Should I find a new teacher?

KXMfan

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Hello everyone, I just joined so forgive me if this is in the wrong section. I’ve been playing and taking lessons for a little over a year now, and I’m beginning to wonder if my current teacher is worth it or not. He states that he’s been playing for almost 50 years, but is regularly unable to explain things that I have questions about. Whenever he tries demonstrating a rudiment it often takes him several tries before he gets it right.

There’s also been several little things that I’ve picked up on that makes me wonder if I should try to find another teacher. For instance, he’s told me to never rest the beater into the bass drum head, he’s unfamiliar with the slide double bass technique, and can’t play solid double stroke rolls. He also teaches pretty much every instrument you can think of (brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings), so his focus isn’t primarily on drumming.

All in all he’s a good guy, and we’ve grown to be fairly good friends, but I don’t feel that I’m getting what I should be getting out of a teacher, so I figured I’d ask the opinions of more experienced drummers such as y’all.

Also, I live in a really small area and as far as I know he’s the only one in my area who offers lessons, so I’d probably have to resort to finding someone online or traveling a bit.

Thanks in advance.
 

Hop

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... but I don’t feel that I’m getting what I should be getting out of a teacher....
Well, you answered your own question right there. It's time to move on... unless your interested in learning additional instruments that he may have more expertise in???

I went through many great players/teachers until I found the one instructor that really met my needs. Don't be afraid to try another teacher even if you have to travel a bit. There were several teachers that I had that required a 1-hour drive in a single direction. I did get old after a while and contributed to moving on.
Luckily, "that" one key instructor was only about a 1/2-hour drive one-way... not a problem to me!
 

seungkeeya

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Looks like he’s teaching what works best for him.

I’d suggest stick with him. The stuff that you’re curious about, go find limitless lesson materials online, especially done by world’s renown drummers (Weckl and SSmith made “total package” instructional materials for contemporary drumming world IMO). Not to lower or mistreat your current teacher, think of it as you guys are working and learning together.

I believe that you can always learn from anything and anyone, even those who you think are not better than you are...
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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From what you've stated, you should try a different teacher. So many private music schools, or instructors, are multi players. I get it, they get more work that way, and multi teachers can be great...but often, not. I've owned a music education business for close to 20 years, I see this quite a bit. When you're getting your car fixed, do you want kind of a mechanic? To each their own, but not me.

There's no harm in you trying different instructors, until you find the right fit. You'll know it when you experience it.
 
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cworrick

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A couple normal things:
Unfamiliar with slide double bass technique - Only drummers that play double bass AND use that technique would be familiar with it. There are so many different "techniques" for different things out there that it is difficult to be familiar with everything.

Never rest the beater against the BD Head - I was told this too. There is a technical definition here - "resting the beater against the head" and "burying the beater against the head". I was taught not to "rest" against the head so the beater was in the up position ready to play. Burying the beater is when you play the BD but don't let it bounce off the head thus creating a different feel and sound out of the BD. There's a fine line difference between the two. Again if he doesn't use it, he may not be familiar with it.

Playing for 50 years doesn't necessarily mean he ever learned all the rudiments. A lot of the older drummers may have been exposed to them so they know what they are supposed to be, but they may not have every had them drilled into them. Either way with this, after playing 50 years DOUBLES should be second nature.

Many drummers have played different instruments besides drums. How confident any of them felt to actually teach them may vary. Learning a different instrument is actually a good thing and helps the ears recognize harmony, melody, chord progression and musical form better. Not a distraction.

The Red Flags

Takes several tries to play the rudiments right.
If rudiments are what you want out of a teacher, find one that knows them. You didn't say where you are located, just that the teacher selection is slim where you are. Check with the local high schools and see who is teaching their students. They may have a college student who knows what they are doing coming who could fit some time in for you. There is always the Online options as well.

Unable to explain things you have questions about.
Again, your questions may not be in his area of expertise. There are A LOT of ways to find out answers to questions these days thanks to the internet.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE TEACHERS FORUM PAGES HERE AT THE DFO. LOTS OF HELP IS AVAILABLE THERE AS WELL.

