Instructor Bio

My name is Lou Stavris and I am the Owner/Instructor at the DrumChops Drum School & Shop located in Surprise, AZ. I come from a family of Drummers. My Father was a Master Drum Instructor and taught my Uncle, Brother, me and over 2500 other students in a teaching career that spanned close to 40 years. As the youngest in the family I had the opportunity to learn from my Dad as well as my other family members. My structured lessons started at the age of 5 and by the time I reached high school I was booking my own band and performing weekly at local clubs and events.

There was a certain amount of pressure growing up in this environment. After all, if you’re the teacher’s kid, you’re expected to be good, right? This is true, but the way my Father taught and how he inspired me was to be sure I had my own identity. He was not making clones, he was teaching the ART of drumming, and like any artist all of his students were encouraged to be themselves. This is a lesson that continues to mold my teaching style today.

My hard work paid off, and soon his students wanted to learn from me as well. Without even knowing it I was not only taught how to play, but given the gift of being able to teach! Over the years I’ve played in many different musical situations from bands specializing in Classic Rock, Blues, Latin Rock, Jazz, and all the varied rhythms needed to play in everything from shows to weddings. With a solid foundation and the freedom to create my own style I have achieved many years of success and fulfillment as a drummer.

In 2007, I moved to Arizona from the East Coast and built my first studio. Since then I’ve taught countless students of all ages and levels. I teach in a curriculum based program unlike any other that I’ve seen in books, or DVD’s combining technique, music theory, groove essentials, fill study, and unique exercises, games, and patterns. All combining to create fundamentally sound musical drummers who can play any genre of music with groove & chops! I’ve played and been around drumming my entire life. I learned how to play and teach from one of the best. It is a gift that I am very passionate about and I never take lightly.

From being on stage with Buddy Rich when I was five years old, playing and booking my own band at the age of 13, performing with the great Louie Bellson, and teaching others what I have learned through a lifetime of study. Drums have been my passion and inspiration and I look forward to each lesson when I have the privilege of passing that knowledge and inspiration to my students!

If you like what I do and want to know more:

Private Drum Lessons

All Lessons at The DrumChops Drum School are taught by Owner/Instructor Lou Stavris.  Each lesson is Private, meaning there is just the student and the instructor.  No one other than parents are allowed in the studio (if they choose), and no group lessons are offered.  Parents or other siblings are welcome to enjoy our comfortable waiting area if they choose.  If you are looking for lessons in the Surprise, Az area, please contact me to come down and check out the studio.  However, if you are on the other side of town, country, or even the world we now offer lessons On-Line as well!

My pledge to students is to listen.  I listen to what their goals are and do my best to insure they achieve them.  I expect they will work to achieve those goals and I match that effort with lesson plans incorporating unique and personalized exercises and demonstrations.  I offer encouragement as we progress from the beginning fundamentals through the intermediate and advanced study of the “ART of drumming.

Each student will go at a different pace, so my students can expect that I will patiently guide them as they advance through a proven curriculum that includes:

  • The Fundamental Techniques of Stick Control
  • Match or Traditional Grip (Student Choice)
  • Reading & Rudiment Study
  • Time Keeping (With or Without a Click)
  • Groove Study & Fills
  • Chart Reading
  • Double-Bass playing
  • DrumLine Preparation

And above all, how to play Dynamically and Musically in Any Genre with CHOPS!

My studio was built to my specifications so I can teach in a sound-proof location utilizing real drums.  Two full professional quality acoustic drum sets are configured to face each other so teacher and student can work together in the most efficient way.  Multiple microphones and cameras are setup as well as computer monitors so all books, charts, music, video, and Internet material are a click away, and with the mirrored computer monitor setup, both student and teacher are able to see the same material while sitting behind each set.  As an added value with our smaller students in mind, I’ve chosen a Pearl Mid-Town Bop kit.  This is a kit that after several upgrades and my own professional tuning is a true Pro Sounding set at a size that can accommodate all students!

I believe it is very important to learn on a real drum set, because it is the only way to teach the student how to understand the subtlety of dynamics and how playing the instrument with correct techniques makes all the difference in achieving musicianship on the drums.

Additional cameras can be setup at the student drum set and pad stations so that hand and foot technique can be studied from the point of view of the teacher.  An example would be helping a student with a technique issue with his left hand or bass drum.  In this case, the monitor over the Hi-Hat to the left of the student is connected to a camera close-up focused on either the hand or foot.  I have found providing this extra view to the student and pointing out the issue with their technique provides a much faster and efficient way to correct certain types of technique issues, or to demonstrate alternate techniques.

I don’t necessarily teach one style or genre of music.  I was taught that learning all styles and grooves including Rock, Jazz, Latin, Country, etc. as well as rudiments are all important elements to be the best you can be.  Students find that going through a lesson plan like this where technique and grooves build on each other provide all the tools necessary to play any style they are required or want to play at a high level.

Drummers who have played for years or have just a year or two under their belt either with lessons or self-taught have also found the services I offer to be of great help to achieve their goals.  With a simple one hour free evaluation, I will listen to YOUR GOALS and any issues you may have, evaluate your playing technique and skill level, and  propose a detailed plan for YOUR SUCCESS!  This often includes diagnosing the cause of arm or wrist pain while playing, determining the factors contributing to a lack of speed or stamina, or the inability to read music.  It could just be a fresh look at what learning other styles of drumming can add to your playing, or perhaps just wanting to get to a point where you can play a clean roll or a steady groove at all speeds and volumes. In all cases, I’ve got the experience and the tools to develop your individual plan and help you ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL!

