John Lester

Certified Private Instructor

I have been playing professionally since 1960. Beginning with innumerable casual gigs around NYC, NJ, and CT. I then "graduated" to a brief tour (3 months) with Victor Zembrusky and his Polish Eagle Orchestra (a major polka band, polka is an early form of Punk Music).

As a member of the "house rhythm section" at Dangerfields Club in New York I was privileged to play dates for many headliners including Peggy Lee, Al DeMeola, Mel Torme, and others. I was also fortunate to have been selected to play for Peggy Lee during a brief 6-week tour throughout New England. (Due to illness Peg's regular drummer had to leave her tour in NYC. Regrettably, he returned in great health despite my having consulted a voodoo priestess in an attempt to ensure otherwise.)

I was a member of the Connecticut Hurricanes Senior Drum and Bugle Corps during their 1966-1967 National championship seasons.

Since moving to Washington in 1984 I have played and recorded jazz, pop and classical sessions all over the Northwest. Notable local Artists I have accompanied include Anne Pell, Denny Gore, Peter Toyne, Ken Olendorf, Johnny Z, Lee Brumley, Hans Bremmer, Chris Smellow, Richard Thompson and Bonnie Murphy pianists. Bud Hellner, Alan Simcoe, Joe Euro, Brian Barta and Peter Toyne guitarists. Bassists Peter Manning, Niel Conaty, Ted Enderly, Paul Lewis, Jim Londay, Steve Pearce and the late Leroy Vinnegar. Local vocalists whom I have had the privilege of supporting include: Bonnie Bridges, Trish Hately, Jenny Davis, Julie Duke, Kimberly Brown and the late Toby Schnider.

I have also played for many community performing arts organizations including The BPA, The Bainbridge Chorale, Bainbridge Orchestra, Orchestra Northwest and various musical productions.


My pedagogic method is to build my students' technical and intellectual vocabularies. Thus I teach "from first principles". I believe that in order to make musical sense of an instrument that can play no definite pitches the musician must be fully equipped to express herself in terms of all of the possibilities for expression the instrument possesses.

Philosophically, it is my objective to fully prepare my students to enjoy the music-making process. We study musical styles, history, song construction, criticism, and ensemble playing.

Adjudication experience: Drum Corps International, Drum Corps Associates, State level Solo and Ensemble competitions.

Professional Organizations: Percussive Arts Society, National Association of Music Educators.

Professional Affiliations

D'Addario Education Collective