When to stop taking lessons?

ronyd

Silver Member
Ok, this may be a stupid question, but how long did you take lessons before stopping?

The reason I ask is because I'm questioning this to myself. I could take lessons until the cows come home, but to what end?

I've only been playing for 3 years and have been taking lessons either once a week or every 2 weeks. I'm a lefty with a lefty setup. I DO NOT plan on being a professional drummer. I'm 60+ years old, and i am definitely passionate about drumming.

I Practice every day, usually on the pad before work, at lunch hour, and then on the kit at night. I read music, know enough about the rudiments, moeller, german/french grips. etc now and I know it all takes time to be proficient, but it coming along.

So, I ask myself what should I expect when I arrive at the doorsteps of my teacher? Do I tell him what I need to be learning, or go with a plan of his own?

please share your thoughts....
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My thoughts are that this is a question that totally depends on the individual asking the question. Everyone has different goals, different agendas. If it doesn't make sense to you, and you aren't getting much out of them, I'd say switch teachers or drop lessons. Rudiments and technique....at this point I don't need any instruction there, just work.

The stuff I really want to learn is learned by playing music with great musicians. Lately the stuff I get from playing gigs....I don't see how teachers can teach that stuff. For example, my latest epiphany is to pull back a little. Play what I want to play, but basically, don't try too hard. Lighten up on the reigns a little and don't try too hard. Get the tempo feeling oh so good. The recording sounds better that way. How do you teach that? It's something that one has to discover on their own IMO. The recorder shows me clearly what I'm doing right and what needs tweaking.

Ron, if you're not already, playing music with others is easily as profitable to you as a drummer, as taking lessons, IMO. I've always said that you can practice alone, in your house, for years and years, and it means almost nothing until you start driving a band on your own. Start driving a band (if you're not already) if you are wondering about the benefits of taking lessons with your particular teacher.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I liked it when you said 'plan of his own'.

I'm one of those. My parents sent me to lessons but I quickly dropped out. If you already have enough creativity of your own, and you naturally evolve with time spent at the drums, I would say that you should just make sure your technique is good and then go and play the things you want.

I'm having trouble fixing my technique :(
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
Ron, if you're not already, playing music with others is easily as profitable to you as a drummer, as taking lessons, IMO. I've always said that you can practice alone, in your house, for years and years, and it means almost nothing until you start driving a band on your own. Start driving a band (if you're not already) if you are wondering about the benefits of taking lessons with your particular teacher.
Wise words from the avuncular one, as ever!

I'm in a similar place to you, Ron. Nearly 4 years of very frequent, regular lessons, plus countless hours of practice, that got me good enough to start playing in a band a year ago. Since then, I've had fewer lessons yet my playing has improved drastically, and the main reason for this is that I pick up on ideas generated by other members in the band, which then kick-starts my own creativity. We listen to each other and play sympathetically.

I still have lessons but mainly that's because although I play well enough for my own purposes, I don't want to get too comfortable. And besides, my lessons are social occasions which frequently involve lunch, invariably tea and caek, and usually a fair chunk of YouTube, as well as the odd bit of agony aunt/uncle. What's not to like!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I like to take breaks and mix it up myself. It's hard to get lessons in when you're working and playing shows... I am on a break from lessons right now, in fact. When I feel that I've totally absorbed and mastered what I can in my current state, and have a bit of time to make it work, I'll seek out a new teacher and learn from them for a year or so.
 

ronyd

Silver Member
Hey guys, all makes sense. LarrayAce, you hit it on the nose. Actually this is what my teacher said to me: drummers don;t play alone, like other musicians like guitar or piano. Drummers need to play with a group, and play to support the group.

My teacher has mucho experience gigging (30+ years as a band leader and drummer for the same band - Brass Attack. So when we get together, he shows me what I really need to know, especially dynamics.

Anyway, my buddies at the drumshop rib me all the time, here's the "analyst", stop analyzing and play, laughing of course. They don;t really read music, so I write something down, they look at me, and say: don;t know what you wrote but heres how I play this beat: pretty funny and we have a blast laughing about it anyway.

So, getting myself ready for blues night on Wednesdays at the bowling alley, sponsored by my buddy drummer. Shuffling my brains out. Not as easy as I thought, but getting there.

thankx for the inputs.....
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm having trouble fixing my technique :(
Right. A good teacher, in addition to doing all the things teachers do, IMO, shows you how to play, not just what to play. I was very lucky to have had lessons very early on with teachers who really focused specifically on technique, how to work a drumstick and how to work a footpedal. I so needed that. I was so sloppy pre teacher. They were the very best things they could have taught me, how to manipulate drumsticks efficiently, and how to rebound the beater. I was given killer hand and foot exercises that stretched ligaments, built muscle where I needed it, and really gave me "drummer hands" that really made all the difference in my playing. I put in the time, and endured a fair amount of ligament and tendon stretching pain.... to the point of losing feeling in my fingertips for 6 months, and I am so grateful for that.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Good question. I suppose it's different for everyone. As Larry said, it depends on what your goals are.

