Experience - Teaching Philosophy - Testimonials - Related Media - Instruments and Subjects - Specialties - Getting on the Scale - Resources - Drum Set Transcriptions

    I have been teaching drums and percussion since 1994 in private and group lesson formats in both school and studio environments.  I've also taught and directed concert and marching percussion ensembles and served as a staff member on numerous music camps in NJ and TX.  Over the course of time and experience, I have developed a teaching philosophy that serves to advance the student while allowing for the individual nature of each person, some of which I have outlined below. . .


With former student and stellar percussionist Danny Hawkins, xylophonist with and pit section leader of the 2006 Phantom Regiment

  -Lessons with me are based on the development of the Ears (critical listening, ensemble playing, time keeping), Eyes (reading ability), and Hands ('chops', sensitivity, control) of the player.

  -All lessons work on different aspects of the player through technique, reading, memorization, and improvisation. Regardless of whether the student has goals of playing classical or popular forms of music, all four of these elements, albeit in different proportions, should be present in lessons.

  -The teacher's job is to advance the abilities and knowledge of the student and to help in establishing the students musical identity.

-The student must truly listen to their own playing if they ever want anyone else to listen.

-The teacher must be in possession of experience and knowledge that exceeds anything the student will be exposed to during the foreseeable course of the lessons.  After all, the qualifications for teaching high school English are more than just having passed the class.

-I pride myself on creating an intense yet friendly laboratory-style lesson atmosphere in which the serious-minded student may flourish.

     I specialize in preparing students, in both long and short term respects, for auditions for college programs, region and all-state bands, and drum-line.  To these ends, I have developed curricula that build skills and confidence in the areas of technique, sight reading, and memorization.

     In addition to curriculum designed for the high school and middle school level, I have helped students prepare successfully for entrance to music programs and/or participation in the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Aspen Music Festival, The New England Conservatory, Ithaca College, Carnegie Melon, The Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar, the University of North Texas, James Madison University, Montclair State, Rutgers University, Westchester University, The College of New Jersey, Rowan University, and the University of Delaware, as well as the Camp Lejeune USMC Band, Penn State, Rutgers, and Jersey Surf Drumlines and the Juilliard, Manhattan, and Mannes prep divisions.  Students of mine have also gone on to perform with the percussion sections of
many top 12 drum corps.

      Private lessons with me also have the option to be videotaped.  The advantages of this are twofold in that the student will get a more complete record of the material covered during lessons and that much less time during the lesson is spent writing down assignments, etc..


Pete has been a great influence in my playing and thinking when it comes not only to marimba, but percussion overall.  He motivates people very quickly and gets the job done.  I often refer back to Pete's "A Percussionist's Handbook" for tidbits of information that are not available in other published literature.  Although it has been a few years, I still think back to my lessons with him as I prepare for my senior recital at the University of North Texas and sometimes wonder, "what would Pete do or say here?"

- Daniel Kirkpatrick, founder of DK Percussion and B. M. Percussion Performance 2007, University of North Texas.


After I initially spoke with Peter and 'checked him out' I was convinced he was a qualified teacher.  Now, after these months, I am equally convinced he is a very talented teacher.  We have seen an immense growth and maturity in my son's drumming and with that a newly charged eagerness in him.  My son picks up his sticks all the time (and still does not want to use pads even at 8am!) and enjoys playing both what Peter is teaching him and what ever else inspires him.  It has been a delight to see my son progress and mature with Peter and we are very grateful and impressed.

- Deborah Cornavaca, parent.


Pete Saleh has been one of the greatest influences on my musical career.  He not only taught me the technical aspects of playing the marimba buy he taught me how to be a musician.  In the last four years that I have been at the University of North Texas I have not seen a TA that has taken their job as seriously.  Pete’s bi-monthly master classes and generously long lessons, showed his unwavering commitment to his students.  Above all, I have learned the most from watching Pete in his personal life.  His incredible work ethic and attention to detail is inspiring, and this is something that cannot be taught. Pete is a great example in teaching and music.  Although, I no longer study with Pete, he continually gives me advice and guidance.  I am grateful to have had the chance to study with him.

- Colin Hill, B. M. Percussion Performance 2007, University of North Texas.

Related Media

Former student Eric Clementelli, now a musician in a USMC Band

Percussion lessons touch on some or all of the following instruments:

-Keyboard Percussion: (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone): Two and four mallet techniques. Basic and practical reading skills. Solo and chamber repertoire. Improvisation in free and structured situations (Jazz).        Performance Sample 1  Performance Sample 2

-Snare Drum (Concert/Orchestral and Rudimental styles): Technique, rudiments, reading, sound and rhythmic concepts. Rudimental Sample  Concert Sample

-Drum Set: Rock, Pop, and Jazz Styles, coordination, reading, listening and transcription skills. Jazz Sample

-Timpani: Basic playing techniques on 2, 3, and 4 drums, interval training, core orchestral repertoire. Performance Sample

-Concert Percussion:  Basic Techniques and Sound Concepts on Tambourine, Crash Cymbals, and Triangle as well as other commonly scored instruments.

