Little Neck music school keeps a steady beat

Store owner Tony Fabiano (c.) boasts more than 140 years of combined musical experience across his staff of dedicated instructors at the Long Island Drum Center in Little Neck. Photo by Phil Corso
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With an ear-to-ear grin, a drum student walked out of his rehearsal room inside the Long Island Drum Center in Little Neck at the end of his lesson. Store owner Tony Fabiano then dropped what he was doing to walk the boy outside so he did not have to find his ride home alone.

“This is a family-friendly operation,” Fabiano said. “There is hope for the world as long as kids want to learn to play the drums properly.”

That is the approach Fabiano said the Little Neck mainstay has employed through its more than 30-year history in Queens.

The Long Island Drum Center, at 252-10 Northern Blvd. in Little Neck, provides private lessons for drums, guitar, bass and keyboard with the utmost attention given to the details of the craft. By focusing on the education aspect of the music, Fabiano and his staff of instructors said the goal was to teach students to give the instruments the dignity they deserved.

Drum instructor Brendan O’Hanlon started out at the Drum Center in the 1980s as a student. Since then, he said, he never left.

“There is not a day I am not here,” he said.

And he was not the only one to become a lifelong lover of the Long Island Drum Center in Little Neck. Over the roughly 30 years he owned the store, Fabiano said he eventually got to a point where he was doing business with the children of the former children he used to work with years ago.

“We have developed sort of a mini empire here,” Fabiano said. “I like to call it the mom and pop candy store of the drums.”

Ed DiCapua, director of drum studies, said the instructors approach giving lessons as more than a job, but a preservation of a practice. Almost 100 different students of different skill sets as young as three and as old as their mid-60s pass through the store each week for their one-on-one training sessions from Fabiano’s lifelong and experienced musicians.

“This is a labor of love for all of us,” DiCapua said. “Music lessons are an elective and are always the first to go. We try to make the music language something students can become literate to.”

Beyond the educational aspect of business, the first steps inside the Long Island Drum Center also unveil stacks of drums, piles of cymbals and shelves of sticks for any local drum junkie. Fabiano and his staff use their combined 140 years of drumming experience to point shoppers in the right direction in testing out new gear while also working to repair and service used equipment.

It is a unique offering of teaching services, Fabiano said, unlike any other music shops around the area. Though there is a similar family operation in the Original Long Island Drum Center in Plainview, N.Y., the Little Neck instructors said aspiring musicians in Queens could not find their style of teaching anywhere else in the five boroughs.

“We don’t make the rules, we just abide by them,” DiCapua said.

The Long Island Drum Center in Little Neck is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 12:36 am, August 30, 2012
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