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  #1  
Old 06-02-2008, 04:21 AM
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MikePeartnoy MikePeartnoy is offline
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Default Tips for self-taught drummers

Hey drummers,

This might be a very general question, but I figured that it was valid enough to ask.

I've been playing drums for about two years now. I've only gotten really serious with them in the last few months. I'm more or less self-taught; first I learned to play by ear (something that got me started), then I learned techniques from various friends who took lessons (I know, way to freeload) and recently I've started reading notation and learning to play from the sheet. I'd like to think I've come a long ways by myself, but I've decided that my practices need to start having some structure.

Since my knowledge might not be as broad as drummers who took lessons for 2 years, I was wondering if anybody could give me tips as to how to practice, what to practice, and what to watch for.

(My own practices right now aren't very structured at all, and aside from rudiments, the only way I really "practice" techniques is whenever I come across them in songs. Then I usually steal them and incorporate them into improv where I try to expand on them, etc.)

Anyhow, tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks..
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

My tip is to go to a teacher and get s foundation. Get your grip right and get some good fundamentals. Bad habits will be hard enough at this point, don't wait any longer. I know all the self tough guys will say you don't need it but I disagree. the foundation has to be strong or you will not be able to build on it. You will be shocked at what a year of lessons will do for you.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:06 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I was exactly like you after two years of drumming. Listened to songs for some ideas, used rudiments when i could. Then i joined jazz band at school which almost required me to get some private help. It was probably on of the best things ive done because my teacher helped me learn the material and I was free to use it and add to it however i pleased. My sights of playing the drum set were greatly broadened with the help of a veteran.

If you don't think you need a teacher...start watching youtube vids of every kind of drummer out there. Listen to any music you can to pick up on ideas that the pro's use and simplify/incorporate them into your playing.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Thanks guys.
Yeah, that is pretty much what I was already considering. I've always been a little intimidated by teachers - I'm always afraid my hobby will turn into a chore. It's what happened when I took guitar lessons not too long ago, and I'd hate to repeat it.

I think I might try and scout out someone who could give me a professional opinion before I decide to actually pay for any lessons this time around. But most people tend to tell me the same thing, so I'll probably give it a try.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by MikePeartnoy View Post

I've been playing drums for about two years now. I've only gotten really serious with them in the last few months.
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Originally Posted by MikePeartnoy View Post
Thanks guys.
I've always been a little intimidated by teachers - I'm always afraid my hobby will turn into a chore. It's what happened when I took guitar lessons not too long ago, and I'd hate to repeat it.
Just my 2c/ if you are concerned that lessons will turn a hobby into a chore, maybe you're not as serious about playing as you think. Lessons are an entry level step.

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I think I might try and scout out someone who could give me a professional opinion before I decide to actually pay for any lessons this time around.
Isn't that another way of someone saying they want a lesson without assignments or structure, then not pay for it? What pro who's any good would do that? If it were me, I'd save up a hundred bucks and take some lessons, or better yet go to a summer music camp, then see how it works for you. If you're really wanting to be serious, you can't dangle your toes in the water. You have to jump in.

Good luck man.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Good point.
I think I'll go with my gut feeling.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:11 PM
Vril drumms Vril drumms is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I've been self taught for 12 years now but a little while ago tried taking some lessons...sadly though the guy was a wicked creeper and they didn't last. When I feel I'm really behind myself and not up to par technique wise with the rest of the world, I print out little rudiments and ideas from different drumming sites. A few Google searches may find you a plethora of drum tabs, rudiments and practices that can greatly improve a stale moment in drumming growth. Unless your local drum teacher isn't a creeper, in which case I suppose you could go with that too :)
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Well, I have been playing for 4 years already, and I just took only 8 formal lessons! that means - 2 months... (1 hr per week)...

I was paying that professor... $50/hr... for what? for nothing... the guy didn't even teach me how to hold the sticks (grip)... I really got disapointed.... and started watching videos on the tube... forums (threads), DVD's... books... vicfirth.com... drummerworld.com.....

Also I play at church, and I watch the best drummer of us (there are 4 drummers who play in my church), and I learn from him... watching him, listening to him.... I listen carefully to music.. or better yet.. the drums part of the song when I hit the radio...

and I practice a lot!!!!

This way, I am not the super drummer, but I have learnt a lot.. I consider myself a self-taught drummer, since no one teach me directly... but not exactly cause 80% of things I have learnt is from DVD's and books... I have speant almost $1000 on books, dvd's.... yeah... and i havent completed them yet... no.. but i learn something new from them in a regular basis........

laterz!
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

You always have to teach yourself during your learning curve and put the hours in. Sometimes you find a tutor / mentor / superior being who can help take you to that next level. Sometimes you hear someone trying to teach you who cannot help you as they do not get you.
Study the books, vids, dvd's, downloads etc and search out someone who you want to learn from.
Self taught is ok, but never be so stubborn as to not be willing to learn from someone
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Drums are very unique when it comes to learning/teaching. There is no definitive answer here, because everyone learns differently. I edited this post because this thread has become much to intense for my liking.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by ironcobra View Post
Drums are very unique when it comes to learning/teaching. There is no definitive answer here, because everyone learns differently.

