking classes with him for a few years, and have learned more about the love and art of making music than I can encapsulate in one small review.  He teaches in the building over in Totland Park, and offers classes for all ages as well as private lessons.  Mine play the piano, drums, and one has now begun the guitar.  You should check him out!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Drum Lessons & Drum Teachers More about Drum Lessons

2010 - 2014 Recommendations

Drum lessons for adult

Dec 2013

Having fantasized about it all my life ( and coming upon a big birthday) i am finally ready to take drum lessons! Can someone recommend a teacher? Need someone who has a drum kit, as i do not. I am not looking to go through full theory, i want to be able to gets hand on right away. Thanks! Cris

Try Eric Lechner. He has a studio in Oakland and teaches a variety of instruments, including drums. He does have a set, but I'm not sure if he teaches adults. If not, you could ask him if he knows someone who does... Sunnia

I have a fabulous drum teacher, located in El Cerrito (although he'll come to you house if you do have a drum set): Surya Prakasha 510-610-2993. Surya is extremely warm, easy-going, talented, affordable, and knows how to teach drums to a raw beginner. Yes, you will start to play right off the bat. Surya lets you pick songs you like and tailors his lessons to your musical interests. You probably will want at the very least a drum pad at home so you can practice. Finally Making My Own Drumming Dream Come True and So Glad!

Looking for drum classes for adults

Dec 2012

Hi! I would like to learn to play drums, hopefully, Brazilian drums or some other Exotic type. I'm 28 years old with no previous Experience, but I used to dance and have the beat. I'm looking for either private or group classes in the Berkeley area with affordable rates that fit students. Anyone have any recommendation? Thank you

For Brazilian classes, Casa da Cultura in Berkeley would be the place. However, if you've wondered about playing big drums, how about Taiko? We have beginners classes twice a week: www.etaiko.org Emeryville taiko

There are some wonderful opportunities to learn how to drum in the bay area. In particular if you are a woman I'd suggest visiting http://www.womendrummers.org Drum Sunday's once a month are a great place to get a taste of a variety of different drum rhythms. Every month is different. Carolyn Brandy http://www.carolynbrandy.com is also a wonderful teacher for women who are beginners. Good luck and have fun! Julie

Female rock drum teacher?

Aug 2012

Hi, My 9-year-old daughter is a huge Black Keys / White Stripes fan and would love to learn to play drums, but has a strong preference for women instructors. Anyone know of a great local female drum teacher? Thanks

I know a very good female drummer who teaches. She is an absolute sweetheart, too. Her name is Karen Stackpole. You can contact her by email at karen.stackpole [at] gmail.com. Mary

Drum lessons for 6-year-old in Richmond

Sept 2011

Can anyone recommend a drum teacher in or near the Richmond area? I'm looking for lessons for my 6 year old son who is very musically inclined. The teacher need not be an incredible drum player. S/he should be good with kids and have a variety of approaches. My son has some speech and motor delays and may learn best with some alternative approaches. Thank you. Kathleen

I have a great recommendation for you: Raphi Gottesman. He teaches my 10 y.o. daughter drums and she loves it. He definitely knows how to work with children and he approaches them at their level w/o being condescending. He's also extremely patient. And he's a professional drummer. And he also teaches classical guitar and rock guitar, so the man really knows his music. He's located in Berkeley and can give lessons in his studio or at your home. The phone number is: 614.581.1719 very happy student

Jim Thorne is a great drum teacher in Richmond. He teaches through Music Works on San Pablo Avenue in EC. My son just started lessons with him and is thrilled. Many of his friends have been studying w/ Jim for several years (their all teens now) and most are in bands. I don't have Jim's number w/ me but if you call Music Works you can connect with him. Good luck. not minding drum playing in house

Hi, I don't know of anyone in Richmond, but I know an awesome drum teacher in Berkeley named Barbara Crawford. She's extremely nice, fun, encouraging, has a gift for teaching, and she is also a very talented drummer. Email me if you'd like the contact info. Thea

My drum teacher, Jon Arkin, is great. Very patient, knows all kinds of styles (jazz, rock, funk, etc.). A very low key guy - no high pressure or anything like that. Great teaching style. www.jonarkin.net - he gives lessons at his place in berkeley. That being said, i do not have the same needs you state your son does. So maybe contact him to see if he fits your needs. Enjoy! michael

I highly recommend Hamir Atwal from the Pinole area. He could be reached at hamiratwal [at] gmail.com for rates. He is an experienced jazz drummer who graduated from Berklee College of music. He tends to go on the road from time to time but makes sure that he schedules lessons around it. nilani

Drum lessons and piano lessons in Alameda

April 2011

My son who is five has been interested in the drums for a year, and we would love to encourage his interest in playing. We are looking for a teacher who teaches in Alameda and who is great with high energy kids.

