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About Me


     My name is Dirk Riley and I am professional drummer and private instructor in the Chicago area. I’ve worked with hundreds of students ranging from elementary school to senior adults and have been teaching private lessons full-time in the Wheaton, Glen Ellyn and west suburban areas since 2008. In addition, I play the drums as an on-staff worship leader for Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago, as well as being an active performer in the Chicago music and recording scene. 

     Born and raised in south central Nebraska, my love for music was fostered and supported by my parents at a young age. As as an elementary school child, my parents would take me to parades where I was captivated by the sound of the marching drum lines. I loved watching the marching band at football games and digging through my parents’ old record collection. After mowing lawns all summer, I saved up to buy my first drum set at age 8. During my school years I was fortunate enough to work with several different private instructors, all of which had a great impact on my learning and desire to pursue the drums. 

     Over the years it became apparent that I wanted to pursue music seriously. After high school I attended the University of Nebraska Kearney, majoring in Music Business. During my time at UNK, I was exposed to music and a level of performing that I had never experienced before. Inspired, I dedicated myself to studying and practicing with the intent of having a career as a professional musician. 

      Knowing that I wanted to pursue a music career as an independent performer and instructor, I decided that relocating to a city with a larger population and more vibrant entertainment industry was necessary. Upon completing college, I moved to Indianapolis, IN and worked as an intern for the Percussive Arts Society - a worldwide non-profit organization, dedicated to the education and support of drummers and percussionists. 

     While working in Indy as a freelance drummer, I was ultimately led to relocate to the Chicago area. Because of its rich history of being a music city and the abundance of opportunity that has presented itself here, I have chosen to call Chicago home since 2008. 

     Immediately upon moving to Chicago I began working towards marketing myself as a performer and private instructor. Within six months, I was working full-time teaching private lessons while networking as a performer. In January of 2009, “Dirk Riley Drums” was formed and is going strong to this day. I humbly credit the growth of my business to my loyal students (and their parents) for their word-of-mouth advocacy of me as a teacher. Without the willingness of my clients to recommend me to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers, my business would undoubtedly not be what it is today. I have the most sincere gratitude towards my clients for their confidence in me as an educator and influence in the lives of their children. 

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