San Francisco Bay Area Drum Teachers
Cooper Grant is a 23-year-old musician and composer living in Berkeley. He plays and teaches piano and percussion for all ages and skill levels. He has played, taught and performed a variety of genres, from classical to jazz, folk, R&B, pop, and gospel. He has taught privately, through Henderson and Golden Key Schools of music, as well as through various programs like the Chico Theater Ensemble and Chico Country Day/Blue Oak Elementary Schools.
Cooper's pedagogical approach is to connect the student with their love for music, emphasizing musicality and ear training. By developing a strong practice routine, the student is able to cultivate the technique required to express themselves musically, forming a relationship between improvement and the joy of playing.
Ever since 8 years old, Ben Esposito has felt a strong passion towards playing the drums and causing others to enjoy themselves through the art of making music. Whether it is with a symphony, his high school big band, or a jazz combo with his friends, Ben is always striving to be the best he can be through music. Along with his passion for playing, Ben loves working with others and helping them experience the joy and memories he has gained through the world of music. He believes everyone deserves to have the resources they need to explore their craft, and through his music lessons, he works with students to make sure they are playing and progressing at the rate they wish to be, as well as enjoying themselves through it all.
Through all skill levels, genres and ages, Ben approaches his lessons with three basic goals. First, he talks with the students and learns about their experience with music and where they wish to go with their playing. He then assesses their drumming and finally, he prescribes the student with exercises and ways to progress with their playing. This includes educational books, worksheets he makes, and tips on how to maximize their practice time. His approach to teaching has proven to work with a variety of ages, including elementary school and high school students, and his care to each and every musician is something that is beneficial for students to look forward to making music.
Josh Mellinger is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and has been studying Percussion for over 18 years. At age 12 he started taking private lessons at Sun Radius Music Intl. under the direction of David Warne. He's performed with the Sun Radius Percussion Ensemble and Steel Pan band. While attending Traverse City Central High School, he performed with the Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Orchestra and Jazz Band. In 2004 he toured Europe performing with the Michigan Ambassadors of Music. He continued his percussion studies with John Alfieri at Interlochen Arts Academy in 2005, performing with the Interlochen Arts Academy Percussion Ensemble, Orchestra and Symphonic Band.
He attended the California Institute of the Arts in 2006 where he studied Percussion Performance and World Music. He performed with many ensembles while attending CalArts including the Percussion Ensemble, World Percussion Ensemble, Tabla Ensemble, North Indian Ensemble, African Ensemble, Balinese Gamelan, Chamber Orchestra and the New Century Players Ensemble. He studied under the guidance of David Johnson, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Randy Gloss, and Houman Pourmehdi, providing a wide variety of percussive influences.
After receiving his BFA in Percussion Performance in 2010, he's been an active performing and recording musician in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has recorded professionally with several groups including the John H. Clarke Trio and StringQuake. He performs regularly with Bay Area artists John H. Clarke, StringQuake, Lucian Balmer, Levonah and Silk Mother. In 2013 Josh performed with StringQuake at the Festival Latinoamericano de Arpa in Durango Mexico. In 2017 he was part of an ensemble featured in the World Premier musical LoveSick which won several awards including the Glickman award and the TBA award for best Ensemble. He continues to study Tabla under Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar college of Music and studies with renowned Arabic percussionist Faisal Zedan.
Michael Zion (Mr. Mike) has been playing drums since the age of 13 and started taking piano lessons at the age of 5. He played drums in various bands throughout his highschool and college years and attended Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, GA where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History. He put a great deal of focus on the history of Jazz music while pursuing his history degree.
Michael started teaching piano lessons in 2010 and drum lessons in 2013. Primarily a drummer, Mr. Mike places a great deal of emphasis on rhythm and timing in music. While Mr. Mike has taught people of all different ages, the majority of his students have been children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. A newcomer to San Francisco he is very excited to be a part of the music community and most important, ready and excited to teach children the skill as well as appreciation of music!
Anthony began learning trumpet and music theory at age 11 in Tampa, FL. By age 12, he was learning guitar and playing trumpet in big band style jazz ensembles, marching band and concert band. By age 15, he started his own band and composing his own material. At age 18, Anthony was performing music all over Florida whether it was playing trumpet with the North End Community Jazz Band at the Orlando Jazz Fest, or playing guitar and singing in his original rock band at venues in the Tampa Bay area.
After some extensive traveling throughout North and South America, Anthony wanted to learn more about Afro-Latin rhythms and poly-rhythms and joined an Afro-Peruvian ensemble in Santa Cruz, CA. From 2008-2014, he played trumpet, bass and cajon drum in this ensemble and sang in Spanish. The experience inspired Anthony to incorporate this new style with his existing knowledge of music theory and composition and in 2015, started working on his second original ensemble. The group formed in Santa Cruz, CA and has been playing venues and festivals around the Bay Area since 2016. Anthony composes most of the group's material and performs on vocals, trumpet, guitar, bass, percussion, synthesizer, drum pad and loop pedal.
Anthony has been teaching guitar professionally since age 24, whether privately or through agencies, in Tampa, FL and Santa Cruz, CA. He now resides in Oakland, CA where he is continuing his endeavors in performing original material and teaching individuals how to do so themselves.