-Multi-Percussion: Instrument selection, set-up and organization, solo repertoire.                         Performance Sample 1  Performance Sample 2

Because these are music lessons just as much as they are percussion lessons, time will naturally also be spent on these subjects:

  1. Ensemble Playing: Percussion ensemble, Selective/Critical Listening, streamlining the band/orchestra rehearsal and performance, sound concepts.  

  2. Music Theory/Analysis: Sight Singing (solfedge, interval training, dictation) Melodic and Harmonic Analysis (form studies, chord identification, part writing, modes) and Arranging and Composition (as applied to instrumental music).

  3. Music Notation Software: Basic through advanced use of Sibelius Software versions 1-4.




Tim Mabrey, Karl Lundin, Me, Colin Hill, Keith Hendricks, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Ryan Jacobi, Ashley Haynes, and Andrew Hopkins

(Tim Mabrey, Karl Lundin, Me, Colin Hill, Keith Hendricks, Dan Kirkpatrick, Ryan Jacobi, Ashley Haynes, and Andrew Hoskins)

Photos with former UNT students of mine, many of whom generously helped me record compositions and arrangements of mine as well.

(Jonathan Gregory, Laura Fieder, Cara Schoonover, Nate Sankary, and John Evarts)

Jonathan Gregory, Laura Fieder, Me, Cara Schoonover, Nate Sankary, and John Evarts


As a teacher, I also put together an ensemble for percussion students to learn and grow as musicians in a real musical setting.  Click here to learn about C. J. Y. P. E.
Academy 2007 Percussion Ensemble

Percussive Resources

For My Students:   The Technical Commandments


  Metronome Software - Link to free downloadable, midi-based metronome software.  If you have speakers hooked up to your computer, you can practice along with this instead of draining batteries in your regular portable metronome.

'Lesson No. 1'

Print and Bring

(Plan on buying the books as we address the material respectively)

  The Vic Firth Rudiment learning Sequence - Midi files to play along with these, the first of four step-by-step rudimental exercise progress chart.  Print this and bring it to every lesson.

An etude for two mallets transcribed from Teleman

A page of sticking combinations by George L. Stone

A page of accent combinations by George L. Stone

A snare drum etude by Anthony Cirone

'Drum Corps on Parade' excerpt by J. S. Pratt (page 1) (page 2)

Two pages of timpani roll exercises by Raynor Carroll (page 1) (page 2)

A timpani etude by Richard Hochreiner

    Creative Metronome Use

Getting on the Scale

- synthesized play-along tracks meant to serve as a basis for improvising with scales

Getting on The Scale 1   Getting on The Scale 2   Getting on The Scale 3  

Getting on The Scale 4

(Tonic and key are purposely omitted)

    Jury Checklist

Common Method Books I Use in Lessons:

(linked to Steve Weiss site)

  Portraits in Rhythm/Anthony Cirone  (concert snare drum etudes)

  Marimba: Technique Through Music/Mark Ford  (4 mallet marimba etudes and exercises)

  Future Sounds/David Garibaldi  (drum set)

  Groove Essentials/Tommy Igoe  (drum set styles play-along)

  Fundamental Method for Mallets Vol. 1/Mitchell Peters  (keyboard percussion)

  Progressive Steps to Syncopation/Ted Reed  (general/drum set)

  Musical Time/Ed Soph  (jazz drum set play-along)

  Method of Movement for Marimba/Leigh Howard Stevens  (4 mallet marimba exercises)

  Stick Control/George Lawrence Stone  (snare drum technique)

  Fundamental Studies for Snare Drum/Garwood Whaley  (basic snare drum etudes)

  Musical Studies for the Intermediate Snare Drummer/Garwood Whaley (concert snare drum etudes)

For UNT Students:   Keyboard Barrier Tips
For Teachers:   My Lesson Syllabus
For Composers:   "Percussion for Composers: An Introduction"
    How to Write for Percussion
Transcriptions for Drummers:

The process of transcribing helps not only to expand the vocabulary of the improvising musician, but to increase the sensitivity of their listening skills

transcribed and engraved by Peter Saleh with Sibelius Software

"If" by Larry Young/Elvin Jones, dr. - Audio - Transcription                                                 
   "Matrix" by Chick Corea/Roy Haynes, dr. - Audio - Transcription                                    
   "Cyclic Episode" by Sam Rivers/Tony Williams, dr. - Audio - Transcription