Bettencourt Drumming

7335-H Bollinger Road
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 475-1777​

How To Play The Drums

"Neil's breadth and years of experience make him an exceptional teacher. He has experience with adults and kids and works well with both. He is well-versed in many styles of music; classical, rock, funk, Afro-Cuban, and more. His best trait as a teacher, in my opinion, is that he is able to explain/demonstrate things in multiple ways and doesn't give up until you "get it". A bonus is that he plays bass, so you have opportunities to apply and practice what you've learned in a genuine, playing situation."


Robert K. Wolff, Nashville, Tennessee 

"I have known Neil Bettencourt for a lifetime. I first took notice of his outstanding musical skills when I was at a school orientation program. Neil was in the back, on the drum riser and playing his kit with passion and confidence. I knew I was listening to a world class player.
Neil's technical skills are stellar. He taught me the fundamentals, making them easy to understand--but he gave me great insight on complex rhythmic structures, dynamics, feel, groove, and most importantly playing well in a band environment.
We spent many, many hours studying and appreciating great musicians and learning ourselves how their approaches to playing uplift the texture, tension and excitement of the works being played.
I cherish those lessons as well as the opportunities to record with him over the years.
I have looked up to him since that day many years ago, and I still look up to him today.
Neil will no doubt guide you toward a better understanding of drumming and music--one to last you a lifetime."


From Claire F. Sedona Arizona.

Neil is a World Class drum artist, you will learn a lot, if you want to.... You won't find anyone better to watch, listen-to and learn-from!! And if you get a chance to enjoy a performance, celebrate! You're in for a hot time!


From James Jones, Santa Cruz, CA.

I’m not a drummer, but have played in many bands with Neil and he is simply the best drummers I’ve ever played with. He is an expert with dynamics, holding a solid tempo, polyrhythms, odd time signatures and is fluent in all styles of music. With his finely tuned and trained ear creative jam sessions flow beautifully with this very intuitive musician. He’s patient, well spoken and loves to teach. Neil’s passion for excellence in music and love for performing at his best is infections and inspiring. Playing with Neil has helped me become a better bass player and improved all-around musician as well. It's great that Neil is now available to teach what he knows!

116 Glover Street, Santa Cruz, CA, United States


(831) 332-2534

or at:

Play Music Studios

From Kyla Haimovitz, Santa Cruz, Ca.

Neil is an amazing drummer and teacher! He started me off in high school on a practice pad (and anything else I could get my sticks on), he helped my buy a killer kit, and got me thoroughly addicted to drumming of all flavors. Even as a teenager just starting out, Neil always treated me like a completely capable equal. He is totally laid back but somehow always manages to get you so excited about drumming and eager to learn more. He is also highly encouraging, and keeps you on point, challenging you to constantly improve. Of course he taught me the basics, but interspersed that with so many new styles and techniques at the perfectly tailored pace to make me never lose interest. He taught me how to sight read and work through complex pieces, how to improvise like a boss, how to play with other musicians, and rock all sorts of crazy time signatures. Learning how to play so many different styles of drums also gave me a beautiful window into whole worlds of new music that I have carried with me far beyond my kit. I am so grateful for the skills he taught, but also for my ever-developing love and understanding of music that only a great teacher can plant.


From Lisa F. Santa Cruz, CA.