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Drums • Percussion Tuition

at Waltons New School of Music

‘In the beginning was noise. And noise begat rhythm. And rhythm begat everything else.’
– Mickey Hart

‘I think that any young drummer starting out today should get himself a great teacher and learn all there is to know about the instrument that he wants to play.’
– Buddy Rich

Tuition Offered

Instruments Taught

Drums PercussionWe offer tuition for beginner, intermediate and advanced students in:

  • Drum Kit (all genres and styles)
  • Bodhrán
  • World Percussion (Djembe, Congas, Bongos, etc.)

Tuition Options

Our options for drum kit and percussion tuition include:

  • Weekly private (one-to-one) lessons, 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length.
  • Small group lessons, designed for students at the same level of proficiency who enrol together, and available as 30- 45- or 60-minute ‘partner’ lessons, as well as 60-minute lessons for 3 or 4 students. (Small group lessons are not available for drum kit.)
  • Single 1- or 2-hour Intensive Lessons.
  • Two group courses for beginners, Introducing Bodhrán and Introducing World Drumming (see following tab).

See Tuition Options for more information on private, partner and small group lessons, and Enrolment • Fees for tuition fees and enrolment forms.

Group Courses for Beginners

Introducing BodhránWe offer two group courses for absolute beginners:

By the end of the Introducing Bodhrán course, you will have the confidence to play a variety of Irish traditional rhythms and accompany other instruments, both solo and in sessions. The Introducing World Drumming course is a practical, hands-on introduction and exploration of world drumming and rhythm traditions.

‘Great [Introducing Bodhrán] teacher, full of knowledge, who made the classes fun and incorporated extra teaching tools to go above and beyond.’
– T. Stephenson

‘I had been looking for a course like this [Introducing World Drumming] and am so glad I found it. Exceeded my expectations.’
– E. Donohue

Ensembles • Sessions

Jazz EnsemblesDrum kit students may be interested in joining one of our two Jazz Ensembles, which introduce students of all instruments to the art of improvisation through the study and performance of blues and jazz.

Bodhrán students may be interested in our Trad Slow Sessions, open to both New School and external students/players, which take place once a month on Friday evenings.

Drums • Percussion Faculty

New School Stage System

Drum and percussion tuition at the New School is designed to work within our Stage System, a comprehensive methodology for assessing student progress, from absolute beginner to a professional qualification (Performing or Teaching Diploma level).

New School Stages, ten in all, are roughly equivalent to the ‘grades’ of graded music exams offered by widely recognised exam boards (ABRSM, RIAM, Trinity Guildhall, Rockschool, etc.) and progress from beginner to performing or teaching diploma level. Stages and their grade equivalents are:

  • Stage 1 (1 term of lessons or an Introducing group course for beginners, equivalent to Preliminary Grade)
  • Stage 2 (1 year of lessons, equivalent to Grade 1)
  • Stage 3 (equivalent to Grade 2 or an intermediate group course)
  • Stage 4 (equivalent to Grade 3)
  • Stage 5 (equivalent to Grade 4)
  • Stage 6 (equivalent to Grade 5)
  • Stage 7 (equivalent to Grade 6)
  • Stage 8 (equivalent to Grade 7)
  • Stage 9 (equivalent to Grade 8)
  • Stage 10 (equivalent to a Performing or Teaching Diploma)

Students who successfully complete a stage can be issued with a certificate of completion. Please let the school office know if you would like this certificate.

See About Our Stage System for more information.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for private, partner and small group lessons are listed in the Enrolment • Fees section of our website and depend on the length of lessons as well as the duration (number of terms) of enrolment:

Group course fees are listed on individual group course pages.

Enrolment • Booking

Enrolment for drum kit and percussion instrument tuition at Waltons New School of Music requires a completed enrolment form and, except for those students using payment plans, full payment of tuition fees.

Intensive Lesson booking requires a completed booking form and deposit.

Private, Partner and Small Group Lessons • Ensembles


Group Courses


Intensive Lessons


Gift Certificates


Your Feedback

Have you studied – or are you studying – drums or percussion at the New School? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about your experience here.


Other Information

Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarships

Scholarships • PrizesTaking place in late May / early June each year, the New School’s annual Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarship Competition awards full-year tuition scholarships in three categories:

  • Young Student of the Year (students aged 18 and under)
  • Mature Student of the Year (students aged 19 and over)
  • Most Promising Beginner (students who came to the school as beginners on their instruments)

New School Ensemble Prize

This prize is awarded for the best performance in our scholarship competition by an instrumental, vocal or mixed ensemble made up of two or more students, as well as for progress over the school year.

See Scholarships • Prizes for more information.

Drum Kit Grade Exam Syllabi

Links to downloadable drum kit syllabi (pdf format) with different exam boards:

Friday Casual Concerts

Our Friday Casual Concerts are a great opportunity for students of all instruments (and all musical styles) to play in public, in a relaxed and supportive setting, before friends, family and other students. These brief concerts, which take place once a month on Friday evenings at 7 pm in the school, allow individual students and ensembles to perform in public, show off their skills and learn how to cope with nerves. They are also highly recommended for students preparing for grade exams.

End-of-Year Concert

End-of-Year Student ConcertOur End-of-Year Student Concert takes place in the National Concert Hall’s John Field Room each June and showcases some of our best students and ensembles, of all ages and in all musical styles, as well as scholarship and prize winners in our Scholarship Competition. Performers are selected by their teachers and the school administration.

See School Concerts for more information.

Drum Kit Practice

Our drum kits are available for practice rental by currently-enrolled drum kit students (subject to availability).

