Learn drums with

Iago Fernández

Schlagzeug für Jazz und freie Improvisation

Iago Fernandez is a Galician drummer and composer who specializes in jazz and performs regularly all over the world with various high-profile projects.


10 lessons of 45 min.: CHF 840

For children, 30-minute lessons are also possible.

portrait of Iago Fernández


4000 Basel



Music style

Jazz, swing, bossa nova, modern jazz, and free improvisation


Beginner, Advanced, and Master


English, Spanish, and Portuguese


Iago Fernández teaches students from 12 years

Interview with Iago Fernández

Which musician has influenced you the most? 
It's really hard to choose just one musician because there were several ones who influenced me a lot. But if I need to pick only one, I would say the drummer Elvin Jones, because when I started learning jazz with 15 years old, the first time I heard an album of John Coltrane I felt incredibly excited and then I felt the need to search for as many albums as possible with that drummer who sounds that original, organic, flexible, strong, sensitive and many other great adjectives. But I would also like to mention another drummer who influenced me incredibly since the first album I heard from him when I was 17 or 18 (Triology by Kenny Garrett): Brian Blade. He is just that kind of musician that I want to be, always noticeable and unmistakable on the drums, playing a wide range of styles and always serving the music with honesty, care, kindness and a long etc.

What can you teach me about your instruments different than any other teacher?
My specialities as a drummer, which I always try to pass to my students: sound, dynamics, blending (within the drumset and with the other instruments), high focus/presence/attention, minimalism, conscious development of ideas, groove, swing, interaction, odd meters (5, 7, 9, 11, 13), rhythmic displacements, melodic and harmonic playing. I would pay more attention to all of those aspects than other teachers, always with a lot of empathy towards the students. I also have a large experience performing around the world and recording 50 albums as a drummer (20 years) and teaching drums (12 years). I also have a lot of awareness and knowledge related to the body (posture while playing, etc) and the mind/emotions, often obstacles while pursuing a good performance.

How did you learn to play your instrument?
Although I had started my musical studies of classical percussion when I was 8 years old, there I didn't learn to play drums. I got my first drums at the age of 12 and started having fun with it alone once in a while. I felt certain natural hability with it, thanks to all the music I had heard since a baby (or even before, on my mum's womb), specially with my dad on the car. I would often tap some rhythms with my hands along with the music, or sometimes without music. Later, when I was 14/15 I got to play drums making music with more people for the first time: with a metal band of friends called Stigmatribe (lasted 5 years) and with a jazz big band related to the consevatory of my home town. The contact with jazz interested me quite a bit and I started taking lessons in a school called S.P.J.P. during 4 years, but there we just played in group, I didn't have drum lessons until my bachelor in Jazz in San Sebastian (Basque Country, north of Spain), at the age of 19, where I was lucky to learn from three different drummers: Jo Krause, Guillermo McGill and the great Jorge Rossy.

How do you go about writing a song or composing a piece yourself?
Since I wrote my first composition, in 2008, composing became one of my main focuses, together with the drums. In fact I have already published 4 albums as a leader (Agromando-2011, Acougo-2015, Brisa-2016 and Luzada-2022) and I recently finished my master studies in Jazz Composition at the Jazzcampus of Basel with the teacher Guillermo Klein among others. Composing is really important for my expression as an artist. For this process I use piano (mostly) and guitar.

On what equipment do you play today?
I have a vintage Gretsch drum set (from the 70/80 renovated) with 18" bass drum and 12" and 14" toms. I have three different snares: a vintage Leady (14x5), a mapex black panter (14x5) and a Ludwig Supraphonic (14x6'5). For now I keep this set in Galicia-Spain, where I still have concerts. There I also play sometimes with another set, a borrowed Yamaha Maple Custom, for concrete projects with more modern/rock sound. In Basel, for now, I have a Tama Club Jam Vintage Kit. 

Regarding my cymbals I use mostly old zildjian cymbals from the 60s (three pairs of hi hats of 15", 3 rides of 20" and one of 18")  but I also have one Istambul Mehmet (19" sizzle ride), a Bosphorus Master Vintage 18". My cymbals are a huge part of my sound, I always travel with them (just 3 or 4) to have my sound while adapting to all the different drums that the venues/festivals provide with...all with different characteristics.

What personal trait has helped you when you practice the most?
My favorite way to practice drums has always been playing along with records, I think it's a great way to catch the sound, energy, groove, etc from the masters...and it's much more fun than playing alone. I did that a lot, specially with some jazz albums where there is no drums.

What does your instrument have that others don't?
My instrument has so much power to decide the direction of the music because of its many possible sounds and colors to use and the different approaches...but specially because of its dynamics . It's probably the instrument with the largest dynamic range. It's usually the instrument responsible of keeping the time (and the groove). If the drummer is not good, the band doesn't work. Another distinctive quality of my instrument is the use of both arms and legs and the cordination between them. I would also mention that the drums have a strong connection to the roots of humanity; after singing, percussion has always been used in rituals, festivities and other expressions.

What you pay special attention to when you teach?
I've already aswered this above. My priority is to understand the students and their interests and goals, to then focus on their development with the instrument. I pay particular attention to their sound and their posture.

How do you build up your music lessons?
I don't structure every lesson in the same way. It depends a lot on the student and the moments where they are related to the instrument. But for example, if the student is interested in learning a concrete rhythm, I would start asking them to play it for me to know how they do it and then decide the steps to go (in case they know anything about it). Then I would proceed to show them some specific tasks/exercises to work on that rhythm, they would try and I would help them with my instructions and comments. I usually would show them some albums from masters for them to have good influences.

What do you do with children?
I approach children with the same respect than I do with adults, but I pay even more attention to their likes and interests. I need to know what they like and what they want to learn, I need to keep them motivated and interested, hopefully with joy. In my experience, it has been quite rewarding to teach children, because once I find things they like, it's a bit easier to keep them focus in the moment and they can evolve so quickly. I definitely try to avoid any kind of pressure with them (also with adults actually), they should feel it, the instrument should be fun to play, and my duty is to help them to learn it with patience and joy.

What was until now your greatest experience as a musician?
It's quite difficult for me to choose just one experience, because music has always given me so many great moments. Everytime I have the chance to perform with any idol of mine (who I look up too) is quite special, so I will mention one recent experience from January 2023 when I got to play a concert in duo with guitarrist/vocalist Lionel Loueke. We improvised during 50 minutes in a packed club and both the audience and us had a really special time.

What was the largest stage that you've performed on?
The most important stage where I performed was probably Blue Note Club in New York (June 2022). But the biggest stage (and largest audience: 2000) of my career was Getxo Jazz Festival in Spain.

Which musician would you like to play with?
There many musicians I would like to play with. Now I'll choose pianist Aaron Parks, because it's one of my favorite players and composers since I was 20 years old. I feel so identified with his music and his playing, it moves me so much.

Which record would you bring to a desert island?
Ufff, another hard question. I would take the album "Ballads" by John Coltrane Quartet, because it's one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands with with my favorite drummer and playing great ballads that I adore too.

On which stage do you prefer to perform?
The stage of my dreams is the Village Vanguard in New York.

After music, what is important in your life?
I love cooking healthy good food, specially if it's to share with my friends or family. My health is really important (both physical and mental), so I take care of it walking everyday in the nature, practicing yoga and meditation regularly, sometimes climbing (bulder) and eventually playing other sports like football or basketball. Helping and supporting people is also important for me. I also like drawing and writing like a diary sometimes.