New drummer question

Whiskey pirate

Junior Member
Been taking lessons for nine months now. Weekly half hour lessons and I've only missed twice in nine months. I also practice a little each day. My question is I don't seem to be getting very far. My teacher has been drilling me on reading the music (just finished dotted notes) but aside from playing some simple beats and fills that's Still about my limit. am I rushing things thinking I should be playing more? How long before I could expect to play on a higher level? I really enjoy the lessons and learning so I will stay with it. Just a little discouraged. By the way I'm 59 yrs young!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
It's not the years, it's the hours.

How many lessons doesn't mean as much as how many hours a day/week you practice.

And that said, everyone is different.

In my brief time teaching, two of my students were nearly identical; same age, same build, same background, same haircut.

One took weeks to learn each beat. He eventually went on to be a fine drummer.

One student would learn multiple beats per lesson. He went on to not be a drummer.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
"I practice a little each day" may be the problem. Try more time and then try just playing to some music and try to incorporate what your lessons are giving you.
 

Pyromaniac777

Silver Member
I don't think it's the amount of time you put in for drum lessons that determines how good you can become. It's the amount of personal practice and diligence that helps you become a better drummer. Lessons can be and are informative, but they shouldn't replace regular practice hours. Just my 2¢...
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
"I practice a little each day" may be the problem. Try more time and then try just playing to some music and try to incorporate what your lessons are giving you.
How's he supposed to make sense of complicated lessons if he can't yet interpret the notation?

To the OP: Why has it taken you nine months to learn to read dotted notes? There's no rule against teaching yourself to read rhythmic notation.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
When I was a kid, basic music theory was learned as it was applied to reading exercises being played in the snare drum method book. Hours and hours were spent working technique, and said reading on a practice pad, and then transferred to a drumset when the time was right. But you've only been at it for nine months, so you have plenty of time you need to be spending on the snare drum or just playing.

But don't be so discouraged, as DED said, one student picked it up easily and ultimately didn't continue, and one had to work hard and continues to play. If you can find the time to do the fun stuff (playing) then it just gets easier all the time. But hey, you said you were 59, so there's probably other things you're taking care of, right? No shame in that.

I've been playing mostly all my life and there are times when I ask myself now (turning 50 next year) why I keep playing ;)
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
You might try playing along with recordings, learn the drum parts. Try jamming with other musicians too. Exercises alone may not give that same feeling of progress.
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
I'm a drum instructor and if I had a student that felt that way I'd want them to let me know, I try to cater each lesson to the student's goals and abilities.
If there's something in particular that you want to learn or improve on say something, I ask all my students what they're looking to do with drumming and do what I can to get them there.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
You can't learn everything in one half-hour lesson a week. Lessons are for giving you a steer and doing all the technical stuff you need to acquire in the beginning. You make progress by incorporating what you learn into your own independent practice. Use your imagination and your initiative! Drums are great - play them!
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
You might try playing along with recordings, learn the drum parts. Try jamming with other musicians too. Exercises alone may not give that same feeling of progress.
What he said ^ . When I was a beginner (am old now too) I was mainly driven to play my favourite music, things like 'When the levee breaks' and some ZZ Top gave me challenges to work on. Hey, and I wouldn't worry about learning to read so much, unless you're aiming for a jazz gig or session work!
 

Nexxus6

Junior Member
You practice a little every day?
When I took lessons all those eons ago, I practiced every day for a minimum of 2 1/2 hours, usually 4-5 hours. Yes, I gave up hanging out with friends and other activities you would normally do. No such things a video games back then.
But, I practiced this much because I love drumming that much. It also allowed me to focus my mind, I have severe ADD, (it was called an "overactive imagination" back then. There were no meds. So I coped with ADD with different aspects of my lessons.
My instructor also told me to HAVE FUN! He called it 'crashing the kit". You put the books away, forget about the lessons and just bang away. I became inventive on my homemade solos and just relaxed and and didn't worry about anything until my mom dragged me away for supper.
I see too many kids give up because they don't have fun. Music should be serious at times but it should ALWAYS be fun. Just my humble opinion.
Nowadays, at 56 years old, I love jamming with people. We are not writing songs or trying to be the next greatest band in the history of mankind. We just start playing and it usually ends up being a "try to play along with this" friendly competition. And again, we laugh and have fun
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
Bin the stupid music sheets as they are not needed. Put on some of your favourite songs & bash away. Easiest & most enjoyable way of learning.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Bin the stupid music sheets as they are not needed. Put on some of your favourite songs & bash away. Easiest & most enjoyable way of learning.
Going to disagree here. We've had a lot of agreement lately but this one I'm going to disagree with.

