Dillon Vado's School Of Music

Dillon Vado's School Of Music

5.0Exceptional(13 reviews)
Top Pro
Offers online services
Top Pro
Offers online services


Students can take lessons on a primary instrument (drums, vibraphone, marimba, or general percussion) but all can learn about ear training, and musicianship.

I am located in Oakland, CA and while I do offer online lessons, I'm preferring in person. My studio has free parking right outside, and a robust selection of instruments for me to play along with my students so they get the real feel of playing in a band, whether that's a drum student or mallet or piano student.

I am an active performing musician, and share my tips and experiences from the real world as an experienced musician.

I hold a Bachelor's of Music in Jazz Studies from the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. I won first place in the "Jazz Search West" soloist competition in 2014. I have earned several other awards and acknowledgements for my playing and composing over the years.

Students can bring music they enjoy into the lessons, from any style or approach. The lesson format is not rigid, and is flexible to each students interests.

I specialize in improvisation and encourage all levels of students to improvise, don't worry it's fun!

I love connecting with a student and seeing the new information and skills we learn take hold in their playing.

I particularly love watching a student think that they don't like something at first and then gradually grow to appreciate and embrace it after further exploration. Some students, for example, think they don't like jazz, or have a bias toward a certain instrument or even a particular song. When we dive deeper into it, we always find value and meaning in any music.

My life is 100% devoted to music, and it is my passion and a privilege that I am able to share that with other human beings.


Current Top Pro
Hired 9 times
1 employee
14 years in business
Serves Oakland , CA
Offers online services

Payment methods

Cash, Check, Paypal, Zelle

Social media


Years experience

No formal training; some self-taught experience, 0 – 2 years experience, 2 – 4 years experience, 4+ years of experience

Able to read music

Student can read music, Student cannot read music

Lesson length

30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes

Student's age

11 – 13 years old, 14 – 18 years old, 19 – 25 years old, 26 – 45 years old, 46 – 65 years old, Over 65 years old

Student has instrument

Students who have a piano, Students who have a keyboard

Interested musical styles

Jazz, Pop, I can make recommendations

Photos and videos

  • Reviews

    0 reviews


    Arav B.

    My favorite part of being Dillons student was his willingness to tailor his lessons to my particular needs, and his ability to teach me not just as a musician but also as a fellow human. Dillon was versatile, teaching me how to play many different percussion instruments. He helped me see through many of my goals and was the first music teacher who challenged and empowered me to feel like a true musician. My time with Dillon have profoundly impacted not only my relationship with playing music, but his mentorship during and beyond lessons has also shaped how I approach life as a whole.
    ... Show more
    June 28, 2023
    Hired on Lessons


    Tina C.

    Dillon is not only a talented professional but also a fantastic teacher. My 4th grader has developed a passion for music and blossomed thanks to Dillon.
    ... Show more
    March 11, 2021
    Hired on Lessons


    Domenique H. E.

    Dillon tailors his teaching to the interests and needs of the student. I am enjoying learning with him.
    ... Show more
    March 25, 2019
    Hired on Lessons


    Xiomara R.

    He is a very patient and understanding teacher. Flexible and caring
    ... Show more
    March 07, 2019
    Hired on Lessons


    Mike G.

    Both my kids, now 15 and 12 have been lucky enough to get expert instruction from Dillon for the past 3 years on Marimba. The growth has been phenomenal in both of them. First it was all about technique, then he worked with them on the music that interested them. He has since added pieces that help improve their overall skills. I believe that their rampant improvement has been due to Dillons approach to teaching music theory so that the kids have a true understanding of whats going on in the music in general. His relaxed approach and ability to connect with the kids has proved to be a valuable asset. They cant wait to go for the lessons, and never stop practicing at home. We thank Dillon for enhancing the lives of our kids.
    ... Show more
    March 26, 2017


    Jordan R.

    Lesson is great and it helps out during classes at school. Sticking is needed to know when playing in a marching band, and is the basics of drumming
    ... Show more
    March 26, 2017

    Frequently asked questions

    I usually ask the student what their current experience is with music and what their intentions/goals are for studying with me. I tailor my instruction to the needs and interests of each student, while still prioritizing the development of strong fundamentals. Students find lessons with me to be a very fun and enjoyable exploration into the world of sound and music. 

    I currently hold a Bachelor's of Music in Jazz Studies from the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. I have several years of experience teaching private lessons on drums and mallet percussion to students ages 5-75! I also have taught group drumming classses at Elementary schools, and drumline/marching band in several high schools.  I have performed and recorded with some of the best musicians in the world, and continue to have an active performing career of my own. I live and breathe music, and I wish to share that with everybody I meet. 

    For students who come to my studio, I generally charge 

    $40/ half hour

    $80/ hour 

    I taught several family friends' children at first. Then my friend Adam, was leaving town to move to New York, and he recommended me to take over his private studio at Music Village in San Jose back in 2011. From then I have kept a steady involvement at that store, as well as picking up classes and private students at Musically Minded Academy in Rockridge, and JAMS Music in Dublin. 

    I have worked with very young children, as well as adults and even some retired people. Some students are really experienced and want some refined instruction, and some come to me as total beginners. I am happy to work in both settings, and feel confident in my ability to guide a student into new territory that they wish to navigate. 

    I had a recent student come to me looking for general music theory and musicianship lessons to help put some terminology to things that she already knew intuitively. I spent the first lesson going through some basic interval relationships as related to the solfege system (do, re , mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do etc...) and I used very common tunes to help her understand intervals that she could already hear. For example "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" opens with a perfect 5th.

    I was proud of my ability to start right with something familiar but reframe it in a way that was new so she was learning/exploring right away!

    Understand what you are hoping to get from the teacher. The clearer you can make that goal, the more I (or any other teacher) can help you reach it. 

    Second, I think private lessons (especially on drums) are great as supplemental instruction to other experiences, like school band, bands with your friends, or other performing and playing based activities. I am happy to work with any student regardless of what their outside involvement is, but the instruction in private lessons will be amplified by bringing that into a musical context to apply it to outside of the lessons.

    That being said, my areas of experience/expertise consist of...

    -Jazz drum set and related styles (brazilian, afro-cuban, New Orleans feels, funk and RnB) 

    -Mallet Percussion (Vibraphone, and Marimba mostly) 

    - Rudimental drumming (related to general percussion technique and marching snare drum in particular, for those interested in auditioning for school marching band or drum corps) 

    -Ear Training/general musicianship (reading notes and rhythms, or identifying chords and melodies from a recording you're fond of.) 

    -Improvisation: both in a "Jazz" context and also a more playful and fun context. Some refer to this as "free" improvisation. I encourage all students to improvise in some way because it makes for a more well rounded musician. 

    What kind of music do you like to listen to? 

    Is that the same as the music you're trying to learn to play? 

    Have you identified favorite musicians who play the instrument you're interested in learning? (if not thats ok!) 

    Do you know about yourself if you tend to respond more to a visual learning style, or oral/aural, or even kinesthetic? (I'm not an expert in these learning styles, but having some sense of strength or preference can prove beneficial!) 

    Services offered

    Music Theory