Very discouraged after first drum lesson :(


Hi everyone,

I've had a few discussions as well as read ones held by others here, and I've always admired a lot of the people who offer great advice and the general kindness of the people here.

This post is just something I guess I want to get off my chest. I've been playing V-Drums for about 3 months now (renting) and finally purchased my own. I love playing them, researching drum technique, learning, and just trying to have fun and enjoy myself.

I recently signed up for lessons - in fact I just got back from my first ever lesson an hour ago.. and I'm really feeling bad about myself now. My instructor really didn't make me feel good...I guess I'm a bit of a sensitive guy to begin with (and I told him this), but this particular instructor really discouraged me. I was his last less of the day and it was very clear that he just wanted to get me out the door so he could go home. He barely asked me anything about myself and when he did it just didn't seem authentic At the very end, he said "what a long day..." while rusing to get his jacket on. He sat me down at a kit that a kid had just been playing with the throne like half a foot off the floor and didn't teach me anything about how to sit at the kit comfortably. I also let him know I have a bad left leg. Because of the throne positioning, I barely had enough strength in my leg to keep the hihat closed... I know I can do it, but I just need to sit up higher and whatnot. I guess I need to stick up for myself and not let him rush through things, but this guy barely let me talk. He mentioned twice that there were books I could buy if I wanted at the store, and then proceeded to try to make it seem like he was giving me special treatement by photocopying 2 pages from a book, and anyone with half a brain knows it's obvious that I could get the exact same thing by 1.5 seconds of 'Google-ing'. I'm not a f*cking 5 year old, I have common sense and if you want my respect, photo copy the pages and give them to me because you want me to learn and do well, and I'll repsect you and buy a book. I also just finished spending $2200 at the same store.

I guess, I'm just looking to vent, I'm not sure why I'm posting this... but I'm definitely feeling discouraged and demoralized.

Special K

Junior Member
Sounds like a horrible teacher to me. Imo, I'd cut your losses and find someone else who takes teaching drums seriously.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You can always find a better teacher. Perhaps raise a ruckus with the folks who run the store - the idea is, you give them money, he teaches you how to play. Due to this economy, big companies are bending over backwards to make customers happy. This store should be embracing that idea too by making sure their teachers are actually doing a job people like.

It sounds to me like you have a legitimate gripe. I'd take it to the store owners.


Platinum Member
if you lived in my town i could set you up with some great teachers. there's no way they would treat you like that. that's ridiculous! i'd drop that guy like a hot rock!


Senior Member
Are you getting lessons from a teacher working at a drum store?

Consider finding a private teacher who works out of his house. They're usually more knowledgeable and passionate about their work.


If you approach your ordeal with a different perspective, you can see that you actually had a great lesson with that guy...a lesson in what to look out for in choosing a drum instructor.

A drum instructor is likely to be a distinct part of your life once you find the right one, and you might have to check out a few to find one that you click with. I say that you should form a small list of questions for your future drum instructors to represent what you would like to accomplish with your lessons.

Also keep in mind that the first lesson with any instructor might not be particularly productive because the instructor needs to find out where you are at and what direction you want to go. Your questions for them should be based on what goals you would like to achieve.

For example...

"I am looking to get into Jazz music. Are you familiar with Jazz music? "

"I've recently bought a V-drum kit and I am just now getting into messing around with the different sounds. Are you familiar with electronic drum playing and how it is a little different than acoustic drums?"

"I'm not sure what kind of music I should be listening to while just starting out on drums. What is some good music to listen to that will help me understand the drums role in music?"

I'd spent the first meeting with a client just evaluating them, and hearing about their goals. What do they want from me, and what do they need from me? Maybe spend a few minutes playing together to get a feeling of the clients timing. I watch the hands of clients carefully to see what they have already learned.

If you are just a number or a scheduling slot to them, get the heck out of there pronto. You might start a new thread asking Drummerworld members for instructor recommendations in your city. Depending on where you live, I bet you will find someone rock solid here at Dw that can get you rockin' in no time!


Senior Member
Don't let the man get you down!

I wholeheartedly agree that it's time for a new instructor. There's tons of them out there so you should be able to find another who's better than this guy.

Stick with it! It sounds like you enjoy playing already; believe me when I say it only gets better!


Junior Member
Ouch!!! That's one bad teacher.

When a student comes in for a first lesson, here's what i do and what i think
should be done!

