Traveling Drum School & Freelance Drumming
NOW ACCEPTING STUDENTS!
*In-Person (Pittsburgh,PA area - 40 mile radius)
*Virtual (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, & all Google Apps)
*Very Limited Availability
(412) 512-3155 [email protected]
"Quality Lessons Since 1999", The Evolution of the Drum School
Born in Pittsburgh, PA during the summer of 1977, it only took me two years to officially start playing the drums. My parents bought me a Muppet babies drum set that Christmas to save their furniture from my poundings. From then on I immersed myself in the art of drumming, with the help of some known drummers in the area. They showed me the way from elementary thru my early formative years. In 1996, to further hone my skills I enlisted a few professional teachers to take me to the next level. The focus was on intermediate & advanced drum set techniques. Emphasis placed on knowledge of musical genres, theory, & composition. I then studied marching band percussion, primarily snare drum, but dove deep into bass, tenors, & mallet percussion as well. I was a quick study & spent the bulk of my free time learning as much as I could. I really loved acquiring as many instructional books & music as possible. This also led to researching the curriculums of world renowned drummers, some who were teachers at many of the famous percussion schools in the United States. I unfortunatley couldn't afford the tuition for any of those schools so I stayed local for college. Majoring in business mixed with studying music & playing constantly consumed my time in the late 90's. I did get to study some Classical music in college which gave me a different perspective. This whole era sparked my desire to pursue a career combining music, education, & business.
My official teaching career began in 1999, but I actually took on my first two students in early '98 while I was working at Sylvester's Music. The owner proposed I start teaching some students in the store after my shift. That opportunity led to teaching some students at Music Go Round, a music shop roughly 20 miles away. In addition I started traveling to a few students homes to teach, being inspired by other local teachers. By the end of 1999 I had a steady roster with a few students. My vision of how I wanted to elevate the drum school became clear. I was committed to making it happen, slowly but surely
An opportunity to teach full time while working at Guitar Center came about in 2003. I decided in May of that year I had a strong enough roster to focus all my energy on the Traveling Drum School concept. I had already been developing my own curriculum for quite some time before this. While I still continued to follow the traditional approach of teaching the classic books, my own personal compositions & exercises were starting to be very well received by students.
During my first three full time teaching years, 2004-2006, the drum school kept gaining momentum by branching out traveling further than ever in Monroeville & surrounding areas. This included taking trips to do some lessons in Baltimore, MD as well, thru some Pittsburgh connections. I also signed on as anOfficial Judge for Guitar Center's Drum Offcompetition two years in a row. In addition to that recognition as a serious & dedicated teacher, my freelance career as a professional musician was really starting to take off, signing on to work with multiple bands / artists live & in the studio. I also tried to support locals schools by taking part in band booster programs for marching bands.
In 2007, with the drum school & freelance drumming careers continuing to move ahead, I was found online the independent drum company Apple Drum Works, & was offered a partial endorsement deal. That lead to me designing my own drum set, dubbed "Chris Belin's Money Maker" by the company's sole proprietor. This was also the year my vision was born for eventually releasing my own series of instructional drum books; portions of all are used in lesson content to this day. Toward the end of '07 I was also officially added to the Drum! Magazine teacher list, where I received some complimentary issues and promo offers for drum school students.
Most of '08-'10 drum school wise was spent writing new lesson plans & arranging content for future books. My lesson schedule was busier than ever, averaging 30 one hour individual sessions per week plus a large amount of younger students joining the roster.
With 2011 came some major milestones and was an excellent year. I hit the marks of 10,000 individual drum lessons (most 60 min sessions) & over 300,000 traveling miles. In the spring, Chris Belin's <Traveling> Drum School was voted #1 Drum Lessons in Pittsburgh, in the top rated, most vetted, & most reviewed categories on Thumbtack.com.
In 2012 I donated to some charities drum school students are affiliated with, including a donation of a drum pad + one free lesson, to be raffled off during Genre's Cancer For Kids fundraiser. I also gave to the Penn Hills swim club fundraiser. By mid year the drum school curriculum grew so rapid it spawned two new book series concepts. By mid 2013 the content for those was completed, and added to the drum school curriculum.
