Drum Lessons

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Drum Lessonscontact Toby

I offer drum lessons for $25/half hour or $50/hour.
I teach people how to play music on the drums.

Some things I teach:
* Hand technique (How to hit a drum)
* Foot technique (How to play the bass drum pedal/s and the Hi-Hat pedal)
* Moeller method (How to play more efficiently)
* Rudiments (The nuts and bolts of drumming – Singles, Doubles and combinations of both)
* Reading (How to read rhythms, drum music and basic charts)
* 4-way coordination (How to play four separate parts that make up a whole groove)
*Time and Groove(How to play a steady beat that feels good)

With 25 years of professional performing I know what is important for a drummer to succeed in just having fun or in becoming a gigging professional drummer. I am currently playing in 5 or more groups and I work anywhere from 2 to 6 gigs a week.

I have been teaching for 20 + years. My teaching is based on meeting a students needs. I have some students who want to learn the basics and build on that to become excellent drummers and musicians. Just the same I have students who want to learn enough about playing that they can go have a ball on their drum set at home as well as apply their skills in a band situation.

I have studied with these international drummers: David Garibaldi (Tower of Power), Dave Weckl (Chic Corea), Jimmy Cobb (Miles Davis), Jim Chapin (Author – ADVANCED TECHNIQUES FOR THE MODERN DRUMMER), Alex Acuna (Weather Report, Studio), Noel Okimoto (Gabe Baltazar), and Zoro (Prince,Bobby Brown). I have also studied with San Diego percussion greats: Danlee Mitchell, Pat Pfiffner, John Flood, Tim McMahon, and Duncan Moore.

contact Toby

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Toby.  Mister Toby, I call him sometimes.  What shall I say about this guy?

 From my two-and-a-half years of study with Toby, I can enumerate specifics that make him a heck of a teacher.

  • Toby’s knowledge of drums and music is vast.  Although you’ll hear many teachers make this claim, Toby truly knows a wide spectrum of music: jazz, blues, rock, Brazilian, “Latin,” and more.  He plays all of those styles impressively –- better than almost anyone in this county, in my opinion — and has a scholarly understanding of them.
  • Toby is a busily gigging drummer to this day, not just in some long-lost past.
  • His students range from youngsters to old-ish Baby Boomers like me, yet he adapts to all and provides instruction tailored to the need of each.
  • Toby’s home studio is a comfortable and well-equipped place for lessons.  He can lay down parts on his electric bass or groove on congas while you drum.  He can play your favorite CD through serious speakers.  He can record your drumming and email the recording to you within minutes.
  • Toby is an inventor and marketer of drum paraphernalia!   http://www.tnrproducts.com/site/
  • Just as important as his musical skills, Toby is a good and reliable human being who cares about his students and about treating people well in general.

Gary C.


I have had a pleasant experience in learning to play drums with Toby Ahrens.  I found his ad on Craigslist a little over a month ago.  I am a 50 year old total beginner with zero musical background or experience, and sought an instructor who is very patient.  Toby helped me find a used drum set on Craigslist, and after I made this purchase, he came to my home to tune the drums and correct anything that I did not set up properly.  I come to Toby’s home once a week for a 30 minute lesson.  He has a polite and enthusiastic demeanor.   He does not criticize anything I do not do properly, rather he demonstrates the correct way, and then we practice the step together.  I am sent home with homework to improve my skills – which in my case, this homework is needed because I have no natural skills with drumming.  I would recommend Toby as an instructor.  He does not charge a high fee for his lessons, and he is a great teacher.

Vicky W.


I’ve been taking lessons from Toby for a few months now and really am glad I chose him. I like his teaching style that he shows me a drum beat or rudiment and lets me start over and over until I get it right. The best part about taking lessons with Toby is that he plays the bass guitar along while I’m playing on his drum set. I feel like I’m really playing in a band and I can keep the beat much easier while I’m hearing some music at the same time. I highly recommend him to anyone who has zero experience, or is already in a band.

Joel M.


I studied drums with Toby from 2007 – 2009 and really was able to find myself as a drummer during that time. He helped me with my general feel of drumming along with overall timing, reading, and different styles of playing. He is a great teacher for any drummer who wants to improve their musical capabilities.

Dominic D.


Toby has taken me from being a beginning drummer to having the capability to play on stage with my band, first on cajon and then with a drum set. I think it’s his ability to gently push me out of my comfort zone with each lesson that has enabled such a progression. It’s also inspiring and motivating just to watch him play!

Ezekiel P.


Toby is very knowledgeable about all styles of music and is a very patient teacher. He was helpful in teaching me everything from rudiments and fill ideas to phrasing. In addition, he’s very friendly, enjoys drumming and makes learning fun.

Ben W.


Toby is the best. He is an outstanding teacher and an extremely talented musician. His skills will blow you away! I took lessons from Toby for over three years and learned more than I could ever imagine. I owe all of my knowledge to Toby’s great teaching. He is very professional, easy-going, down to earth, and just an all around great person. Toby is the best teacher I have ever had and a truly a great friend.

Cooper D.


My son has been receiving drum lessons from Toby for over 2 years. I found Toby by chance, from a search on Google. We were blessed in finding Toby because he is just who our son needs. Not only is Toby is an extremely talented, and a well-rounded musician, he is a gifted teacher. He has the patience our son needs, who has ADHD. Playing the drums has actually helped my son’s personality to mature because of the one-on-one instruction, the structured lessons, and the direction and guidance Toby gives him.


For anyone who is searching for the best; selecting Toby as a music teacher should be your choice, he is well worth it.

Sarah W.


I’ve been Toby’s student for over a year now. It has been a blast and I learned a lot. Toby is a very patient teacher and excellent at explaining basic drum techniques. He has a great rehearsal room at his house and all the equipment necessary to play along to playback tracks that don’t have drums on them, which is awesome. He can even record your playing along with the track and then you can listen to it and analyze it. I highly recommend Toby as a drum instructor.

Martin E.


I studied with Toby about 10-12 years ago, he’s an amazing drummer and a very methodical teacher. He’s extremely well versed, not just as a drummer, but as a musician in general. If you’re serious about playing drums and refining your overall music skills and understanding then I highly recommend taking lessons from Toby Ahrens.

Steve Williams
Professional Drummer
Owner of Inner Voyage Entertainment