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Drum lessons - worth continuing?

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  • Drum lessons - worth continuing?

    Hi all

    As per the title, do you consider it worth continuing beyond the initial 5 or 6 to ensure the basics are correct (grip, posture, keeping time etc.)? They aren't cheap and with the multitude of great books and DVD's available would money be better spent on 1 or 2 of these followed by self-study and practice?

    I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this ASAP. I appreciate there's nothing like a 1-to-1 contact with a top drummer for correcting mistakes, encouragement, hints & tips etc. but the more I think about it the more I feel a lot of money could be saved yet a similar end-product achieved.

  • #2
    I'm not experienced in this kind of things but I can tell you that guidance a good teacher can provide is priceless until you have achieve a conscious level of knowledge. That is until you have master the abc of each level (And I'm not refering only to drumming). I have learned english on my own and it took me 8 years. Then I decided to take a formal course in order to have a certificate I could add to my resumé and the 6 month of advanced users lessons I took really "perfected" what I have learned in all those years. I'm not against self-instruction (I practice it myself very often) I only think it is slow and one may learn some things the wrong way. In the case of language it is easily corrected but in the case of drumming how much does it take to correct a bad habit?.

    I bought a DVD drumming course but I still planning to continue with the classes until I feel I have covered all the basics of every level and when i feel I fully understands the mechanics of developing new techniques. If you feel you are at that stage then it should not be problem to stop receving lessons. But that's my opinion, money is always an important factor.

    Last edited by Synkopat; 01-20-09, 08:10 AM.

    Roland TD6-KW+VEX's


    • #3
      Studying alone with books and DVDs is fine for a while. Any practice is good. But if you really want to improve, one-on-one is the best way. It is too easy to reach a plateau in your drumming...and is tough to move up by yourself.

      Not to say that it is impossible to get better using DVDs, but it is certainly not the fastest/easiest way. You just need to weigh the time/cost/effort factors in when deciding if it's worth it for you.

      Also, some people are really disciplined in their practice, and will benefit more than others with DVDs. For me though, the push that I got from teachers kept me far more focused and motivated.


      • #4
        Thanks guys for your input, appreciate it. Bottom line I guess is it's better to continue cashflow permitting; maybe the way forward would be a compromise, one every fortnight instead of every week? I can see the value overall but damn the cost ...
        My UPDATED TD9-KX -


        • #5
          That can be an option, not have classes so often. Maybe you can get to an arrangement with the instructor to pay only for guidance rather than actual lessons. Lessons provide two main things IMHO:

          1. A method to progressively learn subject of study
          2. Guidance to learn it properly and techniques or tactics to achieve knowledge

          Maybe you can buy a DVD complete druming method, stick to it and the go to one hour visits per month with your instructor so he can measure your progress and correct things that need to be corrected. That is basically the concept of distance universities, only in their case the univeristy provides the methods as well.


          Roland TD6-KW+VEX's


          • #6
            Having never taken a lesson in my life, it may be hypocritical for me to say it, but it seems to me that being in no kidding lessons can get you farther in terms of more advanced playing than a book, DVD, or playing by the seat of your pants (like I do) can. Why? An instructor can see if you're doing something wrong and correct you. Books, DVDs, etc can't.
            TD-12; TD-6V; FD-8; Hart Pro Toms, Snare, Bass; ECII hihat, crashes, splash & ride; Smartrigger crashes & china; Hart Hammer Pad; Pintech Dingbat; Iron Cobra double-bass.

            "I never play the same thing twice...sometimes because I simply can't remember it." - John Paul Jones


            • #7
              It is more about accountability than anything. When someone expects a certain amount from us, we are more compelled to work to get at it.

              Lessons aren't cheap and sometimes a total pain to get ready for and go to etc. Not a sales pitch, but I am signed up at and it is awesome for me and my situation. $20/mo gets me 4 beginner lessons, 4 Intermediate, and 4 advanced. Each one is live, on-line and done 4 times throughout the day. You get the PDF of the lessons exercises that day, the mp3's of slow and fast of each one so you can know how they sound. At the end of each lesson, is a Q&A and you can ask anything you want. He also has a 'store' where you can purchase packages of short instructional vids. He is big on rudiments and applying them around the kit. He is also big on world beats and is an amazing instructor and breaks things down nicely. Lessons are archived for later viewing for up to like the past 2 weeks. 20 min lessons/10 mins Q&A.

              Sign up for one month and take advantage of the archive lessons and live lessons. If you don't dig it or it's not for you, cancel it and you are out 2 happy meals.