2014 was a great year for building additional momentum outside of the Pittsburgh area, so I had to modify my in-person approach to accommodate a greater demand for lessons via FaceTime and Skype. Chris Belin's Virtual Drum School was born and the roster started branching out to students from all over the globe!
2015 was another awesome year with great milestones. First, I was voted "Best in Pittsburgh" for drum lessons and received an official badge (which is posted on the "latest & upcoming"). Also early in the yearI was very excited to be added to Joel Rothman's teacher list on his website, www.JoelRothman.com. Mr. Rothman has published close to 100 instructional drum books thus far and is a huge inspiration for me. I worked through many of his books as a kid, and still do! I'm proud to own many of his publications, and to recommend his diverse catalog to <Traveling> Drum School students. On March 27th I had the honor of being the MC for drum school student Chris Brozek's performance at the IDD Awareness Creative Expressionsevent at the civic center in Greensburg, PA. 2015 also saw a huge increase in older students, some of which are senior citizens, signing up for lessons. Working with them has been an very rewarding experience. August of this year was also the inaugural performance on the <Traveling> Drum School Percussion Ensemble (more details on this below).
In the beginning of 2016 I became a sponsored RB Drum Co. (custom snares) artist (more details on the "set up and sound" page). In the Spring of 2016 I was voted again "Best Drum Lessons in Pittsburgh" via Thumbtack.com! They also gave me a special business profile page, which I'm still ecstatic about! The Summer of 2016 was my busiest to date, and a lot of topics were added to my curriculum as well. In November the <Traveling> Drum School Percussion Ensemble got to performing theMulticultural Festivalat Gateway High School to an enthusiastic crowd. Around the same time I was interview forIn Norwin Magazineas Chris Brozek's band Spectrum, of which all members have special needs, had a feature story. Great group of talented musicians for sure!
2017 was a great year! In January I did two clinics with performances at The Veteran's Hospital and Western PA School for Blind Children, both in Pittsburgh. The latter has asked me to be a part of their 2017 / 2018 school year curriculum, teaching a drum circle / history of drumming class. Excited for that beyond words! Both have also expressed interest in me teaching some private students at their facility. On August 15th I released my first educational drum & percussion DVD w/ eBook, designed for beginners, called "Drumming for the Young and the Young at Heart"! It's offers 15 lesson topics, drum set, hand percussion, snare techniques, interviews, music theory, play-along loops, special guest drummers, and much more. Available for hardcopy purchase on this site and in select stores. Digital versions of select lessons also available online. In September, I signed on to teach a drum class at The Children's Institute in Pittsburgh for their 2017 / 2018 school year.
In addition to the above, much more lesson content was added to the curriculum in '17.
Post show w/drum school student Olivia!
2018 was the busiest / most successful year to to date! Early in the year I signed on to do monthly seminars / drum circles with Lewis Music Studio in Bridgeville, PA and appeared at their Summer Music Day event in July. Also in the Summer I did seminars at Camp Treehill in Plum, PA at the Sampson Family YMCA. Classes continued at The Western PA School for Blind Children, The Children's Institute, and the Sampson Family YMCA. My DVD continued to do well all year receiving great feedback and in the fall I did a radio interview for The Rock Station in Butler, PA. I was also featured in the Johnstown, PA Tribune newspaper for one of my seminars that fall as well. By the end of the year I reached "Top Pro" status on Thumbtack.com.. Last, but not least, I signed artist deals with 4 of my favorite drum companies: Canopus Drums, Attack Drumheads, Los Cabos Drumsticks, & Creative Percussion.
2019 was another great year, topping all the previous, and also marked 20 full years of the <Traveling> Drum School!!! Early in '19 I signed an artist deal w/Soultone Cymbals, a company I've been a huge fan of for years, and have been exclusively using their cymbals. A lot more drum school content, which was started in late 2018, is now completed and added to the curriculum. Classes were so much fun at The Western PA School for Blind Children & The Children's Institute during the school year & Camp Treehill for the YMCA was another success two years in a row!
