Regan's Rock School in Gig Harbor
What makes for quality drum instruction?
I BELIEVE THAT A GOOD MUSIC TEACHER:
- Pushes your buttons and holds you accountable
- Offers encouragement, support and context for their lessons
- Holds the bigger picture in mind
- Understands that no two students have exactly the same benchmarks for growth
- Notices when practice habits falter and asks "why?"
- Sees the effort behind the veil of frustration
- Knows when he/she is being "snowed" by the student
- Develops custom exercises that address the individual needs of each student
- Believes there will come a time for the student to move on
- Hones their craft and their curriculum constantly
- Welcomes being vetted by a prospective client
Beginning readers will start with The Teacher and Student Method by Owen Liversidge. For students with some prior reading experience we can start right into Peter Erskine's Drumset Essentials. For intermediate drummers it's The Drummer's Cookbook by Pickering/Briggs and The Encyclopedia of Double-Bass Drumming by Rondinelli/Lauren. Advanced drummers will begin preparing for a profession in music with an emphasized look at style, improvisation and music interpretation; Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials Volumes I and II serve this purpose.
Over time, students will learn how to proficiently read and interpret rhythms, recognize various time signatures and play with precision and authority in a variety of musical genres. Ultimately the student will develop the ability to evaluate his or her own strengths as a musician and can focus their practice on specific areas where growth is most needed.
Tools of the Trade
In addition to textbooks, drums and unbridled enthusiasm, a student needs the following essentials to begin their study:
- A willingness to set aside 30 minutes each day for routine practice
- A metronome with rotary-dial to quickly set and change tempo
- A stereo system or portable mp3 player in their practice space, allowing them to play exercises along with recorded music
- A two-pocket folder for handouts and other materials
- A composition-style notebook for customized exercises tailored to the individual skills and interests of the student.
- Sticks suitable to a student's size and playing style. In most cases I recommend Vic Firth 5As. For younger students ages six to nine I recommend a lighter set of sticks, usually 7As.
A student does not need a full drum set in order to get started with drum lessons. Many students begin simply with a practice pad and go from there. A student who works toward the goal of eventually owning their own drum set knows and appreciates the value of hard work and commitment so it can be of benefit to delay buying a drum set until the student demonstrates regular practice habits.