Personally, I think as far as holding a stick, there is no "right" way, it's whatever works best and feels the most comfortable. When I started out, people always told me to hold the stick a certain way which always felt very uncomfortable, but over the years, I've slowly adjusted and my grip , which has naturally changed to the way people suggested in the years before. Drums are also unique in the sense that they're the core of all music, it's not something that can be taught, it's something that you have to naturally have inside of you. I'm not saying you don't need to be taught techniques, but if you don't have the natural rhythm inside, you'll never be able to play drums. Having said that, if you have the natural talent of drumming inside of you, all you have to do is imagine what you want to hear, and translating that onto the kit. It can be bizarre and unique, but that's is the only way to be creative.

This is why I don't believe in drum "teaching". I believe in giving tips here and there to improve playing or conquering a certain goal, because you can't be taught something that isn't actually there and will never change, like math.. "Do this, do that, this is how you play, this is how you..." blah blah blah. Drums are something you have to be creative with and not worry about the "right" thing.

Youtube is a great source for learning new tips and tricks, along with dvd's, but never try and take exactly what is done. Only take parts of it and make it yours.

I know I'm about to get a lot of negative feedback on this, but I can't imagine where I would be if I was taught by a teacher. There have been a few tips that have helped me greatly along the way, but I owe what I can do on my kit purely to the fact that I taught myself to be creative and do things out of the ordinary that would have been considered "wrong" by a teacher.
1. My way or the highway teachers are lousy in any capacity, and they are not unique to drums. But there are far more lousy books and youtube videos than there are lousy teachers. When you have a bad experience with a teacher you find another one. I went through at least 3 mediocre teachers before I latched on to a mentor that turned everything around. You don't stop eating out because you've been to some bad resteraunts.

2. Every instrument thinks their's is so unique that it can't or shouldn't be taught, without exception.

3. You take on a teacher to gain a mentor and a confidante who teaches you by example. The process isn't like going to a store and buying something. The lessons are to access a relationship. A lot of people don't like that kind of close relationship. And some people get their feelings hurt when they're told by their teacher that there might be a better way than the way they've done it.

4. The best place to start is to find the best drummer in a 100 mile area and ask who he thinks is best. I wouldn't go to a music store to take a lesson without a recommendation from a very, very serious player in a million years. And a formal education means nothing. University professors with classical backgrounds are often the most suspect set teachers because drumset is not a high priority for them. If you want to sound like Bonham, you find the best sound like Bonham teacher there is and study with him. Most people don't even ask this stuff before they agree to lessons. Instead it's like they go buy a car sight unseen, and then blame all cars because their rear wheel drive won't get them up a mountain in the snow, when it's their fault they didn't ask for 4 wheel drive.

5. A lot of people think $40 is supposed to buy them the key to the castle. A good teacher relationship can often last months at least, and years at most. Most people who swear at formal education feast on their one or 2 bad experiences as if that's the way it is, for all people, and for all time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ironcobra View Post
I can't imagine where I would be if I was taught by a teacher. There have been a few tips that have helped me greatly along the way, but I owe what I can do on my kit purely to the fact that I taught myself to be creative and do things out of the ordinary that would have been considered "wrong" by a teacher.
6. I can't imagine where most people would be without great teachers. A great teacher gives you ground rules and then once you know all that, you are then encouraged to break them. But at least you've heard both sides to make a judgement, without having to hope and pray that your psychic powers and your sincerity will somehow get you through.

7. 99.9% of all the great percussionists who ever walked the earth had some form of formal music education. And from what I've been told even the great tribal players studied with mentors for years before being allowed to play. Most of the greats come across an impactful teacher, hang around for awhile, then make their own mark on the world doing it their way. I know there are some who push along the Buddy Rich stories and others, as if those are as much the rule as the others, but you can count the number of iconic entirely self taught drummers who made the highest mark on our stuff with 2 hands and 2 feet. The other thousand had somebody in there who made more than just a small impact somewhere in their history. Any other story is a myth.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:17 AM
mhanon13 mhanon13 is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

ok man... when it come to buddy rich... that is SO totally different to moddern drummers like myself... in those times... there were no plenty of books and dvd's like today... he learnt everything by himself... by playing for long hours... just by experience.. therefore he isnt that kind of self-taught.. maybe a genius... he just "went with the flow"...

in my case... I have discovered many things by accident in my crazy freestyle playing... (I do some freestyle playing before and after my practice session, to warm up and make it more funny... but also.. be creative)... so i came with this famous bonham triplets... dude i swear i never really paid attention to john bonham... i didnt even know john bonham cause I am not a Led Zeppelin fan... I am 19 years old.. but when my friend saw me playing he said: you just sound like john bonham... with those triplets.. and i asked him; who the hell is john bonham? and he was like: do you think i am stupid? hellz no, someone MUST have taught you that.. and i said: no, I just did it one day by accident... It sounded great.. and I did it again.. and did it again.. till finally it sounded awesome...

