Drum Lessons in Ottawa With Professional Musician Michael McNeil

Learn To Play The Drum Set or Advance Your Current Drum Set/Musical Skills Taking Drum Lessons In Ottawa With Professional Musician Michael McNeil

All Levels (Novice/Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced/Professional)

Almost All Ages

Highlights in Mike’s music career include graduating with a Bachelors of Music Degree from Carleton University, working as a cruise ship show band drummer in 2007, touring Canada and the U.S. as a professional musician with “Searson” in 2008 and studying with world class drum set instructors Chuck R. Burrows and Juno Award winning drummer Paul Delong (Kim Mitchell). As a highly in demand musician in the Ottawa/Gatineau area, Mike performed on over 2000 gigs and recording sessions from 2007 to 2021 with hundreds of bands and artists in many musical styles during his busy freelance gigging career.

Some artists that Mike has performed with include Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner Melisa Pash, East Coast Music Awards Nominee Neil McDaniel, Juno Award winning musician Steve Marriner, Stéphanie St-Jean (2016 Winner of La Voix/The Voice Canada), Boom Desjardins (Juno Award Nominee and Lead Singer for La Chicane), Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters and Billy Richards Coasters. Mike has also written professional drum charts/transcriptions for Yamaha Drum Set Artist/Zildjian Cymbals Artist Volkan Oktem and Grammy Award Pre Nominee Rocco Ventrella. Some other highlights include performing at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Ottawa International Jazz Festivals, performing on the main stage of The 2009 Cisco Systems Ottawa Blues Fest with Jeff Rogers and The Liquid Sound and performing with Firebelly at the 2013 and 2014 RBC Ottawa Blues Fest.

From Ontario to Jamaica, from the U.S.A. to the Canadian prairies and from the middle of the ocean to Nunavut in the Canadian North, Mike has successfully performed as a professional musician. Mike has performed in many venues including the cruise ship main stage and orchestra pit, outdoor festival stages, hotels, event centers, recording studios and restaurants all while dealing successfully with the professional demands of chart reading/writing, rehearsing, playing to a click track, improvising, learning music by ear and performing with little or no rehearsal when necessary.

Currently working as an online private music teacher providing drum lessons in Ottawa, Mike also works as an online session drummer and drum chart writer. Mike is known for his vast knowledge of drums and music and his desire to constantly push himself and his students to new skill levels by discovering new envelope pushing drumming techniques and learning new styles of music.

Drum Lessons In Ottawa Drum Lessons In Ottawa2008 Kipawa Country Jamboree With Searson                w/Albert Kaprieilan at NAG (Photo On Right By VanBeek)

       

As a drummer and holder of a bachelor of music degree from Carleton University, Mike is continuing on a music career which has already seen him perform on just over 2000 gigs and recording sessions (since going full time in 2007, in a wide range of musical styles both locally and internationally at major music festivals, concert halls, event centers, special events, weddings, restaurants and more. It has also seen him tour Canada and The U.S.A. as a professional musician, work as a cruise ship show band musician for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Enchantment of the Seas Orchestra” and perform drums in the production show “Stage to Screen”, which is a musical that includes music from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Chicago and Hair Spray. Mike has been hired to adjudicate graduation recital performances for the Carleton University Music Program. He taught drums lessons at a local music school, teaching mostly children from 2001 to 2006 and he taught drum lessons in Ottawa very occasionally on the side during his performance career.

Highlights in 2007 include graduating with a Bachelor of Music Degree from Carleton University and working as a cruise ship showband musician for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “The Enchantment of The Seas Orchestra”.

Highlights in 2008 include 5 months of busy intermittent touring of Canada and the U.S.A as a professional musician with “Searson” as well as performing at the London, Ontario Sunfest.

Highlights in 2009 include a performance at the Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest Main Stage (Bank of America Stage) with Jeff Rogers and The Liquid Sound and a performance at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival Rideau Center Stage with the “East Side Quartet”.

Highlights in 2010 include performing at The Ottawa International Jazz Festival Rideau Center Stage with “The Mulligan Project” and performing with Canadian Aboriginal Award Winner Melisa Pasha.

Highlights in 2011 include a request to perform in China (though cancelled), the release of artist Deneece’s CD “From Bromont To Broadway” which Mike performed on, recording drum tracks on 3 songs for Paul Blissett’s album “Luna” and a performance with Paul Warren and The Overtones in Collingwood, Ontario during The Collingwood Elvis Festival.

Highlights in 2012 include a performance in Montreal with The Erica Feininger Quartet at The Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Art).

Highlights in 2013 and 2014 include 2 performances at The Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest with Firebelly, a performance at The Tremblant International Blues Festival with Firebelly and a performance at Canadian Music Week in Toronto with Firebelly.

Highlights in 2016 include being hired by The Carleton University Music Program to work as an adjudicator for a graduation recital and a performance with Firebelly at The Mountain Man Music Festival at Calabogie Peaks Resort.

Highlights in 2017 include playing in the backing band for a number of high profile Quebec musical artists at a large event at Arena Robert-Guertin, being hired for a performance with Canadian touring musical artist Tia Brazda at Live On Elgin for her performance in Ottawa that year and being hired to perform in a drumline in the stands for the 2017 Grey Cup in Ottawa.

