Percussion Lessons At The Conservatory


Percussion Lessons At The Conservatory

Wisconsin’s Top Percussion Program

Whether you are first exploring the world of percussion or are well on your journey, the Conservatory Percussion faculty will guide you on your voyage. Offering individual and group instruction in drum set, orchestral percussion, rudimental studies, keyboard percussion, and hand percussion, the Conservatory is a perfect place to focus your craft or broaden your percussive palette.

Ages: All Ages
Locations:  Bayside/Fox Point, Downtown Milwaukee, Brookfield, Online


New Student Lesson Discount

$215 for six 30-minute lessons

In-person and online Zoom lessons give you access to more than 90 skilled faculty members for any instrument and genre. Join a community of more than 10,000 students and schedule your first lessons today!



african drumming

Percussion Lessons At The Conservatory

What You Can Expect

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. The Conservatory’s percussion program will provide:

  • A welcoming and inclusive learning environment.
  • Solo and ensemble performance opporuntites, both informal and in recital format.
  • The chance to learn new rhythms and drumming techniques while exploring a vast repertoire.
  • Students between the ages of 9-14 can participate in Band Beginnings for a comprehensive music education.



Percussion Scholarship Auditions


2023-24 Scholarship Auditions

Through generous financial support of our donors, the Conservatory annually awards merit scholarships to new and current students. These merit scholarships are meant to reward accomplishment, effort, and to encourage our talented students to further their skills. The Conservatory’s scholarship auditions provide a wonderful opportunity for students to have a professional assessment of their abilities within a positive and supportive environment.

Auditions for the 2023-2024 school year will take place on March 5, 2023. 




* The online application for New Students will be available on January 5, 2023. Current Conservatory students should request a scholarship audition application from their private lesson instructor. 



Jazz & Contemporary Music

The Conservatory’s new Jazz & Contemporary Music offerings will continue to preserve and share the unique heritage of American Jazz — a longstanding WCM tradition — while celebrating its proud heritage that is ever present in the music of today.


boys playing trombone

For Ages 9 – 14

Percussion Beginnings Package

In addition to individual music lessons and classes, kids & teens can enroll in several comprehensive packages that include a group class, private lesson, and music theory component.


Dad and Daughters Together

Open for Percussion Students

Music Theory Classes

Create compositions, learn basic piano skills, and better understand the music that you create with our new Music Theory classes – now available for all ages.

Music Theory Classes can be taken individually or bundled with a private lesson and group class (Conservatory Prep package), for a comprehensive musical experience.

Learn More

Jazz Camp 2020

For Students with 2+ Years of Experience & Beyond

Intermediate & Advanced Programs

Students with at least two or more years on their instrument can enroll in an ensemble or audition for the Advanced Chamber Music Institute and the Honors Jazz Institute.

Dad and Daughters Together

Open to Percussion Students

Music Theory Classes

Create compositions, learn basic piano skills, and better understand the music that you create with our new Music Theory classes – now available for all ages.

Music Theory Classes can be taken individually or bundled with a private lesson and group class (Conservatory Prep package), for a comprehensive musical experience.


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Percussion Faculty

Meet Our Teachers


Eliana Alcocer


  • Bachelor of Music, Percussion Performance | University of Wisconsin-Parkside


  • Joined the WCM team in 2020.
  • Instructs, collaborates, and performs in a variety of settings.
  • Teaches through Ravinia’s Reach, Teach, Play program.
  • Received the Percussive Arts Societies’ Ludwig Industries Scholarship.
  • Was a soloist for the 2018 Wisconsin Days of Percussion.
  • Was a featured recitalist for the BMO noon concert series at UW-Parkside.

Anna Desfor


B.M.- University of Illinois at Chicago
M.M.- Stephen F. Austin State University


Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I wanted to work with teachers and students that would push my own levels of creativity and musicality

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

While at UIC, Dr. Jose Riojas always took the time to connect with students and see everyone as an individual; this made him an incredible leader in front of ensembles and a trusted friend off the podium.

