Get a Teacher or continue on my own?

i have been playing for few months now, and although i can play some covers of my fav songs, i kinda feel like i am beginning to hit a wall as far as developing my skills. i want to get better as a drummer, so i can play a variety of styles and genres. i want to commit to practice, learning and playing rudiments etc. would paying for an instructor be more beneficial, or can i use YouTube and free lessons online to good benefit as well?


Platinum Member
It depends on how good you are at figuring things out for yourself, but you need to be able to do that anyway. Nearly everyone can benefit from studying with someone, especially early on.


Senior Member
I play a number of instruments and I'm mainly self-taught. In the late 80s I studied music and had a guitar teacher for the first time since I was 12. We didn't always see eye-to-eye because I had my own (slightly unconventional) way of doing things, but I learned tons...even though I would have been loath to admit it at the time (youthful arrogance).

If you can find a good teacher, then it's worth getting lessons IMO. Doesn't have to be forever, but it might be life-changing.


Senior Member
I've been playing for just over 3yrs and i'm self-taught. I've came along way on my own learning from books, DVD's and even some Youtube videos. There have been many pro drummers that have made it to the "big time" and they were self-taught. It can be done and you can learn drums by teaching yourself but how much you get out of it depends on how much time and effort your willing to put into it.

With all that being said though i would get a teacher. Beleive me if i knew of a drum teacher where i live i would get lessons on the spot! I know i would certainly be a little further along with my skills if i had. If it were me i would get a teacher my friend. You won't regreat it.
pretty much what i figured. i feel like if nothing else, it will give me a good foubdation to build on, even if i cant afford to keep taking the lessons ($50 per hour). i'm totally comiited to more practice, and of course need to know what the heck i should be practicing!


Platinum Member
Get a teacher. Even several top pros still have teachers. You can never learn everything you want to all on your own.


Platinum Member
elaborate a little. can you share some of your experience?
I can tell you that my teachers have taught me:
  • How to read music - quarter notes, 8th notes, triplets, polyrhythms, repeats, DC, DS, al Fine, Coda, one measure repeats, two measure repeats,
  • Music Theory - scales, treble clef, bass clef, chords, arpeggios, etc...
  • Coordination applied to jazz, rock, Latin, etc..
  • Technique - Natural technique, control strokes, ruffs, drags, rudiments, open rolls, closed rolls, etc...
  • Transcriptions - Both learning transcriptions and transcribing my own.
  • How to interpret a drum chart - How to set up hits, decipher important notes, what not to play, how to hold the band together, etc...
  • Styles - Rock, Jazz, Latin, Brazilian, Waltzes, Polkas, two beat, club date, etc...
  • Mallet Percussion
  • Latin Percussion Congas, timbales, clave rhythms, surdo rhythms, cascara rhythms, etc...
  • How to practice
  • How to listen
  • How to work with a bass player/rhythm section
  • How to conduct myself in a professional situation
  • How to audition
  • How to analyze my own playing

I still take lessons, so this list keeps growing. I wish my teachers were $50 - so it seems like you are getting a good deal. Most pros are around $100 per hour.



Silver Member
Jeff, you said it better than I could. There is absolutely no substitute for a teacher. None whatsoever. Don't listen to the "self-taught" line, it will only lead you down the wrong path.


Platinum Member
J...There is absolutely no substitute for a teacher. None whatsoever. Don't listen to the "self-taught" line, it will only lead you down the wrong path.
Exactly - if you take lessons, you can still watch youtube and buy drum videos. But if you only have youtube, you are really missing out on alot.



Senior Member
I love these threads because it's the only topic everyone agrees on. If you can afford it, do it.

To counterpoint Jeff's post:

Don't get a teacher if you want to be able to

* Tell everyone you can't read music and they should take the time to explain it.
* play technically superior pieces of garbage
* Play only one type of music poorly
* Wear yourself out early and be forced to retire when you don't have the energy to push through anymore
* Continue believing Transcriptions are related to your GPA.
* Add your own pieces of "spice" and ignore the band when they act confused/drop the beat
* Play only original music that is at best labeled "experimental"
* Play every piece of music with the same sticks and to hell with dynamics
* Know that your set is the only set that ever exists and that you'll never have to grow beyond it
* Know that your nearly as good as you'll ever be right now and you've almost reached a comfortable plateau to coast through the rest of your life.
* Ignore everyone else and make them march to the beat of a different drummer (you)
* Continue believing the bassist is really just a runner up guitarist
* Treat each gigging opportunity like those animated Wedding gig youtubes.
* Never play, or be able to play, with anyone else
* Be rest assured you're the greatest drummer that ever played.

Of course a lot of this is a joke, but there's little elements of truth or at least trial and error that can be avoided.


Senior Member
Maybe I need a good teacher, but few have really helped me. I rely on the music to at least subjectively signal the right grooves and fills. My advice is to just watch as many drummers as possible and emulate what they are doing. Good luck.


Platinum Member
There have been many pro drummers that have made it to the "big time" and they were self-taught.
There are actually very, very few, if any, of these. Interviewers and music journalists love to write the story of "self-taught nobody achieves superstardom" and they will frequently omit the details of a drummer's education.

Besides, if you do make it to the "big time", wouldn't you want to stay there?


Gold Member
Definitely get a teacher. There's nothing better than direct feedback from someone who knows. There's a lot of free instructional stuff on youtube (and a little bit of it's actually good), but all the info is worthless if you don't know how to apply it correctly.


Silver Member
TMM, just from my experience: I played for around 30 years without ever getting a teacher. Played in bands, could cover some difficult music too. But when I took lessons in my early forties, I became a MUCH better player, practically over night. Go for a year of lessons, you won't regret it.