See Practice • Rehearsal Facilities for more information.

Student Benefits

Currently-enrolled students (and parents of students) are entitled to several useful benefits, including:

See Student Benefits for more information.

Outreach Workshops

Drumming Around the World WorkshopOur Drumming Around the World workshop combines dynamic live demonstrations with a variety of fun activities, offering participants an enjoyable and positive introduction to music and rhythm in a multicultural context, as well as ‘hands-on’ experience with a wide range of percussion instruments.

Based on our popular Irish Music Tasters, which have been running since 1999 and taught hundreds of people from all over the world about Irish traditional music, our Irish Music Taster workshops provide engaging introductions to the beautiful melodies and infectious rhythms of Irish traditional music. We offer Bodhrán TastersTin Whistle Tasters, a fascinating one-hour Introduction to Irish Music and Combined Bodhrán or Tin Whistle Tasters and  Introduction. See Irish Music Tasters for more information.

Our Sounds Irish workshop is designed to open participants’ ears to the rich tapestry that is our music, our history, and our heritage. The workshop features dynamic live demonstrations and allows participants to develop their musical awareness through the hands-on exploration (using both bodhráns and fiddles) of the forms, rhythms and instruments of Irish traditional music.

See Outreach Workshops for more information on the workshops we offer.

Outreach Courses

Our Outreach Programme offers a range of curricular and extra-curricular music courses for primary schools, post-primary schools and youth centres. We offer a Bodhrán course for absolute beginners as part of the programme. See Outreach Courses for more information.

Music at Work Programme

Music at Work is a unique programme that provides convenient and affordable music courses in Dublin-area workplaces. We offer a Bodhrán course for absolute beginners as part of the programme. See Music at Work Programme for more information.

Drum Kit Tuition FAQs

What is covered in drum kit lessons?

Drumming is a complex skill, and drum lessons typically cover a range of elements, including:

  • Grooves
  • Techniques
  • Rudiments
  • Independence and co-ordination
  • Musicianship
  • Time keeping
  • Drum notation

What genres/styles of music are taught?

Our drum kit faculty, all professional drummers, teach a wide range of music genres/styles, including:

  • Rock
  • Jazz
  • Metal
  • R&B
  • Funk
  • Blues
  • Country
  • and more

Can you prepare me / my child for examinations?

Drum kit lessons can certainly include preparation for grade examinations with three exam boards:

What will I need to practice with?

For drum kit lessons, students should ideally have a good starter drum kit – which consists of a snare drum, a bass drum, two or three toms, a hi-hat and cymbals – to practice at home. However, students can get started at home on practice pads before purchasing a drum kit.

Are drum kits expensive?

Good quality acoustic or electronic drum kits, suitable for beginner to intermediate students, needn’t be expensive, but not all kits in the same price range are of similar quality. Your teacher is the best source of advice on this.

Won't practising a drum kit at home be very noisy?

It doesn’t have to be. An acoustic drum kit can be fitted with sound reducing practice pads and dampers that considerably reduce the level of sound produced. Alternatively, there are some very good electronic drum kits available that can be played through headphones, making them almost silent to others.

What's the point of lessons, when I can use a book or YouTube videos?

A music teacher can observe your technique and progress in real-time and give you immediate feedback, specifically tailored to your needs and goals. You will be reassured by getting reinforcement for things you do well and constructive advice for areas that need improvement. Questions and difficulties can be dealt with as they arise, so you do not develop bad habits that may be hard to correct later.

While there are many materials and aids available to help you ‘teach yourself’, determining where to begin and what path to follow is not so simple. A good teacher will evaluate your skill level and provide sound guidance to keep you on track and focused on topics most appropriate for your development and personal objectives.

Do you offer group drum kit lessons?

Because of the noise level involved, the size of the instrument and the complexity of technique, the New School offers only private (one-to-one) or ‘partner’ (two-person) drum kit lessons. We do, however, offer two group courses for beginners in other percussion instruments: Introducing Bodhrán and Introducing World Drumming.

How do I choose the right drumsticks?

A great drumstick is the perfect combination of balance, response, feel and sound properties. Each of these critical factors is a function of a stick’s design – and knowing a little about drumstick design will help you to make the right choice. First find a stick that’s comfortable in your hands – not too big or too small. Then determine the volume and technical requirements of the type of music you’re playing. Then keep the following factors in mind:


Drumsticks are generally made from hickory maple, oak or carbon fibre. Each has a slightly different feel. The feel has to do with how the stick transmits or absorbs vibration and how much it flexes.

  • Hickory is a common, well rounded wood for drumsticks.
  • Maple is a lighter, more flexible wood.
  • Oak is densest but transmits vibrations more; it tends to be more durable.
  • Carbon fibre sticks are extremely durable and last significantly longer than traditional wood sticks.

The tips of drumsticks change the sound.

  • Nylon tips make cymbals sound terrific and give drums a ‘pow’ sound.
  • Wooden tips (the most common), give drums a deeper, more traditional sound suitable for jazz and older rock styles. These don’t make the cymbals ring as much.

The thickness also changes the sound. Higher numbers represent thinner sticks, but thickness is not completely consistent between brands.

  • 7As are thinner and lighter and are ideal for beginning players with small hands. They are also often used by beginning jazz students.
  • 5As are slightly thicker than 7As. They’re good for rock, but are versatile enough to be used for just about any style of music.
  • 5Bs are thicker, more intense drumsticks, and are generally used for rock.
  • 2Bs are especially thick and are often used for metal.
Drums • Percussion Tuition
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