Teaching drums: tips and such, from a teacher's perspective

alecdavis47

New member
I'm about to start teaching drums on a beginner's appvalley /intermediate level. I've been playing a little over 10 years so I think I'm qualified, I'm just unsure of the do's and don'ts and how to ensure my student is getting the most out of their money. Any teachers want to share tips that'll help me get started? What helped you make a student understand a particularly complicated lesson? It'll be my first time teaching, so any advice is appreciated.
 
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brentcn

Platinum Member
So many things! Here's another post that might help.

 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's so broad, but idea I think is to just continally build a wide vocabulary of how to teach something.

Try to be objective about if what you do is working or not.

Working in small towns I've never had the luxury of passing on a student who wasi nto stuff I didn't know, mostly metal stuff, so those times I got some extra homework to do.
 
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Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Try to gauge their comfort level and if they're nodding in agreement that they understand something when they really don't because they're possibly dealing with nerves or general discomfort from a performance or general anxiety. A relaxed student is a happy student.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm about to start teaching drums on a beginner's/intermediate level. I've been playing a little over 10 years so I think I'm qualified, I'm just unsure of the do's and don'ts and how to ensure my student is getting the most out of their money. Any teachers want to share tips that'll help me get started? What helped you make a student understand a particularly complicated lesson? It'll be my first time teaching, so any advice is appreciated.

Here's a couple things, for the beginner/intermediate lesson giver:

Get the students counting out loud. The old saying "if you can't sing it, you can't play it" applies to drums, too. For whatever reason, engaging the voice helps a student connect an intellectual idea to a muscular movement. Of course, most students resist, because it's difficult, or they're shy, but the best learning tool they have is their voice. Counting inside your head is pretty much useless, leading to timing errors and getting lost.

When teaching note values, it's very helpful to have a set of wooden building blocks of different lengths (whole, half, quarter, 8th, and 16th), so that a student can better understand how note values are related to each other. This is especially helpful for students who are very young, or don't like to think about fractions and math. For example, it's much easier to explain how, when a quarter note begins on an "and", it lasts until the next "and".

Make regular use of the metronome during lesson time, so that it becomes an expected part of lessons. Just use it with snare pieces at first, then whole kit stuff later. If you can get a student practicing with a metronome, you've set them up well, for any instrument.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Here's a couple things, for the beginner/intermediate lesson giver:

Get the students counting out loud. The old saying "if you can't sing it, you can't play it" applies to drums, too. For whatever reason, engaging the voice helps a student connect an intellectual idea to a muscular movement. Of course, most students resist, because it's difficult, or they're shy, but the best learning tool they have is their voice. Counting inside your head is pretty much useless, leading to timing errors and getting lost.

When teaching note values, it's very helpful to have a set of wooden building blocks of different lengths (whole, half, quarter, 8th, and 16th), so that a student can better understand how note values are related to each other. This is especially helpful for students who are very young, or don't like to think about fractions and math. For example, it's much easier to explain how, when a quarter note begins on an "and", it lasts until the next "and".

Make regular use of the metronome during lesson time, so that it becomes an expected part of lessons. Just use it with snare pieces at first, then whole kit stuff later. If you can get a student practicing with a metronome, you've set them up well, for any instrument.

^^^^ yep!!!

Also, don't give them more than they can handle at first...especially if they are younger. I have been teaching middle school and high school band/percussion for 30+ years...realize that your very beginners are going to want "instant success" activities to begin. I always start with basic "8-on-a-hand" to get them understanding the mechanics of motion first. Then we go into the basics of rhythmic theory by playing half notes, into quarter notes, into 8th notes. I put a met on around 90bpm, and we work on playing the rhythms, and using good technique. That then becomes their daily assignment for the first week...it takes no longer than 15 or 20 minutes, and they can have some instant success time, and some "working it out" time

I ALWAYS tell my students that we will be doing about 2 months worth of pad work before we get to kit stuff...and then I show them vids of people playing different things - good and bad -and I explain why it is best to get basic movement and timing down before we talk about drum set...