What year did you start working at WCM?


Benjamin Haimann

Chair – Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion


  • Bachelor’s Degree, Music Education, Music Performance | Ohio State University
  • Master’s Degree, Music Performance | University of South Carolina


  • Began his musical studies at age nine, playing drum set and taking private percussion lessons.
  • Coached the percussion ensemble and spent time conducting the wind ensemble as a Teaching Assistant and Counselor for the Instrumental Music Program at The North Carolina Governor’s School East(summers of 2014-2015).
  • Was the Front Ensemble Instructor with the Grove City High School Marching Band, including a trip to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California (2016-2017).
  • Received the prestigious Presser Foundation Scholarship while studying at Ohio State.
  • Worked as a Graduate Assistant for the University of South Carolina percussion studio and was the percussionist for the Spark Collective, a graduate quintet focusing on community engagement through music.
  • Won the concerto competition at the University of South Carolina in 2018 and performed Kevin Puts’ Marimba Concerto No. 1 with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
  • Enjoys practicing marimba, making coffee, and hanging out with his dog, Lila.

Hannah Johnson


  • Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music


  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in January 2019.
  • Teaches and plays various styles of music on the drum set, specializing in jazz.
  • Plays with her modern jazz quartet in the Milwaukee area.
  • Featured as an instructor for the Vic Firth video series “Inside the Teaching Studio” entitled How to Sound Like Elvin Jones.
  • Has played with musicians such as Leni Stern, Ingrid Jensen, and Jamie Baum.
  • Enjoys teaching the bucket drumming and world percussion classes through the Conservatory Connections program, as well as private percussion lessons.

Ryan Kahlbaugh


  • Bachelor of Music, Percussion Performance | Manhattan School of Music
  • Master of Music | DePaul University
  • Performance Certificate | DePaul University


  • Has been teaching at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since 2014.
  • Teaching a wide range of students, special areas of training include concert snare drum, xylophone, marimba, timpani, and drum set.
  • Performs extensively with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with tours to Carnegie Hall, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
  • Began as Principal Percussion of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra in the 2017/18 season.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Mitchell Shiner

Chair, Jazz & Contemporary Music


  • Bachelor of Music, Emphasis in Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
  • Performer’s Certificate for Senior Recital


  • WCM faculty member since 2016.
  • Began playing drums at age eight and has been studying percussion since age nine.
  • Co-leads tour-de-force fusion group, “Match Stick,” which released a self-titled album in 2019.
  • Released his debut CD, “FLY!”, in 2014, which invites listeners on a musical journey of original compositions and out-of-the-box arrangements for 20-piece big band.
  • Featured clinician for the 2015 Summerfest Big Band Camp, along with Curt Hanrahan and Mike Steinel.
  • Conducted masterclasses at UW-Parkside, University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Park Tudor School, and Nicolet High School.
  • Teaches percussion at several Milwaukee public schools through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Conservatory Connections program.

Paul Westfahl


  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Percussion Performance, Composition and Jazz Studies | University of Wisconsin-Parkside


  • Paul Westfahl is an active performer and educator in Southeast Wisconsin.
  • Paul has worked with many Milwaukee organizations including The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s ACE program, UWM Dance Department, Danceworks, Young Dance Academy and The Milwaukee Children’s Choir to name a few.
  • In addition to working with dancers and maintaining a demanding freelance performing schedule as a drummer and percussionist, Paul leads and composes for several of his own projects.
  • Is also involved as a sideman and co-conspirator/performer/composer with dozens of ensembles throughout the Milwaukee area.
  • Since 2015, Paul has dedicated himself to studying tabla and is a disciple of Pandit Hindole Majumdar.


Girl Playing The Violin

Music Education For The Community

Community Partnerships

Does your school, church, early childhood center, public library, senior center, or community organization have a need for quality music education programs in the Milwaukee area? The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music offers community programs to match your need!