The slide double bass technique.
Again, Find someone that actually uses it. People that don't use it aren't familiar with it (like ME) and thus can't teach it.


It sounds like your teacher is a good beginner teacher. I actually started with a teacher like yours. I learned a lot and am a MONSTER rhythm counter because of it. You may have learned what you can from this one and have advanced. You now need a teacher that is more advanced and familiar with the styles and techniques that you want to learn. I went the same way so you are not alone.


Good Luck.
 

Nacci

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If he’s been playing for 50 years it doesn’t surprise me that he is not familiar with the slide double bass technique.

Everybody’s got something to teach you. Most of the time it’s not what we want to be taught.

All the information you are looking for is on the internet for free or a small charge. YouTube, Drumeo, Mike Johnson. Et Al.


....Oh, and SashaK on YouTube. There are at least half a dozen moves I use while improvising and soloing that I picked up from Sasha. Lots of gems on his channel.
 

Tmcfour

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Bottom line is you aren't getting what you want out of him. I would find a new teacher. Maybe try to find some who plays a style you are interested in. Sometimes you can go to local shows and find someone, I got a couple students that were kids (13-16yrs) who came up after a show and asked if I gave lessons.

I've had students who out grew my ability to explain things or went outside of my expertise and that's fine. I recommended someone else or just said "dude your beyond me and I'm just taking your money at this point." Sometimes we know how to do something but not how to tell someone how to do it. I've also had a student who wanted to run before he could walk and didn’t understand that I was trying to give him solid fundamentals, so he got frustrated and quit.

It's hard to leave a teacher, especially if it's someone you like. I outgrew a teacher at one point when I was taking lessons and had found another teacher. I remember having to bring up the courage to do it, wasn't easy for 16 yr old me but I wouldn't be the drummer I am today if I hadn't.
 

Tymp2002

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Move on and find another teacher - you are advancing and are not getting the instruction you want.

What to look for in a teacher:
Find a drum teacher - you will learn much more about drumming.
Teaching chops are not the same as drumming chops - great drummers don't necessarily make great teachers. (Education in teaching and/or teaching experience helps.)
Most teachers who are actively gigging/playing are usually on top of their game. But a gigging teacher is not a must.
Ask the teacher about successes of former students and what teaching techniques they use. (Hopefully, the teaching has some flavor of goal setting such as SMART goal setting: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.)
The first question the teacher should ask, "What do you want/expect from drum lessons?"
During lessons, you should be playing as much, or more than the teacher.

There is nothing wrong with "trying out" a teacher and moving on if you want. You will know in a couple lessons if it will work for you.

Don't over-look live, online lessons. If you have the right camera setup, a teacher can correct a lot of mistakes and wrong-doings.

You can get a lot of information online - some of it good; some bad. But, many people learn faster and save themselves bad habits using a teacher. Teachers provide good feedback and encouragement which really helps. You just need to decide for yourself if you would rather have a guide through the process - or venture out on your own. Some people do well on their own and prefer to learn that way.

Good luck with your search,
-Tymp2002
 
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DanRH

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Bottom line is you aren't getting what you want out of him. I would find a new teacher. Maybe try to find some who plays a style you are interested in. Sometimes you can go to local shows and find someone, I got a couple students that were kids (13-16yrs) who came up after a show and asked if I gave lessons.

I've had students who out grew my ability to explain things or went outside of my expertise and that's fine. I recommended someone else or just said "dude your beyond me and I'm just taking your money at this point." Sometimes we know how to do something but not how to tell someone how to do it. I've also had a student who wanted to run before he could walk and didn’t understand that I was trying to give him solid fundamentals, so he got frustrated and quit.

It's hard to leave a teacher, especially if it's someone you like. I outgrew a teacher at one point when I was taking lessons and had found another teacher. I remember having to bring up the courage to do it, wasn't easy for 16 yr old me but I wouldn't be the drummer I am today if I hadn't.
Ditto. Many years ago when I was taking flying lessons, I had the same question about my instructor. Now, I wish I had dumped him. Follow your heart and don’t worry about the friendship. If he’s truly a friend, the fact you wanted to try other teachers more in tune with what you want to learn won’t end that friendship.
 

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