Lesson Programs


Rockin' Nanna


It's never too late to start

  • The student is introduced to drumming by focusing on the concept of keeping strong tempo. In the same lesson we start to develop the method of gripping the sticks. All this is achieved by working with a metronome and playing along with music.
  • Various simple sticking patterns are introduced to get the hands moving and developing a sense of technique.
  • The structure of written music is then brought into the curriculum. This will help the student understand how music notation works in a percussive context and how it relates to drum set performance.
  • Coordination on the drum set with all for limbs is then introduced while reading drum set beats.

The speed with which these elements are introduced are naturally dependent on the development, through practice, of individual student.


A Great extracurricular activity for kids

  • At this level the student continues to focus on tempo. We begin to focus on subdividing the beat into triplets. This leads us into understanding the popular music that was at the genesis of the instrument’s invention.
    Snare drum technique is enhanced by systematically working on the rudiments of western snare drumming. We also begin to work on written snare drum solos
  • Four way coordination is brought to another level by introducing simple ostinatos. These ostinatos are played with the feet while snare drum rudiments are executed with the hands.
  • We start to work on soloistic playing and ‘filling’ from phrase to phrase by applying rudiments to the drum set.
  • All of the above is applied while playing along with music that is created without drum parts.
  • If the student is advancing at a good pace we will start to take a look at the basics of at least one other style of drumming than rock.
  • We will also work on various exercises that I have either put together or discovered to strengthen bass drum and hi-hat techniques. I will work on double bass drum playing as well if the student has an acumen for it.
  • All of the above, except for the last item, are worked on extensively with the metronome.


Great for the university and college bound individual

Students at the advanced level are often aspiring to advance to post-secondary music education or they may also be working professionals. Please note that if you are someone who fits the former please give yourself at least a year before you plan to audition for college and university programs. It is very challenging to be able to meet the entrance requirements under that time frame.

  • We continue to fine tune our understanding of tempo by subdividing the beat into sixteenths, triplets, quintuplets, and septuplets. We take this one step further by also working on the ‘table of time’.
  • Snare drum solos become the fundamental method for technical study. Solos will be assigned from Anthony Cirone’s “Portraits in Rhythm”, Charles Wilcoxon’s “Modern Rudimental Swing Solos”, and Jacque Delécluse’s “Douze Etudes pour Caisse-Claire”. There will also be a focus on dynamics as well as endurance and precision.
  • More drum set technique will be studied through a number of my exercises as well as those found in books by John Riley, Horacio Hernadez, Gary Chester, and others. There will also be transcribed solos assigned from great drummers from the past and present.
  • We will cover all style requirements for entrance auditions to drum set programs at colleges and universities. This will include studying jazz comping and solos, as well as funk, rock, and Latin playing.
  • Reading will be addressed by working on sight reading charts as well as having the students transcribe drum solos, fills, and grooves for themselves.

At this level I endeavor to help the student make a direct link between technique and the music being played. It is paramount to hear and feel the music before thinking about how to play technically. The technique is only an interface.

The Annual Fall Recital

This is where it all comes together

OIsin recital web

Oisin Hannigan at the Fall Recital 2015

Once a year all of my students get a chance to strut their stuff at my annual recital. The recital takes place at Chalet Studios in Uxbridge Ontario. This is one of Canada’s legendary studios, and has been the facility of choice for some of the world’s greatest groups and musicians. The likes of Rush, The Barenaked Ladies, Rik Emmett (Triumph), Liona Boyd and Platinum Blonde have worked there. My students get a chance to perform in front of their friends and family as well as make a professional recording. The backing band consists of some of the best musicians in Canada. In 2015 we had Rob Laidlaw (Platinum Blonde, Rik Emmett, Tom Chocrane), Dale Russell (formerly of the Guess Who), Dave Chester (owner of chalet studios) and Steve ‘Skulls’ Saunders. All the guests are welcome to watch the performance live in the main studio or they can see it on the monitors in the control room. The latter option is interesting in that they are given a chance to see the technical side of making a recording. The whole event is also filmed. The event is guaranteed to be a highlight of the year.