Highlights in 2018 include being hired by the Carleton University Music Program to be an adjudicator for a graduation recital, 2 more performances with Canadian touring musical artist Tia Brazda at Live On Elgin and being hired to perform in Ottawa at the OLG with out town group Material Men.

Highlights in 2019 include performing in a guitar history themed stage show called STRUM at The Theatre du Casino at Casino du Lac Leamy, recording drum tracks for Maeve Delia’s album “Heliophelia” and The Life of Pearls album “Into the Beautiful Blue”.

Mike’s career as a drummer has also provided him with the opportunity to perform with such artists as Billy Richards’ Coasters, Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, Juno Award winning musician Steve Marriner, East Coast Music Awards Nominee Neil McDaniel, Canadian Aboriginal Music Award Winner Melisa Pash, CCMA Award nominee for “Roots Album of the Year” Kelly Prescott, Singer/Songwriter Cory Mervin Coons (winner of the 2014 Producers Choice Award for Studio Album of the Year by The Los Angeles Music Awards), Stéphanie St-Jean (2016 Winner of La Voix/The Voice Canada), Boom Desjardins (Juno Award Nominee and Lead Singer for La Chicane), Etienne Drapeau (Top 10 Finalist on “Star Académie”), Christian Marc Gendron (Roch Voisine), Marie-Ève Fournier (from La Voix/The Voice Canada Season 2), JF Dubé and Rudy Caya, Manon Séguin, Howie and Bert On the Edge Comedy Jugglers, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Enchantment of The Seas Orchestra”, The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Singers and Dancers, numerous choirs and hundreds of other musicians, variety artists and bands. He has also performed drums for many artists’ albums and singles, many of which can be found on iTunes and Spotify. Mike has also written professional drum charts/transcriptions for Yamaha Drum Set Artist/Zildjian Cymbals Artist Volkan Oktem as well as Grammy Award Pre Nominee Rocco Ventrella.

As a local freelance musician, Mike has performed professionally with numerous Carleton University associate performance teachers including Tim Bedner, Mark Ferguson, Roxanne Goodman and Rick Rangno and he has also had the privilege of performing with some other great local musicians including Mark Ferguson (Tony Bennett, Holly Cole), Mike Mullin (Natalie Cole), and Carmelo Scafidi. Mike has also filled in on gigs for Sonor Drum Set Artist/Endorser and Carleton University associate drum set performance teacher Jeff Asselin.

Having studied many aspects of music, Mike has specialized in drum set and has studied with Chuck R. Burrows (highly respected drum set instructor), Juno Award winning musician Paul Delong (who has worked with Kim Mitchell, Tom Scott), Mark Kelso (who has worked with Herbie Hancock, James Taylor) and others. Mike has also taken a group master class with Randy Cooke (who has worded with Ringo Starr, Kelly Clarkson) and a lesson with world class jazz drummer Ian Froman (who has worked with Mike Stern). Mike’s pursuit of music and the drum set have allowed him the opportunity to play live and/or in the recording studio with a wide variety of artists including musicians, choirs, a DJ, jugglers, comedians, variety acts and dancers. It has also required him to play many styles of music ranging from rock to cha-cha-cha, jazz to African Pop, metal to samba and blues to avant-garde classical as well as many other styles within the spectrum.

From Ontario to Jamaica, from the U.S.A. to the Canadian prairies and from the middle of the ocean to Nunavut in the Canadian North, Mike has successfully performed as a professional musician. Mike has performed in many venues including the cruise ship main stage and orchestra pit, outdoor festival stages, hotels, event centers, recording studios and restaurants all while dealing successfully with the professional demands of chart reading/writing, rehearsing, playing to a click track, improvising, learning music by ear and performing with little or no rehearsal when necessary.

Currently working as an online private music teacher providing drum lessons in Ottawa, Mike also works as an online session drummer and drum chart writer. Mike is known for his vast knowledge of drums and music and his desire to constantly push himself and his students to new skill levels by discovering new envelope pushing drumming techniques and learning new styles of music.

Click Here For Audio and Video Samples of My Playing

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

My Experience and Qualifications

Please note that your set up does not have to be anywhere near as advanced as mine. Your set up can be quite simple.

Currently, I teach drum lessons in Ottawa (and for students anywhere) through Skype and Zoom.

My online lesson set up has evolved quickly over time with more improvements to come. My current set up allows me to play along to songs or a metronome in a way that allows you to hear both my drums and the song/metrenome.

I have 9 microphones on the drums and 1 microphone on my voice to greatly enhance the clarity of the sound well beyond what would be achieved by simply using the built in microphone and camera on my computer to pick up the unpolished sound in the room. This also increases separation between the different parts of the kit to help students better identify what I am playing. The dedicated vocal microphone mounted to my headphones also allows me to speak clearly and be heard no matter what angle I am facing and it even allows me to be heard if I am speaking or counting while demonstrating something on the drums.

