Thursday, June 23, 2016

Proud Teacher Moment

All of my students know that as amazing as my parents were, they were not supportive of my drumming at all. I don't believe their decision not to support me was based on anything malicious but rather was based on their own experiences as well as their belief system. Consequently, I had to do everything on my own to further my drumming passion. Who knows... if they hadn't been unsupportive, perhaps my own drive would have been diminished.  Regardless, I hold no grudges as now that I'm a parent myself, I know just how hard a job it is!

My background and lack of support molded me into the drummer/educator I am today. My goal with ALL of my students is to give them the education, support and mentorship I longed for when I was a young drummer. I had some teachers who weren't that great as well as some amazing teachers whose guidance allows me to make a living as a drummer. 

Many of my students take lessons as a hobby or activity to enrich their lives as well as expose them to the wonder of music. Some of my students are as impassioned as I was/am and are on a lifelong journey making music a priority. I've had many students go onto prestigious music schools, tour in bands with their friends and even take the teaching torch and grow their own teaching practices.  When these students take that leap of faith and allow their passions to guide them (coupled with their parents support) it gives me no greater joy. 

I've had the privilege of teaching Thomas Lowrey since he was 5 years old. 
Today Thomas is 13 years old and is just as passionate and dedicated as he was at his first lesson!

My wife and I have become good friends with Thomas' parents. They are amazing people who support Thomas in all his endeavors. Thomas is a straight A student and plays club ice hockey as well!  This kid puts his whole heart into everything he does!

I'm so proud to announce that Thomas has his own website now which he updates frequently! It's such a rush for me to see this young man grow over the years. Please take some time to check out Thomas' new site!  He's got some great pictures of his drumming heroes as well as exciting videos of his playing. He's currently in the process of putting a band together!  

Here is the link for Thomas' site!  Be sure to check it out and keep checking back as I'm confident he'll be going places!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Updated Website!

It's been a very long time since I posted a blog.  I've been super busy with my teaching and started gigging more as well.  Trying to balance the professional musician life with family life is tricky at times but I wouldn't give it up for the world!

That being said, I was tired of seeing my old website being scolded for not being mobile friendly.  After much blood sweat and tears, I was able to revamp my website into a responsive site that is friendly across all devices!  I scaled it down and removed all the extraneous content and it is lean and mean focusing on my teaching!  I've recently uploaded several new song transcriptions as well as some great chop building exercises.  Be sure to check out the new page and I'm going to hopefully find more time to update the blog... at least post transcription links!

Rob Ferrell Drum Studio

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Update

It has been a very long time since I updated my news blog!  This has been an extremely busy year.  In the time since my last update, I've picked up my performance schedule again.  I'm now playing in three different projects (one of which I run myself) which take up a good portion of my Friday and Saturday nights.  It feels good to be playing more to keep my gigging chops up and stretch a bit.  I'm very grateful to be playing with some very talented musicians.  I always post my performances (both public and private) so anyone wishing to see me perform can just check my performance calendar here:

Rob's Performance Calendar

I've made some recent upgrades to my teaching studio that I'm excited to share.  I recently outfitted my teaching set with Remo SilentStroke drum heads!  These are the very same heads found on high end Roland electronic drums.  They are wonderful for practicing on as they feel like real heads, produce beautiful tone AND reduce sound level by 80%!  Here is a picture of my teaching set with the SilentStrokes:

I'm also very interested in field testing Zildjian's new L80 Low Volume cymbals at this year's NAMM  show in January.  When I field tested the SilentStrokes at the Remo booth at last year's NAMM show, they had a set of Zildjian Gen16s which were amazing but very pricey.  The L80s are much more economical and geared for practicing whereas the Gen16s are geared for use with triggers.

Lastly, I was just notified that I had been included in Dom Famularo's Drum Teacher List!  What a great honor!  Dom is an amazing drummer, educator and motivator.  His positive vibe and enthusiasm are unmatched!  He is known as the Drumming's Global Ambassador!   You can check out his link here:

As we enter the holiday season, I'm once again reminded about how grateful I am to be able to teach and perform for a living.  I'm thankful for all the wonderful relationships I have with the companies I endorse.  I have an amazing roster of students who keep me on my toes and many have become dear friends.  I hope all of you have a happy holiday season and that 2016 is a year of health, happiness and prosperity for us all!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flam & Paradiddle Exercise

This is a quick video demonstration of a really great exercise to warm-up with as well as to help with the development of the non-dominant hand.  It combines flams and paradiddles.  I also use a left handed pataflafla to help with my non-dominant left hand!  Hope you can find some use from it!

Flam & Paradiddle Exercise

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 2015 Update!

