Teaching the drums


Junior Member
Hey gang. So a friend of my sister wants me to teach her the drums and even said she would throw in a little money. I am not working for any music school or anything, just me and my kit at my house, and i have never really taught anything. I come to you to ask for advice. How would YOU teach someone the drums? I already think i have a basic idea for lessons planned out. I took lessons for a few years so i have a couple drum books. I figure i would start her out on the snare book, and also explain to her rudiments and such. However i think she is looking more at just having fun and learning to be able to jam, so i am just wondering again, how you all would approach this. I know many people on this site are actual drum teachers so advice from you would also be appreciated.
I don't want to be dull and boring talking about how rudiments are the key to life and blah blah blah, so i figure besides going off the books i would teach her easy songs and such (back in black probalby the first one, good way to demonstrate 4/4, "get back" a good way to demonstrate triplets, etc) however, on top of trying to make good entertaining lessons, i am also not the most technical drummer. I drum a lot by just feeling the song, and i am not so good on a lot of different time signatures and i do not know EVERY rudiment, so while i want to emphasize counting and using a metronome, i do not actually count when i play because it confuses me, and i do not really use a metronome (when i say i am not a super technical drummer, i am not bad, and i do know a little bit on the technical side of drumming, my playing is not bad i just want to be certain that i am giving her the best education). Should i teach her how i play, or should i just teach her all the legitimate rules and such, and just tell her to develop her own way of how she plays best? These are just a few things i have been wondering about, i want to be a good teacher is all! I look forward to reading your responses.


Senior Member
The way to learn how to teach is to teach. You start out with a student or two that you don't charge too much and see what works or even if you want to continue. I have a sign in my teaching studio that says "Teach....Learn" Teaching isn't all about teaching...it's about learning also. Have fun and see what happens.


Platinum Member
Assuming that your student wants to learn rock music, you'll be teaching her how to play beats and fills mostly. But in order to communicate those ideas (and for her to be able to practice by herself), she'll need to learn to read music notation. So yes, the snare book will be a good starting point, but move into beats and fills quickly.

There are many ways to be engaging as a drum teacher, but the one that comes to mind is to relate the material you teach to songs the student knows. The basic rock "money beat" is found in Billie Jean; a simple four-16th-note snare fill can be found in the first verse of "The Joker"; a four-on-the-floor beat, cymbal chokes, and hi-hat lifts can all be found in "Eye of The Tiger", etc.

Even when you teach quarter notes and eighth notes, it helps to count along to a song the student knows if you can. Ask that the student bring her mp3 player along to the lesson, and if a song is simply too difficult or weird or complicated, that's okay, we have to learn to walk before we run, right?

Mostly your job will be to encourage your student, and to make the learning experience fun. Be positive and make it a point to say "good job" or "awesome" every time she gets it right. At all costs, avoid saying "no" or "wrong".


Gold Member
To expand on these previous suggestions, I would emphasize to her how to hold the sticks and how to make a proper stroke whether she is an adult or a child. Start with just the snare then add the rest of the kit. I think that is the basic foundation for good playing.

Get her to relate the basic coordination of all four limbs to songs she know and is interested in. It might be a good idea to have her bring recordings of her own or, at least, find out what she likes to listen to and provide that at your lessons.

You are probably a very competent drummer and you should make a good teacher. The most important thing is to impart to her your love of drumming which you obviously have.


Junior Member
Thanks to everyone. I feel much more confident now that the process will be beneficial to both of us!

wy yung

Try to keep it enjoyable and be patient. Facial expressions, negative comments etc can ruin a lesson very quickly. It is my experience that the human body must deal with certain coordination issues in order to perform the complex task of using 4 limbs to play music. Be sure to let your sister know that this is the case and ask her to be patient with herself.