Study Music with Tom Bernett

* Downtown Southern Pines location!
* Drum Lessons: Beginners thru Advanced Adults
* Brass Lessons: Beginners thru Intermediate Students
* Piano Lessons: Beginners of any age
* Music Supplies & Accessories, 30% - 45% Off List
* Consignment Instrument Sales

CALL: 910-692-8839 or EMAIL:

 Piano Lessons free estimates  

Tom Bernett is currently accepting students at his teaching studio in downtown Southern Pines. Lessons are offered for drummers from beginners through advanced adults. Brass instrument lessons are offered for beginners through intermediate students. Chord based piano lessons are offered for beginners of any age.

Lessons are held at the Tom Bernett Music studio, 234 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines, NC. (Above Swank cofffee shop, three doors south of the Sunrise Theater Box Office.)

Drum Method: (Beginning & Intermediate Students)
The initial stress is on developing a student's hands, followed by independence on the drum kit. Lessons follow a modern rudimental approach to the drum set that incorporates elements of both French stick control and the Moeller stroke. Learning the modern American drum rudiments is as critical to playing drums as having a good vocabulary is to speaking English effectively -- the rudiments are the vocabulary of drumming. The rudiments of drumming can be applied with either style of stick control... French or Moeller. French stick control is used for speed with finesse, often required with combo jazz music, musical theater, and traditional orchestral playing, while the Moeller method offers great speed with maximum power and is useful in rock music, big band jazz, or drum corps style playing.

Mastery of both methods helps ensure that drummers are prepared to perform with exceptional skill in all musical situations -- this flexibility is especially useful in variety bands, shows, and studio situations where drummers are required to rapidly change between many different styles of playing. In addition, these stick control techniques can provide a solid technical foundation for learning other percussion instruments such as marimba, vibraphone, or tympani. As an on-going part of learning, young drummers are also taught to read music in order to expand their musical horizons and to increase their employment opportunities should they someday decide to turn pro.

(All beginning drum students will start with matched grip to help assure early success and the self-confidence that success generates. Learning the traditional or "field drum" left hand grip is not required unless the student needs to learn that grip for marching band, or otherwise desires to learn that method of playing.)

Drum Method: (Advanced Students)
Lessons for advanced students are more accurately decribed as coaching sessions, with emphasis given to specific problem areas, new styles and techniques, or other subjects desired by the student. For example, coaching sessions might be designed to prepare students for college entrance auditions or to explore the poly-rhythms of world music.

"My goal is not to grow a crop of drummers... my goal is to develop highly quallified musicians who happen to play drums." -- Tom Bernett

Method for Piano:(Beginners of All Ages)
I teach a "chord-style" pop music piano method, designed to help students have fun with music. Based on playing left hand chords and right hand melody, this is the method used by most working piano players when playing from professional "fake books" or from "lead sheets" downloaded from the internet. This method allows students of all ages to start playing songs right away -- often before the end of the first lesson. In addition to a well-established lesson plan published by Hal Leonard Music, I also make sure that students begin learning some of the "why's" of what they are playing... in other words, all my students get to learn some good, solid music theory and harmony lessons, but in a fun way.

In addition to the dozens of traditional songs used in the method book, I also have access to more than 5,000 "lead sheets" of music from the last 50 years of popular music, including top-40 hits, Broadway shows, and movie musicals. And as an added benefit, if the student would like to learn to play accompanyment to themselves while they sing popular songs, I am able to change the keys of all of those 5,000 songs to match the singing range of any voice.

All in all, my entire piano teaching goals are to help students from 8 to 80 have FUN with music!

Method for Brass:
Beginning study on brass is based on a dual focus of proper technique (embouchure), combined with a goal of learning the musical scales as soon as possible. Scales are the vocabulary of the musical language - learning them early brings quicker and more complete success in all musical endeavors. Fun, play-a-long tracks help reinforce the basics and make learning a positive experience for young students.

Basic Lesson Format Information:
Lessons are 30-minutes in length. Students are expected to take one 30-minute lesson per week. Extremely advanced or dedicated students may apply for longer lessons, provided their schedules allow for sufficient practice time to work on the extra material covered.

