Percussion instruments can be found on stage with the symphony orchestra, marching in a parade or a football game, swinging with the jazz band and making music in schools every day. Our faculty has the expertise to bring out the best player in you. Whether you are 9 or 89, the Conservatory is ready to help you begin and progress in mastery of your instrument.
Hand Drumming Discoveries
Ages 4 – 8
Support your child’s development in this energetic, exploratory hand drumming course. Your child will learn foundational rhythm patterns, temp, and drumming techniques in an inclusive group setting.
New Student Discount
$179 for six 30-minute lessons – Satisfaction Guaranteed
Private lessons are idea for fine tuning your musical skills or beginning to play a new instrument. Start your musical journey today with an introductory six-lesson package – satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!
> Call 414-276-5760 to begin
Instruments & Disciplines Offered
Bassoon · Clarinet · Drumset · English Horn · Euphonium · Flute · French Horn · Hand Drums · Mallet Instruments · Marimba · Oboe · Piccolo · Saxophone · Trumpet · Trombone · Tuba · Vibraphone
Woodwind & Brass: Classical · Jazz · Contemporary
Percussion: African Percussion · Afro-Caribbean Drumming · Classical · Orchestral Percussion
Tuition for private instruction ranges from $32-$35 per 30-minute lesson, $48-$52.50 for a 45-minute lesson, or $64-$70 for 60-minute lessons. View a full list of policies and student benefits here.
Participating in an ensemble is one of the most rewarding experiences a musician can have. Ensemble players enjoy collaboration with colleagues while playing an independent part and exploring new repertoire. The Conservatory’s program is open to string, piano, guitar, woodwind and brass players of all ages and levels.
- Supercharge your musical development
- Experience a rich and varied ensemble repertoire
- Make friends to last a lifetime!
- Ensembles receive weekly coachings and have the opportunity to perform regularly in both informal settings and at the beautiful Helen Bader recital hall in the McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion
Resident faculty ensemble We Six jazz sextet (Dave Bayles, drums) and Orquesta Tumbao, Latin jazz ensemble.
The teaching artists for percussion are gifted performers and skilled in nurturing students’ musical talents.
Percussion, Jazz Institute
Dave Bayles has performed with many well-known artists including Peter Bernstein, Slide Hampton, Barry Harris, David Hazeltine, Vincent Herring, Carolyn Leonhart, Brian Lynch, Joe Magnerelli, Kevin Mahogny, Jack McDuff, Bob Mintzer, Frank Morgan, James Moody, Kim Richmond, Jim Pugh, Steve March-Torme, Melvin Rhyne, Charles McPherson, Terell Stafford, Ernie Watts, Steve Wiest and Phil Woods.
Dave has appeared in numerous festivals and concert series, including Chicago Jazz Festival, Fox Jazz Fest, Third Ward Jazz Festival, Isthmus Jazz Festival, Trout Art Museum, Jazz in the Park and Jazz at Five (Madison). He performs regularly at jazz venues around the Midwest, including The Jazz Estate, Blu, Mason Street Grill, Pete Miller's, Andy's Jazz Club, The Green Mill and The Jazz Showcase.
In addition to keeping an active performance schedule, Dave is an accomplished educator and clinician, and is currently on the faculty at UW-Parkside, UW-Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Dave works with band directors throughout the Midwest organizing summer camps and clinics, and giving master classes on jazz, percussion and drum set.
Students taking private lessons with Dave are exceptionally prepared to study percussion at the undergraduate and graduate level, and many of his private students have become accomplished musicians and educators in their own right.
Dave earned a bachelor of arts in music education from UW-Milwaukee.
Devin Drobka, drummer, composer, and educator has been playing drums for the past 20 years. Devin is currently one of the most in demand performers and educators in the Midwest.
