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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.

In June of 2017 Derek was named Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Omaha Symphony. In addition to his work in Omaha, Derek is a member of Des Moines' Synergy Nonet and co-founder of Tributary, a collection of jazz musicians dedicated to spiritually informed music. 

Derek's primary teachers include, Boston Symphony percussionist Will Hudgins, former National Symphony timpanist 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's Jacobs School of Music and completed two years of post-graduate work at the New England Conservatory.

Derek's other passions include a love of sports and exercise. An avid runner, Derek is a three time marathoner, including, most recently, the 2017 Boston Marathon.



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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. 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 currently accepting students at his Omaha studio and online via Skype.



Lessons for drum set or percussion can be purchased below.

Lesson Options
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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.

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