Today we’d like to introduce you to Gene Luna.
Gene, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After years of working a regular “9-5 job”, my family and I had come to a brand new chapter in our lives. In 2008 our youngest son, Benjamin was born and by his first birthday we discovered he had special needs. After a few years of testing at Texas Children’s Hospital – Medical Center, he was diagnosed with Lennox-Gasteau Syndrome (LGS), a form of epilepsy. Due to his condition, my wife and I decided it would be best if one of us stayed home to care for Ben and our daughter Anna instead of sending them both to daycare. In August of 2010, I quit my full-time job at the local drumstick factory, Pro Mark Corporation and began this journey being a stay at home dad, private lessons drum instructor and full time performing drummer. It has taken years, and I am still learning how to build a student roster and maintain a steady calendar of performances around Houston and around the State of Texas.
Teaching one on one private lessons has been something I’ve done off and on during my 30 years as a drummer. Until 2010, it was only a way to make extra money as needed and when I had time to take on students. In the fall of 2010, I had left my job and now found myself building my student roster from scratch to earn money for a living. I began booking students at a local music retail shop with my friend’s help, he was the manager of the store. I just happened to walk into the store not knowing he worked there to find out the in-house drum instructor had just left, leaving a roster of students behind. From a list of 18-20 students I began calling parents and students that afternoon teaching a handful that day. I’ve taught at local retail shops, churches and even in-home visits until the fall of 2019. I am now completely teaching from my home studio and it’s been great. I have 30, 45, and 60 minute time intervals available on Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s. Using my many years of live and studio performance experience, along with tried and true textbooks and now smart devices and technology, I can customize each students curriculum always keeping their desired goals in mind.
I’ve been a drummer for 30 years, performing live and in studio recording settings. Playing the smallest of clubs, honky-tonks and cantinas to venues such as Miller Outdoor Theater, Jones Hall, the George R Brown Convention Center and the like. Since the age of 12 I’ve played a variety of music from tejano, conjunto, rock, blues, country, funk, contemporary Christian worship, Top40, R&B, and some jazz. I learned early on that if I wanted to play music for a living I would need to be a versatile musician and drummer. Learn to listen and play, soak up as much knowledge as I can from others that have been doing this way before I have.
It’s almost been a decade now of private drum lessons and continued drumming opportunities and I can say that it’s been a roller coaster of emotions, good and bad. Along with an eagerness to learn more about teaching and playing drums, I also continue to learn how to maintain a busy teaching and performance calendar. Working on my own for family has been great, but it takes a lot of sacrifice and work!
Has it been a smooth road?
Juggling schedules between my wife’s public school teaching schedule, daughter’s athletic school schedule, son’s school and therapy schedule, along with my gigging and teaching schedule has been a challenge, but we manage. Maintaining a student roster and full lessons calendar. Biggest challenge has also been working and wearing different hats. Dad, husband, instructor, performer.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a full-time private drum lessons instructor. I have tutored beginner band students, playing mostly school rudimental and foundational snare exercises and competition pieces with an occasional beginner mallet player here and there. Of course, my main instrument of drumset players learning church, band project and weekend warrior favorite songs.
Most proud of being able to assist my students achieve their goals. Whether they bring in a school band piece to perfect or a drumset player wanting to learn their favorite song, the reaction of accomplishment I receive from my student is the best.
I like to think I pull the best out of each student. Even when it may be a miserable long day at school, work or just at home, being able to teach and lift their spirits playing their preferred music, whatever it may be, is what is awesome. So I guess being versatile and open-minded to just mindful of student’s goals is what sets me apart. We will always study foundational curriculum, but I want to have fun while we do it! 🙂
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
This area is so versatile and growing rapidly. Schools seem to pop up in our ever growing communities and that allows for more music and band programs. We also have home-schooled students that need music in their curriculum as well, I’ve been able to teach a lot of families that prefer that as well. MORE MUSIC in EVERYONE’S LIVES WOULD BE GREAT! 🙂
- 30 min lesson – $30
- 45 min lesson – $40
- 60 min lesson – $50
- Website: geneluna.com
- Phone: 832-687-6203
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/genelunadrums
- Facebook: facebook.com/genelunadrums
- Twitter: twitter.com/genelunadrums
Chelle EFX – Shotgun Road Photo; Sandra O. Soliz – La Fiebre Photo