Teaching.can anyone learn anything?


Junior Member
This weeks deep question.Is it reasonable to expect any able bodied person of any ability to be able to learn a complex pattern (or technique) with a high level of accuracy and quality, without having previously learned all the simpler patterns and techniques that would usually be taught.

I suppose we have to accept that the student is willing to put the work in and wants to learn it in the first place, but im talking in a general sense of skipping the learning of specific techniques individually, eg double bounces, just saying and showing 'this is how its played- now you try.'Obviously as the teacher you still break it down somewhat, but generally just teaching the lick as a whole?

Or is the accumulation of skills a key part to learning difficult licks.
Is persistance and 'just keeping on trying' enough to overcome a solid technique foundation?

Im no knot expert, but if someone showed me how and helped me learn i'm sure i could learn to tie a double triple prussic knot with half sheet bend given the right instructor.
Its not like trying to learn a double kick-flip with 360 without being able to do the basics, balance,ollie,360, surely.

Or is it???

your thouhts please



Platinum Member
This can be a case of wanting to run before you can walk. When I was first learning, I would open up Modern Drummer magazine and try to play the more complicated things like the Gadd Mozambique. While I did learn the coordination, it was years before I really understood what the rhythms were in a musical context.

I don't think there are any shortcuts, but it does help a student's motivation to have a few "challenges" once in a while. There is no replacement for the basics.

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Gold Member
In my opinion,

Competence = f(natural ability, attitude, experience, knowledge)

Natural ability: some people are born with an ability to quickly acquire and master certain skills (e.g. jump high, solve mathematical puzzles, drum, sing, etc.)

Attitude: ones motivation to act. That is, for an outcome to be achieved, one has to do something (e.g. drum, practice rudiments, etc.) Traits and motives are also part of attitude.

Experience: The cumulative outcome of knowledge and activity (e.g. drumming, practicing, performing, managing your drumming career, etc.)

Knowlege: the theoretical side of the activity (e.g. drumming). Both formal (e.g. music lessons) and informal (e.g. Drummerworld Forum) can contribute to drumming knowledge.

Thus, competence is made up of natural ability, attitude, experience and knowledge.

Your question about competently playing a "complex pattern" (e.g. a rhythm from the "The Black Page") can be looked at within the above framework. If a person has the natural ability to learn and play "The Black Page", if he has a teacher and is motivated (to practice and study), then with experience, he should be able to learn the desired complex patterns. The key question then becomes: how long will it take to acquire enough experience to perform "The Black Page"? Should natural ability, attitude or knowledge be weak, then the desired outcomes are jeopardized.