Anyone ever worked with a bad drum teacher?

JDFaulky

Well-known member
I just had a bad experience with a drum teacher and thought I would vent a little and get opinions from others.

I'm a self taught drummer who decided 5 months ago that I would try working with a drum teacher in order to help me progress quicker and correct any bad habits I may have formed by self teaching. I've been taking drumming very seriously and thought a drum teacher could be very valuable to me. I had a few teachers in the area to choose from and I picked one basically via "eeny meeny miny moe" and didn't really know the strengths and weaknesses of the choices I had. The one I picked ended up being a bad experience and I'm worried how this will affect my progress.

I picked one and worked with the guy for 5 months and felt like I haven't really learned anything from him. He was a cool guy but I didn't find his teaching style very useful.

  • He was very chatty to the point where I was listening to him talk more than I was actually playing anything.
  • His kit was janky and difficult to play. Looks like the heads haven't been changed in decades. His drums were acoustic but his cymbals were e-kit cymbals hooked to a PA system. Lots of duct tape and broken triggers hanging off of the toms.
  • He used very outdated technology (like spending 10min of my 30min session fast forwarding through VHS tapes with bad audio).
  • He would write down a lot of chicken scratch note charts on paper by hand that I could barely decipher.
  • He wouldn't give me any exercises or routines to work on that would help me work on my hands or technique.
  • I would tell him what my weaknesses are and he never seemed interested in wanting to help me work on those weaknesses, and instead continued down his "one size fits all" curriculum and refused to really deviate from it.

I thought maybe there was a method to this man's madness so I hung in there for 5 months and just eventually got to the point where I felt like I was throwing my money away.

As someone who went in already knowing how to play drums but just wanted help sharpening my skills, this style of teaching didn't really work for me. I would continue to practice and play on my own and felt like I was progressing better by watching YouTube videos and focusing on my weaknesses more than anything this teacher was putting in front of me, so I decided that it may be time to stop working with him.

I didn't want to give up on lessons quite yet and I decided that instead of flat out quitting, maybe I could try a different teacher. This time I did more research and reached out to the most popular and sought out drum teacher in my area. He agreed to take me as a student and promised me that he could definitely help me improve. The few conversations I had with him left me very impressed. The only problem is that this teacher is basically the competitor and rival of the drum teacher I was already working with and both of them work out of the same studio (which is a huge mom and pop music store), so switching was going to be really awkward. I observed this new teacher working with other students and they always seemed like they were doing much cooler stuff than I was with my teacher. This guy had much nicer kits, had two kits in his studio so he wouldn't have to keep kicking you off of the kit like my teacher does, and seemed like a nicer, more enthusiastic guy.

Originally, I was going to lie to my current drum teacher and just tell him that I couldn't afford lessons anymore or something so I would avoid drama, but I would be in the same building working with the other teacher so he would see me and know I lied. Eventually I thought sneaking around and hiding the fact that I'm switching teachers was stupid. I'm paying these people to help me become a better drummer; it's nothing personal at all. So I was up front with my teacher and just told him that I was thinking about quitting lessons due to progressing well on my own and that I thought I would try a different teacher as a test to help determine if drum lessons really aren't for me. He seemed cool about it, but I sensed that he was slightly bummed out. I had 3 more sessions left with him (the teachers make you pay a month in advance) so I was going to finish up the 3 sessions and move on.

Well I guess he found out that I was moving to his competitor and when I went in for today's lesson, the dude stood in the doorway with cash in his hand, handed me my money back and basically told me to get lost. Since I'm changing teachers anyway, I wasn't too phased by this and just took the money and left, but I was pretty pissed how unprofessional he was about this. This made my decision to drop him feel much better.

So I guess my question is this. Has anyone ever had a bad experience working with a drum teacher? Were you able to bounce back from it and find success with a different teacher or did you just forget about it and switched to the self teaching route? This bad experience has me wondering if I should even bother with drum teachers anymore.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
No disrespect to anyone who may have had a positive experience, but I found most Guitar Center drum teachers to be much like this.
I tried with one for a while & got so frustrated that I just stopped going.
I don't like doing that to people, but this dude had me so mad that ghosting him felt like the right thing to do.

I never went back.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
not all of us are like that!!!

you might just have to keep up the search a bit...

a goos filter to use is: in the very first session, if they don't ask "what do you want to work on?", you might need to be skeptical. Also if they don't ask you to play right away, I would be a little concerned.

For me, I need to know my students goals right away, and what/where we will be starting with. That way I make sure not to cover stuff I shouldn't, and to immediately set up a curriculum path.

I also go over the way I do things very clearly in the first lesson so that the student knows what is coming up. If the teacher does't seem to have a foundational approach to teaching, tat they can clearly outline, you might want to think again.
 
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JDFaulky

Well-known member
not all of us are like that!!!

you might just have to keep up the search a bit...

a goos filter to use is: in the very first session, if they don't ask "what do you want to work on?", you might need to be skeptical. Also if they don't ask you to play right away, I would be a little concerned.

For me, I need to know my students goals right away, and what/where we will be starting with. That way I make sure not to cover stuff I shouldn't, and to immediately set up a curriculum path.

I also go over the way I do things very clearly in the first lesson so that the student knows what is coming up. If the teacher does't seem to have a foundational approach to teaching, tat they can clearly outline, you might want to think again.

Yeah the old teacher never really asked me to just... play. Even though I walked in as a high beginner/lower intermediate drummer, he made me start from square one like I never touched a drum set before, which kinda irked me a bit but I went along with it. After 5 months I barely played anything and mainly just listed to him talk.

