Problems with drum teacher


Junior Member
So I've had about four or five drum lessons so far after being self taught for a long time. My teacher has had me working through stick control, practicing with different dynamics, and using legato, staccato, and Moeller. He also wants me to apply them on the drum set. Easy enough. The problem is he hasn't really even broken down how to do those types of strokes. He has basically just demonstrated the strokes, and then says for me to play it. I need more detail than that. He also makes me try to keep up with him while playing rudiments, and it's a jumbled mess because he's playing two or three times faster than me and I just can't keep up. If I can keep up, I'm ridiculously tense in my forearms and wrists. He tells me stay loose during this process, but I physically can't because my muscles are basically being tortured. Then we get on the kit to practice Moeller with grooves, again at much faster tempos than I can play. At the end of this week's lesson he says "I just don't know what to do with you man, maybe you'll wow me one day and actually be able to do it." It made me want to give up right then. Like I said for techniques, I need more than "I just played it, now you play it", with not much more explanation than that. As for speed, I've more or less always heard to go slow and steady til it feels natural, then bump up the tempo. Any opinions on what I should do? I just feel so discouraged, and am thinking about going back to online lessons.

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Education should be free.

But since its (usually) not, and you're paying, find another instructor.

You're not paying an instructor to make them happy, you're paying for a service, you need to be happy.
After four lessons (one month) with my first drum instructor, I knew, he wasn't the right fit for me. Thus, I stopped taking lessons from him.

A year later, while on vacation, away from my home town, I found a cool drummer, who played in a cool band, and he offered lessons. I took a four hour lesson, with him. And the stuff, I was shown, I've been practicing, everyday for almost seven months, and I'm amazed at the progress, I've made from that one lesson.

Don't give up on instructors, just be more selective, with who you learn from.

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Good drummers are not always good teachers.
Good drum teachers are hard to find.
Sounds to me like your teacher is not evaluating exactly where you are and what you need to do to progress. He is just showing you stuff "he" can do, thinking that you will progress by simply jamming with him.


Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Nothing you stated sounded that crazy. It's normal to have someone try and keep up with a faster tempo, if what your trying to achieve is increasing the students playability at higher rates of speed.

But what did send up a red flag, was his statement to you about "not knowing what to do with you." That's some BS and sound like this teacher doesn't know what he's doing.

Look for someone else.


Senior Member
Put another mark in the get a new teacher column.

First, any teacher (or band mate for that matter) that serves up shame and makes you feel inadequate is not worth paying or being around. Your teacher's job is to help you progress and grow, no matter what level you're at, into your own style & path wherever and as fast as that takes you. You're making art and it should be a fun and engaging activity. Challenging is fine, but not in ways that compare you or make you feel bad.

I've had various teachers over the years and have been real lucky for the last several to find a life-long professional musician, now retired but formerly at the national top-40 billboard level, who is outstanding on the subject of the right mid-set during playing whether practice, playing out at gigs, auditions, etc. The right frame of mind for playing your groovy best is far more important than many musicians recognize and something you can get better at with focus and practice. But, your teacher seems to be boosting his own ego instead of yours.

Second, as many on here on DW will attest, speed without groove not worth much. Regardless of how slow you need to go, get the exercise down first, make it groovy, and the speed will come later with ease. In fact, my teacher more often holds me back, keeping me on the same exercise at the same tempo until it sounds "musical". Just being able to play it isn't good enough - it's gotta sound sexy. "Why move on to something else if you don't really have down what we're working on now?" he says.


Senior Member
I'm another one for "find another teacher " asap. Being discouraged is the last thing you should be feeling. If he lacks the emotional intelligence to sense this then he's not a good teacher. I have a similar circumstance to you ie have recently taken 4 lessons after coming back to drumming a couple of years ago. My teacher is the polar opposite of yours- demonstrates technique in a really slow tempo, ensures I can play it properly, gets me to video him playing the exercises really slowly on my phone ,so I can refer to them during my practice at home. As mentioned earlier - knowing the subject and teaching the subject are two very different things.


Platinum Member
If you need focused hand/grip/coordination, what worked for me was....

Keep the teacher you have.

Join BillB's site for one month. Do the first half of the grip-makeover program and all of the beginners lessons. Unsub before you're billed for a second month.

After 2-6 months of normal lessons/practice/playing, join Bill B's site for another month. Repeat the first half of the makeover (Should take a week the second time around). Take the second half of the makeover.

Repeat every several months as you encounter insurmountable limitations in your coordination.


"Uncle Larry"
I don't like a teacher that wants to make you play fast before being able to play slow or medium first. He sounds like a crappy teacher. A good teacher breaks stuff way down to it's basic elements for all to see and explains how to hold the sticks, what motions to to play, as well as instruction of what to play while learning. But man you have to start within your ability.

Ditch the clown and find a real teacher.


Platinum Member
Get a new teacher, from what you've explained, this guy is trying to get you to run before you can walk.

Moeller takes years and years to get vaguely right and you start sloooooowwwww. The last thing Moeller should do is make your muscles hurt (That's the whole point of it!) so you've not been taught to hold the stick properly. (Jim Chapin lesson 101)

With technique, the best lessons I had were on a pad. You can hear when you're doing it right. Get a mirror if you're practicing alone and that's how you do it. This is why you go slow and let your muscle memory do its thang.

I've been lucky enough to have had some amazing teachers through uni including the best Moeller teacher in the country (England). His whole idea was the same as Jim Chapin, they set you up to play for a lifetime without hurting yourself. Speed doesn't come into it, it comes naturally with the technique but keep it in your locker. I'd rather be tasteful than fast anyday.

Don't let it get you down, we're all on a journey at different speeds, going to different places. A good teacher should know that, get a teacher that inspires you!

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
It sounds like he’s not good with beginners. Maybe take a few months away from him to get to a level where he is satisfied. Or just find a better teacher LOL