Neil Bettencourt - Drums

(831) 332-2534 |    |

Neil Bettencourt.jpeg

I have 44 years of drumming experience, most as a professional. I love playing, but my passion is teaching others which I have been doing for the past 25 years. I am great with kids, and I have taught many adults. I have numerous students who developed into pro drummers.

My first six years drumming I studied with a member of the San Francisco Symphony who was also the house drummer at Bimbos in SF. Under his tutelage I developed a mastery of classical drums while also gaining an understanding of the modern approach to the drum set. I have had the honor to play with some top notch musicians over the years.

My teaching method includes:

  • Reading all levels in both snare drum and full drum set Focused snare drum and sticking technique
  • Focused drum set and “feet techniques”
  • How to “groove”
  • Dynamics
  • Fills, posture and relaxation techniques for greater speed and endurance
  • One hour lessons include learning to “groove” with a bass player (via accompaniment on the Chapman stick)
  • All levels are welcome and all styles are covered - rock, jazz, funk, swing, reggae, fusion, ska and more – just ask!

Student Testimonials:

I’ve had two lessons so far with Neil, and he impresses me as an authentically positive and patient man and teacher. As an ‘over 50’ person and just learning snare (and later the set), I’ve been happy his method of teaching matches my learning style. He listens to what I feel I need to learn my best (and stay motivated through the times I’m not feeling confident), and he adjusts whatever he had planned to meet my needs. I think I’ve also improved in just a couple of weeks, as a result. Yay! I look forward to many more lessons with Neil, and to much more growth as a budding embryo drummer!
— Robin Acosta
Neil is an amazing drummer and teacher! He started me off in high school on a practice pad (and anything else I could get my sticks on), he helped my buy a killer kit, and got me thoroughly addicted to drumming of all flavors. Even as a teenager just starting out, Neil always treated me like a completely capable equal. He is totally laid back but somehow always manages to get you so excited about drumming and eager to learn more. He is also highly encouraging, and keeps you on point, challenging you to constantly improve. Of course he taught me the basics, but interspersed that with so many new styles and techniques at the perfectly tailored pace to make me never lose interest. He taught me how to sight read and work through complex pieces, how to improvise like a boss, how to play with other musicians, and rock all sorts of crazy time signatures. Learning how to play so many different styles of drums also gave me a beautiful window into whole worlds of new music that I have carried with me far beyond my kit. I am so grateful for the skills he taught, but also for my ever-developing love and understanding of music that only a great teacher can plant.
— Kyla Haimovitz


Professional experience includes drumming with The Square Roots, The Road Hogs, The Room Shakers and many others.