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Drum Lessons Phoenix - Eric's Drum Lab - Eric Hassler

Hi, welcome to Eric's Drum Lab. I'm Eric Hassler. Whether you've been drumming for awhile or just getting started...

...the fastest way to get better at drumming is to find an experienced teacher who can help you build a strong musical foundation, identify your strengths and weaknesses (we all have 'em, so don't worry), and work with you to set practical goals for improvement.

"Goals," you say? That sounds like homework.

Sure there's work, but it's DRUMMING work, and what's more fun than that? Besides, without goals and some direction, you might end up practicing the same things over and over, or get caught up scrolling YouTube for hours. You might even get bored, frustrated and give up. That would be sad, because drums are fun, and drummers are fun, and the world needs more of both!

A little secret

When I started playing drums at age 10, I was probably THE worst drummer to ever pick up sticks. I stunk big time! I had no natural ability. I couldn’t even clap to the beat of songs on the radio. I’m not kidding!

So no matter what your current ability is, I guarantee you I was worse! I got MUCH better though, and I can help you get better too!

A Bit About Me

I've been drumming for most of my life. I still love it. Several years ago, a pianist I was playing with suggested I try teaching, so I did. I quickly realized that I love teaching drums too! And I'm good at it.

A little history if you're interested...

I played drums and percussion throughout mid school and high school. Competitive marching band, concert and symphonic band, and jazz band. I was an all-state percussionist, too. Pretty much your classic drum nerd.

Weekly drum lessons weren't in the family budget, so I practiced, listened and worked a lot on my own. Without drum lessons however, I learned everything slowly and the hard way! It's not the best approach. Sure, as musicians (and aspiring musicians) we can figure some things out on our own—and these days there's lots on YouTube to watch—but a good teacher can guide in ways that an instructional video can't. But I digress...

After high school I headed to California for Musicians Institute. I'd known about "M.I." for years, mostly through Modern Drummer magazine. It was basically drummer Mecca for me and I was hell-bent on going. As I was grinding away at my stupid day job earning cash for tuition, another musician told me about a place called The Grove School of Music. When I looked into their curriculum and discovered who was teaching their drum program I opted for Grove, and absolutely loved it!

I was fortunate to study with David Garibaldi, Luis Conte, Peter Donald, Dan Greco, David Crigger, Chuck Silverman, Brian Kilgore, and many other amazing and inspiring teachers, plus some epic master classes with Jeff Porcaro, Alex Acuna, Ed Thigpen, Emil Richards and others. I literally still dream about that time of my life.

Over the years I've continued to play (and study!) music. I’ve been lucky to play in a variety of bands over the years, covering a range of musical styles: blues, jazz, funk, rock, pop and country. I’ve played for crowds of 20 people to 20,000 people.

Marching band geek. Loved every minute!
Dave Garibaldi and me
Grove School of Music, 1988.
Playing Jazz in Italy.
Life's good, no?

I’ve been lucky to play in a variety of bands over the years, covering a range of musical styles: blues, jazz, funk, rock, pop and country. I’ve played for crowds of 20 people to 20,000 people.

These days I play drums with a diversely talented array of Arizona musicians whom I consider to be my extended family.

I'm always interested in other projects too: Drop me a line.

Eric Hassler Drummer with Natalie and the Sweet Talkers 2020
Eric Hassler Drummer with Natalie and the Sweet Talkers - Tempe Oktoberfest 2019

Play-alongs

Here's a video of me drumming to a great play-along track from Jim Riley's book "Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer." This is the type of work my students do here as well! Not only does it help identify areas that need work, it's really fun!

Drum Covers

Learning a song note-for-note is a great way to hone your reading skills, listening skills, build on your vocabulary of grooves and fills, and of course practice your sense of timing and dynamics. "Figure it Out" by Royal Blood, is a song that a few of my students were working on, so I "figured" I'd better learn it too! Tip of the hat to Royal Blood's drummer, Ben Thatcher!

Loops

Repetition is an important part of practice. Playing something well once, doesn't mean you own it. To that end, I like creating musical loops to play with. You can build loops in Logic, GarageBand or any other DAW. I can show you how. This loop is only 60 seconds (for Insta), but I played this 40+ times before I was relatively satisfied.