My daughter who is three would like to start taking piano lessons. We are looking for a teacher who teaches in Alameda, is great with shy kids, and very patient and gentle.

We'd love to hear from other folks about their experiences with great and not- so-great Alameda music teachers. Thank you BPN parents! Island mama

I'd highly recommend Dan Foltz for lessons. His son is a classmate of my child, so I know him from a parent perspective. I've gotten to know him this school year and he's a great musician as well as a great instructor. He's also just a flat-out super nice guy. See his website at http://www.danielfoltz.com/bio.html. He teaches both drums and piano at his home studio in Alameda. Taggart

I second the recommendation for Dan Foltz. Two of my children took piano lessons from him and he is amazing. He also teaches drums, although I wouldn't let my son play the drums...didn't think I could handle the practicing. Dan is an amazing, patient teacher and a really nice guy. http://www.danielfoltz.com/bio.html

(Editor) a review was also received for Piano Lessons

Drum teacher for dad and daughter

March 2011

We've got the drumset, now we just need a drum teacher! My husband and our daughter both want drum lessons. We live in Oakland. Any recommmendations? Thanks. db

We really like Carrie Jahde! You can reach her at carriejahde [at] gmail.com. Lisa

Hi, I heard drum teacher Bob Frazier give a presentation at the Head-Royce School and was very taken in by his deep connection to music. I spoke with him personally and he seems like a terrific guy. Info: fraziersedge [at] mac.com homepage.mac.com/fraziersedge Best of luck and happy drumming! ep

Hi, A great drum teacher is Ben Malament. He plays with the popular local band, The California Honeydrops (you can hear their music at www.cahoneydrops.com) I believe his rates are between $50-60hr. He teaches all styles. Children and adults. His contact is benmalament [at] gmail.com Definitely check him out! D

Our son has had lessons with Jim Kassis (510-336-9841) in Oakland for awhile, and we've been very pleased. He's extremely talented.

Will McBride is not just a talented drummer, but a fantastic teacher. He starts out by teaching you how to really listen to music, and he breaks the skills down into fun, challenging but manageable steps. He is also really funny. Great for beginners. william.mbcride510 [at] gmail.com drummergirl

Our 7 year old son has been taking drum lessons from Jason Willer. Jason is a fantastic drum teacher. He is very patient and his lessons progress logically, starting with stick control/basics, reading drum music, etc, and progressing to learning an unbelievable amout of ways to make those drums sing. Our son can do things with his drum set that I, honestly, never imagined I would be hearing from a kid his age. I don't think this is due to any special talent from my son, but is rather because Jason combines (1) methodical teaching with (2) having lots of fun and freedom to ''go for it'' on the drum. He always leaves some time in the lesson to just jam (and wow, when he shows you whats possible it really motivates my son). Great balance of methodical practice (15 minutes a day, assigned, using the metronome), learning new things every lesson, and then just rocking out. Jason is the real deal: he is young, in a number of bands, a professional musician, and a very talented drummer. He's also really nice guy. My son absolutely adores and admires him. We feel like we lucked out! His number: 510 269 3003 Loving the drumming coming from my living room

David Rokeach is not only a fabulous professional drummer, but is also a great person and teacher. He is wonderful with kids of all ages (he has two of his own) and will inspire them to work hard. Though he has worked with the best (even Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin) he is so unassuming and will work enthusiastically with all levels. Great guy, great drummer, great teacher. 532- 6076 or 325-1407. I think he has a website, too. anon

David Rokeach is a fabulous drummer and a fabulous teacher. He's great with kids, great with adults, engaging, patient, fun to be around, flexible, and thoughtful. He's very good at understanding his students' needs and helping them to move forward. His enthusiasm is contagious-- He loves playing drums and loves sharing his passion with others. He plays and teaches all styles of drumming.