From technique to rolls, rudiments, reading, groove study, music theory, games for the kids, etc.  The DrumChops Drum School offers a unique learning experience for students of all ages.  So, young or old, beginner or seasoned player if you want to get the most out of your love for the drums, give us a call and setup your FREE Evaluation today!

Hand Drum Lessons

All Lessons at The DrumChops Drum School are taught by Owner/Instructor Lou Stavris.  Each lesson is Private, meaning there is just the student and the instructor.  No one other than parents are allowed in the studio (if they choose), and no group lessons are offered.  Parents or other siblings are welcome to enjoy our comfortable waiting area if they choose.  If you are looking for lessons in the Surprise, Az area, please contact me to come down and check out the studio.  However, if you are on the other side of town, country, or even the world we now offer lessons On-Line as well!

As an added service, we are fully equipped with Professional grade Bongos, Conga Drums, and Timbales.  Based on the instruction theories of Hand Drumming Masters Michael Spiro and Richie Gajate-Garcia, I am teaching a structured approach to hand drumming that includes all the basic strokes such as Bass, Slap, Open, Mute, Heal, Toe(finger), Touch, and Bongo Finger Strokes as well as Timbale “fans”!  All Authentic World Rhythm Grooves are covered as well as how to properly utilize these instruments in all musical styles or genres.  

Over the years, Lou Stavris has developed new techniques for custom mounting “Compact Conga” drums and the Amazing KORG Wave Drum.  These Ground Breaking techniques utilizing had drums as part of an acoustic drum set to provide a strong Latin feel with traditional Bass Drum and Hi-Hat Parts in now being included in our Hand Drumming Lesson Plans!  This also includes utilizing a Host of different types of Sticks, Brushes, and Mallets on the KORG Wave Drum to achieve unlimited sound textures!  Contact us NOW to start expanding your Hand Drum Playing!

Drum Tuning

All Lessons taught at The DrumChops Drum School are taught by Owner/Instructor Lou Stavris.  Each lesson is Private, meaning there is just the student and the instructor.  No other students are there at the time, and there are no group lessons.  

Let’s face it, drums are expensive.  The longer you play and learn about them, the more you realize just how much goes into a good sounding drum set.  Often, I hear that you have to spend thousands for a good set and anything less will just not sound good.  This is simply not true.  While drums are expensive due to the number of individual parts that go into a full kit, the ability to make even entry level sets sound good is a very real possibility.  So don’t let this stop you from chasing your dreams!

The key, is to understanding the variables that make a drum sound good.  The shell is important, but it does not necessarily need to be 100% Maple.  Drums of all types of wood and even composites will have a good tone if they are “True”, meaning they are not warped or the edge on each side where the head sits (AKA: “The Bearing Edge”) is out of round or damaged.  Understanding Shells and shell design, the difference between triple-flanged rims and die-cast rims and how they effect the sound of the drum, and making the right choice when buying heads all play a role in getting a good sound.  This is true for EVERY DRUM!

Take the time to learn these important basics and how to utilize that knowledge with solid tuning techniques to improve YOUR SOUND!

Tuning is an ART that is separate from the ART of playing, so in this series of classes I will design a course specifically for your situation.  Do you have an entry level set and want to get it sounding as good as possible?  Maybe you shelled out some cash on a new snare drum and just can’t get that RING out, or perhaps you are about to buy either your first set or finally get the Top-Of-The-Line set you have been saving for all these years.  Either way this is the course for you!  

The DrumChops Drum School IS your direct line to a tuning expert!  Don’t throw out that cheap set yet or be embarrassed by how your drums sound, give us a call and let us help you get the best sound out of your drums!

Recording & Video Editing

All Lessons taught at The DrumChops Drum School are taught by Owner/Instructor Lou Stavris.  Each lesson is Private, meaning there is just the student and the instructor.  No other students are there at the time, and there are no group lessons.

It is time to realize that if Drumming is your passion, you will more than likely want to see yourself or your band on the Internet.  It’s the best way to market yourself as an individual musician or as a group, and you don’t have to be an aspiring professional to want to have a little fun with your drumming and show off for friends and family!

At the same time, we have to realize that drums are not the easiest of instruments to record.  They are loud, with a large dynamic range, and will often distort even good microphones if not setup correctly!

In this course, I share with my students the experiences I’ve had with using everything from inexpensive Microphones to WebCams, to more expensive mixers and professional microphones.  I also take it a step further to instruct on devices for recording audio and video and the software I use to edit those recordings into professional looking videos that can be uploaded to popular social media sites like YouTube and Facebook.

So are you in it for fun or do you want to make this your business?  Do you have a small budget and need to figure out how to get the best quality recording possible or have you invested in some equipment and just need to figure out how to use some Audio/Video editing software to render and post your project?

Either way, this course is for you.  Give me a call and let’s talk about your project and I’ll get together a plan that works for YOU!

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The DrumChops Drum School

11785 N. 140th Lane

Surprise, Az 85379

Info@DrumChops.com

623-546-9738