but also, I know that to be able to discover many things by accident you must have a great foundation on independence, technique.... and i have got all that from videos, youtube, books, dvd's.... so in a way I think, I receive some kind of formal lessons, from the big masters.. David Garibaldi, Rick Latham, Horacio, Joel Rothman, Carmine Appice, George Lawrence Stone, etc, etc, etc.......... but not directly from them... I find the transcriptions on their books (I read music), and hear it on their CD's many times......... and many of those books take years to master..... so I got a lot of stuff i am missing to learn.... but I think I am doing great... I guess later on.,... on very advanced things, I may want to see a tutor... like 1/month....

but I am sure this is not for everyone...... if you want to start great... then get a teacher, who can teach you the basic things... the way you seat.. routines... grips.. rudiments.., specially the "free stroke technique".... (if you dont want to break sticks and heads very often)....... my teacher never taught all of this... I had to learn it from dom Famularo videos on Vic Firth.com, his book... and after that.. I havent broken a stick in months... neither heads....

I suggest getting a teacher for the first 6-12 months.... then you can fly solo for a while.. with some books, dvd's and a great practice routine your teacher may have given you... but then yopu will have to get formal lessons for the most advanced techniques...

This doesnt have to happen on everybody... but at least that would have worked perfectly for me...

hope that helps!
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:45 AM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by MikePeartnoy View Post
Good point.
I think I'll go with my gut feeling.
That, sir, is the voice of your "common sense"... (Though it could be hunger or hormones...)

Never obey it slavishly, but consult it regularly.

Drumming is one of the most difficult tasks you will ever undertake. Combining the physical coordination of a dancer or gymnast with the creative vision of a composer or artist with the ability to read a foreign language while doing endless mathematical equations at the same time....

There's nothing wrong with a little help. At best, a teacher is just another set of eyes and ears to help you find YOUR way. However, you will have to trust them a little in the beginning. See if you can find more than one qualified teacher in your area and go for an introductory lesson with several of them. Ask players you respect for recommendations, as well. If you see someone playing live and think "man, that girl/guy can PLAY", don't be afraid to ask them where they studied.

Before you go to your introductory lessons, do some homework and arrive with your goals as clearly defined as you can get them at this stage of the game. Nothing too detailed, just an overall idea of where you see yourself headed. For example, I have a student who came to me this winter and said, "I want to be able to play some basic rock drums in 6 months." Get an overall impression of the teacher, their studio, their approach and ask them to describe their plan of action for your goals. Write it down, take it home and evaluate. First impressions are important, but let them gestate a little while and get away from the immediate impact of the surroundings before you make your decision. Picking the right teacher is a very important step in your development. Watch out for the voice inside that may want to take the path of least resistance, however. While it's important that you respect and get on with your teacher, you don't need a buddy who's going to let you do whatever you want. You might as well save your money, stay home and hang out with a friend if that's what you want. Get them to show you a few simple things - grip, posture, basic strokes. At this stage of the game, this should be your starting point with any teacher. The teacher should be encouraging natural, normal body motions and be able to easily describe/show you what it is you're trying to accomplish.

Ask them who they've studied with. Ask for reasons behind their ideas. Listen to what they're saying and see if it passes your "common sense" test. If it sounds:

1) Too good to be true: i.e. Total Drum Domination in 30 days with just three easy moves.

2) Too convoluted: i.e. "..uh...regarding the inverse correlation of force exerted by muscle group (A) and the corresponding resistance of the gravitational co-efficient divided by pi, (x), we find that..."

3) Completely batty: i.e. "Dude, it's all based on the sun and how it effected our ancestors in Africa, you gotta just tap into your solar/genetic rhythmic birthright and *feel* the time in your first three shakras..."

...these are signs that A) The person doesn't know what they're doing or B) can't explain it in terms palatable to a beginner. Either one will hinder YOUR progress. And while some of what they say may actually be true, at this point in the game you need simple, straightforward practical and conceptual instruction with an eye on achievable results. Rocket science and/or Buddha-drumming can come later. For now, you sound like you need effective guidance on basics to lay the groundwork for further development.

While I'm usually loathe to recommend YouTube (because it's full of bad information and excellent but oh-so-easy-to-misunderstand snippets...) compare what you're hearing from your prospective teacher to what you hear coming from the lips of respected players and educators. If the methods your teacher is employing jive with what great players/teachers say, then you may well be on the right track. If you can find one of these in your area - Boomshakalaka! - you're in luck. If you can't get time with them or afford their rates, they may be able to recommend students of theirs who teach beginners. If someone claims to have re-invented the drum stroke, doubt them. Again, use your common sense.

I've had many different teachers, with many different personalities, philosophies, and teaching styles. But the one thing the great ones all had was a certain seriousness when it came to the subject of drums, and to life. By "seriousness" I don't (necessarily) mean being a hard-ass or sour puss, but a discipline and dedication to their craft and their role as teachers. If you remain vigilant and pay attention, you'll know it when you encounter it. There is a certain aura about the good ones (I know, that's veering perilously close to batty...). But, as Matt Smith said above, you're looking for an example to follow. If you want to play with control, finesse and discipline, then find a teacher who embodies these qualities in their life, their playing and especially in their teaching practice.

Good luck. Choose wisely.