David teaches in Oakland, but can also come to you for an additional fee. He teaches all levels-- beginners to advanced, and has students from ages 5-65, male and female. He has adult-sized drum sets and a smaller one perfect for kids. He'd be great for anyone in your family who wants to play drums! You can take regular lessons with him, or once in a while.

As a musician myself, I can highly recommend him as a drummer. As a parent of one of his students, I can highly recommend him as a teacher. Give him a call at 510 532 6076, or you can reach him via his website at www.davidrokeach.com. Check out his website anyway; he's been around the world with some of the greats. -rj

Hamir Atwal is a great drum instructor! He studied at the Berklee College of Music on scholarship and plays professionally in the bay area. He also works with children who have autism. My son loves him! hamiratwal [at] gmail.com http://hamiratwaldrums.com/ nilan

I HIGHLY recommend our son's drum teacher, David Rokeach in Oakland. David's a very experienced and talented drummer who is a wonderful teacher, for both kids and adults. He's warm, patient and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he has two, young children of his own, so he *gets* kids. He's very tuned in to creating lessons that work for a child's personality, drive and abilities. He's great with adults, too! I can't recommend him highly enough. David Rokeach - (510) 325-1407 http://www.davidrokeach.com/ AG

Drum teacher for 9-year-old boy

May 2010

We are looking for a drum teacher for our 9-year-old son, who has been asking for drum lessons for more than a year now. We live in Piedmont, near Piedmont Avenue, and hope to find a teacher who can come to our house or who is located reasonably close by. All suggestions welcome.

I have been very pleased with our son drum instructor, Eddie Pollard 510 301 3966. He comes to our house once a week. My son (Mateo) is learning a lot, he really enjoys his lessons. df

Drumming for 5 year old

Feb 2010

Hi everyone,

I see posts for drum lessons for 5 year olds but I think I am looking for something slightly different. I am looking for someone who will teach drumming using all sorts of instruments, not just the traditional American rock band drum set. I would like for my son to have exposure to conga drums, waisted drums, bongos, etc to learn about different beats, different styles, etc.

My son is only 5 so I'm looking for exposure and someone who is fun and can relate to kids. I don't have to have someone with 20 years experience. any thoughts? thanks! drum lovers mom

You may want to check Albany Music School. They offer lessons for all the popular instruments (I believe including drums, but you'll have to double check that). They are wonderful with kids: they're very patient and they nurture the natural enthusiasm that many kids have for music. They are on San Pablo Ave, opposite El Cerrito Plaza: Albany Music School 9825 San Pablo Ave El Cerrito, CA 94530 Tel. 510-528-4047 http://www.albanymusicschool.com E-mail: info [at] albanymusicschool.com Jack

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Rock & roll drumming teacher sought

Feb 2009

Hi- I am considering taking drumming lessons, as in rock & roll (!) Anyone know of good instructors? I live nr richmond/el cerrito border. Any other advice for learning drums? adult rocker

I wanted to let people in my area know about my son's wonderful drum teacher! His name is Jim Smith, and he will come to your home, if you live in the Alamo, Danville, San Ramon area. He is an incredibly talented and detailed teacher. My son started with him at age 12, and is now almost 16. He sees Jim once a week. Recently, they have been concentrating on jazz drumming, which is a little more complex than the rock drumming. If you would like to contact him, please email me at KDGALACHEF [at] AOL.com and I will pass on the information. Kirsti

Drum Lessons for Three-year-old

Feb 2009

A family member gave my three-year-old boy a mini professional drum set. He loves it, and the family member, who is a professional musician, says that he's ready for lessons. Does anyone out there offer in-home drum lessons for a little kid? Thanks! Oakland Mother

Adam Goodhue teaches my son and he is progressing quickly. He's great with kids and very flexible. Here's his contact info: adamgoodhue [at] gmail.com Not sure if he takes kids as young at 3 though. You would be lucky to have him as a teacher! yolanda

My 3 year old and 5 1/2 yr old boys have been taking drum lessons for 10 months now, once a week, for 30 mins with Max Macveety. I think he is listed on the BPN directory. He is great with kids, keeps the lessons fun and is very reasonably priced. He was trained at Berklee School of Music in Boston and is a professional drummer in touring bands. Plus he works with elementary kids as a TA in the BUSD. We are so happy with him and our boys love learning with him. E-mail me for his contact info if you want to. BTW, he has a home studio near Children's Hospital. Dont know if he does home lessons--he probably would. I just usually sit in his living room while he gives the boys their lessons. Good luck with the search! nikki

Drum teacher for 8 year old boy?