Jorge from Band Together Pittsburgh
2020 started off great with me signing on to work with students for Band Together Pittsburgh, an organizing funding lesson and helping out students with special needs learn and perform music. The drummers at BTP have a deep passion for music and are very hardworking! In mid February I received an endorsement deal with one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh,Drum Factory Direct, for their pedals and some accessories! In March with growing presence of COVID-19, the drum classes at the Western PA School For Blind Children & The Children's Institute as well as the monthly drum circles / clinic I do at Lewis Music Studio came to a temporary hault. A lot of my in-person roster temporarily switched to my virtual program as well, which has been working out really great for everyone! Some have resumed in-person lessons following CDC guidelines, while some are staying virtual for the time being. A ton of new content has been added this year as well aa even more students signing up from different parts of the world! Some of the groups classes resumed in the fall and others are slated to resume in 2021.
Today, the Drum School is thriving and going stronger than ever! With 21 years of teaching experience, over 19,000 individual lessons taught, and 850,000+ traveling miles to date, I never stop adding to the curriculum, learning, and embracing new concepts.
None of the above would be possible without the all the awesome aspiring drummers I've had the pleasure of sharing the drum gospel with. Special thanks to the students & their families. Many thanks to the employees of Guitar Center #853, Music Go Round in Monroeville, Becki Lewis @ Lewis Music Studio, Drum Factory Direct, Matt Kastner @ N'Stuff Music, & Dan Styslinger @ DanSty Music, who continue to spread the good word about the drum school. Extra heartfelt thanks to my family, friends, & bandmates for all your support. The greatness all mentioned above have shown me will never be forgotten or taken for granted. I will continue to improve upon & do my best to make every drummer have the best experience possible in learning this great art form.
WHY CHOOSE THE TRAVELING DRUM SCHOOL FOR LESSONS?
Drum set, school band (snare, bass, tenors, bells, mallets), & percussion (conga, bongo, djembe, timbale, shakers, among others) lessons are available. Music theory, analysis of all music genres, & composition are included. These lessons can be structured for all levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, professional. Each student gets an individual, personalized curriculum. Content from outside sources (schools, videos, websites, previous teachers, etc) is always welcomed and will added to their customized lesson plan.
There has been a broad range of students, aging from 2 to 73 years old, male & female. Schedule-permitting, no aspiring drummer wanting to learn will be turned away. There are curriculums & lesson content appropriate for all types of situations, including students will special needs. Some students have requested lessons to aid in their physical rehabilatation, which has proven to be very successful.
The teaching style is very organized, relaxed and always open to student’s ideas, questions, and comments. Some students play for fun, others want a career, & some are undecided. No matter what, the vibe of the lessons is positive & uplifting. There is a “no homework” policy where students will be given short and long term goals to reach instead of assignments. This eases stress on the student because there are no deadlines for completion, each student works at their own pace.
A drum lesson at home lets the student learn comfortably and can ease a parent’s sometimes hectic schedule. Parents should also feel free to observe the lessons at any point. If not, progress reports may be requested any time. Students will be given all lesson material they need including sheet music, folders, & audio files (CD's upon request) sent via email. Any materials that are lost / damaged will be replaced free of charge.
The pricing for lessons is currently average for the Pittsburgh area but the value far surpasses the pricing. I strive to keep the prices as low as possible so students will stay longer & learn more. To help keep the costs down & productivity up, normal scheduling is one hour lesson every other week. Weekly spots and/or different lesson lengths (30 or 45 mins) are occasionally recommended to select students, mostly less than 5 years of age or ones seeking professional careers. Most students will greatly benefit from the every other week scheduling to review the material given. A strong emphasis is always placed on developing each students playing routine to ensure the best results.
Photo by Nicky Angelo Photograph
Drum School Testimonials
"He was knowledgeable, well-prepared and professional. He kept the lesson fun and engaging within a positive atmosphere of learning."
"Chris has been awesome with my daughter and she is really enjoying her lessons. She's excited to play more and more and is happy with what she's learning. Her confidence has improved too. We look forward to continuning our lessons with Chris! He makes it very easy for her to understand and is very patient and encouraging."-Sara Trusilio.