Last edited by Boomka; 06-07-2008 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:59 AM
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ok man... when it come to buddy rich... that is SO totally different to moddern drummers like myself... in those times... there were no plenty of books and dvd's like today... he learnt everything by himself... by playing for long hours... just by experience.. therefore he isnt that kind of self-taught.. maybe a genius... he just "went with the flow"...
Buddy is-was-and-forever-will-be an exception, not the rule.

Gadd, Weckl, Vinnie, Tony - all studied hard and long.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:10 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Youtube is a great source for learning new tips and tricks, along with dvd's, but never try and take exactly what is done. Only take parts of it and make it yours.
If you do not have a foundation of techniques and concepts to build from, how do you know what/how to take things and "make them yours". You can want to play fast singles like Jojo all you want, but you won't if you hold the sticks like clubs and jerk your shoulders roughly to-and-fro.... Moreover, learning to do things exactly as they are will often point out holes in your facility and technique. It will expose areas that you are not comfortable in. By constantly "making it yours" you may simply be repeating the same motions over and over again using a limited range of facility. If someone plays a fill consisting of 6-stroke rolls orchestrated as 16th-note triplets/sextuplets around the kit and you "make it yours" by simply playing the same single-stroke sextuplets you always play how have you improved? Having two methods to employ to get accented 16th-note sextuplets (singles and 6-stroke rolls) gives you another facility for expressing your own ideas. "Enter through the form, then exit from it"

Quote:
I know I'm about to get a lot of negative feedback on this, but I can't imagine where I would be if I was taught by a teacher. There have been a few tips that have helped me greatly along the way, but I owe what I can do on my kit purely to the fact that I taught myself to be creative and do things out of the ordinary that would have been considered "wrong" by a teacher
You're right, you can't imagine. So how can you pronounce so definitely on the matter? You're elevating ignorance to a virtue. How do you know what a teacher would say, if you haven't even tried it? Moreover, I find it odd that in the same post as we find this blanket condemnation of teaching based on very little experience you also have a link to information (supposedly) from trained pros. I'm sorry, but I don't see the difference between finding out "how the pros do it" and being "taught" to play the drums. Perhaps you can elucidate this for us? Maybe you should make your way to the "Drummers" forum just above this one, or to the Drummerworld homepage and ask a few of the heavyweights in our midst about teaching and what they've learned from it. Just in this particular "Technique" forum we have Chuck Silverman (a fine player and educator in his own right) weighing in on his experiences with Murray Spivak. Or better yet, contact Steve Smith or Dave Weckl and ask them about Freddie Gruber or Gary Chaffee and whether or not they were worth the time and money. The funny thing is, I don't think that Freddie, despite his enormous talent and knowledge, is the same caliber *player* as those two guys, and yet they saw fit to humble themselves and ask for help from him because his understanding as an educator is unsurpassed.

I think it's fantastic that you've decided to forge your own way - independence can be a virtue. But how can you recommend against taking lessons when:

A) You haven't studied seriously yourself.

AND

B) It is clear that the vast majority of the drummers considered "great" have at one time or another spent some serious time studying their instruments with people further along the road than they.

I know my lessons (given and received) usually involve me learning/instructing on "how the pros do it..." For example, I used to study with Jim Blackley, never had my creativity stifled. The opposite is true. I had a lesson with Pat Petrillo the other day. Can't say my creativity was stifled in the least. In fact, Pat pinpointed some technical trouble with my bass drum technique that I hadn't seen and suggested a remedy. It was a problem that he had experienced himself, in fact, so here I am -- a pro -- "learning how the pros do it." With work, I'll better be able to express my ideas because I'll have the technical facility to do so. Forty quid well spent. Once I've mastered it, I'll pass the same information onto my students so they can also benefit from it. Included in the delivery will be the accumulated experience (close to 50 years) of two working professional drummers/teachers (one world-renowned and published) working through the same problems. Aw, poor students, having to put up with that! They'll be ruined, according to you.

Moreover, since you're putting your method on the line against tried-and-trued ones, I'm curious where has all this "wrong" (but oh-so-right) playing has gotten you? Do you have a discography you can point us too? A C/V of musical accomplishments? I can only assume you don't have a roster of successful students, feeling as you do about teaching. So just what have your methods produced? Some ill-formed opinions on the interwebs? Maybe I seem a little harsh, but you're making some very bold claims, and I think you ought to back them up.

Last edited by Boomka; 06-07-2008 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:51 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Well, I have been playing for 4 years already, and I just took only 8 formal lessons! that means - 2 months... (1 hr per week)...

I was paying that professor... $50/hr... for what? for nothing... the guy didn't even teach me how to hold the sticks (grip)... I really got disapointed.... and started watching videos on the tube... forums (threads), DVD's... books... vicfirth.com... drummerworld.com.....
I'm very sorry to hear about your experience. That guy shouldn't be advertising himself as a teacher, or at least not a teacher of beginners. If he couldn't examine your playing and establish that you needed work on basics, than he isn't worth his salt.

However, judging all drum education based on one (very, very bad) experience isn't wise, nor fair to those educators who have spent years honing their craft as players and teachers.

