About to start teaching drums, please give me tips

Mathiasl33nd

Junior Member
Hi! I'm new to this forum, so this'll be my first post. I'm excited to be here! :)

Recently someone from my small town asked me if I'm interested in teaching drums here in Surahammar, Sweden, where I live. I'm always up for an adventure, so I said yes almost instantly.
I've been drumming for about three years now, but I've never taken any lessons. When practising I've mostly played along to different songs, and the information I've gathered have been from watching youtube vids. I've been playing in a band a couple of years, though. So the dynamic in my playing is alright.

However: I'm quite nervous, because I don't know what is expected from me as a drum teacher. Though it's quite soothing to know that I'm going to teach on a beginner-level.

If you have any tips/tricks, please help me!

Thanks!
/Mathias
 

Sinmara

Member
Don't teach too many things at once, your pupil won't remember all of it... (I'm taking drumming lessons at the moment, total beginner - and my head is swimming after each lesson :S)
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
Well teaching properly is much more challenging than it appears, it becomes your responsibility to not teach your student the wrong techniques/practices. I would start with a basic rock beat and a basic jazz beat. Once they have a beat down then start working their rudiments starting with singles, then later doubles and flams, then paradiddles and 5/7/9 stroke roll. Also start them off learning drum notation asap, as well as basic kit setup, maintenance, and tuning. Try to stay away from playing to records in a lesson, if you can play another instrument play along with him, he needs to get used to playing with people. After they get singles have them start with basic fills like 4 16ths on the last count and then 16 16ths spread over the set in a standard rock fill, snare, hi tom, med tom, fl tom. Make sure they are playing in time to a metronome after they have the basic motions learned. After this start getting into syncopation, faster bass drum (8ths), and build up their weak points as you find them. The trick is to keep pushing them without burning them out. I would highly recommend seeing a professional drum teacher near you to make sure you have no bad techniques you are passing on, I can almost guarantee you have some we all do, but you need to be aware of them. I commend going forward if there are no professional options for your student where you live, but there is a reason people go to school for years to become fully qualified teachers. What I've said would give you at least a few months of work, but there are some things only experience teaching will help on, but we all start somewhere. Good Luck and please do your best to teach him a solid foundation.
 

Mathiasl33nd

Junior Member
Well teaching properly is much more challenging than it appears, it becomes your responsibility to not teach your student the wrong techniques/practices. I would start with a basic rock beat and a basic jazz beat. Once they have a beat down then start working their rudiments starting with singles, then later doubles and flams, then paradiddles and 5/7/9 stroke roll. Also start them off learning drum notation asap, as well as basic kit setup, maintenance, and tuning. Try to stay away from playing to records in a lesson, if you can play another instrument play along with him, he needs to get used to playing with people. After they get singles have them start with basic fills like 4 16ths on the last count and then 16 16ths spread over the set in a standard rock fill, snare, hi tom, med tom, fl tom. Make sure they are playing in time to a metronome after they have the basic motions learned. After this start getting into syncopation, faster bass drum (8ths), and build up their weak points as you find them. The trick is to keep pushing them without burning them out. I would highly recommend seeing a professional drum teacher near you to make sure you have no bad techniques you are passing on, I can almost guarantee you have some we all do, but you need to be aware of them. I commend going forward if there are no professional options for your student where you live, but there is a reason people go to school for years to become fully qualified teachers. What I've said would give you at least a few months of work, but there are some things only experience teaching will help on, but we all start somewhere. Good Luck and please do your best to teach him a solid foundation.
Hehe, this post certainly made me feel a bit more nervous as it comes to teaching. Of course the last thing I want is to teach him bad techniques. Although, one thing I've learnt is that there are (perhaps with some exceptions) no right or wrong in drumming. What I want to do is have the pupil tell me what he/she wants to become and try my best to help him/her accomplish this in a way that suits.

There is some time for me to plan my lessons, so I'll definitely keep all this in mind!

All these tips will however come in handy for sure, I really appreciate you helping me out, mate! :)

Don't teach too many things at once, your pupil won't remember all of it... (I'm taking drumming lessons at the moment, total beginner - and my head is swimming after each lesson :S)
Thank you, Sinmara! That's really helpful for me to know, I'll try my best to go ahead with one thing at a time and let my future pupils know that I want them to tell if they want it to go faster/slower.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Forget particular grooves for now. Concentrate on a few essentials:

1. Grip - type
2. Grip - fulcrum
3. Always use a metronome
4. Pad and groove practice - do it slowly, like 40 or 50 bpm
5. Make sure they always know where the one is. So, out loud counting.