The lesson schedule is based on a year-round learning theory. The hand, jaw, and mouth muscle control (and mental coordination) required to be a good musician is a physical activity and, just like any other physical or athletic endeavor, mastery requires continuous practice. Just as in athletics, if the physical activity is ceased for an extended period of time, the muscles lose all the toning and developmental progress they have made, and the training must then start over from the beginning. Thus, from the standpoint of drum and instrumental music lessons, it is impossible to advance as a musician if students take summers off!!! Therefore, with the exception of family vacations and legitimate emergencies, students are expected to attend lessons on a year-round basis.

Student Requirements:
Students are also expected to devote sufficient time for practicing every day. Students should plan on a minimum of at least 30 minutes of daily practice -- truly dedicated students will practice at least an hour per day, and hopefully even more in several segments. (More practice time means better and faster results!) Students are also expected to avoid distractions to learning... it is difficult to teach a student who is addicted to television or video games.

Equipment Requirements:
Drum students are required to provide their own drumsticks, as well as be responsible for the purchase of various lesson books and materials as they progress. Initial requirements for beginners are one lightweight pair of sticks for drumset playing and one "marching" weight pair of sticks for muscle and technique development. Although a owning a drum set is not initially required, students will require at least a practice pad for home practice. (All of these items are available through the studio, at other regional music stores, or on the internet. There is absolutely NO obligation to make any purchases from Bernett Music.)

Horn students should own their instrument. Rentals are available from some area music stores, but rental is not as cost effective as purchasing a good quality used instrument. Many reasonbly priced used horns and drums are often available on Ebay and at larger music stores in the region. Occasionally, there are some used instruments available for sale at the studio.

Piano students should have access to a piano or electronic keyboard for practicing.

Also, since having a good sense of "time" is a vitally important part of being a good musician, students must have the opportunity for regular practice with a metronome -- inexpensive digital electronic metronomes are available for sale at the studio, at any music store, or through many internet outlets. In addition, free, downloadable metronome programs for cell phones and tablets are available online (links provided in student information packets at student's first lesson).

Lesson Fees (2023):
As of July 1, 2023, lesson fees are $35 per lesson, payable monthly in advance, no later than the first lesson of each month. PayPal E-invoices are emailed prior to the first monthly lesson and are payable on-line by any credit or debit card. Fee invoices can also be paid directly through your PayPal balance. If you prefer to not use on-line payment methods, e-invoices may be paid at the first lesson of the month with cash or personal checks. PLEASE PAY YOUR INVOICES WHEN FEES ARE DUE. Studio rent is due no later than the first of the month. Also, studio internet and phone service, as well as subscriptions to student teaching materials are ALL due at the first of the month. Failure to pay lesson fees at the first of each month puts extensive pressure on studio finances; causes expensive late fees; and causes wasted time during lessons.

Missed Lessons: (Illness, emergencies, or vacations)
If students/parents provide advance notice of missed lessons, make-up lessons will be offered at no additional charge if time is available. If makeup lessons are not possible, a credit will be applied to the next month's lesson fees. Although 24-hour notice is preferred, telephone or email notice of missed lessons MUST be provided no later than 12:00 Noon on the day of the lesson. Failure to provide such notice will mean the forfeiture of that portion of the lesson fee with no make-up lesson or credit. In the event that lessons must be canceled by the instructor, adequate notice will be provided to all students/parents, and complete lesson credits will be applied.

Make-Up Lessons:
Students who provide proper notice of missed lessons will be elegible for a make-up lesson, or may have that lesson fee applied as a credit toward the following month's lesson fees. Make-up lessons are offered by appointment only (usually on Mondays) and must be individually scheduled in advance.

Lesson schedules that must be altered due to holiday conflicts will be announced during the month preceeding the holiday. The only holidays that affect lesson schedules are: New Year's Day; Memorial Day; Fourth of July; Labor Day; Thanksgiving week; and Christmas week.

The teaching studio is OPEN, and lessons will take place, on Presidents' Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, M.L.King Day, Flag Day, St. Patricks Day, Ground Hog Day, etc.

Contact Information:
For more information or to sign up for lessons, call Tom Bernett at 910-692-8839 (or cell: 910-603-6467... note: cell phone not answered while teaching lessons or during performances) or email: