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Drum lessons

Discussion in 'Musicians' Forum' started by MIghtyG, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG Active Member

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    its something I have been meaning to do for a long time now and thats take some lessons on how to play a musical instrument!

    I started off playing the trumpet/cornet in primary school when I was about 8 years old maybe and I was getting a lesson once a week and progressing nicely.

    Then I went to secondary school and the trumpet wasn't cool so I quit and started teaching myself how to play the guitar, im not too shabby on the guitar and can play the odd metallica song (not the lead though :laugh:) but I got bored of that and decided that the drums were for me.

    I've watched a ton of self help type videos online and taught myself about as much as I can and im still rubbish! I can keep a simple 4/4 beat but I suck at fills and my left foot is a lead brick!

    So, I've booked in for some lessons and my first is tomorrow.

    Questions I have though are:

    What should I be looking for to tell if they are good teachers?
    What questions should I be asking to get me started?

    Haven't had a music lesson in around 15+ years and I have no idea what to expect!
  2. duncfunk

    duncfunk Active Member

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    I was in the same boat as yourself regarding drum lessons. Was self taught for a good few years then took some lessons to improve my technique. The sign of a good teacher is someone who is able to clearly explain and demonstrate what they want you to do and who makes you feel comfortable in a one on one environment. You also want someone who is gonna work you hard to improve. Remember that you're paying for it so don't get caught up in long chats about who your favourite musicians and bands are because the time will disappear fast. In summary a mixture of friendly, easy to get along with, and a good taskmaster :smashin:

    With regards to the lessons themselves you should be expecting them to go right from square one and teach you the basics of proper technique. Correct grip, how to strike properly, etc. Depending on your mindset you might find this great or boring as hell :D
  3. 7ofnine

    7ofnine Member

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    You need some goals. Are you in a band? For me drums is not really a soloistic instrument and works best playing along with others.

    Fills is something I struggle with, probably because I'm a music reader, not an improviser. I listen along to songs I like and try to replicate what the drummer does.
  4. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG Active Member

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    Cheers, I guess my goal is to become a better overall drummer and improve my confidence with the instrument. The plan is to eventually try to join a band to play either original stuff or cover some good ole rock music. Metallica, queens of the stone age, Eagles of death metal type stuff.

    At the moment I feel I can keep a rhythm but thats about it :laugh:
  5. 7ofnine

    7ofnine Member

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    In practice that's all you have to do most of the time. Don't underestimate the difficulty of keeping a rock steady beat at a consistent tempo, without slowing down, which is easily done on up-beat songs.

    With fills, I sometimes think that less is more. Don't feel you have to do an 'animal' style thrash at the end of every 8 bars. Just keep the bass going, run down the toms in a simple pattern just to add some variation to the normal rhythm.
    What you don't want to do is introduce an uneven or irregular beat during your fill. It's your chance to get creative really.
  6. wombar

    wombar Member

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    Hope your first lesson went well ;) I used to teach drums, and I run a simple site with some lessons on it. Just so happens I have an article on choosing a drum teacher here: How to Choose a Drum Teacher

    There are also a few things I would look out for.

    1) Ask the teacher to give you a little demo. If they can't impress a beginner, it's not a good sign IM ;)

    2) Do they have a set of printed course materials? Ideally, a teacher should have a plan to get you on your way, rather than just jamming along to songs or making it up as they go along.

    3) Do they send you away with stuff to do at home? Every teacher should, but if they don't that's not a good sign.

    If you've got any questions, ask away and I'll do my best to help you out.

    Welcome to the drums, they're obviously the best instrument :)
  7. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG Active Member

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    Sorry for the lack of feedback here!

    First lesson was ........iffy but I booked up for a months worth to give them a chance :laugh:

    I was asked what I want to play and what I listen to, I said I listen to everything but I want to play rock/metal mainly.

    He asked if I had played much before and I said I have been self taught but I need guidence and want to learn more about fills and how to incorporate my left foot.

    We then went through some rudiments with single stroke rolls, doubles and parididdles which were a piece of pee pee. And then he taught me a disco beat which used the hi-hat allot to get my left foot going.

    Overall I think he was a little under-prepared for the lesson but I think it stems from him being told I was a beginner by the person that took the call so I guess he was planning on teaching me one end of the stick from the other and how to play a basic 4/4.

    Second lesson was much better and we spent some time nailing the rudiments with a click track and various speeds, I can't play at 50bpm to save myself!

    We then started to play along with some tracks and he taught me a bit about fill placement and stuff. Next week the plan is to go over some technique and I have been asked to work on the rudiments and pick a few tracks to take in with me next week :)
  8. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG Active Member

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    Well four lessons in and im progressing quite well. We have been working on rudiments and a few songs, mostly Break out by the Foo Fighters.

    The one thing I am really struggling with is my speed though but I guess this will come with practice.

    Can anyone give me some pointers on how to improve my speed? particularly 16th notes on the hi-hat? There is one section in break out where he is playing 16ths on the hi-hat, quarter notes on the bass and adding in the odd snare hit. I can manage at speed with the snare hits for a few beats but it soon turns into a mess and im hitting the hi-hat with my left and right hand at the same time and it all falls apart.
  9. Goooner

    Goooner Active Member

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    Have no idea about drums, but I am learning guitar and everyone says to slow it down, play it accurately and gradually the speed will come on its own, not sure if that would apply to drums, but can't see why not.

    It probably all comes down to muscle memory.
  10. wombar

    wombar Member

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    Unfortunately there's only one way to develop speed/technique, and that's to spend some time with your sticks tapping away. When you're practicing make sure have a plan instead of just noodling round the kit without focus.

    One of the best ways to do this is either playing along to songs, or with a click track. That way you're getting some rudiments practice in, and also getting experience sticking to a tempo. I've just uploaded a variable click to my drumlesson site (FREE Drum Lessons) which starts at 90bpm, then varies up to 170bpm over the course of five minutes. It's on youtube, or is free to download as an mp3.

    Do that exercise 2-3 times a week, and it should really help improve your technique.

    Just out of interest, are you learning how to read "proper" drum music? IMO, it's an invaluable skill as it opens up a whole world of practice material.
  11. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG Active Member

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    I have an electronic kit and the brain has a built in click so I have been practicing with that and can keep it even up to about 170-180bpm but it all starts getting a little iffy from then on. I normally start at 80bpm and play for a minute or two then take it up in steps of 10bpm.

    I usually play single stroke rolls, doubles and parididdles playing 8th notes. I usually do that for about 10-min or so before I play anything else on the kit.

    As for sheet music I kinda have, we havent really covered it in the lessons so far but I have been using an app on my iPad called jammit and it has full sheet music for each song in it and I have been playing along to some diamond head on that, struggling with bits of it though!

    Just so I can see if im understanding things right, if I can play 8th notes at 180bpm is that the equivilant of 16ths at 90bpm?

    If thats right thats probably why I struggle with the break out song, its 16ths at about 160bpm...

    E: I should say I can pretty much play the 16ths on the snare drum but I cant for the life of me on the hi-hat which is making me think it could be my technique? I guess the added bounce on the snare is making it easier for me than on the hi-hat?

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