Drum teacher tells me to ignore metronome for now

brentcn

Platinum Member
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". :)
I think we agree here. But man, if a student wants to push harder, I’m not going to slow them down. That’s why I said “supplement”. Additional metronome practice is not going to hurt, especially if you’re using a mirror and really being honest with yourself about your form and stick heights. You can make some real progress in six months, especially if you don’t skip any days.

Also, it’s not unheard of for a music teacher to get a bit stuck in their ways. Could be a little of that going on here.
 

GCRoberts

Well-known member
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". :)
On two different occasions I brought up the idea of using a metronome. I hope no one thinks it's a source of tension between me and my teacher. We're on the same page for everything else and I'm learning so much from him. I've just learned NEVER EVER rely on just one source for information. Years ago I went to a dermatologist because I was getting hives on a semi-regular basis. The dermatologist told me it's because my skin is overheated and I should take a cool bath or shower when it happens. I did so, and it would make my big red blotches turn into big white blotches...but it didn't make them go away any faster at all. Years later I had hives at work and a girl who had no more than a HS degree asked me if I wanted a benadryl. I gave it a try and the hives went away within the hour. I thought, why the hell couldn't my medically trained dermatologist told me to take a benadryl? But back to your statement, I'm happy with the course program so far. I'm just not really satisfied with my practice routine for rudiments. I consider coming up with a practice routine that works best for me is more my job than my teachers.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known 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 always tell my students that the bass drum line is the 2nd hardest section to be in....with keyboards being the first. I rank tenors 3rd and snare 4th as far as overall difficulty, and I grew up a tenor player.

But yeah, a good tonal bass drum line demands quite a bit of drumming, and musical skills for sure! I put my best musicians in my bass line.

We have always had the. saying that your band is only as good as your bass drums and tubas...same as a stage band...only as good as your set and bass guitar player
 
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JS_91

Member
So sometimes you have to table one priority and zoom in on another. Sounds like that's the idea your teacher is going for. It's also totally possible to work both.

Something to think about that I don't think I've seen touched on yet here.

Sometimes a metronome can take away from technique in the sense that the muscles/movements/ "technique" you use will change at different speeds. The way you manipulate the stick and the pedals is not fixed at all tempos. This is my issue with the "If you can't play it in absolute perfect time and completely relaxed all the time slow, don't try to play it fast" mindset. You have to start getting used to the different techniques associated with different speeds eventually. They're different physical "modes" and mastering one doesn't necessarily prepare you for the other.

The way the metronome might interfere is if you're really fixed on one tempo area or if playing in perfect time in one specific tempo area is consuming a disproportionate amount of time that may be better spent getting used to the way other tempos feel.

But if you're in the habbit of switching tempos up on the metronome frequently and you're not overlooking technique for the sake of perfect time at all times (which is important, but not the priority for where it sounds like you're at) then keep rolling with it.



Shoutouts to the random ass drumline side convo that didn't help answer this guys question at all. =P
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I remember in grade school band and also civic orchestra as an adult the conductor was the metronome. He kept everyone in time. What’s great is if you are off he’ll notice quicker than you will and give you “the eye”. Oops! Unless whole band playing to a click every band member needs a good internal time keeping is what I learned-that and listening to all instruments volume (and singers) and make sure you blend in and not over power others.
 

GCRoberts

Well-known member
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.
I have heard of "Great Hands For a Lifetime" and ordered it. I've gotten through the first few chapters and I think it's going to be an excellent supplement. I told my drum teacher that I'm using it and he definitely encouraged it.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I'd treat it like this.. If it isn't in muscle memory. get the motions down first. If you can't stay relaxed and keep something going for a while, there is no point trying to play keep up with a click if you are falling apart.

If you can play something without having to think about it, or can keep a beat, groove, rudiment, fill etc going. then play with a click to nail in the time.

Without a video or knowledge of your playing it is really tough to give advice.

I play with a click MOST of the time. When working on something where I am falling apart and learning, I leave it off. after I get a pattern down I'll add the click to even out strokes, get timing down, push myself etc. The longer you play the quicker the patterns come too.

I wouldn't have a new student do rudiments or grooves to a click if they couldn't keep it together for more than a few bars. At that stage I'd rather them just be able to play it for a while before working on their meter.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
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.
Somehow I missed this, Rhumba. I should have mentioned that the student was a complete newbie until starting lessons with me 2.5 years ago. No prior experience on any musical instrument. Just a fan of music, tapping on the steering wheel. So I feel his experience is pertinent to the OP's issue.

Here's the pad workout we've been using:
 

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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I'd treat it like this.. If it isn't in muscle memory. get the motions down first. If you can't stay relaxed and keep something going for a while, there is no point trying to play keep up with a click if you are falling apart.

If you can play something without having to think about it, or can keep a beat, groove, rudiment, fill etc going. then play with a click to nail in the time.

Without a video or knowledge of your playing it is really tough to give advice.

I play with a click MOST of the time. When working on something where I am falling apart and learning, I leave it off. after I get a pattern down I'll add the click to even out strokes, get timing down, push myself etc. The longer you play the quicker the patterns come too.

I wouldn't have a new student do rudiments or grooves to a click if they couldn't keep it together for more than a few bars. At that stage I'd rather them just be able to play it for a while before working on their meter.
pretty much exactly like me, but now, 40+ years in my career of playing, I even learn with the met on, but it is always at 90bpm. I get patterns down slowly, and then slowly add tempo building up to performance tempo. 10 years ago, I was not able to do this when learning. But being a marching guy, the met was my second best friend all through high school, so I was very used to having it and using it
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Somehow I missed this, Rhumba. I should have mentioned that the student was a complete newbie until starting lessons with me 2.5 years ago. No prior experience on any musical instrument. Just a fan of music, tapping on the steering wheel. So I feel his experience is pertinent to the OP's issue.

Here's the pad workout we've been using:
No problem. Although I'm wondering if you had me on ignore :)

Anyway, that's a pretty good exercise for starting out. There's just enough sticking and rhythmic variation to cover good hand technique. I've never taught anyone except myself and the occasional kid stalking me at Guitar Center, so. To be able to mold a young soul for a couple of years, and get to see the development first hand, has to do wonders to one's own confidence. And soul.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
No problem. Although I'm wondering if you had me on ignore :)

Anyway, that's a pretty good exercise for starting out. There's just enough sticking and rhythmic variation to cover good hand technique. I've never taught anyone except myself and the occasional kid stalking me at Guitar Center, so. To be able to mold a young soul for a couple of years, and get to see the development first hand, has to do wonders to one's own confidence. And soul.
Thanks! That was my goal: a beginner's warm-up for something more advanced like the Lifetime Warmup. I've also made up a sequel to this that goes further into the paradiddle family rudiments, and gets into accents and flams.

I hate to say it, but the pandemic, with its lack of distractions, afforded the opportunity for my students to practice everyday. Since more pressing musical matters, like learning songs for a rehearsal or gig, are/were out of the question, it made sense to focus on the pad and metronome.

And, yes, it's VERY cool to see significant progress in other drummers. This is one of the good things about teaching at the beginner level, rather than at a collegiate level: progress is quicker and more noticeable, and students (I feel) are more receptive.
 
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