So you’ve taken the plunge and booked your first lesson. Congratulations! This is probably the hardest step in starting any new skill. I thought it might help to give you a few tips and a few things to expect from your first time as a drummer.
What are your Goals?
“The establishment of a clear, central purpose or goal…is the starting point of all success.” – Brian Tracy
The important part here is that any goals you have are YOURS. Hitting drums for a bit of fun once a week is just as valuable as studying drums for a professional career. Maybe you want to be able to play your favourite song…or even your favourite part of a song. There will be no judgments from me on what your goals are, all I care about is that you have them. If you can’t think of any, but you’re sure you want to learn, rest assured, we will find you some. My teaching approach is highly goal oriented and as a result I will tailor your lessons to achieve your goals. Ultimately, if it improves your quality of life in some way, big or small, I consider that a great goal.
How Do You Learn?
One of the most important roles I have as a teacher is to learn how you learn. It forms the basis of how I will teach you so I will be assessing this throughout the first lesson. To do this, I will show you simple patterns in a variety of different ways to see which methods suit you best. For example, some prefer to see music notation on a page (once the notation is explained), some prefer demonstrations and some prefer hearing a drum beat in order to repeat it.
There are also numerous ways of overcoming challenges each with their own benefits to a particular student. We can break beats apart, playing only the hands then the feet, or we can take each movement a step at a time. Once I’ve discovered how you learn, your ability to take on new drumming skills will be drastically increased.
What will you learn?
An introduction to the kit. Each drum and cymbal has a specific name and multiple purposes. A brief overview of this will be explained.
Grip. You will learn how to hold your sticks correctly and common errors to avoid.
Your first beat. One of my favourite things about teaching drums is seeing a student nail this beat for the first time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve taught it, seeing the sense of accomplishment is always a fantastic feeling. The best part about this beat is it’s also the most widely used drum beat of all time. Examples include ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Back In Black’ by ACDC, to name only two of thousands.
Reading Music. One of the most valuable skills I’ve ever learnt. It’s easily the most overestimated in difficulty as people tend to picture piano music. Let me crush this myth by getting you to think about this… a piano has 88 notes on it; of which you could play a maximum of 10 at one time (assuming you have all ten fingers). A standard drum kit has 8 notes; of which you can play a maximum of 4 at one time (assuming you have all 4 limbs). I have yet to meet a student who hasn’t been able to read some form of notation by the end of the first lesson and trust me, you won’t be the first.
Counting. The other most valuable skill I ever learnt. I like to think of counting as a simplistic version of the alphabet. No matter how complicated a word can look, it can still only contain a selection of those 26 letters and therefore it’s always possible to learn any word based on that foundation. Counting is a similar tool in that it remains the same no matter how complicated the drum beat, fill, or song happens to be. In a nut shell, I teach counting in order to simplify every thing you will ever learn on your drumming journey.
The nerves, and the excitement…
You’ve already taken the hardest step, now it’s time to get started. More than likely you’ll have a mixture of nerves and excitement and rightly so! You’re about to begin a new skill in the hands of someone you’re about to meet for the first time. The funny thing is, I feel this nervous excitement too, every time I meet a new student. The pressure is on me to educate and inspire you to continue. So my biggest piece of advice is this; enjoy the process. You will meet challenges and you will no doubt find some things difficult. Everyone has to start somewhere and no one ever truly reaches the end, so focus on the journey and the results will take care of themselves.