Questions for experienced teachers

Numberless

Platinum Member
No, I'm not teaching a friend's kid after I've only been playing for two years. Actually I'm 22 and a music major, though I have not given lessons before, it is something I really want to do at some point. I've been reading the various threads on this subject and I have a couple of questions, feel free to chime in even if you've never given a lesson in your life!

1) How do you introduce the rhythm theory/music notation to the students? Do you treat it as a whole separate subject or integrate it with other areas such as technique or coordination? I've read that some studens flat out refuse to learn any of this stuff and if that's the case, you gotta work with them strictly by ear, ever had a student like this?

2) What are some good beginning drum method books to check out?

3) In between students, my teacher almost always has music playing in his room, it's not unusual for us to spend the first 5 or 10 minutes of the lesson just listening and talking about music. I really like it, not only do I discover new music, being able to see that the teacher is just as passionate and in love with music as the rest of us is very inspiring. Do you think it's acceptable to take some time from the lessons to listen/discuss music and drummers? For example I would love for my students to have a little knowledge of the history of the drumset and how it came about, and if they're interested in a certain style, we could examine classic albums or players and check out their work.

I realize I'm asking a lot, so if anyone takes the time to answer, you have my utmost gratitude!
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
No, I'm not teaching a friend's kid after I've only been playing for two years.
I was really hoping for one of those posts again. We haven't had one in a few days.

1) How do you introduce the rhythm theory/music notation to the students? Do you treat it as a whole separate subject or integrate it with other areas such as technique or coordination?
I use reading throughout my teaching practice - from rhythmic reading, rudiments, technique, etc... It is the method that musicians use to communicate. They read from the first lesson.

I've read that some students flat out refuse to learn any of this stuff and if that's the case, you gotta work with them strictly by ear, ever had a student like this?
There are also people who want to be on their school football or basketball team. How long would they last if they said, "Coach, I want to play in the games, but I won't do drills, memorize plays, or anything that does not give me instant gratification." Well, those things are requirements for being on a sports team - reading is required of each of my students. There are plenty of so called "teachers" who will be happy to take their money in exchange for showing them a lick or two by ear. My students make progress. I teach - not show them a beat or two by ear.

2) What are some good beginning drum method books to check out?
For snare drum, I would suggest Primary Handbook for Snare Drum by Garwood Whaley (w/CD). Of course there is Stick Control and Master Studies for technique. My book, The Level System will soon be available from Alfred Publications soon (stay tuned).

For beginning drum set, I would suggest Drumset 101 by Black/Houghton. You should also check out Fresh Approach to the Drumset by Mark Wessels.

Jeff
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
In between students, my teacher almost always has music playing in his room, it's not unusual for us to spend the first 5 or 10 minutes of the lesson just listening and talking about music. I really like it, not only do I discover new music, being able to see that the teacher is just as passionate and in love with music as the rest of us is very inspiring. Do you think it's acceptable to take some time from the lessons to listen/discuss music and drummers? For example I would love for my students to have a little knowledge of the history of the drumset and how it came about, and if they're interested in a certain style, we could examine classic albums or players and check out their work.
I often incorporate listening into the styles that we are playing. For example, if I am working on shuffles with a student, I will introduce them to BB King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Blues Brothers, etc... Them with the half time shuffle, we'll talk about Bernard Purdie, John Bonham, and Jeff Porcaro.

Jeff
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
When I was working in a music store there was a beginning drum set book by Jim Wymer (sp?), which had some very basic grooves, and at the top of each page was a well-known song title illustrative of each type of groove. "Sharp Dressed Man" was the 8th note rock beat example, "Lights" by Journey for the 6/8 groove, and so on. If I can point to a popular song or music style that demonstrates a particular lesson, I feel confident that I'm teaching worthwhile things, and the students broadens their tastes, and are motivated to practice. It's very easy for me to get sidetracked and waste time talking about music, so it helps to keep the focus on the lesson.

Yes, notation from the get-go, and metronome by the second lesson, even if we're just playing quarter notes. If you treat it as normal procedure you'll find that many students won't question your methods! ;) Don't make a big deal out of it and add pressure, or even talk about how important it is. Just make it part of the lesson, every lesson. Offer encouragement the moment you see effort and improvement! If you get resistance, talk to the parents first. Make the discussion about maturity, not about whether a metronome and notation are necessary.

For a beginner snare book, I use Vic Firth Snare Method 1.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Thanks for the thoughtful answers, I agree that to me it sounds ludicrous to teach drum lessons and not cover how to read.
 
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