In 2009, Devin received his BMA in Jazz Drumming Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston where he had the chance to study with Terri Lynn Carrington, Bob Tamigni, Skip Hadden, Jamey Haddad, Kenwood Dennard, Jon Hazilla, Ralph Peterson, Jr., Ian Froman, and the master drummer Bob Moses. While at Berklee Devin performed with legends of the Jazz world such as Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Osby, Cecil McBee, Dave Santoro, Ed Tomassi, and Phil Grenadier.
While in Devin's last year at Berklee he was asked to play drums in the world famous Jerry Bergonzi Quartet which featured Phil Grenadier on Trumpet, Bruce Barth on piano and Dave Santoro on bass.
Devin moved to New York in 2010 to further his musical knowledge. While in New York he performed at Kitano's, Douglass St. Music Collective, Sycamore, Setai, Way Station, Branded Saloon, Barbes, and the Shapeshifter lab.
Devin has performed at the Tanglewood Jazz Fest, Eastside Jazz Fest, Salem Jazz Fest, and CMJ Festival NY.
Devin has performed with with Bruce Barth, Jerry Bergonzi, Tony Malaby, Joe Solomon, Dave Santoro, Mario Pavone, Matt WIlson, Tadataka Unno, Dan Tepfer, Joe Martin, Tom Chang, Chris Tordini, Lena Bloch, Kyle Wilson, Ben Wendall, Jorge Roeder, Dan Blake, Tyler Blanton, Dmitry Ishenko, Sean Conly.
Devin moved back to Milwaukee in 2013 and quickly established himself as a go-to educator. In addition to WCM, Devin teaches at the West End Conservatory, Lake Country Conservatory, and gives private lessons out of his home. Devin is also teaching drumset and helping coach the combos at UW-Whitewater.
In 2015, Devin began recording for the Hal Leonard Corporation. Devin is playing drums on the Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Trumpet Ballads play along series.
Devin is also the founder of UnrehearsedMKE, which is one of the longest running local improvised music series.
You can catch Devin performing with his group Bell Dance Songs, Lesser Lakes Trio, Johannes Wallamann Group, Paul Silbergliet Trio, Dim Lighting, Argopelter, Lady Cannon, John Christensen's Atlas, and Soft Alarm.
Chair — Woodwind, Brass & Percussion, Oboe, Early Childhood, General Music
Meaghan Heinrich is Chair of the Woodwind, Brass & Percussion Department at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, where she teaches oboe, early childhood music, and K-5 general music classes. Prior to coming to the Conservatory, she was Manager of Learning Programs and Community Engagement for The Cleveland Orchestra, where she continues to present guest workshops and pre-concert lectures. In her previous position as Education Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Heinrich spearheaded the development and implementation of a strategic plan for new education programs, including the creation of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Ms. Heinrich holds degrees in oboe performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BM) and Rice University (MM). As an oboist, she spent four years (two as Co-Artistic Director) touring nationally with the multi-disciplinary ensemble Tales & Scales, including appearances on family concerts with the Dallas Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and Louisville Orchestra. She performs regularly with orchestras in the greater Milwaukee area, and is a frequent guest speaker for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s “Meet the Music” pre-concert talks.
Principal Percussion of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra beginning with the 2017/18 season, Ryan Kahlbaugh graduated from Manhattan School of Music in 2006 completing a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. His teachers included Jim Preiss, of the Steve Reich Ensemble, Duncan Patton, of the MET Opera Orchestra, and Chris Lamb, of the New York Philharmonic. Graduate studies continued at DePaul University in Chicago, earning a Master of Music ('08) and Performance Certificate ('10). While at DePaul, he studied with Ted Atkatz, formerly of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mark Damoulakis, of the Cleveland Orchestra, Eric Millstein and Mike Green, both of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Grant Park Festival Orchestra.
While a student at DePaul University, he participated in the Music Academy of the West festival in Santa Barbara, CA as well as the Pacific Music Festival, held in Sapporo, Japan and concluding in a five day tour to Osaka and Tokyo.
