Having doubts about my drum teacher

tmcasper

Junior Member
Hi all,

I am hoping to get some advice on what to do about my local drum teacher. I am not sure whether or not to retain his services. So I've been going to this guy for about a year, he's a local rock drummer, been apparently teaching for many years, but there's a few problems I have with our sessions and I wanted to get some advice. I also feel like I have made pretty good progress on my own, with probably 80% of my practice time doing my own instruction, books, videos, dvds, etc...vs 20% being the lessons he teaches me every week.

First of all, I do like the guy, he's a good guy, and he knows a lot about drumming history, rock history, etc... he is always telling me good stories about famous drummers and their history and travails and such. I do enjoy that, and certainly count that time as my drumming instruction. But the issue I have is that it seems that every week we work on something fairly different than than the week before. He basically just shows me different licks every week, with no continuity or sense of progress. He doesn't observe me or comment on my playing or the previous weeks lesson i.e. hold me accountable, we just kind of bullshit for 20-30 min, and then he shows me the 'weeks lesson' and we play it a little bit and I basically struggle through it, while he plays it just waiting for me to get it right. It gets frustrating at times because we will be playing something I am having obvious trouble and struggling with, but he doesn't slow down or stop and break it down, he just keeps going and almost seems to get annoyed that I can't get it down. He doesn't seem to listen very much, is constantly on his phone, etc... I try sometimes to say 'Hey, i need to practice this on the pad and get the pattern down or whatever' but he just keeps going.

I am torn, I thought I'd found a good teacher but now I'm kind of questioning everything. Throughout the year I've had these same thoughts but I have just been telling myself to wait it out, maybe there's some 'grand plan' or something.

Just wondering if maybe you teachers out there might see some red flags here. I really want to find a good teacher who teaches me systematically and on schedule, so that I can have tangible, identifiable goals. I have plenty of time to practice and do so around 1-2 hours per day. I have no problem with commitment or anthing like that.

Anyways, advice is much appreciated. Thanks all!

I'm sure I missed a bunch of points but thats the gist of it.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Does he teach from a book, i.e. rudiments and reading? Does he give you advise on your technique?

If the above answers are no, I'd bail and find someone else.

Rudiments are the words, playing is the language. Anyone can learn to repeat phrases in another language, but it's pointless if you don't know what you are saying.

Not holding you accountable for last week's lesson is also a no-no. What's the point? You could just pay him and go home and get the same results.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
It’s a rare (and wonderful!) student that is as motivated and focused as you are. Most students are not like that, and sometimes it’s difficult for a teacher to realize when it’s good to “push”.

Maybe it’s time for you to own a little more of your education. If something is too fast, ask to slow down. Find specific licks, songs, and styles that you want to learn, and stay with them. Make an attempt to transcribe some things, and have your teacher correct and evaluate your transcriptions.

Finally, get into a band that plays well known songs, and go over those songs in lessons. Your teacher may be of more help, when your goals are more tangible and specific. And then get into another band at school that plays jazz and big band. Then add marching band and get your snare drum technique and rudiments together.

If after all this you still feel you’re not growing, then it may be time to move on. But the hard truth is that you are the one who has to push yourself into new and challenging situations, in order to really grow as a musician.
 

tmcasper

Junior Member
yeah @MrInsanePolack thanks for the response. Yeah we've been mostly working through Joe Francos double bass book on and off...no rudiments or hand work specifically. No technique critique. I think I've already answered my own question actually, but I wanted to get some reassurance I guess 😔
 

tmcasper

Junior Member
@brentcn yeah, I understand, but thats kinda my point. If I try to bring it up he doesnt seem to listen, or have any concern about what I'm saying. Like I said above, I think from typing it out I know the answer to my question,...I am a loyal guy, and I hate to cut things short like this, just want to get some advice from you all.
 

nageljim

Member
Hi all,

I am hoping to get some advice on what to do about my local drum teacher. I am not sure whether or not to retain his services. So I've been going to this guy for about a year, he's a local rock drummer, been apparently teaching for many years, but there's a few problems I have with our sessions and I wanted to get some advice. I also feel like I have made pretty good progress on my own, with probably 80% of my practice time doing my own instruction, books, videos, dvds, etc...vs 20% being the lessons he teaches me every week.

First of all, I do like the guy, he's a good guy, and he knows a lot about drumming history, rock history, etc... he is always telling me good stories about famous drummers and their history and travails and such. I do enjoy that, and certainly count that time as my drumming instruction. But the issue I have is that it seems that every week we work on something fairly different than than the week before. He basically just shows me different licks every week, with no continuity or sense of progress. He doesn't observe me or comment on my playing or the previous weeks lesson i.e. hold me accountable, we just kind of bullshit for 20-30 min, and then he shows me the 'weeks lesson' and we play it a little bit and I basically struggle through it, while he plays it just waiting for me to get it right. It gets frustrating at times because we will be playing something I am having obvious trouble and struggling with, but he doesn't slow down or stop and break it down, he just keeps going and almost seems to get annoyed that I can't get it down. He doesn't seem to listen very much, is constantly on his phone, etc... I try sometimes to say 'Hey, i need to practice this on the pad and get the pattern down or whatever' but he just keeps going.

I am torn, I thought I'd found a good teacher but now I'm kind of questioning everything. Throughout the year I've had these same thoughts but I have just been telling myself to wait it out, maybe there's some 'grand plan' or something.