PM me if you want a look at my materials, and the rubrics I use to keep them (and me) on track. And any more advice as well!!
 

Nictarine

Silver Member
Not sure what ages you are going to be teaching, but I teach mainly children (5-17) and after 5 years I've got some pointers!

- Don't expect them all to come in and be pumped about lessons, there will be students that are excited and engaged and students that are only there because their parents are making them. Either way I do my best to make sure they are getting SOMETHING out of it, even if it's just how to read music.

- Be patient and speak clearly/simply, it's easy to get into something and speak as you would to someone at your skill level, with kids and beginners they can get lost in the explanation.

- I don't know if where you're teaching has a particular curriculum for you to use if not https://learndrumsforfree.com/ is a fantastic resource for sheet music for the kit, just the snare or really whatever you need.

- My first few lessons normally flow like this:
How to hold a stick
How to play single strokes
RRRR LLLL on the snare, then RRRR LLLL across the snare and toms and back around
RLRR LRLL on the snare, then RLRR LRLL with R on the floor tom and L on the snare
Playing the AC/DC beat, build from the hi-hat on 1, 2, then add snare on 2, then the bass drum on 1, the bass drum is going to throw them off.
Add 8th notes to the hi-hat on the AC/DC beat, so 1 & 2 & on the hats, still 2 on the snare and 1 on the kick.
Once they have the two beats down we play along to Hoobastank - The Reason, it's a terrible song but it's straight forward beat the whole time.
Then on learndrumsforfree.com, I start working "Basic Rock Drum Beats" with them, having them play both on the hi-hat and the ride, also have them switch between hats and ride, then add a fill between the transition.

- For my young students, I have them clap along to patterns, starting with quarter notes, then I add in quarter note rests, then add in 8th notes and 16ths.

Let me know if you have questions, I'm glad to help! Also sorry for rambling lol
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
I taught lessons and found that I really haven't the temperment for it. I worked at a music store, and the kid would come in and tell me he hadn't practiced the lesson from the week before. Okay, what now? We go over the lesson again. Returns a week later with the same result. Then I ask if he/her really wants to take lessons and practice. You get a shrug and an "I dunno." Bah, YOU teach the little bastards!
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I taught lessons and found that I really haven't the temperment for it. I worked at a music store, and the kid would come in and tell me he hadn't practiced the lesson from the week before. Okay, what now? We go over the lesson again. Returns a week later with the same result. Then I ask if he/her really wants to take lessons and practice. You get a shrug and an "I dunno." Bah, YOU teach the little bastards!

I was that kid the first time I took lessons...then the teacher told my parents, and I got my butt kicked by my dad, and they made me "pay them back" for the wasted money....the next time I took lessons, I took it seriously
 

basset52

Senior Member
I don't teach and never will. This is not a technical comment on what to teach as I'm not qualified to comment. this a bit of "how" My daughter is an experienced and effective primary teacher I have watched her numerous times in the classroom over may years, for 6 years with children where english was their second language. Regardless of your content , always greet them with warmth and enthusiasm. Smile a lot all the time and always be encouraging. Make the lessons fun. You will connect with your students and they will like and respect you. Learning happens in the context of relationships
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I don't teach and never will. This is not a technical comment on what to teach as I'm not qualified to comment. this a bit of "how" My daughter is an experienced and effective primary teacher I have watched her numerous times in the classroom over may years, for 6 years with children where english was their second language. Regardless of your content , always greet them with warmth and enthusiasm. Smile a lot all the time and always be encouraging. Make the lessons fun. You will connect with your students and they will like and respect you. Learning happens in the context of relationships

yep...and also, never "talk down" to them either. I always talk to my students and treat them "like an equal"...like we both have the same amount of investment in what is going on. We are working together mutually to gain the same end...it is not a "master" vs. "noob" kind of setting. I hear that happens a lot from many of my students with their regular classroom teachers.
 

Sebenza

Member
Show the same enthusiasm for a guy/girl you know will be struggling as for the next prodigy you meet....they can tell even at a young age
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's about wood carving and long, but the point is made in the first two minutes.

 
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