Des Moines based percussionist Derek Dreier is an eclectic musician and educator, versed in a variety of musical traditions. Derek has a passion for teaching and outreach, as well as a deep commitment to his craft.

Derek performs regularly with the Omaha and Des Moines symphonies and is a member of Des Moines' Synergy Nonet and co-founder of Tributary, a collection of jazz musicians dedicated to spiritually informed music. Derek tours annually with International Steinway Artist Jim McDonough and previously participated in a national tour with Chicago's Close to You: The Music of the Carpenters.

Derek currently serves as percussion instructor at Urbandale and Hoover high schools and maintains a private studio. 

Derek's primary teachers include, Boston Symphony percussionist Will Hudgins, former timpanist of the National Symphony John Tafoya, Afro-Cuban specialist Michael Spiro, all-around percussion virtuoso Dane Richeson and drum set and latin percussionist (and father) James Dreier. He holds degrees from Lawrence University and Indiana University and completed two years of post-graduate work at the New England Conservatory.

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Derek is a naturally gifted teacher, with a wonderful ability to interact with people from all different backgrounds; it is immediately clear how dedicated he is to his craft, and how much he enjoys sharing it with others...In addition to his excellent work as a performer and educator, Derek is one of the most focused, driven, and professional graduate students I have ever worked with.
— Tanya Maggi, Director of Community Performances and Partnerships New England Conservatory


Derek’s teaching experience covers over 10 years of dedication to developing percussionists with a wide array of skill and experience.  He currently teaches percussion at Urbandale and Hoover high schools, and maintains a private studio at his home in Des Moines. Derek previously taught at the Beverly Arts Center on Chicago's south side, as well as Augustana College, Indiana University and Lawrence University's Academy of Music.  Derek is also available for online lessons via Skype.



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Herlin Riley Transcription

The transcription features Herlin Riley’s playing on “Evidence” from Wynton Marsalis Septet’s 1999 multi-disc release Live at the Village Vanguard. Monk’s writing, exemplified in “Evidence” is rhythmically unique, often jagged and deceptive, a quality which gives drummers many possibilities. Herlin’s choices are tasteful, organic and exploit the rhythmic opportunities Monk provides. Herlin plays with triplet vs. sixteenth and straight vs. swing ideas, and moves in and out of downbeat and offbeat oriented phrasing. All of which reflect the similar off-kilter effect the tune’s melody has. Also, notice the two busiest portions of the solo, (m.49-56 and m.73-76). The first example phrases triplets, with the latter phrasing sixteenths, demonstrating smart soloistic flow and development. With its phrasing, and creative rhythmic ideas, this transcription stands out as a fun and excellent example of musical drumming.

Download Transcription [PDF] - Notation Guide [PDF] - Evidence Performance (Wynton Marsalis Septet) [MP3]

Jack Dejohnette Transcription

"Just in Time" from Keith Jarrett Trio's Standards in Norway (Beginning - through drum "solo") Click below for the music! And listen to the recording here.