John Sayre Music

Piano Lessons • Drum Lessons

Peabody Conservatory graduate. Served 10 years as USAF bandsman. Big band, rock band, orchestra, contemporary church, drum line. Performed with Virginia and Richmond Symphonies, at the Kennedy Center, and for opening ceremonies of 2012 Super Bowl. Here to help you learn to play along with your favorite songs, start a band, or prepare for All-County/All-State Band auditions.

Week 2 of rudiment only lessons.

Next week back to drum set, promise 😁

Snare drum is the foundation that allows us the grace and freedom to express ourselves on the drums beyond smashing them loudly (as fun as that can be). "The best are better at the basics"

Multiplication comes before learning physics.

HTML5 and CSS before ya make the big bucks designing fancy websites.

Maybe I'm getting old. Or perhaps I am beginning to see a bit clearer even as my 20/20 slowly slips away.

Simple things turn out to be not so simple when we shoot for mastery.

Here are some rhythms I go over with all my students (and still work to perfect myself).

The best are better at the basics, so let's work on the basics.

Getting all musical and such with our single stroke roll. Crescendo and decrescendo.

Drums have a knack for making loud noises, but they can also be played quietly with a bit of practice.


"Stick Control" for the drum set

Here's a few ways to apply the classic snare drum book "Stick Control" to the drum set.

The best are better at the basics.

Do the basics.

Then do them again.

Music ed isn’t a luxury. All of our children should be learning music

"Learning an instrument and playing in a band enhances diverse modes of thinking and cognition."

Sharing a great article posted by Frederick Children's Chorus about benefits of playing music.

The article mentions 'metacognition', or, learning how to learn. That is a recurring theme in my own teaching; I want students to play the piano or drums well, of course, but the larger lesson is that they are learning the skills and habits necessary to tackle other subjects and disciplines too. Learning music can increase thinking skills, enrich strategies for learning and creativity, and enhance connections across subjects. We keep discovering more reasons to foreground music education i…

Back Beat w/ Unusual Accent Patterns

A bit of practice time tonight.

Take the back beat we all know ("Billie Jean", "Back in Black" etc) and use it as a jumping off point for more ideas.

Here I'm just accented the hi hat in some unusual ways and using it as a way to make sure I am in control of every beat, and know where I am in a 4 measure phrase.

Rudiments are the gift that keeps on giving.

Try playing single paradiddles as 8ths, triplets, 16ths, 16th note triplets.

See what solo/fill ideas you can come up with from just 1 rudiment. Quite a few.


Endurance Exercise

Here's an endurance exercise for drummers.

By George Stone (wrote the snare drum classic "Stick Control"), taught to his student, Joe Morello of drumming renown.

Footsteps In the Dark

No school like the old school they say.

Working on an Isley Brothers tune with the young man.

Anyone know it?

Hitting some #dozenaday #piano warm ups. Great book if you are looking to get started.

Classic Albums Live: David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

This is going to be good! Favorite songs like “Moonage Daydream,” “Starman,” “It Ain’t Easy,” “Hang On to Yourself,” “Suffragette City,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” and, of course, the title track, tell the story of a doomed rock star who acts as a messenger for aliens on the eve of Earth’s destru...

Brushing off the rust 1st week back. #rudiments ! #backtobasics

Learning Chords with Phineas & Ferb

Using a song from the kids' show "Phineas & Ferb" to learn some chords.

Why not? Meet people where they are. If your student is in elementary school, then use music popular with elementary schoolers to teach them some fundamentals.

If your band is in the Frederick, MD area then check out this opportunity to perform on Carroll Creek in 2020.

We're excited to announce that the 2020 Alive @ Five Call for Bands is officially OPEN! If your band would like to be considered, apply online at Deadline for entry is January 31.

All band members MUST be at least 21 years of age in order to perform.

Alive @ Five is an outdoor happy hour on Carroll Creek from 5-8PM every Thursday, May 7th to September 24th. Each event features live music, local food and drinks, and a glorious evening of fun under the summer sun.

Learning to read music is a very important skill, but so is memorizing. We Wish You a Merry Christmas performed by a young man who never needs to be reminded to practice.

#paradiddle #groove for a right handed student that wants to try playing left hand lead. I'm all for it. @coffey_music

Playing an Instrument Improves Creativity & More

Follow the link to read about just a few of the benefits of playing a musical instrument. We live in a rapidly changing world where new technologies seem to pop up over night, often bringing a solution to one set of problems while opening the door to new challenges. We need people that can find solutions to ...

Check out these Cyber Monday deals from The Weinberg in Frederick, MD.
Deanna Bogart, Beatles tribute band, and more.
Great venue with easy parking and plenty of nearby restaurants to choose from for an evening out.

Cyber Monday deals are here!! Check out all of our discounted shows. Sale ends at 11:59 PM tonight. #cybermonday #weinbergcenter #weinbergcenterforthearts

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, . . . Am I Providing Opportunities Reflecting All? - NAfME

I recently met the author of this article, Lori Schwartz Reichl, while helping out with auditions for an honor band program in Howard County, Maryland.