Joe Kelner is a Bay Area based drummer with his toes in many pools. He spent 2 years playing drums in Adam Theis' Monday Night Big Band at SFJAZZ, one of the house drummers of The Playa Jazz Cafe at Burning Man and is very active in the freelance jazz scene of the Bay Area playing gigs and recording sessions. Joe is a drum coach for the Giant Steps Program through the Stanford Jazz Workshop and is also part of the music education faculty at the historic Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
Joe has had the opportunity to play in a variety of musical settings ranging from big band jazz to rock to funk to musical theater on small drum sets or a larger ones. Through his diverse opportunities he has developed an innate sense of awareness of the subtle details that the drums are in charge of in their respective musical settings.
Joe sees the value in being able to read music as well as being able to learn songs by ear and can pass on strategies to build both skill sets. Having built his own drums to suit his interest, he is confident he can also lead someone else to acquiring drums/heads/cymbals that will suit theirs.
Joe firmly believes that music is fun. After all it is called "playing music" when one is making music. He has been playing drums since he was 5 and believes that the most valuable lesson any teacher can pass on to their student is a love for the given subject, and that is exactly what Joe seeks to pass on to his students.
Avery Pound is a 24-year-old musician and producer in the Bay Area. He has played guitar and drums since 2004 and taught since 2009, teaching all ages and skill levels. He has performed and studied in a diverse array of venues, groups and genres over the years. Avery studied composition, pedagogy and studio recording at Inspire School of Arts and Sciences. For 6 years, he has studied traditional Haitian and Cuban rhythm and song. Through private lessons as well as programs such as Unplugged Arts Kids Camp and Chico Theater Ensemble, Avery taught skills specifically for performance. In various groups he studied, taught and played jazz with a focus on improvisation. He also produces and coaches musicians in-studio for all genres.
By applying knowledge from pop, R&B, jazz, classical, rock, hip-hop and more, Avery discerns what will inspire a lifelong love for music in his students. He develops a practice routine that both improves technique and theory knowledge as well as piques their interest. Using a personalized practice regiment, Avery gives students the tools they need to skillfully express themselves and be confident in their musical abilities.
Sam Jones is a 24-year old musician born and raised in San Francisco's Mission District. He's played drums since 2004 and guitar since 2009. Sam's performed in a variety of rock, folk, pop and experimental bands in the Bay Area and at an array of local venues. He studied music production and music theory at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, receiving a bachelor's degree in Electroacoustic Studies in 2016.
In recent years Sam has been working as a music teacher for preschoolers as well as sharing his enthusiasm for music with the community around him by teaching private lessons. His love for music has been described as infectious, getting others excited about performing and coming up with musical ideas has become his bread and butter. Since 2016 Sam has been on two tours with the local group Mayya, the Revolutionary Hell Yeah and most recently toured up and down the west coast with the legendary indie band, Deerhoof.
Sam's unique approach to drums and guitar instruction has a strong emphasis on the creative potential one can tap into with their instrument while developing a strong technical foundation. Sam is a friendly and positive teacher who is excited to share the inspiration of music with everyone.
Andrew Kunz began learning piano at the age of 6, quickly embracing the fundamentals of classical piano music before picking up the guitar at the age of 9. As he quickly progressed at piano and guitar at an uncanny pace thanks to his great teachers along with his good ear and enthusiasm for practicing, his musical pursuits began to diversify as he grew up. His focus expanded into learning music theory, ear-training, jazz, rock and composition alongside increasingly advanced classical repertoire on his respective instruments. In high school, his interest in new instruments grew to bass and drums and he became the drummer for his high school jazz band as a freshman. Before finishing high school he gained extensive performance experience on all four of his instruments in ensembles both in and outside of school, preparing him for a burgeoning music career in college and beyond.
Upon starting college in 2009, Andrew began pursuing two degrees at once - environmental studies and music- at University of California, Santa Cruz where he studied piano performance and ear-training with Maria Ezerova, Ph.D., a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory. As he focused on the piano repertoire of the greats including Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Shubert and Debussy he also explored his love of jazz and modern music to new depths as the pianist for the UCSC small jazz combos and big band for several years. While in Santa Cruz he developed his voice as an artist, bandleader, composer, arranger and producer in his own groups and continues to hone these crafts today. Along with his foundation in western classical music his interests as a listener and performer currently include jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, rock and folk music to world music traditions such as west african music, classical North Indian music, balkan, afro-latin and caribbean music.
In addition to performing and teaching, last year his knowledge led him to a project working under the tutelage of a master of classical Hindustani music where he helped edit, format and publish an instructional text book for beginners on the fundamentals of classical North Indian vocal music tradition. Now 27 and based in Oakland, CA, Andrew is an active performing and recording artist, having toured extensively up the west coast of the U.S. and Canada and has played at some of his favorite bay area music venues including the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Yoshi's, Great American Music Hall and the Independent.
While piano remains his primary instrument of focus, he maintains a high degree of proficiency playing and teaching guitar, bass and drums as well. His teaching style emphasizes cultivating and expanding upon each student's interests, strengths and learning patterns. Andrew focuses on making sure the student is engaged, challenged, having fun and always improving by providing a non-dogmatic, well-rounded approach to studying music. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and joy of music with new students of all ages.