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Thread: Drum Teacher Help!

  1. #1

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    Default Drum Teacher Help!

    As most of you know, I am relatively new to drum, and come at a more advanced age. In the beginning I was self-taught, because I didn't really know how far I could go, at my age. I discovered very quickly that I had much more talent than I gave myself credit for (I had always wanted to play drums, from a very early age, and I always loved music that had a driving drum beat). I read articles on the internet, and downloaded rudiment information.

    A month ago, I decided to sign up for lessons with a drummer at one on my local music stores. We had built a good relationship, I knew he had 40 years of experience as a drummer, and he had commented that he could hear my talent, but that it was still raw, needing polish. Unfortunately, my drum teacher had a bad back, that required surgery, and I lost him after just two lessons.

    I tell you all this as a background, because I have been studying with the store owner for the past two weeks (also a long time, excellent drummer). The problem that I am having is that my current teacher wants me to hold my sticks just as he does (I prefer matched grip, although I do practice traditional from time to time). My teacher prefers German grip - palm down - with all finger tightly wrapped, and empahsizing the wrist action. I prefer the Ammerican grip - matching grip with palms at 45 degree angle to the drums - with a loose grip and finger action.

    I am frustrated that my teacher is not allowing me to play what is most comfortable to me, but I am wondering if this is just normal teaching strategy for beginners. Do most teachers start students out with a specific technique to develop specific muscles, or am I justified in being frustrated. I do want to say that I feel most free on the kit when I use the "American grip." I am a very intuitive drummer, and I am already doing things that lessons are beginning to name. The lessons are filling in gaps for me, which is what I wanted, and I want to be technically good, but I also don't want the lessons to hold me back.

    AM I BEING UNREASONABLE???
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  2. #2

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    Personally, learn what you can from this guy. The best way to really be schooled in something is to learn all the different ways things are to be done. THEN, as someone who knows more than just one way to do things. Decide what you like best.

    As a side note. I agree with what your current teacher is teaching you. palms down, and wrist action. Hold your sticks loose between your thumb and index finger. This gives a good pivot point and allows for bounce (especially in your double stroke rolls)

  3. #3

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    I've had a few teachers also and all wanted me to play different. I think I've probably had to change my grip in some way at least 7 times which held me back for awhile but I'm kinda glad I did play so many different ways now. It is very frustrating changing your grip because your already so used to playing a certain way but if you stick with learning it you may end up liking it more. Though I really dislike the German grip for a couple reasons. For one it really messed up my wrist and made it so I couldn't play for very long without pain, and yes I had people tell me my technique looked good when I was playing this way but still the pain sucked ( though this may not happen to you but anyways the saying no pain no gain defiantly doesn't apply to drumming). Another reason I'm not to found of it is because you do use more wrist and a lot less of you fingers, and I find it a lot easier to mainly rely on my fingers for controlling the stick and its less effort/faster for me.

    Anyways my suggestion to you is just do what he says and try out the grip anyways if you really just don't like it, it shouldn't be hard to just go back to how you where playing before.
    Last edited by Eons; 07-14-2007 at 01:43 AM.

  4. #4

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    i think it is acceptable for a school to make you play a certain way. but IMO not really cool for a private instructor. remember you are the one paying them, they should teach you what you want. a good teacher will show you how to execute in any grip.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by funkymcstain View Post
    i think it is acceptable for a school to make you play a certain way. but IMO not really cool for a private instructor. remember you are the one paying them, they should teach you what you want. a good teacher will show you how to execute in any grip.
    I disagree with this. Especially when it comes to beginners. When you're a novice, do really know what techniques you want to learn? I think if you take the attitude of a sponge and learn whatever is taught to you, and really give it a try, you will have more all around experience. After all, they know more that's why they are the teacher, and you are the student. If, after some time you don't see a teacher giving any benefit, then go elsewhere.

    For people who are more advanced if you end up with a teacher not teaching what it is you want to learn, then that's probably your own fault for not discussing what you want to learn and what that particular teacher teaches ahead of time.

  6. #6

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    EP, I tend to agree, with you on the sponge thing. I guess I am frustrated by the feeling that I was going in one direction, and then with the change in teachers, I suddenly am being told that my technique is wrong. I guess I would rather have someone tell me that I should try various grip techniques, or that I should do this, or that technique for now.

