Do you need to be a good player to be a good teacher?

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Think back to your high school days. We all had people we thought were terrible teachers. They had the knowledge, had their degrees, had their certifications but just couldn't explain how to turn a light on. It helps to be able to play, but you have to be a communicator and illustrator a well.
 

Hedon

Senior Member
I agree!! You have to have a command of what you are teaching or you are wasting the clients time and money....

My point is that there are a lot of quote unquote teachers out there or people claiming to be teachers who really can't teach regardless of their level of playing...

Many have a better grasp of theory but their actual playing skills aren't on the same level...

I listened/watched your video... Very impressive....Hand/kit skills like yours are what you hope a good teacher would have and great knowledge of theory but reality is that most
do not have the chop/skills you posess...

At least not in my area...
oh damn no thats not me thats my teacher! he's really cool though and teaching full time for a few years now (his main source of income). he has a whole system for teaching and i think its working pretty well. i think his own technique and physical ability are not at the peak because he's giving a lot of lessons and less time to practice, but many of his former students are getting reputations as some of the best drummers around. he's also studio drummer for the most well known israeli metal band orphaned land. i guess all that credit is what makes it pretty damn expensive though :\
which brings up another question, its not always easy to say if you're paying your hard worked for money for the name and reputation only, or if the guy is really a good enough teacher for that amount of cash
im pretty sure mine deserves it though
 

pbloxam

Senior Member
oh damn no thats not me thats my teacher! he's really cool though and teaching full time for a few years now (his main source of income). he has a whole system for teaching and i think its working pretty well. i think his own technique and physical ability are not at the peak because he's giving a lot of lessons and less time to practice, but many of his former students are getting reputations as some of the best drummers around. he's also studio drummer for the most well known israeli metal band orphaned land. i guess all that credit is what makes it pretty damn expensive though :\
which brings up another question, its not always easy to say if you're paying your hard worked for money for the name and reputation only, or if the guy is really a good enough teacher for that amount of cash
im pretty sure mine deserves it though
Sounds like you have the teacher for you...you have achieved nirvana....

That is a good thing...
 
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wy yung

Guest
Interesting replies. Especially those mentioning teachers who tend to show off to students. I've known teachers like this. I remember hearing a blaze of chops coming from a teaching room. I wondered what was going on and who the student was. Then a 7 year old walked out! The teacher had been putting on a performance.

My philosophy is that the lesson is not about me, it is about the student. Some more advanced guys may want to come in and have a blast playing fours. That's fine. Another may have a specific technical question. Or I may have a kid that never practices, is not inclined to read and may simply want to play to a Michael Jackson record. I do what needs to be done. If not, the student may leave and give up drums.

I think the ability to read personalities, to have learned how to deal with people is highly important in a teacher. Communicating ideas, being able to analyse a problem and offer a solution is vital. In this case a teacher needs to know what he is doing. A bad drummer can only teach bad habbits. Experience is of great importance.

Does a teacher need to be a gigging drummer? I think it is not as important as some. I teach more than I perform these days. Mainly because after thousands of gigs I'm tired. I am sick of loading out at 3 am surrounded by drunks. Or having to sit on steps while I wait for a brawl to finish in a foyer. I'm sick of people ripping off gear, sick of dealing with guitarists!

But I love teaching and sharing my knowledge. It's why I'm here.
 
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Big_Philly

Guest
I don't think you need to be an extroardinarily good drummer, but you need to at least be better than your pupils, and be willing to keep it that way. And you need to know and understand what you're doing when you play and why you do it. I am by no means a brilliant drummer, but I have a solid timing and good groove, and have enough band / gigging experience to share some stories and experiences with my pupils.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Think back to your high school days. We all had people we thought were terrible teachers. They had the knowledge, had their degrees, had their certifications but just couldn't explain how to turn a light on. It helps to be able to play, but you have to be a communicator and illustrator a well.
With drumming, though, it's not the same as just sharing knowledge in a book. You have to be able to show the student what they are doing wrong, understand how they are playing, and how they are supposed to be playing. If you aren't a good drummer, you can't accomplish this. I agree that you have to be a communicator and illustrator as well...teaching a 4 year old will quickly teach you how to think about those things in unique ways!...but if you can't play, you can't teach.
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
i can only speak subjectively, for myself. but i would only get lessons from someone a lot better than me. and probably much much older too.

i question everything and i think if you're paying money to learn you should be able to be shown the answers to your questions as well as just verbally have them answered.

these days i look more for conversations about concepts/experiences to get better but i think its important to be able to illustrate things rather than just leave them as suggestions.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I am in the education industry, I have instructed and I am an instructional designer. Not that this makes me authoritative in any manner, but, everyday, I do live with the perspective where some students are better than their instructors.

