Self-taught technique questions for instructors

mrfingers

Senior Member
What are the biggest or most common technique “problems” you’ve had to correct when teaching self-taught rock drummers? Does age make a difference, etc..?
 
Bring too rigid, not allowing the stick to rebound freely, not engaging the fingers, lifting the foot off the pedal board so it clanks and slaps around in between strokes.
 
Not moving wrists, hitting too hard, not hitting hard enough, back fingers not on the stick. Random stuff they picked up on youtube.

Technique is usually not the major problem with self taught people who have been playing awhile-- converting to a literate system of playing is. Where they know what they're playing, and are able to read.
 
As Duck Tape mentioned, a common mistake is playing into the drum and not allowing the stick to rebound. When students learn to allow the stick to rebound, they will notice less dents in the drumheads*, fewer broken sticks, and less (or hopefully no) hand fatigue.

If you feel a stinging sensation in you back fingers, you may be playing into the head. You may also be freezing your fingers on the stick, I think of the back fingers as shock absorber, which need to have some movement.

*Dents in drumheads do not automatically mean poor technique. A drumhead that has low tension will allow the stick to soak into the head, as opposed to rebounding off the head.

Hope this helps,

Jeff
 
Limited ability to play single-surface parts; limited ability to play accents within parts; limited independence (right foot tied to right hand for starters; limited understanding/mastery of basic rhythms... particularly syncopations.

The accompanying tight, stiff, leaden technique that usually goes with all of the above is never a surprise - as typically it is with practicing the things required to learn the above that most players basic technique is formed. Unfortunately as many players find out - investing the bulk of one's formative playing basic "kick-snare-hat" type beats and little else - is just going to leave the player with limitations. Limitations that will stand in the way of playing even those same basic beats at a higher level - better groove, better sound, etc.
 
Not moving wrists, hitting too hard, not hitting hard enough, back fingers not on the stick. Random stuff they picked up on youtube.

Technique is usually not the major problem with self taught people who have been playing awhile-- converting to a literate system of playing is. Where they know what they're playing, and are able to read.

same here for many of the above...for me, it is usually
- really loose fulcrum issues
- not knowing how to read or count, but wanting to play things that can't just be learned by ear
- the drum set not being set up ergonomically, thus casuing physical bad habits to creep in <--- usually manifest in the snare being too low between the legs
- telling me what they are NOT going to learn before the lesson even starts
 
All of the above, really. Correct understanding of the elements of a good grip: a strong fulcrum, the use of the fingers, the rotation of the wrists, the ability to control the rebound of a stroke; these things are very common in students who come to me specifically for "technique".

As others have said, posture is an issue, timekeeping - often coming down to not counting, any degree of knowledge with the established repertoire.

Most drummers that come through, self-taught or otherwise, can play along to music, but far fewer have a dynamic touch or a real responsiveness to what they're hearing.
 
Holding on too tight
Everything going through the forearm and though the thumb
No hi hat foot and an overreliance on double pedals
Burying the beater too much
Hitting through cymbals

I came from the self taught school and those were my main problems. A good technique teacher will start from the basics which was my buy in to a deep rabbit hole of technique.

There are those out there with good natural techniques.

A lot depends on the individual and how bad they wanna get better. If you want any kind of longevity as a drummer and more so a rock drummer you need good technique.
 
Holding on too tight
Everything going through the forearm and though the thumb
Drumming rule #1 should be "A drumstick is not a hammer".

The stick is our direct connection with the drums. That should be the very first area of instruction. Not how to swing the stick. Not a 4/4 beat. Not singles. How to hold the stick is the most important part of this whole thing.
 
I wonder about all famous self-taught drummers like Bonham, Ringo , McBrain, Chambers, Fleetwood, etc that may have started self-taught but I wager still ended up as being taught because able to read etc. . People throw up the great drummers who were self taught but I imagine 99% of self taught never develop as these examples and mature as a musician. Course it’s like golf in you have pros and then those it’s a hobby with different goals and desires. Seeing somebody do anything correctly and then they guiding you to do so sure helps from reinventing wheel. I think people generally think drums are an easy instrument because their organic nature- everyone will naturally start tapping to music so seems easy. That’s where they are wrong because often four limbs playing a kit can be in opposition to natural- like it’s easier for right hand and foot to do same rather in opposition. Like golf the correct way can feel awkward as hell initially, and you realize your power stroke isn’t from muscle but momentum.
 
I wonder about all famous self-taught drummers...
I wonder about that too. What I suspect is that a lot of "self taught" players aren't all that self taught - they just aren't "band camp" people.
 
I wonder about that too. What I suspect is that a lot of "self taught" players aren't all that self taught - they just aren't "band camp" people.

and a lot of famous self taught drummers were also just in the right place at the right time surrounded by the right people...it didn't really have to do with their playing ability
 
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