I have taken lessons in the past; about 4 years total. I haven't found a local teacher that could teach what I want since I have moved. I took lesson from one local jazz guy for a while but it was very evident we had completely different philosophies on drumming. He did help me with some traditional grip stuff, so it wasn't a total loss.

I think I have taken enough lessons to know what I need to work on. Again, as Larry said, record yourself as much as possible and study yourself. At this point, I know what to listen for and how to improve it.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't sign up for lessons again if I found the right teacher, just that I can get by for now.
 

double_G

Silver Member
my opinion is that is you are in the mindset of being "an eternal student" like Tony Williams then you are good to go. go to a formal lesson when you need it or skype a lesson w/ a pro player from time to time. as long as you are in the right learning mindset there is PLENTY of online & offline material to soak in daily. then it is a matter of planning / goals / fun.
 

yakbutter

Senior Member
I think that provided the right tools, anyone can become their own best teacher. I've only taken about six months worth of lessons in 20 years of playing. I learned proper technique and how to read. Last year I decided to contact a guy who had written a double bass book I had been working from for a lesson. The lesson was fun and all, butI realized that I had no trouble understanding or playing the material, and that it just required time on my own to master. I also enjoy mixing ideas from books together in my own fashion, which I hope lends itself to creating my own voice on the instrument.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think that provided the right tools, anyone can become their own best teacher. I've only taken about six months worth of lessons in 20 years of playing. I learned proper technique and how to read. Last year I decided to contact a guy who had written a double bass book I had been working from for a lesson. The lesson was fun and all, butI realized that I had no trouble understanding or playing the material, and that it just required time on my own to master. I also enjoy mixing ideas from books together in my own fashion, which I hope lends itself to creating my own voice on the instrument.
Most people I know that are entirely self taught have huge holes in their playing and are less well-rounded than those who went through things methodically and had an outside eye to give criticism and help you move past the things they see.

It's very hard to be totally honest with yourself, and since you don't know what you don't know, it's hard to even identify issues on your own sometimes.

Not saying it can't be done, just that it's extremely hard to replace a competent teacher when it comes to this.
 

ronyd

Silver Member
Oh yeah, one little nuisance is being lefty. Switching a kit around just to play couple of tunes may not be ideal. Yes, I am very athletic and coordinated. No I'm not abidex, always did everything left handed. I can play right handed open handed, but not a a point to play anything more than simple rock or shuffle beats with fillins.

In hind sight, shoulda did what Ringo did, lefty, play righty setup, lead with the left. now to get his stuff right, I either gotta lead right or doulbe up on the right to avoid all the crossovers...eeek... :)
 

yakbutter

Senior Member
Most people I know that are entirely self taught have huge holes in their playing and are less well-rounded than those who went through things methodically and had an outside eye to give criticism and help you move past the things they see.

It's very hard to be totally honest with yourself, and since you don't know what you don't know, it's hard to even identify issues on your own sometimes.

Not saying it can't be done, just that it's extremely hard to replace a competent teacher when it comes to this.
I'm not suggesting that one should be entirely self taught.
 

ronyd

Silver Member
I agree being self taught. some have a great knack for it. My buddy for one, took couple of lessons and said forget it. He's a great drummer as a self taught guy, great hears and sense of time and anticipation.

Myself, need the decipline and roadmap. I'm very deciplined, like I am/ was in sports. You tell me I have to do this, and I'm all over it until I get there.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Sounds like a good foundation you've laid out.
Do you know a good solid keyboard player? Working with a good keyboard is better than a guitarist. Good keyboard players are hard to find and they will usually know bassists and perhaps some horn players or singers. Guitarists are everywhere, don't worry about finding a guitarist. A good keyboard is essential. A good electric bassist would be a good 2nd if the keyboardist doesn't pan out.

My 2cents.
 
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No Way Jose

Silver Member
Deciding when to quit is a personal decision.

I took lessons for about a year. Then job, marriage and house got in the way. Now I'm mostly learning on my own, musicians teach me things too.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Most of the drummers I know who I'd least expect to be still taking lessons, are still taking lessons (& I'm talking working pro's here!). Most of the drummers I know who I think would really benefit from lessons, aren't (I very much include myself here). There's a picture emerging ;)
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
It's very simple: Do you get a benefit from taking lessons? You will know the answer to that question.

In my case, with my time on the kit sorely limited, taking lessons is a great way to enforce some discipline. I make sure I am always prepared ahead of each lesson, and the lesson itself is time spent on the kit, with somebody pushing me to learn things.

YMMV
 

Brian

Gold Member
^ ha

My opinion is, as long as you're getting the time and money's worth, why stop? If I feel that the value is no longer there, that is when I would stop.
 
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