Reviews

I'm fortunate to work with such great students and parents. For me, these recent reviews confirm that I'm on the right track.

Eric is a one-of-a-kind instructor. I've only had one lesson with him so far, but I can't wait to continue with him at his home studio!

Paul A.

Eric is great! My 13 year old son is a total beginner, and Eric had him launched in drumming very quickly! It's clear that Eric has loads of experience as a musician and a teacher, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Highly recommend!

Marian F.

Ive only been playing drums for a couple months and I’ve been going to Eric for the last 5 lessons maybe, and each time time I’ve gone back to a lesson, I’ve improved a vast amount. Eric teaches proper fundamentals that will create suffice drumming abilities. I notice how quickly I was learning things and picking it up. Eric has always made it fun and exciting in learning material. He has always been very patient and helpful and is extremely knowledgeable for your drumming needs. 🙂

Noah G.

Working with Eric was great, and I would highly recommend him to anyone! After many years of wanting to learn to play drums, I finally decided to go ahead and take lessons. I am so glad I did! Eric was patient with me as I had no musical training or abilities. He started with the basics and helped me understand how to read music and learn drills to help me better handle drum sticks. The best part was that each session ended with playing on the drum kit to real songs! Eric is very talented and a great teacher who meets his students where they are at at that moment and works to fit their needs.

Katie T.

Eric helped with a surprise for my girlfriend who hadn't played drums in 15 years. It ended up being one of the best things she has done and it was all because Eric was so patient and positive. I would highly recommend him as an instructor.

Mitchell R.

Eric is awesome! I never thought I could learn to play drums this late in life but I’m enjoying every bit of it and getting better and better! I am continuing to take lessons because he makes it easy to understand, also has the patience teaching the complicated things I don’t pick up right away! Thanks Eric!

Roxana C.

Eric took the time to understand my current playing level and worked with me to focus on the best ways to improve my drumming skills. Great Guy, Great Teacher...Thanks!

Michael A.

Eric’s great! I’ve been taking lessons for a bit now and I feel more confident on the kit and with the fundamentals. Will def continue to take lessons here.

Nina L.

Eric is really nice and easy to learn from. I've only had a couple of lessons so far but I'm having a blast and learning a lot!

Audrey W.

Eric Hassler is the greatest drum teacher ever born! I’ve been Taking lessons from Eric and drumming for only 4 months. As an adult beginning student (58), and as an adult educator in other fields, I will attest to Eric’s professionalism and his ability to demonstrate techniques structured to help a student trying to get over a difficult hurdle or drumming milestone. He’s a PRO. Everything is based on reading music and as Eric states “developing flawless fundamentals”. Plus he’s about my age and he’s a really good person who is cool guy that I like hanging out with! I’m absolutely sure that he is also a great band member/mate in his rock band as well. Thanks Eric!! Looking forward to your drumming wisdom and professionalism until I can’t drum anymore!!!

John B.

My son has been taking lessons with Eric for 1 month now and he loves it. He had a passion prior but he is more eager know as he is learning the foundation. We live a good distance away but the trip is worth it!

Greg B.

Eric is a fantastic teacher because he makes you as the student comfortable in a learning environment (which sadly some music teachers lack). He’s outgoing, engaging and adept at allowing the student to grow into their confidence and then he pushes you to achieve more. I love drumming more so because of this experience. I had tried a few other teachers before finding Eric and honestly, his creative and artistic website drew my attention. He’s also the real deal, a proffesional musician and plays regularly in addition to teaching. This enhances his credibility and relatability. I highly and happily recommend Eric - you will be glad you invested in your talent.

Bella F.

My son's been taking lessons with him for 3 months so far and have progressed far beyond where I thought he'd be by now. Eric is both an incredible drummer and a very skilled and experienced teacher. Eric is patient and easygoing while still gets to challenge him to achieve a new milestones every week. Eric is a fantastic drummer, knows his stuff, and makes the process fun. If you want to learn the drums, he's the best teacher.

Cristina M.

