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Old 08-28-2010, 03:10 AM
Gerpz Gerpz is offline
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Default Picking a Drum Teacher

I'm looking for some advice on selecting a new drum teacher or if I should stick to the one I have now.

Currently I have a teacher who seems to be more focused on including ostinato's and difficult beats than doing songs like my past drum teachers.

I am positive he is more knowledgeable than my past drum teachers however he is extremely hard to communicate with. I also went from taking lessons in some-what of a closet to taking lessons from his custom made kit in his home studio.

I would much rather go over songs than do what he is assigning me to now. However, I want to do what will help me the most in the longrun. If learning countless ostinato's will help me with rock and the occasional jazz drumming in the future then I would like to learn it however I have never heard an ostinato being played in any of the alternative rock bands.

Thanks,
Gerpz
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:19 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

I say, it's your money - you should be paying for what you want to do. The teacher's job is supposed to expose you with what's out there and what you should know. If he's helping me with things that will get me a gig, then I'm all for it.

I doubt being able to play ostinatos is going to get you a gig at the local VFW hall or do alot of weddings, or playing at the local bar. However, I'm all for the learning, but it has to make sense to me. Could he do both?
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:22 AM
Gerpz Gerpz is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I say, it's your money - you should be paying for what you want to do. The teacher's job is supposed to expose you with what's out there and what you should know. If he's helping me with things that will get me a gig, then I'm all for it.

I doubt being able to play ostinatos is going to get you a gig at the local VFW hall or do alot of weddings, or playing at the local bar. However, I'm all for the learning, but it has to make sense to me. Could he do both?
I have asked before but like I said he is very hard to communicate with. Also after you get through the beginning stuff it's mostly all ostinatos other than that he gets into 6 stroke rolls a little.
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:51 PM
bigd bigd is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Teaching is really just another word for communicating.

If you are having a hard time communicating with this person you're not really learning. I'd look for someone else. It's your money and you want to get the most out of it.

Good luck!!!!!!!
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:32 PM
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skreg skreg is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

When I have the opportunity to work with teachers, it's very, very exciting. I mean, remember how you used to count down the days until Christmas when you were a kid? That's how your drum lessons should be.

As far as material goes - songs vs ostinatos - your relationship with your teacher should have a natural feeling of trust and respect. Your teacher's playing should really blow you away; that will help you trust her/his advice about what to practice. At the same time, if you're teacher isn't giving you material that is natural and interesting for you to work with, then you need to let them know. They should have an overwhelming amount of ideas to share with you, so switching to something you like shouldn't be a problem.

At the same time, it's important to take your teacher's advice. I used to get really frustrated working on tedious things like Stick Control, the New Breed, etc. and now it's extremely fun and exciting for me. It just takes some time to really dig into. Let your teacher push you over that hump.

-sheldon
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:32 PM
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Fuo Fuo is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Both? Can't you learn and practice songs on your own away from the teacher?
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:44 AM
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dairyairman dairyairman is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

that's goofy. you shouldn't be paying money to learn a bunch of stuff you're not particularly interested in. i don't understand why he's teaching you nothing but ostinatos and difficult beats. what you learn in your lessons should always help you play music. music is the name of the game, wouldn't you say? it sounds like you have more of an athletic coach than a drum teacher.
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:53 PM
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DestinationDrumming DestinationDrumming is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Surely you had a 'what do you want to learn' conversation before you started lessons with him? If you did and he's not following that ask him why, If you didn't then it's just as much your fault as his.

Before I start with any teacher I want to know:
How long playing?
How long teaching?
How many students?
What experience playing live?
What styles are they good at playing?
What do they think they can do for me?

I have a bassist mate who "just wants to play". He's dissed each and every teacher he's had because they have not been doing what he wants i.e. playing along to youtube. They have been trying to get him to play 'in time' as a first point of call which, to my novice ears, sounds like a good plan. He thinks they are wasting his time and his money...I think it's him that is the time waster. I'm not suggesting this is you but there are to sides to every story.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2010, 02:35 AM
JDemlow JDemlow is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigd View Post
Teaching is really just another word for communicating.

If you are having a hard time communicating with this person you're not really learning. I'd look for someone else. It's your money and you want to get the most out of it.

Good luck!!!!!!!

+1

It's a difficult situation to be in for sure, because you probably like the guy and don't want to hurt his feelings, but if he isn't teaching you, then it's a waste of money.

Maybe you guys just have very different styles that just aren't a good fit. Try a lesson or two with some other instructors (after all, it's not like you guys are going steady). Maybe that will give you a fresh perspective and make your decision easier.

Let us know how it works out!
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  #10  
Old 09-01-2010, 08:13 AM
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Spreggy Spreggy is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Ya know, I took lessons from a good local jazz player and highly regarded public school teacher. So I tell him what my goals are, and next thing you know he has me playing paradiddles. What, the eternal drum joke, paradiddles?
So he has me practicing paradiddles:
RLRR LRLL
Then the inversions:
RLRR LRLL
LRRL RLLR
RRLR LLRL
RLRL LRLR
Then all of those over a simple bass and hat ostinato, bass on 1 and 3, hat (w/foot) on 2 & 4. Rudiment played on snare (L) and ride (R hand).
Then he changed the ostinato to a samba, with the rudiment on the snare and hat as before. Quite a challange, and I had to play that stuff dead slow to get my limbs and nervous system to figure it out.