I have 5 cameras set up that I can switch between to emphasize a certain part of the kit depending on what I am demonstrating. Other then the overall volume level which students can control on their end, the specific audio settings/overall mix and the camera angles are controlled by me (students cannot interactively control these on their end).

The camera angles are:

1. A sideways/overhead view showing me and my drum kit, so you can see me and the drums when I’m talking/playing and explaining things. This is my main camera and what I use the most.

2. A camera taking a side view of my main bass drum pedal so students can see my foot and bass drum pedal up close when I demonstrate foot technique (this also helps students to focus on when the bass drum is playing and how it fits in while I’m demonstrating patterns on the full drum set).

3. A camera taking a side view of my hi hat pedal so I can demonstrate foot work on the hi hat pedal.

4. A camera from behind my drum seat showing my entire pedal set up so students can see both my feet and all my pedals when I am demonstrating something using multiple pedals (the hi hat pedal and bass drum pedal for example).

5. A camera on a practice pad so you can see my hands and sticks up close when I am explaining grip, technique and various drum rudiments.

        Due to the number of devices I am using and the fact that they all inevitably have slightly different processing speeds, the video is behind the audio by just a bit. It is not enough to be a serious problem. However I endeavor to improve or eliminate this over time to further enhance the experience. But for now the greatly improved audio and the advantage of the numerous camera angles is a good trade off.

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

My Online Lesson Studio Set Up

I provide drum lessons in Ottawa (and for students anywhere). My program is suitable for people of any experience level and almost any age.

For children under 6, parents please get in touch with me and we can discuss if lessons will work well for your child.

For upper advanced and professional level students please get in touch so we can discuss your goals as your lessons would probably require a more specific plan or we may work on a specialized topic only. Please be prepared to have your playing evaluated during a lesson so I can confirm that you are in fact upper advanced or professional level 🙂

We work towards helping you to develop the musical skills, technical skills and theoretical knowledge you need to become a solid musician and drummer. We combine these skills with some business knowledge so other musicians may want to play with you and hire you. We do this through a balanced approach that involves playing along to recordings, discussing different theoretical and conceptual approaches, practicing technical exercises, working on ear training and reading exercises, analyzing songs in different styles, transcribing drum recordings and discussing music business concepts. The program is extensive and involves regular practicing but we focus on things you really need to know that will actually make you a better musical and technical drummer.

Whether your goal is simply to learn to play a bit of drums for fun, to get to the intermediate level and jam with some friends, or to get to the advanced level or even play professionally, I can take you there if you put in the time and work. Regardless of what your goal is, the process and program is essentially the same. The only difference is what we emphasize and how long you might take lessons for.

How much of the program we cover depends on how far you want to go.

We cover technique and many different musical styles (pop, rock, jazz, various Latin styles and many more). We also cover rudiments, grooves, music reading, odd time signatures, fills, time and many musical/drumming concepts. We also work on having you play along to songs.

Please note, that I rarely (if ever) allow novice through early advanced level students to skip out on specific material (ie. learning to read or a specific style etc..) because at this stage students are still learning many of the fundamentals. If I am teaching a concept, it is because I have determined based on my many years of experience that it will improve your skills as a musician and drummer. I do however, usually let students pick some of their own songs to learn (I choose some tooas part of the program). I do allow upper level advanced and professional level students to take some specialized lessons with me on specific topics of their choosing because they are no longer in the general phase of learning (but again the process is largely determined by me).

Currently I am offering online lessons only. I do this to avoid commuting since I have fairly limited time available to teach and need to maximize my use of it. It is also because I have invested significantly in my online set up and I believe strongly that there is value in some of the differences that online lessons provide compared to in person lessons (though both have their pluses and minuses). Additionally, my studio is currently too small to realistically have people in it anyways.

Since there is so much to learn, I have a vast knowledge of drumming and music and I am constantly learning myself, my program does not have a set end point. If you started with me as a novice student and you work consistently you could see improvements in your playing taking lessons with me for years. However, if a student has reached the mid to upper advanced level and I feel we are reaching diminishing returns in terms of what I have left to show you, I will let you know it is time for you to graduate to a new teacher (or just go focus on getting experience for a while) and I could possibly make recommendations for teachers. This could also happen if a student is in the upper advanced or professional level and is interested in a very specific style or concept that I have taken them as far as I can on. At that point they may need to take lessons with a specialist in that style and again I may be able to provide recommendations.

Below is a list of topics we cover. How much of it is covered depends on how far students go and how long they take lessons:

Styles

Students are taught how to play grooves and stylistically appropriate fills in the following styles:

Rock

Pop

Hard Rock

Metal

Progressive Rock

Jazz

Dixie Land

Swing

Big Band

Second Line Drumming

Caribbean Styles

Reggae

Soca

Calypso

Merengue

Seggae

Cuban Styles

Mambo

Cha-Cha

Songo

Mozambique

South American Styles

Samba

Bossa Nova

Tango

Chacarera

African Styles

Afro-Beat

Bikutsi

Electronic Music

Drum n’ Bass

Ambient

Break Beats

2- Step

Time Signatures

The program will focus on teaching the student to be able to fluidly groove and solo in the following time signatures:

  • 4
  • 3
  • 5
  • 7

The following time signatures may also be studied:

  • 11
  • 13
  • 9
  • 15

Reading

Students are taught how to read and write:

– drum charts

– form charts

– actual drum notation

Students are taught how to:

  • interpret lead sheets and charts written for other instruments.
  • Interpret rhythmic figures (or shots) written in charts.