I wish my first teacher had been focussed on these essentials.
 

drumkat

Senior Member
I think there has to be a careful balance between technique and making lessons "fun".

A student, (especially if a youngling) will become frustrated, bored and will lose interest quickly.

They are not adults...the don't really know what they want to do with themselves or their drumming.

It is all well and good to teach them correct technique...but we want them to come back!!
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
Wonder how long it will be before bigd comes and says you need to have an education to teach someone.

Anyways, I started teaching 4-5 months ago, and what struck me is that it's pretty important to get "on their level". Don't overcomplicate things, and try to communicate with them a lot.

Maybe try to find something you have in common. The kids I'm teaching now are happy that I'm younger than the other teachers they had(maybe because the other teachers were grumpy old men, I don't know).

Be sure to teach them correct grip(fulcrum and all that), setting up their kits properly, breathing and being relaxed and then some basic beats and fills. It's also smart to teach them how to practice for themselves. Right now I'm teaching the youngest one to practice beats and fills to a metronome while counting loud.

Also, remember to take breaks, since the young'ins tend to get frustrated and easily bored.

Edit: And now I see drumkat wrote the same stuff as me :p

Good luck!
 

bigd

Silver Member
Wonder how long it will be before bigd comes and says you need to have an education to teach someone.

Good luck!
Thaard,

I've been feeling quite down lately and I have to say that this statement brought a huge, genuine smile to my face. Thank you, man!! You seriously, made my day!!!

Now on the topic of teaching others.......

Ha, I think we know how I feel.

Bigd


This is seriously the biggest smile I've had in 3 weeks!!!!!!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Although, one thing I've learnt is that there are (perhaps with some exceptions) no right or wrong in drumming.
Don't kid yourself man. There's plenty of "wrongs" that can be taught. And the basic fundamentals (like a relaxed grip and correct development of the fulcrum etc) is where many of them occur. I hear it from the experienced teachers here all the time.

Not trying to put you off by any measure. But by the same account you do have a responsibility to ensure that what you're teaching a beginner is solid and sound too. You can indeed impede future development because of the way you teach them now. Well worth being aware of the fact that at the early developmental stage, there is plenty of "wrong" that can be passed on.

Best of luck.
 
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toddy

Platinum Member
Wonder how long it will be before bigd comes and says you need to have an education to teach someone.
It's the truth though.
Hope he's taken lessons himself and has his technique sorted out, because if he teaches some kid and messes up his technique then on his head be it. Still who cares, it's just teaching, hardly important. Those who can, do.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
It's the truth though.
Hope he's taken lessons himself and has his technique sorted out, because if he teaches some kid and messes up his technique then on his head be it. Still who cares, it's just teaching, hardly important. Those who can, do.
This ^^^^^^^^^

A beginner more than anyone else needs to be taught be an experienced teacher.

I remember when I was in the third grade begging my dad for lessons, and hearing him tell me again and again that I needed to wait a couple of years until I was mature enough to understand the methodology of an experienced teacher. Well, I bugged him and bugged him until he finally had enough, and let me take two lessons with one of those music store guys who teaches cover grooves and calls it a drum lesson. What could it hurt, he thought. The little kid would have his lessons, learn My Girl and have something to keep him happy until the real thing rolled along.

I can't even remember all the stupid habits those two hours created for me. In fact there were some things from that experience I still needed to clean up when I got my intensive lessons an amazing four years later.

As is often the case with threads like this, there may be someone concerned that I would discourage someone for what I'm about to say, but here goes anyway...and in initiating this, I am sure the OP is a nice guy, because you can tell by his posts that he's sincere.

But, if you have only been playing three years and think coming here is a way to acquire information about something you absolutely have to see first hand yourself, then you should politely tell your inquirer no thanks, but I'm still learning myself and do not feel qualified to teach you. Then help find this kid a qualified teacher...and both of you sign up for lessons together. Then after about a year or so,if you still have the same good intentions, then tell that next beginner yes.

The first thing a good teacher will probably explain is that (as Pocket-full-of-gold correctly affirms) there are all kinds of wrongs in drumming and thousands of guys with carpal right now who will back me up. I've heard that saying before too, but I've never heard it come a great player and/or a great teacher.

See, I think what gets confused here is the interpretation. Yes, there are many ways that a drummer can attain a high standard, but teaching how you get there is based mostly on universal principles that seldom if ever change.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I generally second what Matt said. Three years of drumming experience is not much.