There is a second part to this, as well. We are never completely innocent when stuff like this happens. Caveat Emptor! If you feel your questions aren't being answered and your needs aren't being met, you have to speak up. I realise it can be tough when there is an assumed authority in the tutor/student relationship, but if after a couple of weeks you aren't really learning anything of note, then you have to question the methods and either get satisfaction from the current teacher, or move on to another one. We have to be good students/consumers in order to get what we want.

Anyway, again, I'm really saddened to hear this happened. However, I think you'll find that if you search out the right teacher, they'll help you make more out of that $1000 investment in materials than you might on your own. What area are you based in? Are there other qualified teachers in the area? University/College music programs? Even the local club scene can be a good place to find a qualified teacher if you ask the right people.

Alright, that's enough essays for today. Off to the woodshed...
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:33 PM
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Ok mhanon13, I'm confused. On another thread you said this.

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Originally Posted by mhanon13 View Post
dude, when I started playing drums, I developed a bad habit... a bad technique... and I used to break my sticks and drum heads lots of times... and i injured my hands sometimes...

why?

because I did not have a loose grip, i thought it was baseball so my grip was very hard... when you dont have a loose grip (which you should always have, so that you let the stick to come back, "free stroke technique") you will break your sticks and drum heads... ...

when I started to have some formal lessons from a professional drummer, he was so :O!!!
he told me, you got a great 4-limb independence... but you done have a good grip, and he corrected me the bad technique... since then, i havent broken any stick, neither drum head in LONG time...

so the fact that you dont break sticks is that you are striking pretty well those drumheads!
Now you say this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhanon13 View Post
Well, I have been playing for 4 years already, and I just took only 8 formal lessons! that means - 2 months... (1 hr per week)...

I was paying that professor... $50/hr... for what? for nothing... the guy didn't even teach me how to hold the sticks (grip)... I really got disapointed
Which is it? Did you forget that this same guy you flame now had saved your playing?

We can have another discussion about how Bonham didn't invent triplets later.

These threads remind me of discussions where the guy asks is it Ok to drink on a gig, then when people say it's not, he goes out of his way to explain how all those negative consequences don't apply to him, to the point of accusing the other guy of trying to judge him.

Seriously, more power to you guys who feel you don't need the lessons. Actually, I don't think you follow any one person word for word either. But I'm just puzzled about the over reaching arguments for not having them. People get on these threads and ask is this necessary? when most times they're really only looking for other people to validate a decision they've already made.
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Old 06-08-2008, 12:24 AM
mhanon13 mhanon13 is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I don't really need to state here how i started my career or studies in drums......
anyway, one thing you don't know is that I started my drums lessons back in my country with the "best drummer" over there... I did not know how to play anything.. I started with this teacher... and he didn't teach me how to hold the sticks... he didn't teach me that the diddles.... (doubles) were made in 1 stroke.... 1 beat with your wrist.. and the other one was a bounce.. he never taught me that.. he just went with his book, and told me: do this.. this note means 1 hit.. and that was it...

I thought those super fast doubles rolls... RRLLRRLL were made of only wrist... he never taught me that the second beat was a bounce... I got really frustrated cause basically I didn't learn anything from him... I started to fly solo.. when I got here.. Miami.. I had some formal lessons with a professor here, graduated in FSU school of music... which I see him once in a while... whenever I am stuck with something.... and the first thing he told me was: you dont know how to hold the sticks...you can not do double rolls.... he taught me the diddle.. was only 1 wrist movement... I can't afford to see him weekly.. then I just see him when I get stuck in something I can not learn easily from a book... but let's say I meet with him once every 2 months...
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Old 06-08-2008, 12:36 AM
mhanon13 mhanon13 is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

and let me add........

If i could afford to see a teacher weekly i would do it.. but I dont have the money too see that guy every week... because I am in college and need to pay for credits, books, and some stuff...

thanks GOD... I have been doing great with books and dvd's for now... thanks God, I can do that.. but not everybody can... after I gradute from college, and get a nice job, then I will start seeing a teacher every week...

but for now, i am flying solo... I think the MAIN reason.. why many people ask themselves is they should get a teacher is... MONEY.. $50-60/hr weekly is not easy for a guy that is 50% independent from their parents... my parents cant help me with this.. and the money I get from my job I use it for college expenses and some stuff like buying my sticks, heads.. etc...

if you have enough money... get a professor.. but get a good one.. not like the one I had 4 years ago.. ask them if they can teach you what you wanna learn... and ask them to show you...

the best drummer in my church is so so so good.... he plays about everything very very nice... but he doesn't know what moeller, push/pull technique is to name a few... and he offered himself to teach me for $30/hr and I said: no, thanks, I am ok... I mean, he is good, but he is self-taught by ear only... he has never went over books or dvd's... so get a professor that has good knowledge of technique and everything you want to know....

Matt Smith, that is the main reason... people just wonder.. will $50-60 bucks will be worth?

that's it... and I am not saying: do not get a teacher.... if you can afford to have one... go for it... if not... at least.. trysome books, dvd's.. friends.. watch drummers... etc.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Wow, this thread has really exploded into an argument.

