Should I look for a new instructor?


Senior Member
I've had a drum teacher for like 4 months because I wanted to learn jazz. The dude charged 20 bucks for a half hour and teaches at an actual music school aside from the lessons he has at this music place. The first few weeks, I got two new books and a few jazz sheets to work on but nothing since then. The books are all snare drum which I feel like I've got down well but he keeps pushing them. Now I havn't really had time to work on alot of these exercises but he keeps telling me he'll get me new sheets next week and it never happens. Should I start looking for a new guy or just hope it'll get better?

Oh ya and like twice we havn't even had a lesson, we just talked about random drum stuff. The dudes pretty chill and he knows his stuff so I wasn't really pissed at him because I learned alot, just not alot of what I wanted.


Platinum Member
I usually start each lesson with hand technique and snare reading exercises. Then we move on to drum set - that way we have a well rounded lesson. Also, many of the technique and reading exercises can easily be applied to drum set. Have you been progressing through the books? What books are they? How much have you learned from them?

When you don't play in a lesson, what do you do?

Breaking down fundamentals on the snare drum never hurts. I believe it is important to review and expand on those fundamentals every day year after year because they are the foundation of everything else you play on a kit. I recommend really trying to maximize your practice with those exercises and dive in as deep as you can with them. They may seem simple and boring on the surface, but if you really focus on them you can learn more about your hands and sound quality than you ever thought you could.

When he talks about drum stuff in lessons, does it revolve around the history of jazz drumming? If so, I wouldn't consider it a wasted lesson of talking. Jazz history is crucial to learn in order to understand jazz. Even if he is talking about modern day jazz players or trends, it can still provide you with individuals to start listening to and transcribing.

What did you expect to learn about jazz through these lessons that you don't feel you are learning? Perhaps you should make a list of these things and present it to him and ask that he try to incorporate them in lessons along with his curriculum.


Junior Member
Jazz is such a huge world and "Jazz drumming" such a large and expansive field of study that I would just continue with your current instructor. He certainly sounds qualified and respected if he is teaching at a music school I would think.

When you refer to "Jazz sheets" what does that refer to?

Sometimes talking is a great way to learn things and pass down information that might otherwise be lost in just the dry interpretation of exercises to the drum set.

I have listened to Jazz for ages but have just recently ( Last few years or so) set myself to becoming a better Jazz drummer, and have made much progress but ,I am stunned when it dawns on me ( frequently I might add!) how much I have to learn!! Mostly I just relax and enjoy the process. That's important I think, do you enjoy your lessons?

When you say that you have the hand exercises "Down" do you mean that you can just get through them or that you are comfortable with them and can apply them? He may just want to see a certain level of mastery over the material before he moves on-you may be thankful for that later on as things become more challenging.

Anyway, just my thoughts on things! Good luck and work hard!



Senior Member
Go out and get Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer and start studying your jazz on your own. Bring the book to the lesson and ask him to show you the exercises if you really want to to work on it.
Also, you mentioned you're not spending much time on the things he's giving you, so if you're not fluid on them, he may think you need more time with them.


Platinum Member
Have you tried communicating with your teacher about this? I would guess that the reason he has you working on the same stuff week after week is because you haven't learned what he gave you- that's usually how it goes. But it's possible he's slacking- tell him you're bored and he'll either give you some new stuff or tell you why you're not ready for it.


Senior Member
Before bailing on your teacher I think it would be helpful to really analyze your skills. Have you really mastered the stuff he gave you, or do you just think you have it down? If he's not teaching you what you want then that's ok, but I wouldn't write him off because you haven't moved on yet. Maybe try and show him that you really have mastered the things he gave you and ask him to move on? Also sometimes it's normal to talk about drum stuff for a lesson, and not play much actual drums. My old drum teacher and I would just talk sometimes, and usually it was pretty good information so I didn't feel like I just wasted 20 talking to someone. Also, I don't know if you meant to but it sounded like you thought the 20 for a half hour was expensive? Just FYI that's pretty average for music lessons.


Senior Member
As a teacher myself, it always amazes me when a student signs up for lessons and then acts as if THEY know more about drumming and the learning process than I do. Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often, but every now and then, I'll have a student who tells me what they think they should learn, how they think they should learn it, and how our lessons should run. It's very strange to me...especially when this is a complete beginner who doesn't even know what each drum is called yet.

Ideally, when a person signs up with a teacher, they are acknowledging the teacher as some sort of master, and they are asking to be accepted as an apprentice. So how is it that the "apprentice" then starts explaining to the "master" what the course of study should be? Again, it's very strange to me. I'm sure that my perspective on this comes from my martial arts training. When I go to my martial arts school, I bow to the school itself when I walk in the door. I bow when I greet the instructor. I follow the instructor's guidance, and I don't say very much during the hour except "Yes, sir" and "Thank you, sir." When the class is over, I bow to the school again as I exit.

I realize this is a very "Eastern" take on the student/teacher relationship, but I think there is something of value to be learned from it. A student needs to be respectful, trusting, and receptive in order to learn as much as possible. Now...of course...all of this hinges on choosing the proper teacher to begin with. If a student has simply chosen an inappropriate teacher, or even a charlatan, then that's a different story. But assuming the teacher is indeed qualified, then I would recommend entering the lesson each week with "beginner's mind" and respectfully trying to absorb what this teacher has to offer...ESPECIALLY during the periods of talk. Everything else can probably be found in some exercise book. It's the words of wisdom that you'll hopefully remember years down the road. That's what you're really there for.