Author Archives: dls

Why do we charge for the trial lesson?

In our experience of teaching drums since 1994 we learned that students that pay for their trial lesson tend to stay long term. On the other hand, most people that come for a free trial prefer to ignore our follow up text message or phone call.
They are doing nothing wrong, it just doesn’t work for us.

Our time preparing for lessons (book material, studio, gear and premisses), the decades of teaching experience, and of course the lesson time, are valuable to us, and will be to you too.

So far so good. Giving free trial lessons never bothered us. The real issue is that many people don’t turn up to their trial lesson, and we rarely find out why.

The day we can ask plumbers or hairdressers a free trial we will rethink this matter.

We still offer free trial lessons on some days during school holiday periods, so if that’s your thing, visit our website and keep an eye on the home page where we place the free trial button for a couple of days.

Brazilian Latin Company with Claudio Reis on the drums @ Burwood RSL & Merrylands RLS shows

Have you dreamed about being part of a Brazilian or Latin show, where performers play drums, dance Capoeira, Samba or Salsa, the vibe is awesome on and behind the stage, and you get to have your minutes of fame playing your solo?


Brazilian Latin Company (

The Brazilian Latin Dance Company invited me to substitute their drummer in two concerts, Burwood RSL and Merrylands RSL. I had only two weeks to learn 28 songs and I nailed them.

The following video is a compilation of the two shows, made with a camera behind me, and one from the audience.

The set up of the drum kit is similar to the basic set up. I take only one mount tom with me, and adapt a cowbell and a jamblock to a more comfortable position (when compared to having all three toms set up).

I sometimes teach those types of rhythms in beginners drum lessons. I show students how to start coordinating hands and feet first, and after a few months they start playing some samba and Latin variations on the drums.

Since I started offering drum lessons for kids in Caringbah NSW – that is in Sydney, Australia – I realised that sometimes Latin grooves is what makes a kid really enthusiastic about learning drums. Teaching beginners the basic of Latin drumming is one of the keys to keep them interested in drumming more often.

I hope you enjoyed the video, and if you are based in Sydney and are interested in drum lessons, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find all details and much more on my website

You find this same video on Google+, and on my Facebook fan page.

Snare drum tuning – you haven’t heard of this tip

Have you noticed the number of people that disliked the videos that you loved or found very helpful on Youtube?

And what does that have to do with snare drum tuning?SnareMono

Simple: drums are different, therefore parts of the tuning instructions won’t work for every one of them. Some are old or poor quality, others are new, top quality and expensive drums.

This very important detail has everything to do with my new discovery while tuning my snare drum last week.

For the last 3 years I’ve been unhappy with the sound of my snare drum, and even thinking about getting a new one, despite it being a PDP only about 4 years old  – not really old, decent brand and model. It wasn’t looking – or should I say “sounding” – good for my drum school in Sydney. A few students even mentioned the sound of the snare drum being ‘weird’.

When I decided to start my sceptical tuning process from scratch one more time, I realised the screws didn’t come off so smoothly as I thought they should.

The screws were not rusty, but before starting the tuning process I took all screws out completely only to put a little bit of DW-40 on the screws and also inside the lugs.

I was amazed by how the screws went into the lugs so smoothly. It felt like I had just exchanged my average snare drum for one of those very expensive ones.

The tuning experience was extremely different to the previous ones, when before, even with a new quality skin I couldn’t end up with the satisfactory crisp sound I wanted.

The answer to me was:
DW-40 on screws and lugs;
– tuning as everyone normally does;
and the result was that beautiful and awesome crisp sound!






Get ready to play many songs, not only a couple

Today I found this very interesting comment in a blog:

“I used to take guitar lessons with this guy whose style of teaching was letting the student take in a popular song and he’d teach you it. I remember taking Message In A Bottle by The Police to him and we worked on that for a little too long. Looking back, I just was not ready for that yet. What I really needed are those spider exercises first. I didn’t learn about those until long after I quit lessons with this teacher. The funny thing is he’d tell me about stories of other students working on songs with him for months. So he knew it was a problem. But maybe their point of view is that this is what the student wants? How can that work if they get frustrated like me and quit like I eventually did?”

I’ve had a number of students that came to learn drums from me saying – therefore thinking – they were in an intermediate level.

Despite being able to play about half a dozen of songs, that was all they could do after 3 to 5 years of training.

With the teaching method I use, based on exercises involving beats, fills, stick control and rudiments, in a matter of 2 to 3 months the same students were ready to play many simple songs. Within 6 to 12 months – depending on the student, of course – their list of songs increased fast.

Pegada Drum Method is not only about passing my knowledge. It’s also about preparing the students to recognise and understand what the drummers did in the songs they chose to learn, and play many songs without having to work on each one separately during the lessons.

Not every one of the new “intermediate” students was happy to restart from a book called Fundamentals. Well, if they have heard about (the 40 essential) rudiments but don’t remember what a Paradiddle is, and can’t apply basic variations of single strokes to create fills, they give me no option: beginners they are.

There’s no need for frustration, though. They perform better and learn faster than the average beginners, and after learning and practising basic stuff that they missed they feel much more confident because they won’t run the risk of not being able to play simple grooves and fills for lack of knowledge and practice.


“If Pegada Drum Method was available in music shops it’d be by far my favourite option to teach drums”.


Jam Block and Cowbell variations

Sounds… it’s all about sounds! I enjoy so much adding cowbell, jam block, tamborim and tambourine variations when I’m playing by myself, that I decided to make a small compilation of some recordings.

Curious about the difference between a Tambourine and a Tamborim?

This is a Tamborim, a Brazilian percussion instrument mainly used to play Samba.

This is a Tambourine. It’s used in many kinds of music.

Image result for drum kit tambourine

Both, the tamborim and the tambourine can be adapted to the drum kit.

Pull Me Under – Dream Theater (Drum Cover)

Quite old video again, but this time, heavier, and from another drumless track. Mike Portnoy innovated Heavy Metal drumming, and I spent some time trying to copy him years ago when I decided to catch up with late 90’s heavy metal. This was challenging, therefore a great way to improve. Here is the first of two Dream Theater drum cover videos I made.

EDIT: 2013 video replaced with one recorded in November 2016:


Ritmos = fun!

This video is about 3 years old. I was having some fun on the drum kit with my camera on, and that was the result.
Nothing pre-programmed, nothing that I had practised for a long time. The jam blocks were new in my kit. I play some tunes recorded by the Brazilian singer Elba Ramalho, and experimented the roto-tons and jam blocks in some Latin songs.