Darren Ashford - Drum Tutor

Darren Ashford

Drum lessons in Hockley, Birmingham B19 3DE

£45 per hour
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Connected Profiles:


I have been playing drums professionally since 1991. In that time I have performed with The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), The Drifters (also as musical director), in various West-End musicals (Mama Mia/Joseph) and with pop artists such as The Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Will Young, Phats and Small, Sean Paul, Will Smith, Joss Stone, Lucie Silvas, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Shola Ama, Black Eyed Peas, Beverley Knight, Angie Stone, Roachford, Kelle LeRoc, Alex Holland, Me’sha Bryan, Omar, Roy Ayers, Maxi Priest, Carleen Anderson, London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC), D:REAM, Dub Pistols, Laura and the Tears, Guitar legends Larry Carlton, Richard Smith and Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh.

To this day, I’m still very active gigging, recording and delivering masterclasses at music schools and colleges throughout Europe where I share my knowledge, experience and passion for music and playing the drums.

I’ve written for two of the UK’s most popular drum magazines: Rhythm and Drummer, covering topics such as drum set ergonomics, odd time playing, advanced techniques and more.

I’m also an active member of the drum faculty at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in Kilburn, London:

…and at BIMM in Birmingham:

I currently hold a PG cert qualification in higher education and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Levels taught: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Styles & Specialisms: , , , , , , , , ,

I teach at a fixed location (studio)

Acoustic drum kit in a purpose built studio with multi-cam views for online students.

I have a DBS Disclosure Certificate (What's this?)

DBS date: 6th December 2022

Experience and Qualifications

I tend to emphasis a musical approach to my lessons, prescribing fun, yet practical exercises to help each student reach their maximum potential, regardless of their ability level.

The most important role of a drummer is to provide a solid time feel. Many timing issues can be traced to a weak technical foundation. Improving your technique will result in a higher level of consistency with both time keeping and dynamics and help you to execute your musical ideas with poise and control. This is an extremely important part of playing any instrument effectively and allows you to concentrate on listening and reacting, which is where the real music is made.

Other professional drumming concepts I teach are:

Hand & foot technique
Advanced time keeping and the development of pulse
Linear drumming
Styles: Rock, Funk, Jazz, Brazilian/Cuban
Advanced techniques such as the down-up/Moeller technique
Reading music
Working with a click
Maximising your practice time
Developing a professional attitude

I also teach on the degree and master programs at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in London coaching aspiring drummers to a professional level.

I endorse Shure microphones and regularly gives clinics around the world on all aspects of drumset playing.

I currently hold a PG cert qualification in higher education and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
I am fully CRB checked, a qualified first aider and have attended the Musicians Union's child protection training awareness course.

Prices & Options

Standard hourly rate: £45

Further pricing details: Lesson can be in-person at Oxygen Studios or online via Zoom or Skype.

Testimonials and References

"Being self-taught and having played for almost 30 years, I decided I needed to think about learning to play the drums from first principles.
Darren, probably unwisely, agreed to the challenge of deconstructing and rebuilding my approach to drumming on every level and we’ve been working together for six years now with remarkable results.
If you want to get the most from your technique, build a foundation for greater creativity on the set and become a better musician, then Darren’s your man.

A great teacher, a great mentor, a great drummer and a damned fine chap."

Andy Hill
Burbage, London

"I’ve been taught by Darren for two years during a three year music degree at The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance.
He has been a fantastic teacher! I would definitely rate him as the best drum teacher I’ve had yet throughout my 13 year career as a drummer.
He delivers material in a manner that makes you feel concentrated but relaxed and challenged but able. Not only this but through the experience and knowledge he has gained during his career, he is able to give brilliant advice on being a pro drummer in the music industry and I found him to be very supportive to all his students, whatever their ability.
I have no doubt that I will be calling Darren to receive one to one tuition outside of my degree as I know I can learn so much more!"

Reuben Harsant
London, UK

"Darren is for sure the best drum teacher I’ve ever had. His way of teaching is straight and clear, he’s never boring. He’s a great motivator and has always pushed me to the next level! He’s got great technique and is a fabulous drummer, able to play any style! His knowledge of all aspects of drumming make him the perfect teacher! Legend!"

Emanuele Amatruda
London, England

"I have known Darren for a few years now and am a big fan of his tasteful, musical drumming and professional attitude. I currently work around the world playing drums on cruise ships and sought Darren’s help whilst preparing for the gig. Every time I have visited Darren for lessons I have come away with more confidence, knowledge and motivation. He has helped my playing in many different ways including technique, styles, time playing, awareness of song form, reading and co-ordination. Darren has also helped me by offering invaluable advice on how to conduct myself in a professional environment.
I have benefited greatly from Darren’s lessons and recommend him to anyone looking to improve."

Oli Baxendale
Aylesbury, UK

"One of the best teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with!
Darren’s lessons fundamentally improved my technique, gave me a much broader perspective on drumming and music as well as addressing a variety of professional skills for the working musician.
If you have the opportunity to get lessons with Darren take it, you won’t regret it!"

Ewan McDonald
London, England

Listed in All Tutors, DBS / CRB Checked, Located at a drumming studio, References available

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