... I had to tell you, thanks because you’re an awesome teacher and have helped me get somewhere I needed to be, but most importantly, you’ve inspired me to want to be so much better that I ever knew was possible...
— Kirsten Haaland, Drummer


An Accomplished drummer with over 40 years of private teaching experience, Russ believes that coaching benefits musicians at all levels. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Russ has personally studied with several world-class instructor/performers including David Garibaldi (Tower of Power), Alan Dawson (Jazz Master who played with Dexter Gordon among others), Bob Moses (Pat Metheny), John Riley, and Gary Chaffee.

Russ uses a completely customized approach that focuses on the students interests and goals. He believes that it's important to keep studies true to real world drumming so that exercises are relevant to what is in the students ear and heart. Russ continues,  "Really, all drum exercises should have rhythm in mind, some phrase that puts the exercise into musical context. That way the work the student is doing can be immediately applied to the drums and turned into music!"

His unique approach is featured in the book "Phrasing": Advanced Rudiments for Creative Drumming" published by Hal Leonard and is available on Amazon.


  • Rock        

  • Funk

  • Latin

  • Fusion

  • New Orleans

  • Reggae

  • Afro-Pop


  • Time Keeping

  • Soloing

  • Chart Reading

  • Big Band

  • Rudiments

  • Polyrhythms

  • Linear Grooves

More Quotes:

Russ has been my teacher for over ten years; he has helped me immensely in going from being a rank beginner to backing an amateur rock band who is now gigging around. He has always struck the right balance between focusing on the serious, fundamental ‘chops’ and making sure I’m having fun and working towards practical, use-able techniques which help get our audiences up and dancing. He is fun and friendly to work with; and a dependable, straight-shooter of an independent business man. Also, my son was a student of Russ’ for many years as well, which culminated in his attaining his Degree in Jazz Performance from NYU two years ago. Now that’s the real deal!

— Ted R. San Francisco, CA
I look forward to seeing Russ every week. I had no experience with drums before starting lessons with Russ and now I feel confident sitting in front of a kit and reading music. Russ has a warm, funny, and clear teaching demeanor that makes complicated techniques feel accessible. I feel like my goal of playing live music is something I can actually accomplish thanks to my drum lessons with Russ. I highly recommend him.
— Natasha A. San Francisco, CA
I have been playing for about 4 years, and play in public (bars, clubs, festivals) 2-3 times per month with a couple of bands, mostly rock and country music. Russ has radically improved the quality of my playing, starting with much better stick control and musicality, and continuing right through to more complex, funkier grooves. Learning from Russ has made me more confident playing in public. I also had a chance recently to take my new skills into the recording studio with serious professional players and we emerged with a CD we were all proud of. Thank you, Russ! Whatever your skill level, Russ can move you forward and make you stronger. His repertoire is also very broad, including jazz, funk, rock, country, hand percussion, etc.
— Marco H. San Francisco, CA
Russ has been an incredibly patient and attentive teacher. His practice suggestions are spot on, and I always learn a ton and feel inspired to stick with it. He’s honest and pushes me just hard enough, but always makes it overwhelmingly fun to play. Can’t wait for my next lesson or to get back on the kit.
He’s also opened my eyes to a ton of new music that I would have never appreciated before, guided me to some amazing shows, and basically made me fall back in love with music. Highly recommended!
— Paul K. South San Francisco, CA
This was our first drum lesson ever and Russ made it extremely fun learning for my 11yr older. My son has been learning Piano for last 4 years but now inclined towards his new found passion, “Drums”. I wanted to take him to a good teacher so I can understand if this passion is for real or just because his friends play drums. Mr. Gold made it a fun learning class and once we left the class, my son couldn’t stop talking about his teacher Russ and his Technics. We are surely are going to continue learning drums I guess
— Chitra S. San Jose, CA
Highly recommended. I am currently a drummer employed on a cruise ship and making several stops in San Francisco throughout the summer. Always on the lookout for new teachers and feedback, I decided to study with Russ during my time in SF. In just a few lessons I’ve picked up some very valuable information that has made a real impact on how I play. Russ has helped me with very clear and practical advice on playing musically in different styles, technical information on how to articulate with a more consistent sound on the drums, and his book “Phrasing” is filled with useful and musical exercises.
By working through some material in “Phrasing” and watching his demonstrations of how to practice the material has stimulated my imagination in new ways and given me ideas for applying the material in my own personal way. Most important, Russ has many years of professional experience and has offered very helpful feedback and advice that improves my playing “on the gig.”

— Andre C. Paso Robles, CA
I recently started taking drum lessons from Russ Gold and I am very pleased with the approach he uses in teaching me the proper techniques and methods of drumming. With the exception of some formal high school drum lessons many many decades ago, I am basically self taught, occasional watching some YouTube videos for basic drumming techniques. After doing this for quite a while I became frustrated and realized I was not improving, nor becoming an actual drummer. I was just a guy playing the drums.

Russ has made an immediate impact on me, starting out by telling me how I had been improperly holding the sticks, and how this limited my ability to progress. Even though I have been playing the drums, he starts out with the basics; stick control, wrist and hand position, posture, bass drum foot positioning and how to have a good rebound, hi-hat and cymbal hand/wrist position, counting out each measure aloud, and so on and so forth. As I am playing back my lessons, he is not only listening carefully, he is watching me for proper techniques, and stopping/correcting me on the spot when needed.

Russ is teaching me primarily from his Berklee Press published book “Phrasing”. This is a great book, and again, starts out with the basics, and progresses to very complicated grooves and fills. He explains the importance of building a drumming vocabulary of “phrasing”, and applying it to real situations. So, this is not a book on just learning drum techniques, it is applying the learned techniques, phrases and rudiments to various types of music. This is a gradual process that is instructional, and a lot of fun.

Russ is not only a great drummer, he has a very natural ability to teach others, has lots of patience, and a good sense of humor. Both the teacher and the student are enjoying this.

I feel very fortunate to be able to take private lessons from Russ, and I highly recommend him, as well as his exceptional book to anyone who wants to become a drummer, or a drummer who wants to excel further in their career.

— Ernie G San Bruno, Ca


Russ is available to present group clinics demonstrating approaches and exercises from his book "Phrasing: Advanced Rudiments for Creative Drumming", including talks on musicality, groove and concepts for stage and theater drumming.