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Drumming to His Own Beat

by Stephanie Rambo

Guest Horizon Reporter
Bright lights, speakers and amplifiers are connected to long black snake-like cords covering every square foot of the wooden stage of a Bellingham music venue. Ryan Hare, a drummer for 20 years, is hitting the skins at a local show, sharing the stage with other musicians. Hare is dressed in a black and white collared shirt and black dress pants. His feet, dressed in black Nikes are rocking back and forth to control pedals and stay in time. He is one constant movement on stage, and the crowd responds to every crash of the cymbals, and bah-boom of the bass drum.

Off the stage, Hare, 25, spends his time in the classroom, instructing students of all ages and skills levels on the drum kit. Hare spends weekdays giving private instruction, and weekends entertaining a crowd.

“Playing for a crowd is short-lived inspiration,” Hare said. “Teaching a student makes lasting impressions on their character.”

“Let’s begin with some warm-ups and stretches,” Hare said. His student Kristoff is 10 years old and ready to pound on the drum kit. There are three drum kits, an array of snare drums, an electronic drum machine and other instruments in Hare’s classroom. These are his learning tools, Hare says, and each student has access to them all. He spends most lessons accompanying his students with a bass guitar strapped around his shoulder, or percussive instruments at his fingertips.

“ I feel like I’m making a more positive impact on the world, Hare said of his work in the classroom.  “For me being a role-model for young students, than to be showing off on stage.”

One year ago, Hare received a phone call from a pro-drummer Paul Berryman, who was opening a music store in Bellingham. Berryman had read an online advertisement written by Hare and invited him to teach drum lessons.

Hare decided to move to Bellingham after his first lesson. Hare originally planned on moving to Seattle to perform in multiple bands.

“I felt like I had a new passion in life,” Hare said. “It was more than playing drums for an audience, it was a different rush.”

From having an audience of hundreds to a single fan every 30 to 60 minute lesson, Hare changed his perspective on being a musician.

Hare now teaches 16 students, and runs his own drum school after one year in Bellingham.

He first gripped drumsticks at age 5, and continued his passion for percussion for 20 years. Born and raised in Vermont, Hare participated in school band from fourth grade through high school, and also received private lessons twice a week with his school-band teacher, learning music theory drum kit technique and percussion.

After high school, Hare pursued his career in bands, playing with friends, and touring in the United States. For the next seven years, Hare performed all over the East Coast, from Boston to New York.

Boom, clap, boom, clat. The student smiles the beat, as his instructor, Hare, sings the rhythm, both focused, yet loose.

“We all have an internal beat, no two drummers sound the same,” Hare said. “No two lessons are the same. “The lesson plan for each student has to fit the inner-drummer, and the students unique learning style.”

Hare’s youngest student is 4, while the oldest is around 50, His other student’s range from 8 to 16 years old.

“The younger students are more of a challenge,” Hare said. “However, they are no more or less a pain than dealing with grown-ups on stage constantly arguing over solos, and how hard I have to hit the drums.”

“Austen is loving it, just loving it.” Pam Kahn, Austin’s mother, sits in the waiting room listening to her son lesson. Austin is another student of Hare’s he is 12 years old.

“He is extremely creative and passionate.” Kahn said of Hare. “He really connects with the younger guys,” Kahn said.

“Having the support and trust of so many parents with their children, keeps me satisfied,” he said.

“Each student has potential, and with every lesson they gain perspective, motivation and confidence to perform on stage,” Hare said. He hopes to be a member of the audience one day, where he will observe his students performing, he said.

Hare teaches his students how to develop skills to play with others and express their creative energy, “getting people directly involved in playing music,” he said.

Hare described his journey, “ From the classroom to the stage, then back to the classroom, a perfect circle”

Hare plans to expand his business, Wild Hare Drum School, and continue his growth as a teacher and musician.


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One thought on “Drumming to His Own Beat”

  1. Ryan is a wonderful guy and teacher. Ryan has been teaching at our music store here in Bellingham for some time now.
    Ryan’s students and there parents always seem very comfortable when around him…

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