              • #8
                I highly recommend finding a good instructor. I go to lessons every week, yes they are expensive, but well worth it to me. practice doesn't make perfect if you are practicing incorrectly, it just makes for bad habits that are hard to break that you may regret later down the road. I find going to lessons keeps me motivated to work hard and keeps me focused on practicing properly.
                My e-kit

                My a-kit


                • #9
                  As expected, some very good input so thank you

                  Maybe 2 a month is the best of both worlds; complement with online lessons such as hodsmack4 suggested (can't go far wrong at that price) or a set of popular/rated training DVD's (luckily have a TV right in front of the kit).
                  My UPDATED TD9-KX -


                  • #10
                    If you have a mp4 player you may rip the dvd so that you do not need the TV/dvd, which can always be a pain in neck for practical purposes

                    Roland TD6-KW+VEX's


                    • #11
                      +1 for

                      I have been signed up for 3-4 months now and its by far and away the best $20 I spend a month (drum related).

                      By the way - obviously it doesn't matter where you live.... he hosts the live lessons at different times throughout the day to accommodate everyone from all around the world. The lessons are completely live and there is a Q&A session at the end of every lesson where you can ask Mike any drum related questions you might have. Currently, I know there are students from the UK, China, Japan, Russia, and India - there is definitely something for everyone. You can probably look him up on YouTube to see a sample of his playing and teaching style (Name: Mike Johnston).

                      Good Luck! Hope to see you in the lessons!
                      Last edited by sopranos; 01-21-09, 03:44 AM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Synkopat View Post
                        If you have a mp4 player you may rip the dvd so that you do not need the TV/dvd, which can always be a pain in neck for practical purposes
                        Thanks for that tip, I do have an Omnia 'phone with 16GB storage and that can play MP4's but not sure viewing it on a 2.5" screen will be very good for my eyes! As mentioned the TV is pretty much in front of the kit so if/when I get DVD's I'll see what's best.

                        Originally posted by sopranos View Post
                        +1 for

                        I have been signed up for 3-4 months now and its by far and away the best $20 I spend a month (drum related)....

                        ...Good Luck! Hope to see you in the lessons!
                        Thanks, will check it out for sure. You guessed what I was thinking re: lesson timings but I had a feeling it'd be OK for the UK as the West Coast is GMT -8.
                        My UPDATED TD9-KX -


                        • #13
                          I notice a direct and immediate improvement in my skills when I'm taking lessons. The last year or so I've studied on my own, learning techniques from DVDs and books that bored my skull earlier in life. For some reason, I really don't have to force myself to study or practice anymore. It just happens and I really enjoy it because my playing noticeably improves each week. For instance, heel/toe bass drum method. I just picked that up a few weeks ago and it only took me about 1 week of 1 hour/day to get it down pat. In my old age (36), I seem to pick stuff up easier and more quickly than I did at 26.

                          That said, I just inquired about lessons again. I like the interaction with drummers from various backgrounds and experiences. I try to be a sponge and soak it all up.


                          • #14
                            I'm starting lessons on Wednesday (tomorrow). I can play simple beats pretty well and can track well with a metronome as well as read sheet music.
                            (Played guitar for 20+ years). I have been playing drums since December 15/2008 (So Just a month) and have been working on "basic beats"

                            I'm going in for my drum tune up! I want my grip checked, posture looked at. Some rudiment review and hopefully some suggestions for building better technique and practice regimen suggestions. I actually booked a four 30 minute lessons at 18.00/lesson. And I figured it's better to get any issues sorted out now then trying to break a "5 year bad habit" down the road!

                            I switched to drums for a change in instruments and to broaden my knowledge of music. What I've found is that even in my short time of playing
                            drums that my guitar playing has improved too!

                            Anyhow, I'm in my late 40's and hope that at our summertime fund raiser I can play drums instead of guitar for a change.
                            TD-9KX 3 X PD-125/ 2 X PD-105/ 4 X PD-85/KD-85/KD-120/KD-8/Cy-5/cy-8/3 X cy12R/C and 1 CY15R 2 X CY14C and a good ol VH-11!


                            • #15
                              You can look at vids and books till your blue in the face.

                              The quickest way to learn is on stage with a band. Theres a lot more to drumming than technique.

                              Looking at books and vids only gives you the basic. It dont teach you anything about keeping good time, keeping it tight, building up stamina, imposing your feel, or covering your mistakes. Also they cant teach you how to read the situation, or give you the 6th sense of musicianship.

                              You can only do this in the real world. Get some time in with the band before your gig.
                              Drum feel is totally different to guitar feel, though in the end, all has to work together.

                              Thats my 2 pence worth anyway.