Oct 2008

My 8 year old son has a yearning to take drum lessons. Anyone know of a good, patient teacher? The recommendations I saw are kind of old. Lisa

Adam Goodhue is great and has a really good vibe! He's been teaching my 10 yr old son and he loves it. He has a real connection with him. I know he offers lessons at his home studio in El Cerrito and in Castro Valley. He's been teaching for ten years, some of the people he's played w/ are; Maria Muldaur, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson. Please call him at 510-682-3390 or via email adamgoodhue [at] gmail.com yolanda

I recommend Alan Hall at the Jazz School in downtown Berkeley. He's been teaching my 6 yr old son and also led a group percussion class for us and is patient, playful and engaging. You can reach him at alan [at] jazzdrumming.com I believe there are also group lessons at the Jazz School for kids 8 and up with other teachers. mom of a drummer boy

Steel drum teacher for teen

July 2008

Can anyone recommend a steel drum teacher for my 18 year old? He already plays but would like to learn more.

We highly recommend Mark Rosenthal. My daughter took class from him years ago at Head-Royce. He's fun and the kids love him. He still teaches and plays concerts as well. I found a web page with contact information. http://www.caribbeansteeldrums.com/index.html Denise

Allen Biggs is the best steel pan teacher around. He's in San Rafael. His email is biggsdrum [at] comcast.net and his phone number is 415 457 4252 Good luck! Leela

Drum lessons class for 5 year old

Jan 2007

Hi, A friend who used to be a member of BPN is looking for a good drum teacher/drum class for her 5 year old son. She remembers that she had seen a recommendation on BPN previously. Does anyone have recommendation? Thanks! kimmy

Drummm has classes for kids. Here's the web site: http://www.drummm.com/workshops.htm#wee You may also contact Jeni Swerdlow at jeni[at]drummm.com or 510.316.2850

Steel Pan / Drum lessons for adults

Jan 2007

Hi Does any one know of Steel Drum / Pan lessons for adults? I would like to give Steel Drums a try. I am looking for lessons on steel drums preferably in the morning and I would like to try it before investing in buying one. Any recommendations? Thanks Hila

Harry Best teaches steel drums in Walnut Creek (and maybe Orinda?) call 925-943-5846 to get a referral for private lessons - he also has an 8 wk class in the evenings 1/10-2/28 Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek Also, I have been playing in a local 20 member steel drum band for 11 years. Feel free to contact me for questions or to check out a drum! www.csmsteeldrums.com kathy

I took steel drum lessons from Harry Best at the Orinda Community Center. I believe he teaches a class on Thursday nights. If you wish to contact him directly, his phone # is 510.893.2227 and his email is coconuthut[at]msn.com. He is a fun and good teacher, and is from Trinidad. He brings all the pans to class. Yvonne

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Drum Teachers for 12 year old son

Jan 2006

I am searching for an inspirational drum teacher for my 12 year old son. Prefer someone who could also advise on buying/renting instruments, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I know a great drum teacher but he is in Berkeley. His name is John Hanes and his number is 510.843.9687. He is wonderful with kids of all ages and is a professional musician. If location is a problem I'm sure he could recommend someone. Jill

Nov 2005

My son is trying to learn how to play the drum so he could try out for his school's band. Does anyone know of a place where he can take lessons? He brought home a flyer for recorder classes at Cornell Elementary but they don't teach drums. Thanks! Ana

David Rokeach is a fantastic percussion teacher as well as a fine performing (and recording) artist. My daughter's best friend took lessons from him and loved them. He can be reached at 510-325-1407. He also teaches a beginning drum class at the Jazz School in Berkeley, 510-845-5373.