"My son Harris has been taking lessons from Chris from before his 8th birthday & he just turned 16! Chris has been instrumental in helping Harris grow & develop as a drummer & explore multiple styles of drumming. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with & I would recommend him without reservation!" -Ozzy Samad.
"Chris has been coming to our home teaching drums for over ten years. He has taught all the males in the house except the cat and I have no doubt he could teach him as well. His patient and positive style of instruction lead the student to improve at a surprising rate and he easily adapts his lessons to students of any age. Each of my sons have become quite accomplished and this is a direct result of Chris' teaching. They each have a different style of playing & different interests in music & Chris has been able to customize his lessons allowing them to flourish. I also have benefited from Chris. For a time I was his oldest student and completely enjoyed him help me to live my rock star drummer dream if only in my head and in our basement! Our family is also fortunate that as a result of our longevity with him we are honored to also call him a friend. Thanks Chris for all the drumming knowledge that you have and continue to pass on to the Kandrack drummers!" -
Mark A. Kandrack.
"Thank you for all that you have done as Avraham's drum teacher. The at home service and accommodation around his schedule, the email reminders, timeliness and consistency of lessons make you stand out head and shoulders above so many other teachers. But, beyond all that, you have a gift of being a great teacher and motivator. Avraham has come a long way in his playing thanks to you. We are very lucky that we found you."
"Chris has be instructing my son who has a disability. He is a wonderful, caring and upbeat instructor. He is so very knowledgeable." -Renee Giammatteo
"I highly recommend reaching out to Chris Belin for percussion lessons"
-Dan Styslinger, Dan Sty Music.
"After being deafened for 30 years becoming deaf as an adult, I had cochlear implant surgery in 2017 to restore some ability to hear on my right side. It has always been my dream to learn how to play drums. Working on learning my second song. I have been playing for almost 2 years now. Follow your dreams if you ever get a second chance."
"Today is my second anniversary learning to play drums. Shout out to Chris Belin who has taught me so much. I am blessed to have him as my teacher."
-Rand Johnson. 9/19/20.
"Hey Chris, I played RATM Bombtrack song with emphasis on the bass drums with the techniques you taught me yesterday. It makes the whole song sound different. It's even easier and more fun to play. Thank you for everything and all of your expert tips!"
-Shawn N. January, 2021.
Hey King Drum Teacher, Everybody (you know, like me) always texts with questions or issues (broken drum head, anyone?) But! I just gotta tell you that you rule. The lowered toms make a huge difference. No rim shots, more relaxed playing, well you get the idea. Once again, thanks so much! Woo hoo!!!" -Tina C. January, 2021
*All Clearances & Background Checks are up to date and are sent upon request via email or regular mail.
*Full Information Packet will be sent upon request (email, text, or regular mail) detailing more about me, the <Traveling> Drum School curriculum, your individualized lesson plan, as well as a personalized price quote.
BENEFITS OF DRUM LESSONS
Drum lessons are meant to be fun, inspiring, and enhance people’s lives. They can boost self esteem, teach organization, responsibility, and how to analyze difficult tasks to simplify.
Drumming gives the student a chance to make new friends through school band, drum competitions, local drum store functions, and playing music with other musicians.
Playing drums has been proven many times over to be a very healthy activity. Physically, it's a great cardiovascular workout that burns a large amount of calories. Mentally it enhances concentration & focus, which is proven to help improve math & reading scores in any grade level of school. Recent studies in the US have shown drummers have some of the highest scores on IQ tests, even surpassing the results of other musicians.
DEVELOPING STUDENT'S MUSICAL PROJECTS
There have been many students in the drum school roster who become interested in performing in public. I help them develop promotional material to find musicians, schedule performances w/ their bands, or seek out professional management. When possible, I also pair student's groups together & arranged live shows.
For a few students’ bands, I have taken on the producer role, overseeing rehearsals, recording sessions, & helping with song writing in addition to all mentioned above.
I keep a list containing hundreds of live local venues & recording studios to aid in any situation a student may need help with. The last few years I've been able to pair bands up with each other, where 3-4 bands with Traveling Drum School students have been able to share bills.
