I am passionate about teaching and take pride in helping students break down complex problems into manageable solutions.

I've been playing drum set for 20 years, I hold a Master's degree and a Bachelor's degree in classical percussion performance, and I've been teaching drum set, percussion, and music theory for over a decade.


Drum set lessons draw from my classical training as well as from my experience playing in bands. My approach combines music reading skills, written exercises, and a focus on technique with improvisation and ear-based learning to give the student a broad skill-set that allows them to continue their musical growth on their own between lessons and after our time together comes to an end.

Classical percussion lessons will focus on the instruments of the orchestra or wind band percussion section. The student will work on technique for playing the snare drum, mallet instruments (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, etc.), and other section percussion and will apply this by learning selected repertoire. This is an excellent supplement to studies in a school band program; while band teachers are great for big-picture instruction, they don't generally have specific training in percussion and are therefore unable to give the instruction that a specialist is capable of giving. This is a great option for students enrolled in band programs as well as graduating students who are preparing auditions for university percussion programs.

Western music theory lessons will take a creative approach that emphasizes applying theory concepts rather than simply memorizing rules and patterns. My approach to teaching music theory involves learning how to play the theory concepts on your instrument and using them to create music of your own through a series of composition and improvisation exercises.

Private students can combine drum set, percussion, and music theory studies in any way that best suits their interest.

Private students have access to an ever-expanding online database of lesson materials, song transcriptions, and worksheets to help keep them on track between lessons.

In addition to teaching private lessons I teach a number of group programs through the Regent Park School of Music, I co-run the Evergreen Community Gamelan, and I have had the privilege of leading percussion sectionals for the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble, University of Toronto Wind Symphony, the Acadia University Wind Ensemble, the Acadia University Big Band, the TDSB All City Band, the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra, the Calgary Youth Orchestra, and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. I have also run percussion sectionals for a number of high school and middle school band programs in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

If you are interested in taking drum set, percussion, or music theory lessons with me, or if you would like me to coach a group or ensemble, please feel free to contact me.

© 2020 by Nathan Petitpas

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