The Drum Chair

The Drum Chair

5.0 (6)
1 employee
33 years in business

About this pro

Hello students!  My name is Derek Bernal, and Im a professional Drummer/Teacher. Ive been playing the drums for 48 years and teaching for the past 27.  I have studied with some of the finest musicians on the planet including Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Simon Phillips, Jojo Mayer, Benny Greb, Mike Mangini, Dave DiCenso, Jim Chapin, Gary Chaffee, and the one and only Bobby Christian.  

     My teaching philosophy is simple.  Each student will go thru a process of evaluation to determine where the starting point will be. And from there , the lesson/lessons will be tailored to the individuals strengths and weaknesses. We will cover rudiments, time value, reading, dynamics, polymeters, playing to a metronome, and various other variables that will become important along the way.

I enjoy seeing the drive and desire to succeed from students. I have a strong passion for learning and being the best I can be, and when you see it from a student, it makes you want to share everything with them so they get to those levels of improvement.  

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Oak Lawn, IL 60457
Email verified
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6 Reviews


  • Rob Hilliard

    Best there is.

  • Reuben Garza

    Derek is a world-class drummer & better yet, a great guy to be around. Regardless if you are a new beginning to the instrument or a seasoned pro looking to spice things up, I would highly recommend that everyone try out a lesson with Derek!

  • Gina Knight

    Derek is a magnificent musician, communicator, educator, and person!!

  • Dan Battista

    If you’ve never seen or heard this guy, he is amazing! 10 out of 10. So much attention to the craft, and continues to learn himself. If you are interested in learning or are already experienced, this guy is the real deal and I would recommend him to anyone including myself.-cheers

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I do a simple rudimentary evaluation to determine a starting point. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have over 40 years of professional playing experience. Ive also had the great fortune to have had lessons with Dave Weckl, Steve Smith , Simon Phillips, Dave DiCenso, Todd Sucherman, Benny Greb, Jojo Mayer, Jim Chapin, Gary Chaffee, and Bobby Christian. Each and every one of these people are at the top of the drumming world in terms of playing, teaching, and pushing drummers to their limits. 

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

yes, its as follows

Students home - 70hr - 55half

My Studio -         60hr - 45half

How did you get started teaching?

Once I compiled enough information and execution of drumming knowledge, I decided to pass along the info to people who want that knowledge. The fact that Ive been asked several times to give private lessons and the encouragement ive recieved from my own teachers,  propelled me to make the business decision. 

What types of students have you worked with?

Ive worked with all types. Beginners, intermediates, and advanced players.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Just recently a prior student of mine got hired by a National recording artist to go on tour in Europe and Australia. Felt good to know that the foundations im helping set are bearing fruit for professional musicians.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Be prepared to work hard. I take my lessons very serious and expect the same from my students. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Think about the future of your drumming and where you want to be? do you want to be a pro or a hobbyist? what styles of music do you want to be able to play?  what do I need to know about the business side of playing drums for a living? 

Lessons offered