My daughter has taken drum lessons for years, but started lessons with Eric a few months ago. I've seen a lot more improvement lately as well as a boosted interest in playing/practicing more often. Eric has a practical approach to his teaching that simulates that of a performance drummer. In other words, he gets them playing real repertoire while at the same time implementing proper technique. He's also reliable via scheduling and studio set up. As a music teacher myself, I'm happy to call Eric a true professional and I'm happy that we found him.

Jenny j.

Eric is a pleasure to learn from. He takes time to develop different areas of instruction, from snare rudiments to transcription to playing the full kit. As an adult student, I've appreciated both his punctuality and his flexibility in accommodating unforeseen changes in my schedule. I highly recommend him.

Will V.

Eric is an awesome teacher. If you have any interest in learning to play the drums, Eric will show you the way.

James S.

A+. Really nice to my son. My son enjoys himself so much during his lesson that he has motivation to practice daily. Looks forward to lessons.

Alyssa M.

Eric is a wonderful drum teacher. He is very patient with our shy 5 year old! Our son is very excited to go to lessons each week and is eager to practice. We look forward to many more lessons to come.

Amanda s.

Eric is great. If you are a real beginner, I suggest using Eric. He is very helpful with teaching the basics and capable of taking you as far as you want to go with your drumming. I was playing the drums after 2 lessons!!! Totally worth it!

Blake J.

Eric is a great instructor! Super friendly and encouraging. He has tailored a lesson plan specific to my needs and style. He really goes above and beyond as an instructor. My playing has improved drastically since I started studying with him. He is also a blast!!! I highly recommend him!!!

Christian A.

Eric is a wonderful instructor. He's very patient and helpful. His lessons are practical and in a short amount of time he'll have you playing along with popular music. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who asks!

Jay C.

We are elated with Eric and his drum instruction for our son. Initially we weren’t sure if our son was old enough (6), but Eric was able to engage with him immediately and give him direction in a fun, straightforward way that our son loves and has shown great early results. Eric’s home studio is clean, convenient and inviting. We love it!

Mike K.

Drum lessons, and what you'll learn

One of the great things about drumming is that the threshold to playing something musical is actually pretty low. I can usually teach a beginner to play a basic rock beat in under an hour. Once you cross that threshold though, you'll soon discover that this a very deep and broad instrument. There's so much to learn, and the more you learn the more fun it gets. I've been drumming for 40 years and I'm still an avid student of the instrument. The learning never ends.

The following is a peek at what we'll work on together.

Drum Lessons Phoenix
Hand Technique

How we hold the sticks and the way we use our wrists and fingers affects the sounds we get from the drums, the speed and accuracy with which we can play, and our endurance.

If you have a death-grip on your sticks while flying around the drums at 900 miles per hour, you won't be able to play very long before your hands cramp up and turn to bricks. So, proper technique really helps.

Rudiments

Get to know and love your snare drum rudiments! The idea of rudiments may sound boring to some drummers, but actually they're useful, fun, and instrumental in gaining stick control.

We'll focus mainly on the rudiments that you can apply to the drum set, but if you're in school band (marching band, symphonic band, etc.) we can have all kinds of fun with snare drum rudiments.

Time & Groove

It's important to play "in time," which means not speeding up (rushing) and not slowing down (dragging) during a song. Drummers are expected to keep a steady beat, and that beat needs to groove, which simply means it should feel good to other musicians and people listening.

Groove can be elusive. It's possible for two drummers to play the exact same beat, but one drummer will get people's feet tapping and heads bobbin', while the other drummer is just sorta, meh.

We'll work on developing solid time by using a metronome during practice, and we'll work on the musical aspects that help make this stuff groove and sound cool!

Recording

Recording is fun and challenging, and a fantastic tool to hear how you're progressing.

My setup allows for recording up to 16 tracks of live audio. You'll drum along to prerecorded audio tracks, then we'll listen to your performances and talk about what's going well and what needs work. No need to stress. You'll get used to hearing your mistakes and learning from them, which is the whole point.

If you're a beginner, we won't get into recording until you're able to play a steady beat, but that'll happen much faster than you think, so don't worry!

Reading Music

Can you be a great drummer without reading music? Absolutely. One of the greatest drummers of all time, Buddy Rich, didn't read music. But I'm no Buddy Rich, and neither are you. 🙂 We're mere mortals, so let's take advantage of everything we can to make us better musicians.