Several times I told him that I wanted to greatly improve my skill with drum fills, ghost notes and left foot hi-hat playing and he just kinda ignored me. I spent one session asking him about improving my buzz rolls and he basically just said "well this is how I do it," showed me an example of him playing it, and then never spoke about it again. Two weeks later I started doing proper buzz rolls because I started watching YouTube videos on it and learned how to do it myself. Worthless.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
My very drum teacher wasn't all that good, but of course, I was too young and inexperienced at the time to realize it. But when I (eventually) met my 2nd drum teacher, the difference was night and day.

Anyways, run, run far away and find someone else.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
You need to leave him but je needs to know why honestly for the benefit of those who may follow you. Him standing in the doorway with your money just seems to fit in with the other stuff you have mentioned. Good luck with the newest guy.
 

nicholasBR

Well-known member
opinions from others.

I've taught various things for years (not music nor drums) at various levels. There are countless people and institutions who will take your money for "teaching" and a lot are poor or indifferent. My indicators of a good teacher are 1) can they actually do the thing properly? Sounds obvious but it's amazing how many people "teach" who don't do the thing at all or can't do it well. (But also, being able to do the thing very well doesn't necessarily mean they're a good teacher.) 2) How do they speak about what they do? Do they speak in such a way that they clearly know the ins and outs and ups and downs of their field and how to teach it? This is a huge giveaway. And 3) what are the teacher's current or ex students doing? Are they doing the thing well? Or are they even doing it at all?
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I had one lesson with a bad teacher but I was at school and wasn’t paying for the privilege…you’re paying and it’s supposed to be fun and inspiring. If you ate at a restaurant and the food seemed off, you wouldn’t persevere on the basis there might be a method to their madness. If the lessons weren’t working for you, you did right walking and the guy had no reason to treat you like he did when you told him you’d no longer be studying with him. That’s a good indication that the guy wasn’t worth your time and money. Might be worth asking local players for recommendations? :unsure: :)
 

Juniper

Gold Member
My first teacher turned out to be disappointing.

I was his student for 2 or so years at school, got on well with him I thought and then switched to private lessons.

The week my grandfather died my parents were late paying him for the first ever time in that whole time, for a lesson I had to cancel last minute due to his death and he had the audacity to harass them for 'tardiness' in paying him £20 for that lesson, days after we lost a family member.

Never went back to him and never spoke to him again, the disrespectful ****

He was a good enough teacher but I didn't want to be in the same room as him after that.
 
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PaisteDrummer95

Well-known member
Yes. The first one was the leader of my schools band and I asked him for lessons because I hadn’t had support from my parents. He wanted me to play hard and fast 8th notes and i was unable to which resulted him in yelling at me and as he got more and more annoyed by showing it again and again and got more and more unfocused he hit my leg in a rimshot way.
After I never wanted to have lessons again.

The second teacher I had was at a private music school and a real showoff who wanted to play everything at 150 BPM with closed eyes and couldn’t help my with any issues regarding drumming I had.

The third one yelled at students for not playing on time and not practicing enough, but when I had my first lesson there the waiting list was full.

Now recently I had a first Skypelesson (actually we just talked) with my new teacher and he showed so much comfort and empathy to me than never someone did before (read my thread about the topic for more details) and I think this will be great.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
My first teacher turned out to be disappointing.

I was his student for 2 or so years at school, got on well with him I thought and then switched to private lessons.

The week my grandfather died my parents were late paying him for the first ever time in that whole time, for a lesson I had to cancel last minute due to his death and he had the audacity to harass them for 'tardiness' in paying him £20 for that lesson, days after we lost a family member.

Never went back to him and never spoke to him again, the disrespectful ****

He was a good enough teacher but I didn't want to be in the same room as him after that.

I get "yelled at" a lot by my teacher colleagues b/c I sometimes let payment's go for a lesson. If a family is in hardship, I don't charge for all the lessons. I get told all of the time that if a student doesn't pay, I should not teach them. I just don't get that mentality. Sometimes, you have to e understanding in the situation

a good teacher will e flexible and understanding in all aspects!!!
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I get "yelled at" a lot by my teacher colleagues b/c I sometimes let payment's go for a lesson. If a family is in hardship, I don't charge for all the lessons. I get told all of the time that if a student doesn't pay, I should not teach them. I just don't get that mentality. Sometimes, you have to e understanding in the situation

a good teacher will e flexible and understanding in all aspects!!!

I get that teachers rely on the money and income and because of that we were happy to still pay for it, despite the lesson in question not taking place. I always pay my dues.

Plus we always paid on time for years up to that point. I was a long time student but there was no understanding or care about it at all.

But calling my dad and having a go at him over the phone, days after his father had died and he was busy making funeral plans and grieving, all over £20.

Even at 15 years old I no longer respected him as a person after it and didn’t want to be associated with him anymore.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
But calling my dad and having a go at him over the phone, days after his father had died and he was busy making funeral plans and grieving, all over £20.
That’s a startling lack of empathy, the fact you were a longtime student is the icing on a cr@pcake of a story…:mad:
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I get "yelled at" a lot by my teacher colleagues b/c I sometimes let payment's go for a lesson. If a family is in hardship, I don't charge for all the lessons. I get told all of the time that if a student doesn't pay, I should not teach them. I just don't get that mentality. Sometimes, you have to e understanding in the situation

a good teacher will e flexible and understanding in all aspects!!!


And it sounds like your students have a really great teacher, so good on you mate!
 
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