GROUP CLASSES AVAILABLE
James, Genre, & Gionna
Lessons / clinics for a class or small groups can be scheduled at your location. Schools, music stores, churches, & special event locations are the most common places but I'm open to anywhere. I've worked with multiple student groups in various locations including Pittsburgh East, The Ellis School, Western Pennsylvania School For Blind Children, The Children's Institute, Sampson Family YMCA, Veteran's Hospital of Pittsburgh, & many churches throughout the Pittsburgh region.
In addition, I also teach proper tuning &
maintenance for all percussion instruments. This also can include instruction for proper repairs & can do most necessary repairs on site (Please see the Traveling Percussion Maintenance page for more details)
All of the above can be currently scheduled anywhere in the United States w/ discounts given for multiple bookings.
Drum Circle / Clinic @ The Sampson Family YMCA. Plum, PA.
DRUM SCHOOL RENTAL PROGRAM
Perfect for students who wish to start lessons but don't currently own an instrument. This has also been very good for drum set or band students wanting to learn a hand percussion instrument.
The drum school rental options currently include drum sets (small scale w/ all necessary components), snare drums, drum pads, bongos, doumbeks, music stands, & drum microphones.
The rental fee is extremely low & you can rent as long as you like. The fee is used only to maintain the equipment. All items are subject to availability. Special thanks to the Mamie, Seitz, Hunter, & Bachman families for their generous donations.
PRODUCT DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS
The <Traveling> Drum School students are eligible for special discounts & promotions throughout the year. A list of participating stores, companies, & music publications involved will be provided.
THE <TRAVELING> DRUM SCHOOL PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE
Many thanks to <Traveling> Drum School students Ryan, Liz, John, Robert, & Tom for working with me and putting on a great inaugural show! The ensemble had a very large and receptive crowd at the St.Bernadette Parrish Festival in Monroeville,PA!!
The ensemble, lead by me and featuring multiple drummers from different ages and backgrounds, perform percussion only interpretations of songs from their favorite groups, improvisations based on traditional rhythms, and their own compositions. More performances will be scheduled starting in 2016 and all <Traveling> Drum School students (including alumni) are welcomed to take part.
Western PA School For Blind Children Drum Circle / History of Rhythm Class
*Official Trailer for Instructional DVD w/ eBook and Play-Along Loops.
"You are amazing and the kids are great! You did a really good job of slowing it down and teaching, instead of just showing. There are many other drum lesson videos I couldn't keep up with." -Paul Earl. Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Available in select stores:
Music Go Round. Monroeville, PA
SuperMonkey Recording Company. Pittsburgh, PA.
CD Warehouse. Greensburg, PA.
May's Music Shoppe. Butler, PA.
Tommy's Drum Shop. Austin, TX.
Steel Lotus Gift Shop. Pleasant Hills, PA.
Cambria County Library. Johnstown, PA.
I appeared on the Sunday October 8th, 2017 edition of the Grassroots Music Show on 97.7 The Rock Station in Butler, PA! Really fun interview talking with hosts Bob & Utah about "Drumming for the Young and the Young at Heart", my freelance career, and much more! They also featured four songs from my session career,
1. "Wild Child"-The Satin Hearts.
2. "Captain Ron" - The Woodpile.
4. "Take it Back"-Tyet.
*More info on these tracks, including where you can purchase or download, is available on the "Recording Session History" page (link above to the right).
If you're not in the Butler / Pittsburgh area or missed the broadcast, you can stream it on the stations site; http://977rocks.com/october-8-2017-chris-belin/. They archive past episodes there. Please check out others as well as the program has been going strong on Sunday nights for a long time now. Each episode is packed with great, regional music and awesome commentary! Be sure to check out the official FB page for more info on the show as well!
On August 1st, 2018 I did a drum clinic / circle at The Cambria County Library in Johnstown, PA. Great group of aspiring musicians, very wide range of ages in attendance as well!
The Tribune Review was on hand and did this really nice article on the event!
ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW!
Class Is In Session - An Interview with Chris Belin of The Traveling Drum School
By Natalie Sebula
2013 Winter Issue of The Holiday Cafe.
When I noticed that you were looking for someone that inspires the community I instantly thought of Christopher Belin. He is the sole proprietor of the Chris Belin’s Traveling Drum School as well as being a professional drummer. I have had the opportunity to know him for several years. Since then I have noticed how Chris has impacted the community with his drumming and teaching skills. I interviewed him and here is what he had to say:
If there was one thing you wanted people to know about your business…what would it be?