We'll work on reading music, because it's how we communicate ideas on this great instrument.

What else?

Above all else, drumming is supposed to be fun! That's why I fell in love with drums as a kid. That's probably why you're into it too.

As I mentioned, I've been drumming for a loooooooong time. I still love it! I really want to be a part of your journey learning to play this crazy, wonderful, dynamic instrument we call drums. Let's go!

Rates & Stuff

Lessons are one-on-one and awesome! You get 100% of my focus, experience and energy. 

FREE Consultation. I offer a free consultation before diving into lessons. It's a nice way to break the ice, talk about your musical interests, what your goals and expectations are, and how I can help you with them. We'll hit the pads and drums a little too. Totally informal, takes 30 minutes or so, and is 100% free.

Pricing

If you hire me as your drum teacher (thanks, I'm honored), the lesson fees are:

Half-hour lesson $30
Full-hour lesson $60

All lessons are paid up-front at the beginning of each month (for the number of lessons you'll have in that month). This enables me to reserve your time slot on my calendar for the month, and makes scheduling and bookkeeping much easier.

If paying up-front for the month is financially challenging, please let me know. I'm flexible, and don't want anyone to miss out!

Cancellations

Life throws curveballs. Sometimes you'll need to miss a drum lesson.

A minimum of 24 hours notice is required when cancelling or rescheduling a lesson. Failure to provide 24 hours notice prior to canceling or rescheduling will result in loss of the lesson fee. A no-show/no-call will result in forfeiture of your lesson fee. Last-minute emergency cancellations will be considered case-by-case.

Acceptable last-minute cancellations include: medical emergency, sudden illness, accident, etc.

Unacceptable last-minute cancellations: forgot about lesson, traffic, conflicting activity, dentist appointment, stuck at work, etc.

In the rare event I have to cancel a lesson on you, your fee will be credited to the next month's lessons or refunded.

FAQ

What ages do you teach?

My students range in age from elementary school kids to retirees. For students younger than 7-years-old, we need to make sure they can focus during a half-hour lesson and practice a bit between lessons.

For adults, age hardly matters. If you're 80 and have decided to pursue your dream of drumming, I am totally into that! In fact I have many students over the age of 50. It's really true that you're never too old to start. Go for it!

Where do you teach?

I teach from our humble home near Camelback and 44th Street in Phoenix, AZ 85018. Here you'll find three acoustic drum sets, Roland V-Drums, various percussion, keyboards, recording gear and an upright piano that my wife's grandma taught lessons with in this very house for about 30 years. 🙂

What do I need to start?

You'll need a pair of sticks that feel good in your hands. Think "Goldilocks" when picking them out. Not too small, not too big, not too heavy...you get the picture.

And you'll need a practice pad. I like the "RealFeel" brand practice pads. Get the 12". They're a little pricier, but last a long time. I'm still using one I bought in 1988!

If you're not ready to invest in sticks and a pad yet, I have extras we can use during lessons. If you decide to stick with it though, you'll want to pick up your own for practicing at home.

Do I need my own drum set?

No, not right away, but you'll certainly have more fun and progress faster if you have a drum set at home to play and practice on.

You don't need to buy a brand new top-of-the-line drum set! You can find drum sets from the 60's, 70's, 80's etc... that still sound amazing. Great deals are to be had online for used equipment. As a student (or parent of) I can help you sort the wheat from the chaff when you're ready to buy your drums.

I also provide a service to get your drums tuned and set up ergonomically so they're easier and more fun to play.

What about COVID-19?

Quick note about COVID... First off, I'm fully vaccinated, as is the rest of my family. I haven't been wearing a mask since being vaccinated, nor requiring students/parents to wear them, but now that we're seeing a spike due to the Delta Variant I may start wearing mine again. If you'd definitely like me to wear one, I will. I honestly don't mind at all. Whatever makes you comfortable. If you'd like to wear one, that's cool too. Anything to keep the music playing!

For students/parents considering lessons here for the first time, my drum room is approximately 13'x 35', which is not a small space as drum rooms go. During warmups and pad-work we sit about 4' from each other facing a mirror, but on the drum sets, we're 6' apart.

Contact me if you have any questions I haven't answered.

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