I'm sure there are many drummers out there who feel very profficient with their self-taught techniques. But I already experienced first hand that there is a certain barrier that self-taught instrumentalists usually have a very hard time getting through. It could be a question of motivation. It's usually because they developed bad habits that are too frustrating to re-learn.

On my first lesson with my guitar teacher, I was told to re-learn alternate picking because I developed bad sweeping habits. I played for almost 4 years. To hear THAT was very frustrating. What was worse, in going to re-learn my picking, I lost at least half of my speed. There were more reasons I gave up on guitar, but it was definitely this sort of frustration and lack of motivation.

I read through all the posts a few times. I pretty much agree with the pro-lessons people. I'd hate to repeat that experience... I already started looking around for teachers. Now its only a question of money and convenience, no longer of motivation.

Anyhow, maybe I just rendered my own thread redundant, but I did get the input I needed. Thanks people!
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2008, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Matt's got it nailed right on the head of the issue.

No one person is ever good enough that he or she can learn nothing from another. I am a 'self taught' drummer myself. I have gone on this way for 10 or so years. I must admit that it hasn't been easy. I often learn something and then question myself if it's right. I come here to post and get the idea if what I'm doing is right or wrong. This was especially obvious when I tried to teach myself the moeller. I think I have succeeded, but i will never know for sure until I meet someone who can actually do it.

See, that's the thing with being self taught. You can only teach yourself something but you will never know if it is truly correct until someone else who knows tells you. That's what I view a teacher as - someone who corrects. You might not need the teacher/mentor to even teach you anything. You could go and learn it on your own and then check it with your mentor. Of course that is a long and time wasting thing to do. Like trial and error. So isn't it much better to have someone tell you to do the right stuff from the beginning?

I'm also searching for a teacher myself. In the process, I have become a teacher as well. Everyone has something to learn from everyone else. That's what I live by.

Cheers.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:31 PM
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drummer_of_system_32 drummer_of_system_32 is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

dude, just do what you want to/feel you should do.
i myself am self-taught, never had lessons, just started off learning songs by ear and 5 years later, im labeled at my school as the one of the best in it. if you feel as if you want to broaden you abilities, go out and buy a double kick pedal, or extra cymbals, or just do something you havent before. that way it keeps it fresh, and you still learn.

there is no correct way of doing this. My mate, who is now a pretty good drummer, had 3 years of lessons, which led him nowhere. he was quite rank when he decided to quit lessons, and after teaching himself for 6 months, he became much, much better.

but then again, i can tell you of people who say the same thing, except the other way round.

so back to what i said at the start, do what you feel you should. don't let other people make your decisions for you.
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  #23  
Old 06-13-2008, 03:46 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by drummer_of_system_32 View Post
dude, just do what you want to/feel you should do.
i myself am self-taught, never had lessons, just started off learning songs by ear and 5 years later, im labeled at my school as the one of the best in it. if you feel as if you want to broaden you abilities, go out and buy a double kick pedal, or extra cymbals, or just do something you havent before. that way it keeps it fresh, and you still learn.

there is no correct way of doing this. My mate, who is now a pretty good drummer, had 3 years of lessons, which led him nowhere. he was quite rank when he decided to quit lessons, and after teaching himself for 6 months, he became much, much better.

but then again, i can tell you of people who say the same thing, except the other way round.

so back to what i said at the start, do what you feel you should. don't let other people make your decisions for you.
Totally disagree. The idea of learning technique ( and unfortunately there is a right/wrong way ), is to allow you fully express yourself.

Good teachers equip you, rather than limit you.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Buddy Rich never had lessons.
I guess he's considered one of the best...EVER. In fact, drummers have been saying that there will never be another like him.
If it worked for Buddy....it could sure work for you...... if you put the kind of time in that Buddy did.
D.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

First I'd like to agree and disagree with some remarks Matt has made. First Matt if I read your comments wrong, then forgive my interpretation.

I dont believe that lessons are 'Entry Level', take Dave Weckl, he had been playing professionally for several years before getting some sessions with Freddie Gruber who changed the way Dave approached the instrument.

I do agree with Matt on the fact a teacher should also be considered a mentor. A mentor is someone you can call almost anytime (outside) of your lesson and get advice on something regarding drums/music and get sound advice. The mentor will take you under their wing so to speak. Its not just about teaching you the instrument but its about walking with you in your musical journey for a time such as then.

I think finding a drum instructor who is knowledgable about music theory and drums is almost a pre-requisite. That keeps your technique and your musical background in check.

I also believe a teacher should be teaching each student at the level they are at and not follow a clone way of teaching. I found some teachers only teach out of certain books or only teach one way to all of their students. Not everyone likes jazz, rock, funk, blues or other types of genre's but if you give the student the right equipment that student can play whatever he/she choses to do.

I really believe we need more teachers/mentors who are teaching about music with the instrument not just the technical aspect of the instrument.

