Five Drum Students Celebrate the Teachers that Mentor Them

Our online education issue features interviews with several of the top educators working in online drum instruction today. We thought it would be equally interesting to turn the tables and ask a group of students to reflect on their instructors and detail how those teachers have inspired, educated, and mentored them.

Terry Carroll on Jim Royle Drum Studio

Terry Carroll

I’ve known about the Jim Royle Drum Studio for a long time, because my teacher before Jim was one of his students. However, I had not actually taken lessons from Jim until this past year, and of all the drum teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, Jim is the best. I say this because of his experience, his infinite wisdom, and his being a down-to-earth guy.

Jim has taught me so much in a year that I feel much better prepared to go off to college this coming September. Jim helped me with my auditions for the colleges I applied to, guided me through the music for my classes, and even coached me for a western-region competition. Jim has always been there for me, and I appreciate him a lot for that.

Vincent LaRussa on Jim Toscano

Vincent LaRussa

What makes Jim Toscano a great educator? It starts with his love for drums. He is so passionate about the instrument, and he wants to impart his knowledge to others. Jim has a wonderful way of communicating. He breaks down what he’s trying to teach by providing you with manageable parts so as not to overwhelm you. He also has a remarkable way of showing you many options for breaking down a lesson, so that it becomes easier to understand and possible to reach your goals.

Most importantly, Jim makes it fun. His personality really shines through his lessons. His knowledge of the history of drums and drummers is vast. Jim often cites his mentors, passing on their achievements to new generations of drummers. Once you work with Jim, you can’t help but be motivated by his positive energy.

Jake Sommers on John Favicchia

Jake Sommers

John Favicchia has been my teacher for fifteen years, and he’s helped elevate my playing to where I am today. Although we don’t live in the same city anymore, he always helps me when I can’t figure something out. John is more than just a teacher to me. He’s a great friend, and we always enjoy talking drums. His book, Elements, has greatly helped me with soloing and placing accents wherever I choose. I get inspired by watching the videos he posts to social media, and I take bits and pieces to incorporate in my own way. I highly recommend that drummers of any age watch John play, because you’ll want to start learning from him immediately.

Dan Traglia on Joe Bergamini

Dan Traglia

I came to Joe Bergamini as a nine-year-old kid, and twenty-plus years later, he continues to impact me as a drummer, businessman, and educator. From the beginning, Joe instilled in me a strong foundation of fundamentals and a well-rounded stylistic approach. Along with tons of classic drum literature, Joe stressed the importance of studying recordings, analyzing transcriptions, and attending clinics. He is responsible for exposing me to the language of influential drummers of all genres. I continue to benefit from these teachings today as a working drummer.

When the pandemic hit, Joe was the first person I consulted. He helped me streamline my drum-lesson studio into a fully functioning online business. I couldn’t possibly repay Joe for being a source of inspiration. I am forever grateful, and I will never stop being a student of Joe B!

Jake Bergeron on Kevin Lehman

Jake Bergeron

I’ve been working with Kevin Lehman for the past several months, and I look forward to many more years of inspiration. He is truly everything I aspire to be as a teacher and as a musician. Kevin is an astounding performer, endlessly knowledgeable, and selflessly giving.

Because of Kevin, I’m able to fully understand concepts that before now were only vaguely discussed in my education, and this has opened me up to a huge world of possibilities. He’s provided guidance for my own teaching studio, expanded my musical knowledge immensely, and pushed me to be a far stronger player than I was before we met—and we’re only just beginning our relationship. I’m a big believer in finding the right teacher for your unique goals, style, and personality. I have found that teacher in Kevin.