Just wondering if maybe you teachers out there might see some red flags here. I really want to find a good teacher who teaches me systematically and on schedule, so that I can have tangible, identifiable goals. I have plenty of time to practice and do so around 1-2 hours per day. I have no problem with commitment or anthing like that.

Anyways, advice is much appreciated. Thanks all!

I'm sure I missed a bunch of points but thats the gist of it.
 

nageljim

Member
I have had over 20 years of drum lessons with two of the best drummers in Philadelphia. I have been through all the books. Doesen't sound like they are helping you much. Sometimes you need to slow it down and the teacher needs to help you through the patterns and show you slowly. Evaluate your playing and guide you on how to improve. Playing it together is key. As many times as it takes. That is a drum lesson. Talking is fine but learning is the goal. I have 40 years of playing drums. Advanced jazz mostly, the most difficult of all drumming.
 

nageljim

Member
I have had over 20 years of drum lessons with two of the best drummers in Philadelphia. I have been through all the books. Doesen't sound like they are helping you much. Sometimes you need to slow it down and the teacher needs to help you through the patterns and show you slowly. Evaluate your playing and guide you on how to improve. Playing it together is key. As many times as it takes. That is a drum lesson. Talking is fine but learning is the goal. I have 40 years of playing drums. Advanced jazz mostly, the most difficult of all drumming.
the red flags are, he sounds like not a very good teacher. can you share some of the recent assignments?
the red flags are, he sounds like not a very good teacher. can you share some of the recent assignments?
the red flags are, he sounds like not a very good teacher. can you share some of the recent assignments?
the red flags are, he sounds like not a very good teacher. can you share some of the recent assignments?
Example would be going through a jazz pattern that is difficult to understand or play. They should be helping you understand and show you how to play it. Also give you a chance on your own. You should also be playing the patterns together to better help you understand what it should sound like. You must understand how to read the music in order to play it and that should also be evaluated.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I think the biggest reason to drop this teacher is the fact that you keep saying he doesn’t listen to you. He doesn’t listen to what you have to say and he doesn’t seem to be listening to your playing, which is even worse. One of the worst attributes of a person in any profession is a failure to listen. You already know the right answer here. Time for you to take your hard earned money and find another teacher. Do some research and ask around. Maybe take a few one time lessons from different players and then pick the one you like best. You’ll be amazed at the progress you will make when you have a teacher who listens and really knows how to teach.
 

nageljim

Member
I think the biggest reason to drop this teacher is the fact that you keep saying he doesn’t listen to you. He doesn’t listen to what you have to say and he doesn’t seem to be listening to your playing, which is even worse. One of the worst attributes of a person in any profession is a failure to listen. You already know the right answer here. Time for you to take your hard earned money and find another teacher. Do some research and ask around. Maybe take a few one time lessons from different players and then pick the one you like best. You’ll be amazed at the progress you will make when you have a teacher who listens and really knows how to teach.
You are right ! Drop that teacher. He is not teaching
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Example would be going through a jazz pattern that is difficult to understand or play. They should be helping you understand and show you how to play it. Also give you a chance on your own. You should also be playing the patterns together to better help you understand what it should sound like. You must understand how to read the music in order to play it and that should also be evaluated.
What is this in response to? I was asking tmcasper to share some of his recent assignments.
 
It's hard to evaluate the quality of a teacher when you're starting out, so don't beat yourself up for "falling for this guy" and move on. Maybe your teacher is a good player but there are also teachers that don't have lots of fundamentals down or who mostly play by feel / ear. Look for someone with a degree - even if he might not play the type of music that you listen to primarily! It's not the only way but then you'll know that your teacher knows about all the fundamentals and about evaluating and improving his/her own playing.
 
I'd definitely be looking for a new teacher!

I have regular lessons. The first half of the lesson is spent going over the things I was given to work on in the previous lesson, both exercises and songs, and getting feedback to improve on parts where needed. Then we move onto new things to work on.
Anything I'm struggling with is broken down until I get it. (He is very very patient!)

As I'm working on breaking away from reading so much music, I'll also be given videos of part of the lesson so that I've something to refer to at home.

Sometimes there is a part in a song that I've not got tight enough, and I'll be given exercises to help tighten that up.
I'm also working towards my grade 8, and alongside the grade book I'll get exercises that help push me forward with the grade pieces.

If I have a new song to learn for my band, I'll often take it to my lesson and we'll work on it.

I thoroughly enjoy every lesson and am motivated to put in 20+ hours a week practice to improve before the next lesson.
 

RayI

Member
Same thing happened to me 1st teacher just started me out on basic rudiments, then he would take phone calls during my lesson , change my lesson days because he said he had to rehearse for an up coming gig , while taking phone calls during my lesson which I thought was rude he would step out and tell me to just fool around on the kit , why am I spending my money to take lessons just to be told " fool around on the kit " Huh !! , after 3 lessons I said see ya ...
Luckily I found a good teacher with structure in his lessons putting me thru the pace's of learning , he listens, instructs , guides
Move on Bro , there's better out there
 

tmcasper

Junior Member
the red flags are, he sounds like not a very good teacher. can you share some of the recent assignments?
Thats part of the issue too. I don’t really get ‘assignments’, we just go over a random thing or a page in Francos double bass book, and then the next week we’ll usually do something different, then come back to the book weeks later, more random licks, etc... and like I said, we never review from the previous week, or he never checks up on my progress or anything.
 
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