When it comes to education I usually tend to use the example of a Basketball coach. Even in High School, most players on the team can beat the coach on a one on one.

However, I feel that instruction is different. As the question asks what is the qualifications for a good "teacher." In this case I will yield to my example above. Just as a music teacher in most settings above high school cannot outplay most of their students.

Now for the down beat. What we call "teachers" should probably be referred to as "INSTRUCTORS." Instructors do their fair amount of teaching, however, teachers usually do not do that much instruction.

If I wanted to find someone to help me play the drums better, I would seek out an instructor. Someone who has the ability to "show me"

---

The next step.
Some of us will improve to the point where it is going to be difficult to find someone who has better chops than you. Who does someone like Steve Smith turn to.

Now I will use the example of a Golf Pro. A good golf pro can look at someone like Tiger Woods, (who he will never be able to match on the golf course,) yet still help him improve his game.

There are drum instructors out there that can do the same..
I know a drum instructor, for instance, that one drum lesson from him and you will take three strokes off your game. @:-O -- You get my point though!?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Perfect timing. This months DRUM Magazine has a great article on teaching drums. It is written from the perspective that you have some time and you have some knowledge so why not. It does not talk about getting a degree or majoring in music in order to be a good teacher. One quick tip on the front page, "If you have a temper, stop right here and read no further." I have a teaching degree in Physical Education, or as they call it now to make it look more "elite" Kinesiology. This is a four year degree with a Bachelors in Science when you finish. You have to learn the basics of all sports, games, so that you can teach them, not excel at them.The emphasis is training you to teach those skills not make the big leagues playing them. There will be students who can dribble, shoot, throw, kick better than you but you are trained to look for errors in their motion. I myself am a terrible bowler but use to watch and critique a friend of mine who was a professional bowler. I could see flaws in his delivery, release etc, but would never beat this guy in a 100 years. If you want to teach you have to have some skills. You must also stay within those skills or you will set yourself up for a miserable fall. If you can communicate what you know in clear and concise language it will help. Read the article in this months DRUM Magazine and see what they have to say.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I've had many teachers in my day and a good teacher is a good teacher. You do get a lot of teachers in academia who have less years experience with a subject as the number of years since they have actually done something in their area, like teachers who taught for k-12 for ten years but it's been twenty years since they've seen the inside of classroom. On the other hand, I have taken lessons with noted progessionals who spend more time on the phone than with the student. There are also students who go to noted teachers who I have worked with and get nothing out of it. It's not always the instructor.

Anthropologists, like Max Weber and Claude Levi Strauss who just died at 100, deal with the aspect of practicality of study and its objectivity. If I give you my experience as a professional, I am giving you one man's perspective. But a teacher who has studied with many teachers, seen many clinics, and talked to many pros over the course of decades will have greater insight because he has internalized many perspectives, he is not just giving one.

Of course most of your teaching is going to be with kids and even noted professionals work a lot with ten year olds, which is actually a great age to teach music in my experience. They really don't need your years of experience playing with cover bands and metal bands throughout the local metropolis. They need someone who can cater to the needs, keep them of a clear path, help them with their struggles and encourage them through the rough spots.
 
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wy yung

Guest
Of course most of your teaching is going to be with kids and even noted professionals work a lot with ten year olds, which is actually a great age to teach music in my experience. They really don't need your years of experience playing with cover bands and metal bands throughout the local metropolis. They need someone who can cater to the needs, keep them of a clear path, help them with their struggles and encourage them through the rough spots.
I agree. This is pretty much my life.

Dealing with pro's is different. A pro' will come in and say "I just think there is a problem but am unsure what it is I need to do. Can you take a look?"

Often the simple solution is slow work on the problem with a metronome. It turns out that accuracy was the problem. It may be a minor degree. But that guy needed help to see it.

Then it could be something like "I need help with shuffles", or "Can you teach me Afro Cuban?" It's always specific with advanced guys.

The kids just want to have fun and take something from it. Dealing with teenagers is then a different game to the pre teens. One has to deal with insecurities with teens. I have one 16 year old who stated one day "Teach me fusion!!!!" Er, okay, but fusion is a mix of styles. It may be better to learn the basics of those styles first. So off we went until he got an exercise that threw him. Now he is shy. The lesson was not beyond him but required a certain amount of practice. His old teacher just had him play to recordings and this kid had shocking technique when he came to me. Anyway, bottom line was I had to use kid gloves.

You do need to know what you are doing. But you do not have to be Ed Thigpen to be a great teacher.
 
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