Teaching Drums

Sopranos

Senior Member
I am 34 years old and thinking about teaching drums in my area for some supplemental income. I love teaching/coaching as much as the drums themselves... so the real reward for me is helping others learn the instrument. But at the same time, I would like to use this opportunity to "create" a part-time job for myself. I don't need (or plan) to make a killing or even good money by any means... but I do intend to have a small income from it. I have a beautiful home studio (room) dedicated to drums/music (I also compose orchestral film/game style trailers via midi keyboard and virtual instruments and Logic).

With that said, I would only classify myself as an intermediate drummer. I grew up playing and then got serious again about 2-3 years ago (and have taken many lessons myself). But, I do think I am a great teacher... so while I am not an advanced drummer or know every single style and every rudiment in the book, I am very passionate about my work and am confident that I can offer some value.

My thoughts (and herein lies my question or conversation piece) is to target beginners and at a very affordable rate. Is there a market for beginner teachers (meaning, to only take on clients/students who are starting out or want to try the instrument)? Is it necessary to be an advanced drummer to teach beginning playing/theory? I am questioning myself if I am a good enough drummer to start teaching it... is there a certain time or level when you are "accepted" as a teacher? Again, I think I am a great communicator and love teaching/helping others... so my only hiccup is whether I am good enough at the instrument. I know a lot about the instrument and can hold my own at playing... but I wonder if it is necessary to be lightning fast at rudiments, grooves, fills, etc to have the credibility to teach. I am not a "fast" drummer... I don't have great "chops"...and I don't play double bass. However, I am a solid drummer and value the pocket and control more than anything.... think funk and rock more than death metal or Gospel chops. And, I am not a trained jazz expert either. But, I do feel I am an expert teacher/coach (at anything that I know something about). I am just passionate about helping others learn.

I would love to hear some advice, experiences, or just some general dialogue on this topic.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I have no idea if you are competent to teach, and since there is no certification for private instructors, that's something you have to decide for yourself. Having a passion for teaching is great, but you also need to have a passion for the instrument, which is usually indicated by how much time you have dedicated to learning to play it. I guess if you can convince people to study with you and stay with you, then more power to you, go for it. I would actually suggest donating some time at a local community center, non-profit, or public school- that will give you a chance to put together your teaching program together while you do some woodshedding of your own.

One thing you should not do is not lowball your rates, even if you don't care about making money, or if you feel that a low rate is all you merit because of your lack of training. Charging below the going local rate contributes to further driving the wages down for people who, unlike you, rely on teaching income to survive (and pay off the debt they incurred getting a musical education). Please do the ethical thing and charge at the low end of the range for professional teachers.
 

Sopranos

Senior Member
I have no idea if you are competent to teach, and since there is no certification for private instructors, that's something you have to decide for yourself. Having a passion for teaching is great, but you also need to have a passion for the instrument, which is usually indicated by how much time you have dedicated to learning to play it. I guess if you can convince people to study with you and stay with you, then more power to you, go for it. I would actually suggest donating some time at a local community center, non-profit, or public school- that will give you a chance to put together your teaching program together while you do some woodshedding of your own.

One thing you should not do is not lowball your rates, even if you don't care about making money, or if you feel that a low rate is all you merit because of your lack of training. Charging below the going local rate contributes to further driving the wages down for people who, unlike you, rely on teaching income to survive (and pay off the debt they incurred getting a musical education). Please do the ethical thing and charge at the low end of the range for professional teachers.
First, thanks for taking the time to share some thoughts... it is appreciated.

Also, I didn't mean to come across as a "lowballer" or that my plan or business model is to simply charge the lowest to obtain students. I just meant that I do not have this inflated thought of making millions by going on this new venture of teaching drums. Further, I figure my rate would be heavily based on my experience as a drummer. This would be my source of income and I still need to contribute, of course. I just meant that I don't intend (or need) to make a ton of cash at it and what I am doing for a living is more important than what I am making.... but make no mistake about it... this would be my living and I need to earn money. I don't have a lot to fall back on at this point in the current economy and this was a thought to have a little more control over my income.

Thanks again!
 

braincramp

Gold Member
Looks like you will be going after specific students..this may be tough since most young beginners are gonna want to be able to play like there fav death metal drummer in one month or less.doing double bass, blast beat ect...but that being said I would go for it and just be honest with any potenial students....have them get the stick control and sycopation books and give them exercises from them..the 1st thing they will want to see from you are your chops and if there not up to par with most teachers in the area you may have to offer a discount..
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
Great players aren't always the greatest teachers... Conversely, great teachers don't necessarily have to be great players. Charge $15-20 per half hour and set up blocks of classes so there is a beginning and end. Try to culminate in a performance or recital of some kind. It helps give kids focus on the lessons if they know they have to learn something to perform.

Don't worry about should you or shouldn't you. The fact that you even care enough to worry about it tells me that you aren't a charlatan. Just be honest about what you are good at.

I personally do not like teaching. I've taught friends and their kids, but most of the time I felt like a glorified babysitter, and frankly the money wasn't worth my time. BUT I do truly believe in the mission and value of teachers who want to teach and have something to offer. Good luck!
 
I have found that you dont need to have supernatural chops to be a good teacher, although you do need to be good. Even though, during the course of a 1 hour lesson, I, personaly, will only be one the drums for less than 2 minutes. The rest is being good at explaining things and finding new ways of doing the same thing over and over new ways, if required.

However, like I said at first, you dont need to be top-class, but you have to be able to pull out some serious chops sometimes. If one of my students asks me to teach them double paradiddles with displaced accents, I would need to be able to do it, right off the bat. Ive seen plenty guys not able to back up their fantastic teaching skills, with their skillz. This leads them to having the reputation of 'that guy I had four months lessons from and learned everything he could teach me.'

What sould you do? Get stick control, syncopation, Groove essentials and a rudiment book, then learn them. Then learn them backwards :)
 
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