Students are also taught how to:

  • Deal with bad charts
  • Determine when a chart is actually getting in the way more then it is helping.

Ear Training

The student will be taught how to recognize rhythms, and phrase structures so they can play music by ear without rehearsal and write charts from recordings.

This will be accomplished through call and response exercises, analyzing and playing along to recordings and transcribing drum parts.

Fills and Soloing

We take a technical and stylistic approach to fills in most of the styles mentioned above and also work on the following concepts to expand the students soloing vocabulary:

  • Phrasing
  • Metric Counter Phrases
  • Polyrhythms
  • Stickings
  • Foot Patterns
  • Hand and feet combinations
  • Ostinatos
  • Linear concepts
  • Developing a vocabulary out of a “lick”
  • Soloing over vamps
  • Soloing around shots written in charts
  • Soling on your own with no accompaniment
  • Using fills to set up shots for the band
  • How to play a fill or solo and sound like you know how to “play the style” that the music is in.

Technique and Rudiments

The program is centered around wrist strokes, finger control and heel down playing but the following techniques will also be studied to supplement these:

For Hands

  • Controlled Bounces
  • The Free Hand Technique (Johnny Rabb)
  • Push Pull

For Feet

  • Constant Release (a very natural and ergonomic technique that combinations heels up down and heels up technique)

Students will also be taught rudiments to help them move around the kit more efficiently and express their ideas more clearly. We will use rudimental snare drum solos and other various exercises to accomplish this.

Studying the Great Drummers

As a part of the lessons we may study the styles of great drummers such as:

  • Vinnie Colaiuta
  • Steve Gadd
  • Mike Portnoy
  • Derek Roddy
  • and others including drummers the student is interested in

Business

Students will be taught:

  • Some of the different routes you can take in the music business as a performing musician
  • The difference between a “session/freelance” musician and a “band member”
  • How to network and get hired for gigs and studio work
  • How to learn music quickly and handle working with many different bands
  • How to work in the studio
  • How to work under pressure and how to act professionally on the band stand

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

My Drum Set Program

Much of the written lesson material for novice through intermediate level (as well as some advanced and professional material) is provided by me free of charge (files sent by email). I will also occasionally make recommendations for some published books for students to purchase when they reach various points in their development.

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Lesson Materials

In almost all cases, what you need to experience the lessons well is very simple, not time consuming and usually doesn’t require much if any purchases/rentals beyond your drums. Some of these requirements don’t have to be in place right away for us to get started with lessons.

I recommend an acoustic kit, but an electronic kit can work very well too especially if noise is a concern for other household members or neighbors. An acoustic kit with special “low volume” drum heads and “low volume” cymbals is another option if lower volume is needed.

For students just starting out and unsure of how long they may take lessons, a practice pad and pair of drum sticks can work for the first few lessons until you are ready to get some drums.

To get a good experience during the lessons you’ll need a few things and I also recommend a few other basic things.

You’ll need an internet connection and Skype or Zoom (you may need an account for these or may be able to use them without an account by simply using the software- I am not sure). If I am not mistaken, there is a free account version available with both Skype and Zoom (for use for our purposes).

I recommend viewing the lessons on a medium to large laptop or tablet screen. If you have the ability to hook your device up to a larger monitor or even smart TV then that is even better (but not necessary). Usually a simple cable and/or adaptor is necessary.

I recommend plugging decent external speakers into your device since the speakers on laptops and tablets typically won’t reproduce the sound well enough to get a really good experience (especially in the low end). The difference in sound quality will usually be quite noticeable if you plug in decent speakers.

I don’t recommend using a smart phone to experience the lessons as the screen is too small (and the sound again will not likely be anywhere near as good as it can be).

I don’t recommend using any software to change the sound I am sending you (i.e. gates, compressors etc..) but simply set the volume level at a safe and comfortable level.

I suggest turning off any noise suppression or gate settings in your Skype or Zoom account audio settings to avoid any of your sound getting blocked from coming to me.

If you would like to use headphones or ear phones, get in touch with me first as you may need to get something specific depending on your specific set up in order to make sure we can both hear your drums (and voice). Hearing protection requirements and other variables can affect this as well (if you are using an electronic kit vs acoustic kit etc..). I can make some personal recommendations to best suit your set up.

If you are using an electronic kit and are using headphones, we just need to make sure you have a speaker to play through or direct output from your drums to your device (to send sound to me) so I can also hear the drums. We would need to make sure we can get sound coming out of the headphones/earphones and speaker/direct output (for some systems, plugging in the headphones/earphones might cut the feed to the speaker/direct/output).

If you can position your device so I can clearly see you and the kit that would be best.

When you are playing along to songs you’ll need a secondary device (a smart phone can work well) to play the songs on so I can hear it. If you play the song on the same device you are using Skype/Zoom on then that device will likely cancel out any sound it is producing (the song) to avoid feedback.