As a teacher, I’m committed to developing an individualized curriculum for each student, based on their interests & goals, to ensure their aspirations of being a drummer become reality. As a freelance drummer, I give 110% all the time. Every note I play is done with heart, portraying my deep love for music.
How do you feel your business has impacted the community?
Thus far I feel the Traveling Drum School has had an extremely positive impact on the community. No matter what, my teaching approach is always positive and encouraging. It’s gratifying to see students convey the same or similar philosophies in their playing & attitudes. Many students have been able to perform in the areas where they reside, whether it’s a school band program or their own bands. Some have even had the opportunity to tour and post drum clips on the internet, showcasing their skills on a more global level.
Lastly, what is your future endeavors in the business?
My goals are always to take my business to the next level, keep growing and evolving with the times. Teaching more diverse students, releasing instructional books, and performing with more bands/ solo artists are goals I continue aspiring to achieve.
APPEARANCE IN DOCUMENTARY FILM & CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS SHOWCASE w/ TRAVELING DRUM SCHOOL STUDENT!
This documentary, by Maria Satira, is centered around the musical talents of Traveling Drum School student Christopher Brozek & his journey in learning with autism. Many thanks to Maria & the Brozek family for asking me to take part. I've been teaching Chris since 2004. He continues to impress me with his skills, determination, & focus on everything we cover. We both truly love the art of drumming & working with Chris is always an enjoyable experience. He has evolved into a fine percussionist but constantly keeps moving forward always driven to perfecting his many talents. See for yourself...this is a touching story on a great person, not just a great drummer.
2019 CAREER DAY & 2020 GUEST READER FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
For McCellan Elementary in Pleasant Hills, PA, I was a guest for Career Day in 2019 speaking to the 2nd grade about being a professional musician and drum instructor. Lot of great questions from the class and they all got to play a RB Drum Co. Custom Snare and some Creative Percussion shakers! In the fall of 2020, I was invited to be a guest reader via Zoom for the K-2 students! ! My book of choice..."Paddington Plays On" about a cool bear who gets invited to play with the band when they need a drummer!
THE SUCCESS OF <TRAVELING> DRUM SCHOOL STUDENTS
As previously mentioned, a strong emphasis is placed on each student's personal goals & aspirations. I have had the pleasure in the last 10+ years to see Traveling Drum School students move on to be very successful.
Students seeking professional careers have seized opportunities performing all over the world, performing with popular national & regional acts, recordings albums, signing recording contracts, doing tours, landing product endorsements, acquiring jobs in music stores, and working in other avenues of the music industry.
Younger drum set students have been successful with forming bands, performing live, & writing their own music.
Students involved in their school band have become section leaders, drum majors, & used their skills to acquire prime spots in college marching bands.
Other students have went on to win competitions, the Louie Armstrong Jazz Award, Senior Spirit essay award, and outstanding percussionist awards plus compose jingles, become youth band directors for their church, and even start teaching on their own.
I've written many letters of recommendation for students over the years & continue to do so upon request.
Major League. youtube.com/Lukkeeeee
*photo by Grace Merlin
Jordan Braverman (on right) -Remission.
2017 Drum competition winner.
Travis Schemer-Victory @ The Crossroads
Jack Martin-Shiva Skydriver
Doug Blair-The Blue Devils
Stephen & Mike - Snare line
Nick Grabigel-Big Blitz
Mike HIllyard-Johnny & The Razorblades
Aaron Woods-At The End Of Me
James Sullivan- The Deep Roots
Brenden Beaver-This Strange Paradise
Jake Saltzman-Katie Hate (also known as The Cahoots)
Nigel Seibert-A Lovely Crisis
James Conley-Turnpike Gardens
POSTING STUDENT'S PICS & VIDEOS
Many thanks to all the students who donated great pics & videos for this page. Any other students who would like something posted please send it to me.
(412) 512-3155 [email protected]