It is a very interesting read, I think especially for those of us that grew up in a fairly homogenous cultural/racial environment.

My favorite passage in the article is a quote from a music educator in Pittsburgh:

"...we want our students to have both mirrors and windows, so they can see themselves and see into other cultures reflected in the work."

A fine goal indeed. Happy reading! Lori Schwartz Reichl asks: How are we as music educators reflecting our students in the composers, clinicians, and guest conductors brought before them?

Health Benefits of Group Drumming

Just another reason drumming is a good thing. Ain't science interesting. Humans have been playing drums for a long time. A very, very long time. Clay drums dating back to 6000 BCE were found in Moravia in central Europe. There are 2800 year old Ethiopian cave paintings depicting animal hid...

The Eric Byrd Trio performs “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Live! What has become an annual tradition in the DMV now comes to the Weinberg Center for the very first time. For years now, Washington-native Eric Byrd has been performing the iconic soundtrack from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with his trio at venues across DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The show begin...

Music Business Tips: Building a Teaching Studio Part 2

Part 2. Tips and resources to help build a teaching studio. In Part 1 we went over some of the reasons that people choose to teach music lessons, and, some reasons not to teach (the "fall back"). As promised, in this post we will learn about ways to make your teaching studio a m...

Music Business Tips: Building a Teaching Studio Part 1 If you are a musician, then chances are you have taught lessons, thought about teaching, or have friends and colleagues who teach. In this two-part post, I want to give you a few things to think about that should help y...

Karen...for L to work on this week.

Yay for free software. Using MuseScore 2 to save time in piano lessons.

Keep the Peace: Low Volume Gifts for Drummers It is very easy to play a drum loudly. Drums were used by many cultures as a form of communication on the battlefield. Ottoman Janissary bands, the British and Colonial American armies, and ancient Greece all took adva...

Music Can Help Meet Fitness Goals The holiday season, with all its perks and temptations, is just around the corner. Family, friends, time off from work and school--all served with a side of cookies, cakes, and pies.

Drum lessons are more fun with the #jackson5

Create Your Halloween Playlist When our kids were very young we would take them to trick-or-treat early and then get them home for their toddler bedtimes. However, our night was far from over.

Teach Your Child Music on a Budget We all want the best for our children, whether they attend public/private school or are homeschooled. We want to nourish them on healthy fare for their bodies and their minds--to offer them a balanced and well-rounded e...

Live Music in and Around Frederick There are so many reasons to go out and hear live music. For one, it is just plain fun. But it can also reduce stress and anxiety, make people more empathetic, and improve sleep. Read all about it here, here, and here.

Getting Started with the Drums Step One: Find a drum set. I know, you already know that. But let's talk about what we mean by "drum set". Here is a drum set:

For Dr. Jim...chord inversions.

Getting Started with the Piano

A few thoughts on beginning to play the piano...namely, do it! (It's a lot of fun). Step One: you guessed it, get a piano. Well, this is only partly true. If you are hesitant to make the financial investment into a high quality acoustic piano, then just find yourself a keyboard instead. Sure, in a pe...

Tricky groove for a young drummer--lesson last night w/ my 8 yr old buddy Stephen. #chameleon #herbiehancock

Part 2 for Diana..."The Ocean", Led Zeppelin.

Here ya go Diana. From lessons today. The outline of the groove to "Twist" by Phish.

Sight-reading a song a student wants to learn...from the show Phineas and Ferb. Really fun song. Good show too.

Dusting off some classical music today. A bit of Brahms in T shirt and jeans...keeping it classy.

Love this Chick Corea tune..."Spain". Had a chance for some practice time yesterday.

"The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby lesson for Nick.

Our Story

Hi, I’m John and I like to make music. I teach drum set and piano lessons in Thurmont, MD and Westminster, MD at Coffey Music ( As a teacher, I’m a big fan of simplicity and learning by doing, and not so much by lecturing. For drum lessons I like to use the books “Stick Control” by Stone, “Syncopation” by Reed, and my own book “First Steps with the Drum Set” available here. We also play drums along to numerous recordings to keep things fun and to learn some real-world skills.

For piano lessons I like “A Dozen a Day” by Burnam and “Piano for the Young Beginner” by Bastien. Technique, scales, and reading are very important, but I also like to teach chord progressions to classic pop/country/rock songs as soon as possible. Again, this keeps lessons fun and focused on the real-world application of the theory.

I also perform on a regular basis as a freelance drummer, most often with Cutting Edge Dueling Pianos ( from Baltimore, MD, the Philly Keys ( out of Philadelphia, PA, and The Flying Ivories ( in NYC and Philadelphia.

From 2006-2016 I served in the U.S. Air Force as a musician where I played in several groups to include; big band, rock band, jazz combos, concert band and more.

In 2003 I graduated from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University where I studied percussion under Robert Van Sice.

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Videos (show all)

"Stick Control" for the drum set
Back Beat w/ Unusual Accent Patterns
Endurance Exercise
Footsteps In the Dark
Learning Chords with Phineas & Ferb





31 E. Main St
Thurmont, MD

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 21:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 21:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 21:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 21:00
Sunday 09:00 - 21:00
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