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

What You Need

I do not take responsibility for any of the products, stores or deals I mention below. Info is provided simply for the purpose of being helpful. FYI, I AM NOT OFFICIALLY ASSOCIATED WTH ANY OF THE MUSIC STORES I LINK TO BELOW FOR DRUM SET EXAMPLES.

In general, you do not need to spend a lot of money to get started and learn to play the drums. If you don’t intend to use the kit for anything requiring high end sound quality (for performances or recordings etc..) you can get started with a minimal investment and learn, play and enjoy without much issue. If you decide to upgrade in the future, you could sell what have 2nd hand.

Even if you plan to use your kit for performances and recordings in the near future (including on a professional level) and you want to start out with something a bit higher end, you do not need to break the bank.

If you’re at all unsure about what to get, I’d recommend renting something to reduce the risk and allow you the ability to switch it or take it back. I think some places have a program that allows you to take some or all of the rental fees you’ve already paid and apply them as a credit towards the purchase price if you decide to keep what you’re renting.

I can also provide some personal suggestions on the use of hearing protection depending on which type of kit you choose.

I recommend getting a kit that has:

1 Snare Drum

1 Bass Drum

2 Mounted Toms

1 Floor Tom (or a 3rd Mounted Tom)

1 pair of Hi Hat Cymbals (these come as a pair) with Hi Hat Stand and/or Pedal depending on what type of kit you get. It should come with a Hi Hat rod (and a Hi Hat clutch which attaches the top Hi Hat cymbal to the Hi Hat rod).

1 Ride Cymbal and Ideally 1 Crash Cymbal (or a single Cymbal that is a combo Crash/Ride)

A Drum Throne (seat).

The kit will need a Bass Drum Pedal and a Hi Hat Stand and/or Pedal (as mentioned previously), but as far as the other stands and hardware you will need- it depends on the type of kit you get. The staff in the store should be able to help make sure you have all the stands and hardware you need for your specific kit.

A music stand can be helpful as well- although you may have something at home already that you can put music sheets, books or a tablet on, so that you can comfortably read exercise sheets while playing the drums.

Unless it is something you are specifically interested in, a double bass pedal is not at all necessary for you to get started and could be added later on (even years later).

Here is a diagram of a typical 5 piece kit to help you arrange the parts if you get one. You can certainly ignore the Splash Cymbal, one of the Crash Cymbals and the Cowbell for now. I strongly recommend setting it up in this configuration as this is based on some fundamental standard ergonomic principles. However, the exact heights and distances between the parts is more based on your physiology. Angles are difficult to make recommendations for in writing but this is a topic that might come up in a lesson at some point and there are general principles involved in this too.

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

I recommend an acoustic kit, but an electronic kit can work very well too especially if noise is a concern for other household members or neighbors. An acoustic kit with special “low volume” drum heads and “low volume” cymbals is another option if lower volume is needed.

For students just starting out and unsure of how long they may take lessons, a practice pad and pair of drum sticks can work for the first few lessons until you are ready to get some drums.

Here is an example of a practice pad:

https://davesdrumshop.com/collections/practice-pads/products/evans-realfeel-practice-pads?variant=17973861063

Acoustic Kits

For acoustic kits- here is an example of what I think is a really good deal. I actually rented a kit similar if not the same as this and used it for a professional gig at a corporate event a few years ago (I always bring my own kit to gigs, but in this case I rented one because multiple drummers were going to be sharing it).

Very nice for the low price. Comes with 1 basic combo Ride/Crash Cymbal and a pair of hi hat cymbals. I assume they are pretty low end/cheap cymbals- but again not an issue for learning, playing and enjoying (and with the money you save on the kit you could always buy some nicer cymbals down the road and you’d have a pretty good set up).

It appears as a kit with 2 Mounted Toms and a Floor Tom but it only mentions 2 Toms in the written description- so best to confirm that. Again, I recommend a kit that has 2 Mounted Toms and 1 Floor Tom (or a 3rd Mounted Tom).

This is just one example. There may be better/cheaper deals out there and buying 2nd hand might not be a bad option either.

https://davesdrumshop.com/collections/acoustic-drums/products/mapex-tornado-complete-set-20-bass-drum-new-1

FYI, for acoustic kits- if choosing between spending more of your budget on the drums or on the cymbals, I would err on the side of spending more on the cymbals. Cheap drums (assuming they are basically structurally sound) can still be made to sound pretty good if you put good heads on them, tune them well and mount them well. However, cymbals more or less “are what they are” and if they are cheap, there isn’t much you can do to make them sound significantly better.

Electronic Kits

If using an electronic kit, you’ll need some kind of speaker to play through (or a direct input that goes from the kit into your device, possibly in combination with the use of headphones/earphones) so I can hear the drums and your voice. This is not too complicated to figure out and I might be able to help with suggestions.

If using an electronic kit, it is important that it is touch sensitive (ie. it responds differently depending on how hard you play- louder or softer etc..).

