How to Choose a Drum Teacher...

Learning a musical instrument can be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) experiences you'll ever undertake and having a good teacher makes the process infinitely more enjoyable regardless of your current level.

It's unfortunate that there are a lot of people out there teaching instruments who don't really take their job seriously. The amount of people who start an instrument and then give up because their teacher is disinterested in their progress is astounding. So here are a few tips on finding a good drum teacher.

1) If you know anyone who is currently taking lessons, find out if they're happy with their current drum teacher and if they are why not give them a call? There's no better advertising than lots of happy students. Really good teachers will usually have waiting lists so be prepared to wait if you're after a specific style of drumming.

2) When you call the teacher, they should be enthusiastic and engaging, after all you're a potential customer. Ask them a few questions about the styles they specialise in (rock, punk, metal, jazz, latin etc), if they "only teach rock, it's mostly the same anyway", WALK AWAY!! That "teacher" obviously hasn't spent the time learning their instrument. Thats not to say that they should be an expert in all styles, but they should be able to teach you the bare bones of each style.

3) Do they teach you to read proper drum music. This may sound like a silly question but there are drum teachers out there who rely on tab and learning by ear which quite frankly is disgraceful. Proper drum music is no harder to read than tab and is often a lot more accurate, this is really IMPORTANT.

4) What learning aids do they employ. When I was learning drums at school my teacher used a tape recorder with a couple of pairs of headphones plugged in which worked very well at the time. These days there are all kinds of learning aids available to teachers such as videos (to demonstrate concepts and show artist performances) and programs that allow you to slow down a music track for a student who can't quite play at full tempo yet. By no means are these kinds of training aids essential but it certainly shows that the drum teacher in question is dedicated and serious about his (or her)  job.

Obviously these tips are just a starting point, there is no 100% fool proof way to spot a good or bad teacher unless you've been there before and know what you want from a drum tutor. However, if you have any doubts whatsoever about a teacher, move on and find someone else; bad habits are very difficult to unlearn and a good teacher should give you a good chance of gettinng off to a good start.

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