This is the thing: like you, I'm stuck with this paradiddle nightmare, and I start working through it, and it was very challenging. But when I was done, it above all other things I've done ripped my playing wide open. So there I am on a wedding gig playing the same old stuff, and I'm feeling like I can really say a lot more, like I was just given a thousand new words to my language. Next thing you know I'm getting compliments from band mates and enjoying the hell out of the gig and my new found voice.

So my input is trust him for a while. You don't see the application to alternative music, but he does. Facility and independence speaks to all genres.
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  #11  
Old 09-01-2010, 02:57 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
Ya know, I took lessons from a good local jazz player and highly regarded public school teacher. So I tell him what my goals are, and next thing you know he has me playing paradiddles. What, the eternal drum joke, paradiddles?
So he has me practicing paradiddles:
RLRR LRLL
Then the inversions:
RLRR LRLL
LRRL RLLR
RRLR LLRL
RLRL LRLR
Then all of those over a simple bass and hat ostinato, bass on 1 and 3, hat (w/foot) on 2 & 4. Rudiment played on snare (L) and ride (R hand).
Then he changed the ostinato to a samba, with the rudiment on the snare and hat as before. Quite a challange, and I had to play that stuff dead slow to get my limbs and nervous system to figure it out.

This is the thing: like you, I'm stuck with this paradiddle nightmare, and I start working through it, and it was very challenging. But when I was done, it above all other things I've done ripped my playing wide open. So there I am on a wedding gig playing the same old stuff, and I'm feeling like I can really say a lot more, like I was just given a thousand new words to my language. Next thing you know I'm getting compliments from band mates and enjoying the hell out of the gig and my new found voice.

So my input is trust him for a while. You don't see the application to alternative music, but he does. Facility and independence speaks to all genres.
Personally I go along with this, I played along to songs for years but it's the last 2 that I've started spending time with excercises like the above and many, many more. It's so opened up my ability and whilst I'm playing along to a song am much more able to play what I want as opposed to being limited.
It took me 3 attempts at finding a teacher though as at 1st I thought exactly the same as the OP and why are they giving me this stuff to practice, it wasn't until months later that I actually learnt the value of what I was being taught.
It was Benny Grebs video that made the penny drop for me, when you're playing your limitation will be what you're able to play and at the moment you may find it hard say accenting with the left hand. If you take 4 notes RLRL you can accent none, 1, 2, 3 or all 4of those notes ie using capitals as the accent Rlrl or rLrl or rlRl of rlrL or for 2 of them RLrl and it goes on, now apply it to flams and then doubles etc, etc, etc and if you can play every single note as you want to you no longer have any limitation and can play whatever you want!!
That's the theory anyway !!
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  #12  
Old 09-01-2010, 04:29 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: Picking a Drum Teacher

I'd need to know more about what you mean by "ostinatos" and "difficult beats". Virtually all of modern pop drumming is based on ostinatos - e.g. 8th-notes or 16th-notes on cymbals of some kind. Nine times out of ten, this is accompanied by the SD on 2 and 4. So, in short, learning grooves is really the art of learning to play things against ostinatos.

And by "difficult beats" do you simply mean things that are hard for you or things that seem deliberately complex? I ask because the material you're working on should be challenging. It should seem a little difficult at first, though it's equally bad to be working on stuff that's so far over your head that you can't get a little satisfaction from your practice. With that in mind, I wonder if you're seeing progress? Have you put the requisite time and effort into working on what he's given you to detect whether or not it's improving your playing?

Anyway, the thing that concerns me the most is when you say he's difficult to communicate with. That's a red flag. The whole point is that he's transmitting information to you and that process should be easy. I always assume it's my fault as a teacher if a student goes away confused as to what they're supposed to be working on, and more importantly why I'm having them do it. It sounds that - at the very least - he's failed to effectively communicate that to you, and so there may be reason to be concerned.

However, it's also incumbent on you, as a student, to ask good questions and communicate to your teacher about any problems or concerns you have about what you're learning. It's partly his job to read you and find material that's going to help you, but it's also up to you to use your noggin' and be involved in your learning - and don't be shy about it. If you ask him why you're working on what you are, he should be able to give you a clear, concise answer as to what his exercises are aiming to achieve and how they're applicable to your goals. If you're not satisfied with the answer, perhaps it's time to look elsewhere. However, he may have detected weaknesses in your playing that he feels need rectifying before going on to working on new music. And he may also feel that it's his job to help you with that, while learning to play tunes by your favorite band is up to you for the moment. Context-based learning (i.e. learning songs) is important, but when it comes to building technical facility and control, there is a lot of work to be done outside of context to prepare you to handle any context you're in with greater command over your instrument. The idea isn't to know some songs, it's to be able to play anything put in front of you and/or be able to create from your own facility. I sometimes get students who, like you, have essentially just learned to play songs. However, I then find that their knowledge is a mile wide, but an inch deep. They've only digested enough of certain things to play those particular songs, and if taken off the beaten path (har!) are completely lost. I then have to spend a good amount of time with them just going back to what they think they already know, and expand and deepen their knowledge so that they can make real progress in the long run.


Have you asked him what he's up to? If he's worth his salt, he'll appreciate that you're asking for justification.

Last edited by Boomka; 09-01-2010 at 04:42 PM.
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