Drum teacher tells me to ignore metronome for now

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member


Work on technique without a click, then after you do that, go ahead and start messing around with a click! Try to implement some of the technique ideas and play them in time!

As long as you pay attention to what your teacher wants you to, there's no harm in also branching out, IMO.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Don't get me wrong, Straight Edge. Metronome is not a wrong method of teaching technique. I just think we're talking a slight variation in approach. Part of me wonders if teachers prefer metronomes in the lesson (and practice) space because of its simple utility in judging success or failure. If you slip just a little, it's obvious. Then you need to make an immediate correction (this is what I disdain about it) to stay within the click, or you start over at the nearest '1' count.

The other thing, as I've mentioned in other threads, is that real live music ebbs and flows with time, with different sections within a piece. So if a student only practices to a metronome, then he or she might be adversely affected when it comes to playing with other musicians in a live setting. We've already established in other discussions, that groove is more than keeping time. It's more to do with dynamics, and playing what's complimentary to those you're playing with.
I was trying to "eloquently" incorporate the ideas of your post about technique because I totally agree with you in yours as well, but only had a short amount of time to write that last post

and when I read yours, and thought about my approach, it is a combination of your physical technique things and my use of the met to understand space control

but yeah, I do not deny that there is human ebb and flow to music that we all have to be aware of. In my past experience, the people who practice with a met are the ones who adjust to, and fit into, that ebb and flow quicker, and more naturally. And I think that is because of learning the idea of space control, and having a foundation to then adjust to.

also, in my personal situation (and you know this b/c you did marching band) - being a competitive marching percussion coordinator - it is a much different arena...where we are trying to get 60-90 people (20-30 drummers) to all play with each other, while running around on a field. The met is soooo much a part of building that foundation - which does have human ebb and flow without the met - and knowledge of timing, and how to react to it's change is more crucial there than in a stage band, or concert band where physical movement and assessment over distance is not an element. Also, in those situations, there are usually not 2 or more drummers trying to coordinate playing the same thing at the same time. To me, the met is foundation #1.

I guess, in short, I am not in the camp who believes that the metronome is detrimental to, or a waste of, practice usage and time.

i think the met is an "honesty" tool...and a lot of people don't like the honest answer that they sometimes get with the met...that of not being able to play in time...I hear that ALL the time. Usually from non drummers. "Oh man, the met just messes me up" or the best: " the click is slowing down"... :sneaky: 😞
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Well, he is not a teenager. Nice form is so much more important for busted up hands.
Learning new patterns can induce tension too. Plus his time is decent already, it can wait.
I am a little younger and just starting out too. I do the same kind of. I don't put the metronome on the patterns i am learning until the technique is smooth.
Be good to your hands.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Sometimes I use a metronome, sometimes I don't. If I'm learning a new pattern then I practice it slowly without a metronome.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
That's an interesting comparison. I kinda like it, but seems a bit extreme.

I have no dog in this fight. I have been using some sort of click since day 1, but I dont see it being good for everyone either. I think everyone should learn to play with the click, but at what frequency is not up to me. My teacher, at lesson 1, determined I could use a click because I had already been playing to songs for a year. But he made that decision for me. So I practiced rudiments with a click.

Being a day 1 newbie, rudiments and a click might be too much for some. Or it might be just right. Or maybe just play songs and learn how to follow something that way, while learning rudiments and grips without a click. A new person is not able to make this decision by themselves in my opinion.
What’s extreme about what he said? Is it the whipping mental image?
 

GCRoberts

Well-known member
Well, it takes a lot of slow repetitions to develop new motions, especially if old habits are to be overcome. Most students usually want to rush the process, and will set the metronome way too fast. Often, the mere existence of a metronome "beep" takes the focus away from the positioning of the hand, fingers, wrist, stick, etc.