Jill
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  #26  
Old 06-14-2008, 01:32 AM
mhanon13 mhanon13 is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by Derek Roddy View Post
Buddy Rich never had lessons.
I guess he's considered one of the best...EVER. In fact, drummers have been saying that there will never be another like him.
If it worked for Buddy....it could sure work for you...... if you put the kind of time in that Buddy did.
D.
I totally agree with that.
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  #27  
Old 06-14-2008, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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A great teacher gives you ground rules and then once you know all that, you are then encouraged to break them.
Now this, my friends, is wisdom and truth.
Good one Matt.
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  #28  
Old 06-14-2008, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Roddy View Post
Buddy Rich never had lessons.
I guess he's considered one of the best...EVER. In fact, drummers have been saying that there will never be another like him.
If it worked for Buddy....it could sure work for you...... if you put the kind of time in that Buddy did.
D.
With all due respect, Derek, wouldn't you say that, given the evidence, Buddy was an exception? I believe I've read that you are also largely self-taught. No one can deny your accomplishments. But, looking at the list of killer players on the Drummerworld homepage, that's a rare accomplishment. For all the mental and physical pieces to fall into place to create a talent/ability such as yours is exceptional. I'd be the last guy to question your (or Buddy's) accomplishments. But, my experience is that the average - and even above-average - person benefits from guidance in order to avoid various pitfalls.

Don't you think there is a role for teachers/tutors/mentors to help the rest of us mere mortals put those pieces together? Compare drumming to many other activities which require a finely-tuned combination of mind and body (e.g. dance or Martial Arts). In those fields it is rarely considered limiting or unnecessary to have instruction. In fact, mentor lineage is extremely important because there's a *something else* being transmitted which isn't just technique. In my life, the difference between the good teachers and the great ones was/is always this *something else*.

Ultimately, even with a teacher, we must all do our own work. My teachers can't practice for me, and I can't practice for my students. But having a keen set of eyes and ears to help get you over various hurdles can be a very positive experience, from both a technical and emotional/being standpoint.
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  #29  
Old 08-12-2008, 05:13 AM
MSPaintClock MSPaintClock is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I had a teacher for three monthes when I first started. He was awful teacher though he did teach me things but it was more of me as a good student then him as a good teacher. He "equipped" me with rudiments, good form and a idea of what a good player sounds like. He was a good player undoubtedly. But you know I took lessons for only three monthes and I never got around to triplets and playing Jazz, I'm stuck figuring that stuff out all by myself and that's a bit tough. There's no set way to drumming, being different is encouraged and good sounds are good sounds. I still wish I had a teacher. :(
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  #30  
Old 08-12-2008, 05:53 AM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

A real cool one taught to me by a pro:

Sing a fill or a groove...


..... break it down and then try an play it.


......much harder than you'd imagine.
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  #31  
Old 08-12-2008, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Well, sounds like you are taking a more formal approach to learning and thats cool. There are many great suggestions here. This is mine.

1. Get a metronome - When you are improving those rudiments, get used to playing with that "Click" now and you will RULE later. You can pick one up from your fav music store or online for not very much $$$ and it will be $$$ very well spent.

2. Don't limit yourself to just one genre of music - Learn as many as you possibly can.

3. Be of good courage - Don't give up .....if you hear a fill or some rudiment you are having trouble with, play it very sloooowly then gradually increase you speed.

4. Have FUN!
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  #32  
Old 08-15-2008, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I took lessons. The guy didn't offer much discipline. I played Van Halen songs instead of the stuff in the books. I learned the rudiments, how to hold the sticks, how to count, what the notes meant. Then I stopped taking lessons. For me, this little bit of instruction and a WHOLE LOT of listening to drummers and watching videos was enough.
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  #33  
Old 09-03-2008, 04:05 PM
James_E James_E is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I got a kit in December 2005. I took lessons for the first 6 months, to learn to read, get a good foundation and proper technique.

Then I stopped. I realized at that point in my development what really mattered was practice time. So I stopped spending the money on the lessons for a while. Also I needed to build up a song library so I worked on playing songs... some by tab, and some by just figuring them out by ear.

Now, I go for "check-ups" and some new exercises. Every 6 months or so I signup for one month of lessons. I ask the teacher to double-check my techniques with some exercises I'm working on, and show me some new things to work on. Over the course of the 4 lessons I try to glean as much information as I can.

Then, back to the woodshed to just "put in the time" necessary to get better.

IMHO it really is about practice time and practicing properly. The check-ups allow me to make sure I'm doing things correctly.
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  #34  
Old 09-03-2008, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I was self-taught up until about 3 years when I realized how limited I was without some sort of foundation. I took lessons for a little just to get the basics of technique and WOW did that open some doors for me.

Lessons can be expensive and impractical for some people's schedules, but if you can squeeze in just a handful of lessons it will do wonders for your playing.
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:25 AM
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7DaysToTheWolves 7DaysToTheWolves is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I got my first kit in 2003, and I tried to teach myself stuff I'd hear on cds or the radio and of course I struggled with even knowing how to exactly do the 'right" thing. I took lessons for about 6 months or so just to build a foundation for me, and as everyone else has said, boy did it work wonders for me.
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  #36  
Old 09-08-2008, 08:29 AM
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Ian Ballard Ian Ballard is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

I don't believe the term "self-taught" is accurate, unless you never heard music in your life and never saw or heard any drummer.