It has been FOREVER since I updated my blog! I have been so busy with my students, family and home improvement projects that I've neglected my news/updates terribly! 2015 has started out wonderfully! I'm so thankful for all my amazing students. My roster is full and each student brings a new challenge as well as a new blessing. I still have to pinch myself from time to time to really make sure I get to do what I love for a living. It has its challenges as I said... namely teaching 6 days a week with nary a chance to relax! But all in all I wouldn't trade it for a thing! NAMM 2015 was one of the best NAMM shows for me. The show is a bit of a double edged sword for me. I get the privilege to attend and see all the new gear, meet friends and company reps I only see once a year and rub elbows with my drumming heroes. I can only attend one day (Friday) and I have to cancel students to attend. That is the drawback... and the fact that I have only one day to do all I need to do. This year I was able to do everything I needed to do in a reasonable amount of time and still have time left over to relax with my family! The highlight of this year's NAMM for me was seeing two of my most influential teachers! I started studying with Roy Burns back in the very early 90s as I was having troubles with my elbow and wrists. I also decided that I wanted to pursue drumming as a career. Roy taught me as much about life and the music business as he did about drumming. He also cured me of all my technical ailments that were leading to my health issues. Here's a pic of Roy and I at the Aquarian booth. He's still going strong at 79 years of age!
The other teacher I got to see after many years was Tony Pia! I attended a NAMM show back in the day and really wanted to study with Gregg Bissonette. A friend of mine had hired Gregg to play on his solo album and I was a HUGE fan of his drumming and instructional video. I met Gregg at a NAMM show and hit him up about lessons. He very graciously told me that due to his crazy schedule, he was only offering group lessons. I told him I wanted private, one-on-one lessons as I was looking for a mentor. He told me about his roommate, Tony Pia. At the time, Tony was playing with Edgar Winter (along with the aforementioned friend who hired Gregg.) He told me Tony was a beast. Long story short, I studied with Tony and Tony encouraged me to start teaching! If it weren't for him, I may not be the teacher I am today. Here's an awesome pic of Gregg, Tony and I at the Dixon Drum booth. Gregg is playing with Ringo Starr and Tony is playing with the Doobie Bros. Not bad work if you can get it!
Seeing these hugely influential teachers/roll models reminded me what a great privilege and responsibility we drum teachers have. We don't merely impart drumming technique. We listen, encourage, motivate, provide a shoulder to cry on, share mistakes and wisdom we've gleaned over the years. I never take it for granted.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Students and I Review Pro-Mark's New Select Balance Sticks!

I began using Pro-Mark sticks in 2009. My co-founder of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild, Marty Fullard, had been a Pro-Mark Artist for years. I had been with one company throughout the bulk of my career (save for two years when I was endorsed by a boutique company). Throughout all those years I was satisfied with my sticks for the most part but had issues with their durability, consistency and taper. I decided to live with it. After hearing me complain for so many years, Marty gently suggested I try Pro-Mark. I went to the local Guitar Center, bought a pair of 5A Oaks and tried them out both in my teaching studio and on gigs. I fell in love with their durability, taper and feel. I had to get accustomed to their diameter as they were slightly thinner than what I had been playing for over 30 years! Long story short, I am now a proud Pro-Mark Artist and recommend their sticks to all my students! Fast forward to Pro-Mark releasing their new Select Balance line of sticks. Pro-Mark graciously sent me several of their new sticks for my students and I to try out. Lo and behold they now offer the diameter of the stick I played for all those years but with the taper, durability and consistency of Pro-Mark! I was ELATED! I’ve been using the .565 Rebound Balance stick and couldn’t be happier. The new line of sticks allows for virtual customization and the line is rumored to be expanding to include even more sizes! Now one can choose the length, diameter and balance (forward for a heavier throw or rebound for a faster feel) without having to have custom sticks made. Plus you know you’re getting quality sticks with the Pro-Mark name stamped on them! In conclusion, I believe Pro-Mark has changed the game with the introduction of this new stick line. If I may make an analogy, there are several tire brands all offering different options, however, the sizes are uniform across the many different brands. In the stick industry, one company’s 5A is different from another’s! There is no uniformity. Pro-Mark has basically dispensed with the nomenclature and now allows it’s customers to choose sticks based on what is important… length, diameter and feel. What a novel concept! Thank you Pro-Mark for continuing to push the boundaries! Check out what some of my students have to say about the Select Balance Series!
I love Pro-Mark sticks, especially the two, new different pairs I recently bought. The RBH and FBH have been the perfect blend of weight and rebound, I am torn between which is my favorite go-to pair. I have tried a couple of other brands and they just don't feel right; they are missing something. Mostly, they are not my trusted Pro-Mark sticks. Thanks Pro-Mark! Keep up the great work! Nancy
Playing with the new Rebound Balance from the Select Balance series offers a feeling of comfortability while also providing a faster response while jamming. By far my favorite sticks released by Pro-Mark! Monique
I have been taking drum lessons with drum teacher extraordinaire Rob Ferrell for a number of years and I have always played with Pro-Mark 5A Oak sticks. Rob introduced me to 2 new Hickory sticks from Pro-Mark about 2 weeks ago: Select Balance “Rebound” and Select Balance “Forward”. Initially, the feel and the weight distribution seemed synthetic and odd. After playing with each of these sticks for 2 weeks now, I have migrated to the Select Balance “Forward” pair. Why? Simply stated…. they give the illusion of being wider in diameter because of the reduced taper in the forward position and this relates to more control and less work for me. I am sold! The concept of giving the drummer more choice in length, diameter and balance is a welcomed improvement over the original simple concept in stick design. Thanks Pro-Mark! Jeff

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I've been using a drum dial since the late 1990s.  I've found them to be an integral part of my drumming career both as a performer and as a teacher.  Here is an in-depth video review of why I like this product so much!

Product Review: Drum Dial