I do also suggest (if possible) an electronic kit that has what are called “mesh heads” (sort of like a screen door material) as these type of heads are usually much quieter than the more solid pads that some electronic kits have. Some of the ones with rubber pads (or other types of material) can be a bit louder then you’d expect acoustically speaking (I’m referring to the acoustic sound of the stick hitting the pads themselves- not the actual electronic sounds they produces through the system). This can be especially true when they have rims made of hard material which you may hit occasionally. These acoustic sounds (of the stick hitting the pad) can sometimes be tiring on the ear to the point where you can argue you need some hearing protection in some cases.

Here is an example of a mesh head electronic kit.

https://davesdrumshop.com/collections/electronic-drums/products/roland-td-1dmk-all-mesh-electronic-set

It is important that the electronic kit be a full drum kit style of set up and not a “tray” style kit where the pads are very small and are all laid out in a small tray the size of a table place mat. If that type of set up is your only option, we can probably get started with it, but with the understanding that we would likely quickly reach a point where we would not be able to progress further until you upgraded to a normal kit.

Also, electronic finger style drum kits (with which you tap buttons with your fingers) actually require a completely different technique- so I wouldn’t really be able to teach you drums on these.

Other Options

I would suggest an acoustic or electronic kit- but another option is to get an acoustic kit but use special “quiet” mesh drum heads instead of regular drum heads, as well as special “low volume” cymbals. It also helps to apply something soft to the drum rims or any other percussion you might hit (woodblocks etc..) to quiet them as well. The people at the store can give you more details on this type of set up. I don’t think they come pre packaged and you would likely have to piece one together through multiple purchases. The downside is that the low volume cymbals can’t really be used for most normal volume playing situations. The drums could still be used for normal volume playing situations if you simply put regular heads on them.

Here is an example: https://youtu.be/ovEgsMLeqzQ?t=357

Purchasing Higher End Drums

Finally, if you are going to spend a significant amount of money on a high end kit or even an intermediate level kit- do your research on what features actually improve the sound of the drums and are worth paying for as there are some gimmicky/unproven features out there. It is possible to spend $3000 on a kit and not be much better off in terms of sound than you would have been with a well chosen $1200 kit.

For example, I would not buy a high end drum kit that did not come with a good isolation mounting system for the toms designed to prevent frequency cancellation and this is a feature I think is worth paying for (though some work better then others). Likewise, shell thickness can be relevant to the sound. The ability to mount the mounted toms off of stands instead of directly in the bass drum is important too.

Conversely, aesthetic features or complicated shell material combinations and bizarre sounding treatments of the materials based on a theory that this makes the drum resonate more, may or may not be relevant to the sound.

I believe the type and quality of the sound is largely determined by the type of heads, tuning, depth and diameter of the drums, the physics of how the drums are mounted and the mounting systems/brackets themselves.

Below is a link to an aftermarket system which I use for some of my toms, but some drum companies have their own similar system built in (some work better than others). I think it is important that this type of system reach half way around the drum (not a quarter or a third of the way as some versions of these mounting systems do).

This video explains a bit of the idea behind this mounting concept:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEPi5CC2mP8

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Helpful Info For Purchasing and Renting Drums

There are no long term commitments or specific semester periods.

I recommend scheduling a regular class (even if it is infrequent) in order to stay on track.

“Book As You Go” is available as well but can lead to a lack of motivation and progress. “Book As You Go” would typically be more for upper level intermediate students who are self motivated or advanced/professional level students who want to study with me for a specific topic or largely conceptual approaches.

For students aged 14 and under I recommend 30 minute lessons once or twice per week.

For students 15 and older I recommend 1 hour lessons once per week.

You are free to book more or less frequent lessons based on your preferences. Lessons longer then a hour are possible as well.

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Scheduling

Just a friendly notice 🙂 If you tell me you first found me through another organization or referral service, but decided instead to find my website and contact me directly you are putting me in a difficult position by telling me this and I may have to insist we book through the other organization.

Lessons are $40 per hour and $20 per half hour. No sales tax is added or included in this (unless you are in a special jurisdiction that may require it, though I have not encountered this yet). Please note that if you end up booking lessons with me through another organization (or were referred to me by another organization) your rate might be more or less then this since other organizations may have admin/overhead/extracurricular costs and/or they may have different rate guidelines I must follow. The rate above is for any students who contact me directly and book directly through me. I endeavor to universalize my rate over time as much as possible to avoid these discrepancies between students but it will not be possible in all cases. Ultimately it is the students choice to book me directly, book me through another organization or get in touch with me through a referral of some sort.

Payment by e Transfer is preferred but if you need to use another method let me know and I will let you know if I can accommodate. I suggest that you send an e Transfer once every 2 weeks or once a month.

I do not send invoices but I will email you one receipt at the end of each financial quarter listing all the lessons you took in that period (January to March, April to June, July to September and October to December). This is simpler for me and easier for you to keep track of only 4 receipts in a year if you need them for tax purposes. Near the end of each quarter I will let you know if you owe anything or if you are ahead in payments when I email your receipt (depending on if you cancelled some lessons  or booked some extra lessons during the previous 3 months etc..).