My son took drum lessons from John Hanes (510) 843-9687 for a couple of years. John is very good with kids, patient, caring, fun, and a very experinced drummer. My son still enjoys playing his drums but had to stop the lessons because he had to play a stringed instrument at school. I highly recommend John as a teacher. Jill

I would highly recommend Don Rowlands for drum lessons. My son, who had previous instructors, took lessons in our home from Don. He is great. Very personable and able to communicate well with kids. My son sort of got burned out on the drums so unfortunately we don't have Don coming any longer, however, he'd be the first I'd call if I could get my son drumming again! You can reach Don at: 841-9452 -tami

Nov 2005

Last year my son took drum lessons in Berkeley from John Haynes. He wants to start up again but I can't find John's # or email. Anyone out there in BPN-land have it? Thanks! susan

John Hanes number is (510) 843-9687. Jill

Feb 2005

Can anyone recommend a drum teacher for a 13 year-old girl who is brand new to drumming? Ideally this would be a teacher who could help her decide among drum options (a whole drum kit? a conga drum? something else?). Are there girls' drumming groups for teens who are just beginning to play? (How about groups for women just beginning to drum, while we're at it? I may be inspired to join in . . .) Thanks! Pam

i started playing drums last april, with absolutely no previous drumming experience. my drum teacher is jim thorne at music works in el cerrito. his rate is $25 for a half hour lesson.

music works can be reached at:

510/232-1000 510/232-1026 Fax

i have really learned a lot from jim, and he knows a lot about everything to do with drumming.

hope that's helpful,



Hi Pam, Jeremy Steinkoler is a great drum teacher for all levels. And if he's not taking students right now, he can recommend somebody who is. You can reach him by email: jeremy at bandworks.com

Actually, you and your daughter may be interested in the program he & Steve Gibson run, called BandWorks. The classes are for both kids (8 on the young side) and adults. They match students by age, ability & schedule into bands that after about 8 weeks, perform @ Ashkenaz. It's way fun. I've done it & now my son is doing it (11y.o.)

They're also gonna be offering summer camp classes and I think their next round of classes is going to start in April. So, if you're interested in that kind of stuff, you can check out their website: bandworks.com


Nov 2004

I am looking for someone to teach a mixed group of kids and adults beginning drumming and rhythm. Any leads? Ruthie

I recently saw a perfomance (in a school) of the Emeryville Taiko - a japanese drumming performance. They were very engaging, and made me want to take my son to them for lessons, as it was both movement, martial arts movements and sounds, and banging on the drums. I think they might have something that would fit a mixed group of people. A google search produced this info:

  Emeryville Taiko 1601A 63rd St. Emeryville, CA 94608 Contact: Susan Horn  Tel: 510-655-6392 Email: etaiko at pacbell.net http://members.aol.com/etaiko  

Emeryville Taiko offers traditional Japanese drumming classes for children and adults from beginning to advanced levels. Gentle Taiko classes are offered for those requiring an easier pace. Students and members perform in fun, energetic recitals and performances at community events in the Bay Area. Taught in the traditional way as a Japanese martial art, Taiko teaches discipline, respect, performance skills, basic Japanese language, music skills, group cooperation, and honor.

The classes and performance groups are open to everyone -- people of all ages, sizes, and social backgrounds participate, from 6 to 66. No special talents, skills or musical background is required.

The other thought is steel drumming. My brother used to have a fabulous teacher, Jeff Narrell, I think. Jeff's brother has several CD's out, (I think the brother is Andy Narrell but maybe I mixed them up.) Anyway, both of those might give you a start. I have no actual contact information, but from my recollection, they were easy to find, perhaps from that store on University that sells drums? I can't wait till my son is old enough to enjoy organized drumming. For now, it is random banging for me. Shahana

Jan 2004

Looking for a drum teacher for my 12 yr old son, who gives classes on the weekend or who lives in Laurel District or Redwood Heights in Oakland and does after school classes. Andrea

Try Donald Rowlands 841-9452. Not sure if he meets your criteria, he lives in South Berkeley, but he's a good teacher and might be available on the weekends. Anwyl

2003 & Earlier

August 2003

I am looking for a drum teacher in the El Cerrito, Richmond or Berkeley area for my 9 year old son, who is a beginner and has motor planning and language challenges, so this teacher should be very patient, fun and upbeat. Does anyone have a great teacher in mind? Thanks. Kathy R.

