The need for lessons
You may already be happy with your playing but I’m willing to bet there is still something that bugs you and you wish you could find an easier way. If you’ve never had lessons before it’s perfectly possible that you picked up drumming naturally but there will undoubtedly be flaws in your technique which could hinder your future progress. The introductory lesson will show you straight away what those flaws are.
It’s a fact that we all get stuck in a rut or find our playing ability has hit a brick wall at some time or another. Often, these issues are best solved by a teacher who has seen it all before or is able to unravel the mystery. I am able to ‘coach’ experienced players so they have a greater understanding of how to improve their ability and continue to move forward.
Never played before?
It’s a common misconception that to play drums you need to be able to play another instrument. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes it seems to help but in the main it seems to make no difference at all. All you need to be able to do is understand how to play rather than what to play.
Beginners – what age should you start?
I have taught students from 6 years of age up to 66 years of age. There are no age barriers as such and each individual has a different goal so don’t be put off if you think you’re too old to start but be aware that if your child starts too young he or she may find the studies too hard making it no fun at all. It is often best to start them off when they are older rather put them off drumming for life because they hated those initial lessons! Younger students will be honestly assessed to ensure they are able to cope. Older students will know within a few lessons if drumming will give them the enjoyment they were hoping for.
Do I need a kit to start with?
Initially, I would say it’s not necessary. A pair of sticks and something to hit (a book would do) is often than having a kit to start with. It takes away the impulse to simply bash around aimlessly. Once you’ve had a few lessons you can then take the plunge but try to remember – buy cheap buy twice. There are plenty of very cheap drum kits out there commonly, but not always, described as starter kits. They all work to an extent but fail miserably after a short period of time and sound awful in the process. Advice will be given once you get started, learn to be patient!
What should I practise on?
As mentioned previously there’s that book or a practise pad. A Bill Sanders practise kit is an excellent option – they can be bought or hired from me. An electronic kit is good news for the neighbours. I favour the DTXpress 3 simply because it’s a good work horse and is easy to program. An acoustic kit is ideal for the serious student but you will need somewhere to play it where you feel those aforementioned neighbours won’t complain. There are plenty of excellent, reasonably priced, kits out there.
Will my lesson be ‘shared’ with other students?
All lessons are one to one. Plenty of other teachers offer group tuition but I don’t believe it is ever a satisfactory way to learn drums. Each student has a unique learning curve which is best addressed without pressure from others. In a school it may be the only choice but it’s definitely not what I would recommend. I only ever teach one individual at a time and the important requirement is that you understand what should be done and why. Teaching ‘parrot’ fashion has no place here as you’ll forget what to do as soon as you leave the studio
There are three initial requirements for a drummer, co ordination, independence and technique. If you can kick a football on the move you’ve more than likely got the co ordination. If you can swim you’ve probably got the independence. As for technique, well that can be taught, without some you’ll get nowhere but you don’t need heaps. I’ll get you playing on the first lesson even if you don’t have the first two requirements!
Can’t I learn from the internet?
A word of caution here. There’s no doubt that YouTube and the like provides a mass of information which can help you develop your passion for drumming but it can also mislead. Plenty of students have come to me with something they have been working on all week after religiously watching a drummer on the web only to find that, on close inspection, it was wrong in the first place. If you have a good idea what is meant to be played then it can help you nail it or at least help you form an opinion as to what it should be but if you are a beginner forget it. It will take you an age and you’ll pick up a multitude of bad habits on the way. Use it as a tool in addition to all the other learning material you can find.