On the other hand I think it depends on how your relationship with your student would
look like. If you tell him that your playing experience is quite limited, you're autodidact
and don't have any teaching experience yet, I think it will be fine. You probably should
it for more or less free though.

So I see it rathe as a friendly act of helping out, rather than doing the job "seriously".
Which doesn't mean that you don't give your best, of course.

This way you're both going to learn something, as a teacher always learns too, anyway.
Be sure to always keep honest! Only teach what you're sure about, and don't make
assumptions with questions you don't know the answer. If you feel you're not sure about
anything, then rather don't teach him.

Generally IMO one becomes a great teacher through a mixture of education and experience,
plus a great deal of intuition and empathy. So any teacher has to start at one point,
and no teacher is outstanding in the beginning. That being said, the education-part
is definitely missing in your case, too ;-).

Hope that helps.
 

bigd

Silver Member
This ^^^^^^^^^

A beginner more than anyone else needs to be taught be an experienced teacher.

I remember when I was in the third grade begging my dad for lessons, and hearing him tell me again and again that I needed to wait a couple of years until I was mature enough to understand the methodology of an experienced teacher. Well, I bugged him and bugged him until he finally had enough, and let me take two lessons with one of those music store guys who teaches cover grooves and calls it a drum lesson. What could it hurt, he thought. The little kid would have his lessons, learn My Girl and have something to keep him happy until the real thing rolled along.

I can't even remember all the stupid habits those two hours created for me. In fact there were some things from that experience I still needed to clean up when I got my intensive lessons an amazing four years later.

As is often the case with threads like this, there may be someone concerned that I would discourage someone for what I'm about to say, but here goes anyway...and in initiating this, I am sure the OP is a nice guy, because you can tell by his posts that he's sincere.

But, if you have only been playing three years and think coming here is a way to acquire information about something you absolutely have to see first hand yourself, then you should politely tell your inquirer no thanks, but I'm still learning myself and do not feel qualified to teach you. Then help find this kid a qualified teacher...and both of you sign up for lessons together. Then after about a year or so,if you still have the same good intentions, then tell that next beginner yes.

The first thing a good teacher will probably explain is that (as Pocket-full-of-gold correctly affirms) there are all kinds of wrongs in drumming and thousands of guys with carpal right now who will back me up. I've heard that saying before too, but I've never heard it come a great player and/or a great teacher.

See, I think what gets confused here is the interpretation. Yes, there are many ways that a drummer can attain a high standard, but teaching how you get there is based mostly on universal principles that seldom if ever change.
Matt,

Get ready for the attack. I'm sure they're about to pounch. I often get attacked here because I believe in studying with top level instructors. The teachers I pay to teach my son have degrees from the best music programs in America. Curtis, Eastman, Indiana, North Texas, SMU. My 16 year old has studied with a college professor , a professional symphony player now in the President's Own Marine Band, and now a second professional symphony player. All monster players with loads of knowledge and tons of connections in the percussion/world. I just don't believe you can play drums for a few years, learn everything yourself and be able to teach a student. I smiled at Thaard's comments because I don't mind being the person who promotes studying with true professionals to become the best drummer you can be.

As always I agree with your posts.

BigD
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Three years of drumming experience is not much.
Indeed. Didn't mention it earlier....probably should have because it's a very good point.

OP, how many people are really gonna fork over their hard earned money to you for three years of self taught experience and a couple of years playing in a band, in return? Again, not trying to put you off, but they are things you need to think about if you wanna get paid.

Unlike bigd I don't think one needs to have graduated from an "Ivy league" drum school in order to teach, there's still plenty room in the world for the less esteemed to get the job done more than successfully :).......... but 3 years really doesn't offer a lot unless you're exceptionally gifted in both the art of drumming and the art of communication and you've jam packed a hell of a lot of gigs into that period.
 

Mathiasl33nd

Junior Member
Hi everyone! So glad to see many inputs to this. After reading all of your comments I don't as some might think feel too much anxiety about the teaching part. I actually feel more motivated to try and polish my own technique even more so that I can feel comfort in what I pass on.

I understand that for most of you the fact that I'm practically a newbie myself and about to teach is frightening. The thing is, though: I live in a really small town, and there aren't many drummers here willing to teach. I don't think they would've asked me if there weren't. I think what they want is for me to inspire people to get started playing.

Please know that I've appriciated all of your inputs and now I know a lot more of what's expected from my part.

I'm going to at least try my best in doing this, since I feel like it's important to open doors for people in my small town. I'm not doing it for the money, I'm not even sure I'll be getting paid.

Feels great to have gotten so many helpful comments, this forum seems great :)
 
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