Even though I am a bit biased, my husband, Alan Hall, has been teaching drums to kids ( and adults) for more than 20 years. He's an active performer in the Bay area music scene and teaches privately, as well as at The Jazzschool in Berkeley. He teaches all skill levels and styles ( and is a father to an 8+ year old son himself!) He can be e-mailed at alan at jazzdrumming.com

Good luck with your search. Sondra

Jim Thorne teaches at Music Works in El Cerrito (San Pablo Ave). The number is in the phone book. Jim is my neighbor so I was really happy to discover that he taught drums there when my son went there for his guitar lesson. He's a really nice and gentle person and from what little I know about drums, seems to be a good teacher. June

My son took drum lessons last year from Eddie Pollard, who (in addition to being a drummer) does some sort of special ed work in a local elementary school. So, he might be just the ticket for your son. The numbers I have for him are are 832-7001 or 721-2338. lori

Jan 2004

Looking for a drum teacher for my 12 yr old son, who gives classes on the weekend or who lives in Laurel District or Redwood Heights in Oakland and does after school classes. Andrea

Try Donald Rowlands 841-9452. Not sure if he meets your criteria, he lives in South Berkeley, but he's a good teacher and might be available on the weekends. Anwyl

August 2003

I'm looking for a fun-loving, creative conga-drumming teacher in the East Bay who teaches adults and children. I browsed through previous posts but didn't find any recommendations specifically related to Afro-Cuban percussion, or Conga in particular. I'd love any recommendations people might have! Thanks!

Try calling Kelly Takunda Orphan. She teaches both beginning and intermediate conga and african drums at First Congragational Church in Oakland. The next session of classes start August 27Th, beg:6-7pm and inter. 7:15-8:45pm. She usually teaches adults, but some times middle school kids have been present. She has taught kids for many years in schools, she also gives private lessons. Her e-mail address is: Ktakunda at aol.com She is a fun teacher and just recorded her own album, drumplayer mom

Oct 2002

I'm looking for a woman drum teacher in Berkeley for my 11- year old daughter. Any recommendations? I've seen the listing on drum teachers in general but all are male. dianad

A wonderful woman drummer (and teacher) is Barbara Borden in Mill Valley. Her number is 415-388-5340; you could give her a call and ask for a Berkeley reference. Sooz

April 2001

I recommend Darrel Green, of UC Berkeley (lives in Oakland but will travel). His phone number 632-8546. Kcubratsej

One of my best friends is an excellent drum teacher: Mark Bernfield 510-547-4597 He lives in Oakland but has a studio in Emeryville. He's very nice and great with kids. Rob
editor note: phone number updated 3/2006

In reply to the person who asked for recommendations for a drum teacher, your request was not clear what sort of drumming you were interested in, but I have two friends who teach drum. Both are jazz and rock drummers. Both take adult and children as students, and at least one of them works as the director/organizer of City of Berkeley's Cazadero Music Family Summer Camp. Both are in the East Bay, one in Oakland, One in Berkeley. If neither of these people are taking students, they are also the people to talk to about getting other leads. This is a recommendation from my friend Steve Gibson, who runs, with Jeremy, a series of Band Workshops for both adults and children. Check out their Band Workshop Concert at ASHKANAZ this Sunday, April 1, at 6:30 pm. Perhaps a small cover charge, but well worth it for the fun, and what good fun it is. OH, if you call either of them, let them know that I recommended them to you... Here are names and phone numbers for both drum instructors- Jeremy Steinkoler (not sure if I've spelled it right!) at (510) 883-9214 Mark Burnfeld is at (510) 251-1137


My 13-year-old daughter has just started drum lessons with her sax teacher, Ian Willson. He's a wonderful teacher, full of the kind of encouragement that makes my daughter enjoy learning. He teaches at Tupper & Reed as well as at his home (Albany) and studio (Lake Merritt area). Phone: 763-1773. Kay

I asked for recommendations for a drum teacher in North Berkeley a couple of months ago, and the responses I received are below. My 12-year old daughter is now taking lessons from Jeremy Steinkoler and enjoys him and the lessons a lot. Lynn

My son took from Jeremy Steinkoler. He's at Walnut near vine. He's really terrific and great with kids. His number is 883-9214.

