As a drummer, tabla player and percussionist, flexibility is mandatory. It’s essential for teaching and learning too. Some students like to focus on exams and grading, others want to be able to play in bands, and a few just want to play the fastest double bass drum rolls in the world! No one wants an environment in which attention isn’t paid to the students likes and dislikes. I therefore try to tailor my approach to what the student's individual goals are, while never forgetting that there are some basic principles such as perfect counting, timekeeping and listening which a true drummer cannot do without! I started off as a kid into Indian Classical Music and Heavy Metal (funny combination huh?!) and discovered the beauty in many other styles of music as I grew up, so I realise how important it is to broaden the horizons of my students whilst helping them get really proficient in their favourite styles.
For tabla players, there is a massive repertoire of classical compositions of varying levels of difficulty for which I teach both the vocalisation as well as performance. At the same time I also teach the folk and popular modern tabla rhythms that Bollywood has made popular.
For drum kit students I encourage learning real drum beats and playing along to songs right from the beginning, as well as gradually learning to read sheet music which sounds more intimidating than it is! Over time I introduce the rudiments as well as the more formal technical aspects of drumming according to the student’s preference. I also play guitar, bass and keyboards and can bring in guest musicians to help develop the accompaniment skills essential to all percussionists.
I also provide performance opportunities, showcase concerts and gigs to both my drum kit and tabla students.
I am a classically trained tabla player and have performed in a large number of concerts in the UK and abroad, both as a soloist and an accompanist. I have been teaching tabla since 1995. As regards drum kit, I was initially self taught since the age of 13. Learning Piano and Violin since primary school gave me the skills to read music and learn by ear which helped me progress quickly on the drums. I had been in around 15 bands (including many at the same time!) throughout school and university. Since then I took formal drum lessons and then taught my own students, at first just starting off beginners in the early 2000s in my free time around my career as a research chemist. Now I am teaching drums, tabla (and also Science!) full time in individual lessons and group classes at all levels.
I can provide half hour lessons as well!!! £16 for half an hour of high quality one-to-one teaching. Discounts available for group classes. I may also be able to waive travel charges for students living near the Woodford/Wanstead/Iford/Leytonstone area. For drum students who wish to learn in their own home, I also have a portable drum set that I may be able to bring along.
1992 - present
Drummer in 30+ bands ranging from pop, indie, singer-songwriter, big band jazz, swing, folk, funk, fusion, soul, R&B, hard rock, heavy metal and groove rock with several released recordings and songwriting credits and countless performances.
Tabla player, trained classical soloist (in the Farrukhabad style, in the lineage of Ustad Masit Khan, Pt Jnan Prakash Ghosh and own guru Pt Shiv Shankar Ray). Accompanist for vocal and instrumental North Indian and subcontinental classical, worship and popular music and dance. Tabla artiste in fusion groups and projects. Countless performances
2017 - present
Group Classes for Adults and Children on drum kit in Rotherhithe, London as part of a Southwark Council-funded initiative
2003 - present
Individual tabla lessons for adults and children
2003 - present
Individual drum kit lessons for adults and children
1995 - 2003
Group Classes in Tabla for beginners and intermediate students, adults and children at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Institute of Indian Culture, West Kensington, and other locations in London filling in for absences due to touring etc. for regular instructor (and my former teacher) Pandit Shiv Shankar Ray
Other teaching experience:
2006 to present
Tuition in Science for GCSE, and Chemistry for A-level and Degree level Chemistry and Pharmacy students.
Conducting Organic Chemistry workshops and practical classes at Queen Mary University of London. Training of postgraduate research students in synthetic organic chemistry techniques.
Tutor for 2nd year Organic Chemistry at St. Edmund's Hall, Oxford University.
Tutor for final year undergraduates at Wadham College, Oxford University.
Perfect! My daughter has just started learning Tabla, and since she is young, I had my reservations of her creating a good rapport with a tabla teacher. However, Ricky is young with a very positive attitude and has managed to engage her enthusiastically with his wide knowledge of all things percussion and not. Articulate and with a clear passion for the instrument, he has managed to ignite within her a passion to learn this amazing instrument. We hope for a long and fruitful journey ahead.
Musically gifted, bright and super-enthusiastic student with a very warm, welcoming and supportive family!! Grateful for such tabla-learners and hosts!!
Ricky has tutored my 15 year old daughter in GCSE Double Science as she has been off of school due to illness.
He is is a great teacher who has the ability to bring the syllabus to life. He is fun, enagaging and relatable.
My daughter has learnt a lot since working with him.
I am 6 years old and I have been learning tabla with Uncle Ricky for a year. I think my Tabla lessons are amazing because we learn exciting beats and bols (tabla language). Uncle Ricky is an extraordinary teacher because he’s so funny and he helps me to understand things by telling jokes. I have learnt so many compositions and variations that I cannot count them. I love my lessons because Uncle Ricky is so cool and plays the drums too. I look forward to my lessons because they are just so much fun!
Ricky is a patient, devoted and highly gifted teacher. We had been looking around for some time for a tabla teacher for our 5-year-old son. At the first lesson our son was engaged and felt comfortable enough to ask questions. We have been amazed at how Ricky has motivated our son who is willing to practice at home without much persuasion. Ricky is a generous teacher who goes to great lengths to make sure our son has understood a phrase and also shares loads of material and pieces. Ricky is an excellent musician who also has a keen understanding of drum kit, piano and vocal music which makes him a versatile teacher. Ricky is an outstanding teacher and we would definitely recommend him without hesitation.
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