John and one of his students for lesson at student’s home.

John and one of his students for lesson at student’s home.

So, what does drumming mean to you? Rhythmic explorations, the joy of making a big sound, playing a groove in the headphones along with your favorite song, or furiously pounding away on the loudest of all acoustic instruments...?

What ever you are into, I am here and will take you there and beyond. I will have openings this fall for new students, weekday afternoons and evenings starting the week of September 2nd. Join me for lessons in my little Mile-End studio... Hope to hear from you!

”The only thing that can trump John’s phenomenal skill as a musician and mind-blowing knowledge of the history and theory of drums, is his intuitive ability to teach all of it.”
...more testimonials

Levels Taught


  • Basic grip and hand technique

  • Fundamental rudiments

  • Basic drum beats

  • Turn the beat into a “groove”

  • Time keeping philosophy, the internal clock: meter+time+sound= music


  • Intermediate technique, applied rudiments

  • Increase your musical vocabulary

  • Digging a deeper groove

  • Playing musically, dynamically

  • Learn different styles of music

Advanced Master Classes

  • Further application of technique and advanced rudimental studies

  • Polyrhythms

  • Odd meters and odd subdivision

  • Developed speed and endurance

  • Learning diverse styles and difficult music


Availability: Weekday afternoons and evenings

Studio Equipment: Acoustic and electronic kits, instruments for accompaniment

Location: Home studio in the Mile-End neighbourhood of Montréal

Languages: English et français

Background & Method

I teach students of all ages and skill levels, and have been doing so regularly since 2006. In this time I have developed a method based on the importance of fundamentals and musicality. Meter, time, sound, the song = music… Musical drumming is what i teach, it is what i have learned in my years in the business, and what i continue to learn every day. Get in touch with the drummer within you, make some sound, release your inner rhythms!

I work with all of my students from my book Groove and Technique, and am in the process of completing an updated version for online publication, Groove and Technique Plus, which extends and expands on the original. I am also familiar with other established drum books and methods, and can tailor the lessons based on the desires and needs of the individual. I stress the importance of the rudiments, but always give context when instructing in technique… i attempt to answer the question why, when applying certain exercises, and i always keep musical context at the forefront.

By virtue of my many different musical experiences, I am able to instruct in the roots of contemporary music, in such styles as blues, rock, R&B, funk, jazz and even folk music. This gives the student insight into the fundamentals of drumming.

My teaching method includes giving the students time playing with actual songs, both of my own choice as well as the student's. I also have found great success in terms of the musical side by accompanying the students on guitar or bass. This gives them the chance to feel what it is like to play in a “real world” situation.

I’m currently taking new students at all levels! Get in touch to book a time for your drum lessons or for more info.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


“John McColgan is the ultimate way to becoming the greatest drummer you can be. The only thing that can trump his phenomenal skill as a musician and mind-blowing knowledge of the history and theory of drums, is his intuitive ability to teach all of it. I’ve been his student since I was 8 and can safely say his patience, thoroughness and sincerity doesn’t change whether he’s in a class with an 8 year old newbie or an advanced 19 year old. He is the best teacher, and probably coolest guy I know.”

(Lucas Higgins)

”My son Zachary has been taking drumming lessons with John for over 4 years. John has been an amazing teacher and a mentor for him. Not only does John teach technique, but he also encourages Zachary’s passion for music, while allowing him to pursue his own musical tastes. Zachary looks forward to his lesson each week, and comes home feeling fulfilled and excited about drumming. His lesson with John is truly one of the highlights of his week!”

”John’s lessons give a great balance of technique and groove playing making lessons fun and instructive. He listens to where the students want to take their music and tailors lessons to help guide them to that goal. After 6 years of taking lessons I still learn from every lesson.”

(Steven Labute)

”I had the privilege of taking lessons from John for about a year. As a classically trained pianist, I had always wanted to learn how to play the drums but didn’t know where to start! John methodically walked me through the technicalities of the kit and in no time, I was on my way! Not only is he an amazingly talented musician, but he is also a gifted teacher. He is humble and patient, putting his students at ease while encouraging them to excel. His services come with my highest recommendations.”


’’John is a true professional in all senses of the word. He clearly masters his craft and knows how to communicate and teach the material to take anyone from where they currently are and get them to whichever level they want to achieve.”

(Michael Mendeleson)

”John’s teaching style is really good and easy to understand. I like how I can chose any song and try to play to it. He makes me feel good when I’m drumming, because he is honest about how I’m playing and what I should work on. He never ever screamed at me even though sometimes I wander off and think of something else. I like how he contacts his students almost everyday. If you’re to new drumming he makes you start with some simple beats, and then he gives you songs to practice with, while still allowing you to work towards harder stuff.”


”John’s teaching style combines the right amount of technical practice and playing songs. He keeps its fun while also educational, letting students use what they’ve learned in actual musical situations.”


My Book

Review and comments for Groove and Technique

Here's one for serious beginning drum students who want a modern progressive approach. ...McColgan aims high and demands much, but for musically inclined beginners this book could be a real eye-opener.

Robin Tolleson, Modern Drummer mgazine


The great thing about this book, and the thing that makes it appeal to me, is the way John has separated technique from groove... There are significant "skeleton key" exercises that will open doors and urge the student to pursue creative explorations. His section Advanced Groove Concepts is a must-read for those who want to improve thier groove...The way McColgan handles the technical side, to my mind,  is masterful and contains sufficient technique to handle any groove, no matter how complex. McColgan is obviously a musical drummer, you can see from the list of people who hire him- and making music with the drums is his thrust.

 T. Bruce Wittet, Drums. Etc magazine


I am working on a new expanded version of my book. I will be putting up the pages as I create them with video tutorials. But, for now, subscribe to my Instagram page to get a few teasers. And check out these tutorials.

More to come soon…

Beginner basic hand technique and single stroke roll

Beginner-Intermediate: 8th note-based grooves and groove theory

Intermediate-Advanced Level Level: Sticking exercise and demo based on singles, doubles and paradidles.