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Rates

I am currently providing drum lessons in Ottawa (and for students anywhere) online only. This is due to the fact that I have limited availability to teach and online teaching means that I do not lose valuable time commuting which could be used to schedule students. My studio is too small to have anyone else in it for lessons as well. For these reasons I have invested in my online set up which is of a good quality.

I do not consider online lessons or in person lessons to be inferior or superior to one another. I think the value is roughly equal when you factor in that there are things you can do in an online lesson that you cannot do (or it is impractical to do) in an in person lesson and there are things you can do in an in person lesson that you cannot do (or it is impractical to do) in an online lesson.

For example, in an online lesson the teacher can have cameras set up to provide close ups of different parts of the kit (right beside their foot on the bass drum pedal or an aerial view of the kit). In an in person lesson you are unlikely to crawl on the floor underneath the floor tom right up next to the bass drum pedal or stand on a step ladder to look down on the drums ?

Likewise, in an in person lesson the teacher and student can play together in time for an exercise whereas currently this is unrealistic to do in an online lesson because of a slight delay in the teacher and student receiving each others audio.

It is up to the student to decide which type of lesson is best for them. The following is a short list of some advantages of each type of lesson to help you decide. However this is not a complete list- just some ideas.

Advantages of Online Lessons

Save time, gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle, as well as avoid the logistics of rushing home from work to organizing everyone to drive to the lesson (possibly still in traffic after a long day at work). A 30 minute music lesson ends up taking up about 30 minutes of your time rather then a possible 1.5 hours or more.

Take advantage of the technology available to make the lessons interactive in different ways. For example, multiple camera angles and treated audio sent straight to your speakers/headphones/earphones in your controlled environment where you can control the volume rather then raw acoustic audio in the lesson room etc…

Play on your own kit that you are comfortable on in the comfort of your own home.

Advantages of In Person Lessons

Ability to play together in time with the teacher for certain exercises.

Possible access to extracurricular activities like ensembles or concert participation if you are taking lessons at a music school.

Less issues with technology failing (internet etc..).

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Lessons

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

In addition to providing drum lessons in Ottawa I also provide Rhythmic Skills Lessons. Please note that these are not drums lessons, but rhythmic ear training and rhythm reading lessons for musicians playing any instrument. We will likely not work using your instrument but through clapping and tapping your feet etc..

I’ll provide you with lessons on reading, recognizing and writing rhythm through Skype or Zoom.

Depending on your needs/goals, this can include some of the following:

1. Rhythmic Reading Exercises which I can send you.

2. Interactive Exercises in which I clap and have you repeat rhythms back.

3. Rhythmic Dictation in which I clap rhythms and you write them down.

4. Numerous other advanced rhythmic training exercises including studies of polyrhythms, odd grouping/phrasings and odd subdivisions.

I’ll help you trouble shoot issues that may be preventing you from progressing in your understanding of rhythm and we’ll work on your ability to recognize and write down rhythms as well as recognize and play rhythms by reading them.

Due to time delays on Skype and Zoom, we’ll probably not be able to play together at the same time. However, this is not 100% necessary for the lessons as most of the time you’ll be playing by yourself.

If you have any questions feel free to send me a message!

Get in touch with me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Rhythmic Skills Lessons For All Instrumentalists

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

   (Photo By Dave Poulin)

I am available to present quality, professional online drum clinics (or presentations on special topics) to groups or audiences through Skype/Zoom.

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Online Drum Clinics/Presentations

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More Info About My Experience

Drum Lessons In Ottawa Drum Lessons In Ottawa
w/Billy Richard’s Coasters (Billy Richards Absent)         w/Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters & Tony Williams

East Coast Music Awards Nominee Neil McDaniel

Canadian Aboriginal Music Award Winner Melisa Pash

Juno Award Winning Musician Steve Marriner

Singer/Songwriter Cory Mervin Coons (who was recently awarded The Producers Choice Award for Studio Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards)

Stéphanie St-Jean (2016 Winner of La Voix/The Voice Canada)

Boom Desjardins (Juno Award Nominee and Lead Singer for La Chicane)

Etienne Drapeau (Top 10 Finalist on “Star Académie”)

Christian Marc Gendron (Roch Voisine)

Marie-Ève Fournier (La Voix/The Voice Canada Season 2)

JF Dubé and Rudy Caya

Manon Séguin

Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters (pictured above right)

Billy Richards Coasters’ (pictured above left)

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Enchantment of The Seas Orchestra”

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Singers and Dancers

Howie and Bert On The Edge Comedy Jugglers

Tia Brazda

Hundreds of other musicians, variety artists and bands

Click Here For Audio and Video Samples of My Playing

Get in touch with for drums lessons in Ottawa me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Artists I've Performed Live and/or Recorded With

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

       (Photo By Richard Lebel)

        3 months working as a cruise ship show band musician (drum set) for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Enchantment of The Seas Orchestra”

5 years teaching drums lessons in Ottawa to mostly children at a local music school

I have been hired to adjudicate graduating recitals for music students in the Carleton University Music Program.