If you learn to read music early on, it'll serve you well if you ever get any gigs that require reading. It's important that musicians have a wide set of skills. That includes reading and also includes playing by ear - both are important. One of my biggest regrets was not continuing with score reading as a kid. I failed auditions for fairly big opportunities (singing, in this case) because of my lack of reading ability.

By all means, play along to music you like but also practice between lessons using the material your teacher has given you. The fastest way to practice both skills is learning how to transcribe music from recordings but that takes quite a high level of both listening and writing to be able to do.

If you want to play outside of the Rock context (and even within Rock sometimes) it really helps to be able to read. I used to play in a Swing band and got away with my reading but was then thrown a small quartet gig and had to brush up sharp. It really helped me as a player to be thrown those challenges.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
How's he supposed to make sense of complicated lessons if he can't yet interpret the notation?

To the OP: Why has it taken you nine months to learn to read dotted notes? There's no rule against teaching yourself to read rhythmic notation.
I am suggesting that maybe spending a little more time studying such notation may make it easier to understand.
 

Thunder 42

Silver Member
WP, just a few thoughts. Spend ample time practicing and preparing for your lessons, but recommend also to immerse yourself in the kind of music that you enjoy and would enjoy to play. Headphones - listen to the percussion, the rhythm section, the interaction with bass. Start simple, tap along on your thigh, and tap the beat with your bass foot. Enjoy it.

Work the rudiments on a pad or your lap, keep the noise levels down when family is home, then take them to the snare and practice them around the kit. Keep a pair of sticks in or near your hands. Be encouraged, listen and perform your own study - there are great learning videos, but spend sometime in the music that you enjoy - stay encouraged.
 

GrimmReefer

Senior Member
There is nothing better in moving along with what you have learned than playing with other musicians. Even if all you have is something simple you just need to apply it in a safe environment. Things will come together much faster that way.

Of course this is my opinion not fact but learning taught exercises by yourself or with a teacher using just the drum kit can be difficult. There is nothing to tell you what does and doesn't work other than a teacher or a click track showing you what is wrong. Throw yourself into a situation where you can apply even the simple things you do know already and have fun. Another musician that will play along to you even if you slow down, speed up or lose track of the beat. Have a laugh together and try again.

The lessons will help you grow from there. Don't be discouraged. You say you enjoy it. That's all that matters. At some point something will just click and you will be on your way. I promise.
 

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Thunder42, IMO, hits the bullseye.

You don't say what kind of music you like/love, nor anything about why you want to play drums.

Are you interested in reading drum music? I had NO use for reading music for many, many years. I had no place to use it, and I learned very well by ear. When I finally wanted to learn to read music, I did so. And it was much easier to learn.

Best,
skf
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Going to disagree here. We've had a lot of agreement lately but this one I'm going to disagree with.

If you learn to read music early on, it'll serve you well if you ever get any gigs that require reading. It's important that musicians have a wide set of skills. That includes reading and also includes playing by ear - both are important. One of my biggest regrets was not continuing with score reading as a kid. I failed auditions for fairly big opportunities (singing, in this case) because of my lack of reading ability.

By all means, play along to music you like but also practice between lessons using the material your teacher has given you. The fastest way to practice both skills is learning how to transcribe music from recordings but that takes quite a high level of both listening and writing to be able to do.

If you want to play outside of the Rock context (and even within Rock sometimes) it really helps to be able to read. I used to play in a Swing band and got away with my reading but was then thrown a small quartet gig and had to brush up sharp. It really helped me as a player to be thrown those challenges.
Agreed, DO NOT stop reading. That is a critical skill that will help you grow as a musician. Music theory and the ability to read are critical to being a good musician, with any instrument. It really blows my mind to here other musicians telling you to stop reading music, illiteracy is nothing to be proud of. Would you tell someone to learn a language by just listening to talk radio and mimicking what they hear? No. That might be part of it, and it does help, but you'd have to take basic reading/writing classes to learn the language.

Learning anything is going to take a little while, but you are on the right track. Take lessons, get a basic understanding of notation and theory, and practice on your own. As others mentioned, try playing along with songs you like. Also, practice your rudiments, rudiments are the foundation for everything in drumming. Every stroke you make is tied to a rudiment, and the more fluid your rudiments get, the more your set drumming will improve.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
If you learn to read music early on, it'll serve you well if you ever get any gigs that require reading. .
Do you really think that applies to a 59 year old beginner? lol

Teach kids how to read. They are sponges and they learn effortlessly. Old guys are old and have completely different priorities. I know this because I am one.

It's a retirement hobby. Treat it as such. If you took up golf, you might take a few lessons but you would then go play.....daily


E kit + headphones + mp3's = fun.
 
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