Every good drummer I ever experienced taught me something, so did every good musician I've played with. Frankly, aside from personal motivation, I don't really use any of my drum teacher's techniques, since I've learned through experience my body and mind works differently from his. But I highly value those experiences.

I don't think anybody should feel bad because they have not taken lessons. They should, instead, strive to find the best musicians they can and become the best musician they can be.

I think if you seek a Guru, it is because you feel you need guidance. But I think that nobody is alone in this world musically. The ghosts of those greats before, work through you.

The music exists without you, but you simply make the molecules move.

There's my "tips".

;)
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Roddy View Post
Buddy Rich never had lessons.
I guess he's considered one of the best...EVER. In fact, drummers have been saying that there will never be another like him.
If it worked for Buddy....it could sure work for you...... if you put the kind of time in that Buddy did.
D.
Yeah, definitely agree with that if you put in the kind of time in that Buddy did, that is if you start playing when you're 18 months old, and probably spend 16 hours a day trying to figure things out on your own, that includes skipping every single band rehearsals, especially when you're the most important member of the band.

Oh, I thought Buddy's dad tought him with spoons when he was a toddler? Isn't that some kind of "formal lesson" already??
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  #38  
Old 09-08-2008, 04:42 PM
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MikePeartnoy MikePeartnoy is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Ballard View Post
I don't believe the term "self-taught" is accurate, unless you never heard music in your life and never saw or heard any drummer.

Every good drummer I ever experienced taught me something, so did every good musician I've played with. Frankly, aside from personal motivation, I don't really use any of my drum teacher's techniques, since I've learned through experience my body and mind works differently from his. But I highly value those experiences.

I don't think anybody should feel bad because they have not taken lessons. They should, instead, strive to find the best musicians they can and become the best musician they can be.

I think if you seek a Guru, it is because you feel you need guidance. But I think that nobody is alone in this world musically. The ghosts of those greats before, work through you.

The music exists without you, but you simply make the molecules move.

There's my "tips".

;)
I very much like that idea. I mean, the business of learning an instrument is much different than a couple of years ago. Just think of the countless sources to learn from on this site alone, all the countless members who's opinion's at your disposition, and not to mention hundreds of drum instruction videos on Youtube, etc.

I still think it would be pretty beneficial to have my technique checked over by someone who knows what to look for and what to correct... but even then, it would have to be some pretty fundamental flaws, because when it comes down to technique, its all so personal, and different things work for different people - I mean, it has worked very well for me, so far...

My philosophy as it stands is... I've got a very decent basis, and since learning is an ongoing experience and I'm constantly perfecting different aspects of my playing, sometimes even re-learning fundamentals to accomodate new techniques and styles, I'm pretty satisfied with being self-taught.

...I support all your arguments, but I'm tending to lean towards to self-taught side.

Most of all, I realize its all personal, ne?

Thanks for your opinions, folks.
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  #39  
Old 09-08-2008, 09:17 PM
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Derek Roddy Derek Roddy is online now
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

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Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
With all due respect, Derek, wouldn't you say that, given the evidence, Buddy was an exception?
Some have more drive to be better....than others. If you call that an exception....then I guess it may be.
I don't think Buddy had any Physical or mental ability that made him the drummer he was. He was born flesh and blood....... just like all of us. I think he liked to play and that made up a lot of his time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
I believe I've read that you are also largely self-taught. No one can deny your accomplishments. But, looking at the list of killer players on the Drummerworld homepage, that's a rare accomplishment.
Don't know if I'd agree with you here......Most of the "famous" drummers I know personally (with exceptional ability) are 80% self taught. Not to say.... they didn't learn from others....just not in the "teacher" sense of the word. I've noticed, that a lot of these guys, will seek "instruction" long after they've got..... what everyone else wants......chops.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
But, my experience is that the average - and even above-average - person benefits from guidance in order to avoid various pitfalls.
Agreed.....back to "how much you want it". Although, I know guys that have been taking lessons for 50 years and they are still not "where they want to be".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
Don't you think there is a role for teachers/tutors/mentors to help the rest of us mere mortals put those pieces together?

I do........didn't say there wasn't....
Just said that being self taught can yield great results......depending on the person.
If you're "using and thinking" in terms of......"mere mortals"....that doesn't help your advancement.
Up to the person and the time spent...at least, that's what I'd say about myself. I've played a crap load of drums in my day....for sure!!!! Haha.

D.
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  #40  
Old 09-09-2008, 08:46 PM
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Ian Ballard Ian Ballard is offline
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Default Re: Tips for self-taught drummers

For years, I kept telling myself I would study with another "guru" to shore up certain things. There was a guy who was a master Latin stylist and there were other guys who I felt might help me. As it seemed unfortunate that I never got back into a "regulated practice routine, stipulated by a teacher", the reason I didn't was because I was too busy playing.

In retrospect, I learned a whole new system of approaching music, simply by being fortunate to play with amazing musicians.

Now, doing teaching, I have a delicate balance between encouraging students to keep practicing the "routines" and staying on with me, and telling them to get out there and find a gig. Sure I need the money, but they need the experience even more.
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