He frequently performs with the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including tours to California and Carnegie Hall with Music Director Riccardo Muti. He has also recorded percussion and drum set for the Fireside Theater's (Ft. Atkinson, WI) production of Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, It's A Wonderful Life, Peter Pan and Sister Act as well as for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of The Color Purple and Dreamgirls. He has been teaching at the Wisconsin Conservatory since 2014 and as adjunct instructor of percussion at Carroll University since the fall of 2017.
Cecilio Negron Jr
WCM Conservatory Connections faculty since 2005. Cecilio “Ceeloe” Negron, Jr., born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, comes from a family of musicians and performers whose lineage can be traced to Puerto Rico and further back to Africa and Spain. During his childhood both his father and uncle played major roles in the Midwest music scene as musicians, promoters and bandleaders, and Cecilio started his music studies at the age of five at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. While in high school, he studied in the school music program and learned to read music, music theory, play drum-set and concert percussion, earning him top honors in solo and state competitions. Cecilio began playing professionally by the age of 16 and at 21 embarked on his solo career, working to develope himself as an artist and teacher. In 2000, Cecilio started working with Milwaukee Public Theatre, teaching arts residencies, drumming and touring in several theatre productions. Now Cecilio can be found performing with many successful local and national acts, and he has an extensive resume of performances at numerous local and national community centers, schools, business, arenas, clubs, music venues and private events. Working with several art organizations Cecilio currently designs, manages, and facilitates his own musical ensembles, drumming workshops, drum circles, drum and dance residencies, drum making workshops, educational presentations, and musical performances.
WCM faculty member since 2008. Bony Plog-Benavides is a native of Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied with Cuban percussionist Frank Calzadilla. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a concentration on Percussion Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where she studied with David Bayles. In May 2008, she finished her Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology at Arizona State University. Her thesis research focused on the popularization of Gaita Music, a musical tradition of Northern Colombia. While at ASU, Mrs. Plog-Benavides studied with African music scholar Mark Sunkett and renowned drummer Dom Moio. At ASU she performed with the ASU Latin Jazz Band, Brazilian Bateria, Javanese Gamelan, Latin Marimba Band, and African Drum Ensemble. Locally she has appeared with the Racine Concert Band, Kenosha Pops Concert Band, and local musicians, such as Mike Plog, David Bayles, Luis Diaz, Dan Trudell, Bill Bonifas, and Jeno Somlai.
Coordinator and Faculty — Percussion, Jazz Institute
Mitch Shiner began playing drums at age eight and has been studying percussion since age nine. For Mitch, music has as always been about connecting with an audience. Whether on stage or on a recording, his vibrant, high-energy style permeates every performance.
Shiner, drummer and vibraphonist, graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies. In addition, he received a prestigious Performer’s Certificate for completion of an outstanding senior recital. Mitch studied under Professors Steve Houghton and Michael Spiro.
Currently based in Milwaukee, Mitch is an in-demand performer, active educator, and composer. He performs with groups of all genres and styles, including Mix and Match, CNJ Latin Jazz, Mark Davis Quartet, Foreign Goods, Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra and Present Music.
In 2014, Mitch released his debut CD, FLY! to critical acclaim. The album features The BloomingTones Big Band, made up of his colleagues and mentors from Indiana University. FLY! invites listeners on a musical journey with five original compositions and five out-of-the-box arrangements. Mitch is a recording artist for Patois Records, a label fronted by Grammy-nominated trombonist Wayne Wallace.
Mitch gains as much inspiration from playing and composing music as he does from teaching others about music. Recently he has conducted masterclasses at UW-Parkside, University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Park Tudor School, and Nicolet High School. He was one of the featured clinicians for the 2015 Summerfest Big Band Camp, along with Curt Hanrahan and Mike Steinel. He currently is the Director of Percussion Studies at Cedarburg High School. He teaches percussion at several Milwaukee public schools through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Conservatory Connections program.
Mitch is a proud endorsing artist for Mike Balter Mallets. Balter’s wide range of percussion products allow percussionists of all levels to give perform at their highest musical potential.