Dillon Vado

Certified Private Instructor

Dillon Vado is a professional drummer and vibraphonist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a graduate of the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. He is also an experienced educator with over 10 years of teaching experience both privately and through schools and institutions. He grew up in San Jose, where he played many small club gigs on drums and marched snare drum for the Santa Clara Vanguard. He has recorded at Fantasy Studios, and played with many musicians at The Freight and Salvage, Yoshi’s, and the SF Jazz Center. He has also performed overseas at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. Dillon has performed with Art Lande, Hafez Modirzadeh, Royal Hartigan, Marcus Shelby, Erik Jekabson, Jeff Denson, Alan Hall, Jovino Santos Neto, Marcos Silva and Kate McGarry. In 2014, Dillon won 1st place in the Jazz Search West soloist competition on vibraphone. Dillon was also acknowledged as the Most Promising Young Jazz Artist of 2017 from the Buddy Montgomery Jazz Legacy Awards. He can be heard playing both drums and vibes on recent recordings with Alan Hall’s Ratatet, The Jeff Denson Quartet, and Erik Jekabson’s Electric Squeezebox Orchestra and leads several of his own projects, including Never Weather, The Table Trio, and Beyond Words: Jazz and Poetry. Blissonance by Never Weather is his debut album as a band leader and was just released in January on Bay Area Label, Ridgeway Records.


I strive to make sure students feel like they leave each lesson feeling like they have really made music. I have countless exercises to help advance a student's technical agenda and love to go in depth on hand technique, touch and tone, but also make sure that first and foremost it's about making music and the instrument is our vehicle for expressing that.