What technique(s) are you working on? Can you post a video?
When I started in January he told me there are two paths he could use to teach me. He could have me only work on the snare for a year, and then move to the whole kit, or I could use the "FastTrack" method (Hal Leonard books). We agreed on the "FastTrack" method and he'd teach me rudiments along the way. I'm about 2/3's through book 1 at this point and he's taught me (1) single stroke roll, (2) double stroke roll, (3) five stroke roll, (4) paradiddle, (5) flam stroke, and (6) flam tap. He's not having me use a metronome on rudiments, he has me start slow, speed up, then slow back down again. So far I've been able to quickly pick up all the book exercises that he warned might be a little harder for me to learn since I didn't spend that year on snare. He's happy with my rudiment progress so far, but I can't say that I am. Therefore, I'm trying to spend a little more of my practice time on rudiments.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
When I started in January he told me there are two paths he could use to teach me. He could have me only work on the snare for a year, and then move to the whole kit, or I could use the "FastTrack" method (Hal Leonard books). We agreed on the "FastTrack" method and he'd teach me rudiments along the way. I'm about 2/3's through book 1 at this point and he's taught me (1) single stroke roll, (2) double stroke roll, (3) five stroke roll, (4) paradiddle, (5) flam stroke, and (6) flam tap. He's not having me use a metronome on rudiments, he has me start slow, speed up, then slow back down again. So far I've been able to quickly pick up all the book exercises that he warned might be a little harder for me to learn since I didn't spend that year on snare. He's happy with my rudiment progress so far, but I can't say that I am. Therefore, I'm trying to spend a little more of my practice time on rudiments.
Well, I have to admit, I would encourage more metronome use. For the last few months, I've been working on rudiments and pad exercises with an adult (age 46) student each week, and we use the metronome throughout the lesson. Frequently, I stop the metronome, or slow it down, in order to correct stick heights, positioning, rebound, etc. When we're first learning a brand new rudiment or exercise, we don't use the metronome at first; instead we focus on "slow motion" stick mechanics. We also use the "slow-faster-slower" technique you describe, which is sometimes referred to as "open-closed-open". After the last few months of regular metronome use, his confidence and touch behind the kit have benefitted to the point that his bandmates are showering him with complements, and he's able to play songs along with the metronome and his band at the same time. We haven't touched the kit in our lessons in at least 3 months (though he has certainly put in some practice on the kit). But the metronome is a regular feature.

Of course, none of these teaching techniques should be excluded, because they all have their merits. Personally, I'm a fan of the metronome, but I also use the techniques your teacher is using. So my approach is maybe more... completist?

The kicker is that you're not happy with your progress. If you wanted to supplement your lessons, you could check out the Great Hands For a Lifetime DVD, or Bill Bachman's Hand Workout program, both of which use the metronome throughout.

 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Exactly! I am picturing some poor soul careening to their death as a Snidley Whiplash type character cackles and twirls his moustache.
That’s the idea. His quote stands 😉

I remember my early days in a drum corps not knowing what to expect. They put a bass drum on me, told me to get in line and we started marching around this track playing an exercise. So I’m dealing with my hands playing an unfamiliar pattern, then having to play it in time while I march with this group in time trying not to get run over! I could’ve used this example but it takes too many words.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
That’s the idea. His quote stands 😉

I remember my early days in a drum corps not knowing what to expect. They put a bass drum on me, told me to get in line and we started marching around this track playing an exercise. So I’m dealing with my hands playing an unfamiliar pattern, then having to play it in time while I march with this group in time trying not to get run over! I could’ve used this example but it takes too many words.
Honestly, I think playing in the bass line develops listening skills more than any other section. I’ve seen those bass lines playing 16th-note sextuplets up and down the drums at really fast tempos in solo/ensemble, with absolutely perfect time.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
I use the metronome when it's required, for instance yesterday, I was trying to add bars of fills in 16th notes between the jazz ride pattern in 8th notes. I had problem with my timing, even by counting the notes.

