Having a teacher or mentor is important in life. Usually, when we get into music or playing an instrument, we find an artist (or 10) who we can relate to – whether it is their style of music, personal story or the clothes they wear. For drummers, much of that inspiration comes from the greats like Buddy Rich or Bonzo, or even from an inspired historical love of hand drumming and African culture. The problem that comes is that while we can be inspired by those drummers who have gone before us, it is really hard to learn from them on a personal level. Even if a favorite drummer is still alive and kicking, it isn’t very often that we get a chance to regularly jam with them.
That’s where drumming teachers enter the picture.
No matter if you’re just starting out drumming or are touring the globe in a band, you can always use a little bit of drum schooling in your life. The biggest challenge is how to find the right drumming teacher or instructor for you.
- Pick a Style. As a beginner drummer, you may have some experience from a school band or orchestra, where basic rudiments and techniques have reigned. Or, maybe you just grabbed a djembe and want to know more about how to get into your own groove. Look for an instructor that has experience teaching the drumming style you want to learn, not just one who your cousin/bestie/band director recommends.
- The Groove Factor . You may have found an incredible drummer who is also a teacher, but, those lessons won’t give you any bang for your buck if you two cannot get along. Having a personal groove with your instructor is important, and it helps keep the motivation going when you hit rough spots.
- Experience and Talent . Great drummers show talent without much thought: they’re just really good at what they do. But, not all great drummers make great drumming teachers. If the instructor you’re considering doesn’t have a lot of experience teaching, then you may not get the full value of the time (and money!) you spend together.
- Consistent Availability . A drumming teacher does not need to be available at your beck and call, but, it is important that you have regular lessons. Not only do you need accountability in your own drumming practice, but, if you’re spending your time hunting down your drumming teacher and not practicing (or having lessons), then it really isn’t learning.
Of course, there are also those who forego the traditional methods of learning to drum. There are countless programs out there for your computer or online drumming lessons that can provide much of the same instruction as a drumming instructor. The benefit to these are that they are self-paced and can offer a definite variety of lessons, as well as a fine focus on building up certain skills, rhythms or techniques that may be difficult to find in just one instructor.
If you’re looking for a drumming teacher to help keep you motivated, inspired and accountable for your own rhythmic development, never hesitate to try out a few different people before you decide what it is you really want out. The great drummers in the world can only do so much through a recording, and the magic ingredient in your own drumming career could be as simple as finding the best drumming teacher for you.