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Rich Psonak

Grants Pass, OR 97527 (map)

Lessons Offered


Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

About Me

I picked up my first set of sticks 23 years ago and have been playing drum set for exactly 20 years. I grew up with my dad playing drums as well so I always had someone there to mentor me and guide me along my journey and even though his style is much different than mine, I believe it made me the drummer that I am today. Just like he did I strongly believe in everyone creating their own style and playing what they feel. I'm not just looking to show you everything I know, I want to be there to mentor you, to see you along Your journey and use my experience to make sure you're fully capable of achieving your dreams. For me, passing along what I know is one of mine.

I've been involved in everything from rock / punk rock / technical/progressive/thrash metal to a fusion/jazz project I'm working on putting together right now. I'd say the most fun I've had was getting to go down to LA to do a drum session for a rock band. I was a late replacement with 1 month to prepare and was able to complete the session in 3-4 hours (most songs 1 take). I now own a recording studio that I work out of doing recording/mixing/mastering for drum sessions or entire bands. You can look up my work by searching "Aptera Band" or "Fred Brum Rich Psonak".

As a musician I love the idea of being able to play exactly what you hear and not having your body be a bottleneck for your mind but as a teacher I strive to teach good technique as bad habits are hard to break and unfortunately can cause injury with drumming. I aim to bring together the best of both worlds and bring out the best musician you can be.

My Musical Education Background

My music theory education was primarily growing up in school band. I played in band from 3rd grade through high school. Over the past 5 years I've started scoring my drum parts by programming them in preproduction and converting it to music notation to ensure my parts were created by what I wanted to hear and not by muscle memory. This was the most challenging thing I've ever attempted as a musician as it pushed me radically past my limits. I used this method to write the drum parts for a song I recorded for Fred Brum called "Stranded". I could have easily just played what my body wanted to but I pushed myself extremely hard to learn those parts and play them note for note. I believe that session wouldn't have come out the same without it. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Genres and Subjects Taught

For non drum set students I can help students learn to read music and help them with their songs in band class. I can also teach them the necessary rudiments, exercises and technique including stretching regimen to put them well on their way to having the basics down when they begin playing drumset without risking injury from poor grip and stick technique.

As far as drum set lessons go, I'm able to teach you anything from Pop, Country, Gospel, Reggae, Fusion/Jazz, Rock, Punk Rock, Progressive/Techincal metal (Everything from endurance/speed exercises to finger technique for blast beats to foot technique and doing double foot strokes to hit insanely high speeds) and anything in between. I'm happy to help break down and teach you how to play your favorite music.

As far as subjects and concepts, I'm a strong believer in complete limb independence being the best thing you can pursue as a drummer. to be able to play right and left handed and any rhythm combinations with your different limbs is to have no boundaries. Among others are dynamics, speed, syncopation and bass drum techniques (Heel-up, Heel-down, Heel-toe double strokes for fast speeds etc)

I also teach my students everything I know about recording/mixing if they're interested. Personally, I feel recording yourself playing to a metronome is the best way to improve by far. It's also something you will need to know how to do if you plan on making any videos of your playing for other people to see.

Lesson Rates

I do the first lesson for $20 so I can evaluate your skill level and create a lesson plan.

After that all non-drum set lessons are $20/hour.

Drum set lessons are $30/hour.

If travel is not an option I have a portable electric drum set (or just a practice pad and some sticks and a music stand for non-drum set lessons) I can bring with me to your house for an extra cost (Gas/Time). If you're located in Grants Pass or Wilderville it will only be $5 extra.

For everywhere else:
Rogue River/Merlin/Hugo/Selma-$10
Cave Junction/Rouge/Medford-$15

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I teach all skill levels ages 10 and up. I chose 10 because that's when I started playing drum set. However, I started drumming in band seriously at 8 which is why I would be willing to make exceptions for special circumstances.

My Certifications and Awards

I judged the Guitar Center Drum Off in 2012. That was one of the best times as a drummer I've had. Other than that every session I complete or every student I'm able to share knowledge and grow with. It might not be an award but it is definitely a reward. I like those better anyways. Less formal, more frequent, more enjoyable.

My Musical Influences

Travis Orbin (Session Player), Sebastian Lanser (Obscura, session player), Matt Garstka (Animals as Leaders), Derek Roddy (Session Player), Marco Minnemann (Session Player), Hannes Grossman (Obscura, Alkaloid), Virgil Donati (Alan Holdsworth, Session Player), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, Session player), Anup Sastry (Intervals, Monuments), Thomas Lang (Session Player), Richard Christy, Gene Hoglan, Mike Mangini (Dream Theater), Benny Greb, Matt Halpern (Periphery), Alex Rudinger (Conquering Dystopia, Session Player), The entire Meinl Drum Festival Lineup (every year)

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