1- First lesson is allways free!
2- I sit down with my student and ask him (or her) about their favourite drummers, how long did they wanna play drums etc. To make them feel comfortable.
3- We start sloooooooooow. Usually the first lesson is about trying out the kit, handling the sticks,see how it feels. Teaching rudiments is only the technical part, i have to fuel their passion for drumming by teaching the history of drums, the legends of drums like Buddy, Bonzo etc.
4- Then we begin with the teachings as well.

Leesons should allways be 50% learning 50% practicing and 100% fun!

So far, i've never had a student who has quit and their all having a good time while learning!

I think that you really need to get a new teacher.

Have fun!


If you approach your ordeal with a different perspective, you can see that you actually had a great lesson with that guy...a lesson in what to look out for in choosing a drum instructor.

Exactly right.

Look for someone else and let Mr. Ego/Personality have his core students to live off of. Good luck.


I have been playing about 6yrs now and I had 5 instructors the 1st 3 yrs.. It takes awhile to find one that works for you. I have not taken a lesson in about a year now but looking again and I have someone who I have only chatted with through e-mail but he sounds like a good fit and I am going to give him a try.

some don't really care, some care wayyyy too much. One guy actually told me to bring him my whole drum set and leave it with him to make sure I worked rudiments on the snare and would not get distracted with the rest of the kit..Yeah right I said buh bye now.

Drop that guy or atleast tel him how you feel and see if he improves..lessons are very important especially at the beginning. I am starting to have some hand problems after all this time and I am pretty sure it's due to bad technique.
You have received your 1st lesson learned, regarding a drumming teacher. Try to communicate with him, one more time, if there is no feedback - turn the page and move on in finding a new one. At least, now you know what to look for about teachers!

...........and don´t crack at first, keep enjoying the drums.

Good luck, mate.


Silver Member
sounds like a disinterested, money-focussed music store teacher & i would drop him for a private teacher. i still remember my first "formal" drum lesson back in the 70s, when this chain-smoking band director gave me a lesson & then tried to talk me out of learning drums ("it's too difficult & take a lifetime to master"). i think he was trying to fill out his sax section or something? the main thing's NOT you. find a drum teacher who is passionate about teaching, drums, technique & drummers. it will get better from there.

you want some inspiration ? listen to the first 10 minutes of Tommy Igoe's "Great Hands for a Lifetime" (downloaded last night). the ultimate "first drum lesson" prep talk i have ever heard.
you want some inspiration ? listen to the first 10 minutes of Tommy Igoe's "Great Hands for a Lifetime" (downloaded last night). the ultimate "first drum lesson" prep talk i have ever heard.
Absolutely true. That whole DVD is a game changer. I recommend all of Tommy's stuff, especially Groove Essentials and in particular the play-along books. Those have kept me inspired for years and there's no end in sight. I doubt I'll ever master all of it, but that's not my goal. Just trying to get better.


Thanks to everyone for the feedback on this!! Interestingly enough, everything you are saying is exactly on track with my thoughts on the matter.

Yes, he's a teacher at a big chain store, Long & McQuade (which is where I've purchased everything).

That's a great way to look at this situation. Thanks for pointing that out to me :) Your example is exactly what I was hoping for, and nothing close to what I received.

That's really the type of experience I was hoping for in my first lesson.

Thanks, that adds some great context and puts this into perspective pretty well.

I'll have to check that out, thanks :)

And thanks to everyone else who's commented here, I'm feeling a lot better about this now.


Platinum Member
I agree with everyone else, find a new teacher.

I've taken lessons with many different people, and some were certainly better than others


Silver Member
First look for a qualified teacher.
Does this teacher have a music teaching degree or a percussion degree from a college/university?

Do you have a college/university near you with a music dept.? If so they can probably hook you up with a real teacher who is going to get you started in the right direction and actually WANTS to teach. Maybe one or their teachers or maybe one of their students who really wants to teach and is actually interested in helping you.

The real deal is probably closer then you think you just need to look for the right place and find it. I've only taken lessons from a music store at one time. That teacher had truly great qualifications and had been in DCI drum corps for a long time placing second in snare finals 2 years in a row. Most are just people who "teach" while they're trying to make it with their band. Pass on those.

The real deal usually costs more but is totally worth it in the amount of knowledge they share and the amount of caring they give.

Good luck

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
My 2 cents:

As Ian Williams mentioned, give the guy a second chance! Everybody deserves a second chance. You'll see if he's any different next week, and also what he remembers from your first lesson and if he builds on it reasonably.
Then, instead of venting on the forum (or in addition of doing so) gather all your courage and try to communicate your feelings to him. If he's just halfway a good teacher, your feedback will touch him and make him try to be better. If not - well definitely time to leave!! Hope that helps.