The metronome solved my problem, I practiced a bit with it and it helpted me understand how to do the fill in time, it's working or it's not working. Shifting between 8th and 16th notes I like to use the metronome for that. (Still learning the basics here too)

When I practice comping exercises from a book, it's good to have the pressure from the metronome, I find that it helps me improve. But I don't use it all the time, because it also makes things boring, in my opinion.

And in some occasions, in jazz especially, slightly stretching the time can have an interesting effect. I think about Jack Dejohnette, he can stretch his timing slightly and on purpose, in my opinion again.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
After the last few months of regular metronome use, his confidence and touch behind the kit have benefitted to the point that his bandmates are showering him with complements, and he's able to play songs along with the metronome and his band at the same time. We haven't touched the kit in our lessons in at least 3 months (though he has certainly put in some practice on the kit). But the metronome is a regular feature.
You didn't mention how experienced your adult student was prior to starting lessons with you. The OP stated he or she was a complete newbie who first started lessons in January of this year. When I wanted to take drumset lessons at age 13, I was steered toward pad lessons for several months, even though I had been dabbling on my older brother's kit since I was 7. My instructor, a fellow student 2 yrs my senior, then had me play bass drum in the marching band. I never did get a drumset lesson from him. I don't remember if I continued to dabble with my brother's kit during this pad work, but I don't think I would have had the time.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Honestly, I think playing in the bass line develops listening skills more than any other section. I’ve seen those bass lines playing 16th-note sextuplets up and down the drums at really fast tempos in solo/ensemble, with absolutely perfect time.
I know. As I got older I didnt want to move “up” to tenors or snares. I was happy in a group of five or six. And they allowed me to start playing snare parts since I was the #1 bass drum and could diddle with them 😉
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I know. As I got older I didnt want to move “up” to tenors or snares. I was happy in a group of five or six. And they allowed me to start playing snare parts since I was the #1 bass drum and could diddle with them 😉
Everybody always wants to play snare, but you develop a much larger number of actual marketable, usable skills in any other section.
 
The kicker is that you're not happy with your progress. If you wanted to supplement your lessons, you could check out the Great Hands For a Lifetime DVD, or Bill Bachman's Hand Workout program, both of which use the metronome throughout.
Not trying to argue with you since you're obviously way more experienced than I am when it comes to playing and teaching - just trying to add a different perspective: Half a year is not that long, so what can you really expect when the focus is on drum set and not rudiments? To me it sounds like, the OP is progressing nicely and as the teacher is happy with the progress, I feel like this it the mind set that the OP should have as well.
@GCRoberts: Did you talk about this with your teacher? If you feel like you want to invest more time into rudiments and pad work, I'm sure your teacher would be happy to change course for a while since he proposed both ways to get you started. I also think that the rudiments you know already are a very good foundation for playing grooves, fills and short solos on the drum set. Keep at it, be patient with yourself and have some fun making music - You can do that without having perfect technique. Refining the basics is never "finished". :)
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Tenors are the most fun, but lanky 142 lb high school me had trouble hauling them around a football field!

Snare was always the most "prestigious" because the Drum Captain is snare, but I find tenors more fun overall.

And if you get on a good line, bass is amazing. But most of the time, they put the idiots on the bassline, and its never fun!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Tenors are the most fun, but lanky 142 lb high school me had trouble hauling them around a football field!

Snare was always the most "prestigious" because the Drum Captain is snare, but I find tenors more fun overall.

And if you get on a good line, bass is amazing. But most of the time, they put the idiots on the bassline, and its never fun!
Tenors or pit are the best in most high-school drum lines. The bass line in 99% of HS drum lines has too many weak players to let you do anything challenging, like you mentioned. In corps, though, it’s the opposite. At least on tenors you develop some timpani skills from moving between drums so much. And pit teaches you mallet skills.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Everything is on individual basis, but forcing to following a metronome can quickly lead to quite sacrificed technique to "make it."

It really depends on what you're working on, but different techniques lend themselves to time and a certain feel.
 
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