        5 months of busy intermittent touring of Canada and The U.S.A. as a professional backing musician

        I have written professional drum charts for Grammy Award Pre Nominee Rocco Ventrella and Yamaha Drum Set Artist/Zildjian Cymbals Artist Volkan Oktem

    In approximately 12 years working as a full time working musician, I have performed on over 2000 gigs/recording sessions at major music festivals, recording studios, a cruise ship, concert halls, event centers, restaurants and miscellaneous venues across Canada and The U.S.A. including some local television performance appearances. I have also performed on a number of recordings (with various artists) that are available on iTunes and Spotify.

        Approximately 3 years working as the drummer for the weekly house band at Knox Fine Dining Restaurant

        I have performed and recorded with original artists as well as cover/tribute bands in many styles and under all sorts of conditions (performing with rehearsal/without rehearsal, performing with charts/without charts, performing music I am familiar with/music I am not familiar with, performing with a click track/performing without a click track, performing with a band leader/performing without a band leader.

Click Here For Audio and Video Samples of My Playing

Get in touch with for drums lessons in Ottawa me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

My Professional Experience

  • Bachelors Degree in Music (Carleton University, 2007)
  • 1.5 years of study with Juno Award winning musician and Humber College of music faculty member Paul Delong (David Clayton Thomas, Kim Mitchell)
  • 2 Lessons with world class drummer and Head of Percussion Studies at Humber College Mark Kelso (Michael Buble, James Taylor, Gino Vannelli)
  • 4 years of lessons with world class drum set instructor Chuck R. Burrows
  • 1 lesson with world class jazz drummer Ian Froman (Mike Stern)
  • 1 group master class with Randy Cooke (Kelly Clarkson, Ringo Starr)
  • I have attended many educational drum clinics provided by world class musicians
  • Approximately 8 years of piano lessons

Click Here For Audio and Video Samples of My Playing

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

My Education

        Please click on a musical style below to check out some audio/video samples.

Rock    Jazz     Funk     Country and Country Rock    

Brush Playing   Latin (Various Styles)   

Celtic and East Coast Canadian  Singer/Songwriter         

Alternative Rock      Blues      Swing     

Musical Theater/Variety Production Shows

Acoustic     Pop       Easy Listening         Variety Lounge Act       Hard Rock

Drum Tracks For Your Songs Recorded By Me In My Studio (Samples) 

Jazz With Vocals     Rap, Hip Hop and Modern R&B    Folk and Folk Rock

R&B (Classic & Modern)    Classic Rock        “50’s and Oldies”  

Trio/Quartet Jazz    Television Appearances 

Theater Concerts             Metal       Electronic (Various Styles)         

      Progressive Rock     Caribbean (Various Styles)     

Big Band Jazz     Indie Rock    

Cruise Ship           Disco          Fusion         Show Drumming

          In The Studio               Dancer Accompaniment          Soul       

Flamenco           Various Drum Grooves       Polyrhythms          

Drum Solos

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Audio and Video Samples of My Playing
Discography

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Other Services I Offer

I am available to record drum tracks for artists recordings remotely from my studio. I don’t have a space large enough to have people in the studio so this collaboration is done entirely remotely. We would exchange files through email and/or DropBox etc..). I send you the separated final drum track that you or your recording engineer can import into your project. I also send you an mp3 track of a rough mix of your song with my drum track included so you can quickly evaluate what I have done and how it fits in with your song. We can do multiple rounds of recording (if necessary) to make edits and revisions based on your suggestions and requests in order to make sure the drum parts suit your music. Usually people are quite happy with what I do on the first version I send though 🙂

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

Click Here For Audio and Video Samples of My Playing

Get in touch with me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Play Drums on Your Song/Album Through Remote Recording

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

In addition to providing drum lessons in Ottawa, I am available to write professional quality drum charts and transcriptions to help with various musical projects and educational books as well as work as an editor/copyist (cleaning up drum set notation and making electronic notation versions of already existing charts).

Basic Chart (Pop/Rock)    Basic Chart (Smooth Jazz/Fusion)       

Note For Note Transcription          Drum Set Notation Key

Click Here To Go To My Drum Chart Service Website For More Info

Get in touch with me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Write Drum Charts and Transcriptions

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

In addition to providing drum lessons in Ottawa, I can also provide band/musician referrals for the public. I can help put you in touch with a suitable band/musician for your event based on style and other preferences.

Get in touch with me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

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Referrals To Other Music Professionals and Bands

Drum Lessons In Ottawa Drum Lessons In Ottawa 

In addition to providing drum lessons in Ottawa, I am available to write interesting educational articles related to music and drumming (for magazines or educational books).

Get in touch with me at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Education Articles and Drum Exercises

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More

Drum Lessons In Ottawa

       (Photo By Richard Lebel)

        Please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel of interesting drum/music content (drum covers, drum improvisations etc..).

        Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmWbD_Bgs37GnVIU2JwYUJg

Get in touch with me for drums lessons in Ottawa at:

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

YouTube Channel (Mike McNeil's Drum Set Theater)

Here are links to the websites of some musical colleagues of mine:

Alan Henley Singer/Songwriter

Links

To touch base for drums lessons in Ottawa, feel free to send me an email.       

Email is the best way to contact me

mike@mcneilprodrummingottawa.ca

Or text/call at (613) 762-9831

Contact