One of the absolute best ways to learn how to play the drums is to receive one on one instruction with a professional in the business. This can be a band director, a professional drummer, or percussionist, or even a professor of music at a local college. Whomever you choose, your teacher will be able to show you things that you could not learn on your own using books and other materials, or at least it would be much more difficult to do so. A private teacher has the advantage of being able to show you what specifically you could be doing better, and can make individual adjustments to your technique, hand position, equipment, etc.
How do you find a quality music teacher that can help you learn to play the drums? There are several places that you can start your search. The most logical of these is to ask band directors and music teachers in the school districts in your area if they know anyone that is offering to teach drum lessons, or if they are accepting students themselves. Your local music supply store can also be a possible avenue for helping you acquire a quality drum instructor. Many private music teachers leave their business cards or contact information at music stores, and some music stores even offer lessons in-house. Some teachers advertise in the newspaper or use online bulletin board sites. There are lots of people offering drum lessons these days, so how do you find the one that is right for you?
One of the most important factors you should consider when you select a music teacher is receiving quality instruction from them. There are several ways that you can preview the type of instruction you might receive.
If possible, attend a studio recital held by the teacher. This generally occurs when an established instructor has been teaching several students. Seeing a performance given by the teacher’s students will give you an idea about what kind of goals you might be able to expect when working with the teacher. You can find out how long each performer has been playing drums and hear what they have been able to accomplish in that period of time. Whether the instructor has a studio or not, you may also want to request references. Talking to former and current students can give you a lot of information about what lessons might be like and how valuable they can be. Most instructors will be happy to provide a list of references that you can call.
Location might also be a factor, and some instructors are willing to meet at your house. Of course, you will be interested in the bottom line. You should know in advance what you are willing to pay for an hour’s worth of instruction. Some instructors charge by the half hour, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $60 (or more for instructors that are in high demand) per hour. If you are on a budget, try to find some percussion students at a local college that are looking for a couple extra bucks. A good instructor doesn’t necessarily have to know everything, they just have to know more than you do.
Once you begin taking private lessons with your instructor, you want to make sure that you aren’t wasting his valuable time, and your money! The biggest mistake that students make is leaving the lesson and not touching the drums again until the next week (or the next lesson, whenever that may be). This is problematic because once you are taught a skill by a teacher, you must practice the skill many times in order to master it. Without practicing, it is unlikely that you will remember what you learned at the next lesson. This means that you will not be able to progress as quickly as you otherwise could, and possibly not make any progress at all! The best way to do this is to know when you leave the lesson what exact exercises you will need to practice in the week that follows so that you will be prepared for the next lesson.
In order to retain all of the information that you learn in a lesson, consider tape recording or videotaping the lesson so that you can review it later when you get ready to practice. You can also take notes while you are talking with the instructor. They will probably appreciate seeing that you are paying attention! If you use your time with the instructor wisely, you will find that learning drums from a teacher is extremely effective.
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