While this guy is in the Lakeshore area of Oakland and not Berkeley, I am so impressed with him I thought I should give you his name anyway: John Mader (763-2320). He has taught my son and several other children I know. He is very good, plays professionally, deals with children well, and is very dedicated.

I am the Assistant Director for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley. We are one of the outreach programs on campus. Our drum teacher is Darrell Green. He would be very good. His number is (510) 632-8546. He lives in Oakland. You could also try Forrest's Music on University in Berkeley. They used to have an excellent drum teacher there named Norman Peck. Their number is (510) 845-7178.

Jeremy Steinkoler was my son's teacher for a few years and he's great *and* in North Berkeley. He was recommended through Tupper and Reed. His phone as of last year: 883-9214. He and a guitarist also run a jazz/blues 8-week class for intermediate and advanced students, children and adults. Very professional and great with kids. Wendy

My 13-year-old daughter has just started drum lessons with her sax teacher, Ian Willson. He's a wonderful teacher, full of the kind of encouragement that makes my daughter enjoy learning. He teaches at Tupper & Reed as well as at his home (Albany) and studio (Lake Merritt area). Phone: 763-1773. Kay

Where to Buy Drums

Guitar Center in El Cerrito is a great place to buy drums. On San Pablo Ave. Guitar Center has new drums starting around $300 (I think). My husband's a drummer and suggests starting out low budget if you're still determining level of interest. Other place recommended is good but price might be too high for a beginning student as the drums there--though used--are sometimes considered vintage and therefore collectible. Marilou

In response to the person looking for drums, we got drums for our daughter through a rent-to-own program at Music Works on San Pablo in El Cerrito. We were able to get a pretty good deal on a slightly-used set there. Lynn

An excellent place to check out used and new drums is A Drummer's Tradition on the west side of 4th Street in San Rafael. -- Victor

Guitar Center in El Cerrito is a great place to buy drums. On San Pablo Ave. Guitar Center has new drums starting around $300 (I think). My husband's a drummer and suggests starting out low budget if you're still determining level of interest. Other place recommended is good but price might be too high for a beginning student as the drums there--though used--are sometimes considered vintage and therefore collectible. Marilou

Some Basic Info about Playing Drums

From: Colleen

I got my first drum set at 10, after playing a snare for two years. My parents bought me a new kid set (20 inch base) for $165, including cymbals. Of course that was 1974. I kept it until age 15 when I traded it and $800 for a professional set. Today I teach drums to kids, on that same set I bought at 15, and have a couple of thoughts for you. First, are you (and your neighbors) prepared to let your child practice on a real kit for as much time as will be needed to learn the instrument? If they receive lessons at school, 20 minutes a night, 3 or 4 times a week would be a minimum. As a child I played my set about 5 hours or more a week. A real kit is loud and the beginner cymbals sound pretty bad. You can buy rubber pads for each drum, but that gets expensive too. If a kid hears not now a lot, they'll likely lose interest. Take your kid to the music store and see how long you can stand to hear him play. (While you're there, see how long you can stand the amplified guitar players, they'll be coming to your house in a couple of years. All practice happens at the drummer's house because our instruments are hardest to haul) Consider buying a practice pad kit. They make them with 5 drums and cymbals, just like a standard kit. They are no louder than the sound of pencils on a phone book, and are just as effective in learning to play a trap kit. Guitar Center sells them in their blow-out sales at a pretty low cost. One of my students just bought a new single (snare) pad and stand on sale for about $30. If you still want a real kit, shop the drum centers for a good quality traded-in child's kit. (not to be confused with an expensive jazz kit, a professional 4 drum kit w/20 inch base) Be certain it has good heads, or ask them to throw in good heads(not necessarily new), sticks and a beginner book. They'll give you a good deal on an entry kit, because they know it is your first of many visits. Entry level new kits sell as low as $300-$500 plus cymbal packs for $150-$200.