    This is especially important to me, because I have read that the "German" grip technique is especially difficult on the wrist joints, and elbow joints. In addition, it does not allow the drum stick to do as much of the work. My teacher tells me that relaxing my grip is "cheating" when I know full well that other teachers are teaching that relaxing the grip to allow for drumstick bounce is a positive. If my teacher is trying to build up my forearms, I wish he would just tell me that, and give me a time frame before I can move on to another technique.

    I guess I just need to talk to him about it, or just keep my mouth shut until my regular teacher gets back. I hope that I am not just sounding like a cry baby, who thinks he knows more than his teacher.
    Last edited by pastor_bob; 07-14-2007 at 12:54 PM.
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  7. #7

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    Umm yea not relaxing while playing can really get you hurt. That's like a main reason people practice different sticking exercises, so they build good technique and so you can play everything relaxed and effortless.

  8. #8

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    [QUOTE=el presidente;36107]I disagree with this. QUOTE]

    HOW DARE YOU
    JUST KIDDING.

  9. #9

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    Hi Bob,

    I worked for a while as a schoolteacher years ago and specialised in learning theory at University. I recently tried 3 drum teachers and each of them taught me differently and badly.

    Unfortunately, because someone can play an instrument they often feel that it qualifies them to teach it as well. This isn't the case. You need to learn to teach in the same way that you need to learn to do anything.

    I did not have any other local instructors to try and started using DVDs instead. The thing I found was that these also taught the drums differently and each had their flaws. In one beginner's DVD, for example, the presenter did not give much explanation of how to hold the sticks at all.

    After viewing eight drum tuition DVDs, I decided that I would have to take bits from one and bits from another and patch up a learning schedule for myself using these. Then I came across a DVD that absolutely clicked with me. The instructor's approach, explanations and methods were exactly in line with how I felt about playing.

    From this experience I've found that, if at all possible, go to a teacher who is in tune with how you would like to be taught to play. Keep searching until you find that person and remember that at the end of the day you really teach yourself. The tutor only communicates what they would like you to do and this must be in line with how you want to learn.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best.

    Paul M

  10. #10

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    Thanks, Paul. It helps to also have the input of those who have taught, and have an understanding of that process. It's always good to balance the input of the student's perspective with the perspective of a teacher. You brought both!

    I am calming down about the whole thing. I think I was just a little frustrated by feeling that I didn't have a definite direction on the day that I wrote the post for this thread. The guy that is teaching me know seems to be strong on bass techniques, while the guy that I started with wanted me to be "start at the beginning" an make sure he filled in the gaps for anything that I had taught myself. After getting the feedback here, I have pretty much decided that I can endure anything for a while, and I will learn something. So for now, I will hold the sticks as I have been told, and I will focus on learning the bass techniques, and rhythms. When my other teacher gets back, he can be amazed at how I have progressed on that, and he can still work with me on rudiments, and take me all the way!

    And yes, I still look for DVD's and things that can help me, because I realize that in the end, a teacher can point me in the right direction, but I still have to do the work!

    Drum teachers, am I an idiot, or does this make any sense?
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastor_bob View Post
    The problem that I am having is that my current teacher wants me to hold my sticks just as he does (I prefer matched grip, although I do practice traditional from time to time). My teacher prefers German grip - palm down - with all finger tightly wrapped, and empahsizing the wrist action. I prefer the Ammerican grip - matching grip with palms at 45 degree angle to the drums - with a loose grip and finger action.

    I am frustrated that my teacher is not allowing me to play what is most comfortable to me, but I am wondering if this is just normal teaching strategy for beginners. Do most teachers start students out with a specific technique to develop specific muscles, or am I justified in being frustrated. I do want to say that I feel most free on the kit when I use the "American grip." I am a very intuitive drummer, and I am already doing things that lessons are beginning to name. The lessons are filling in gaps for me, which is what I wanted, and I want to be technically good, but I also don't want the lessons to hold me back.

    AM I BEING UNREASONABLE???

    Well, i have a drum mentor too, he said i played iwht a more french style grip, and is making me change to a german grip, i really hate it, but, thats one of the grips the drumcorps look for, just keep practicing german and american, if you can get both down, its good

    Like, example, when i march now, all i use is the german, i keep myself in check to not let it go anywhere else, but when i play kit, i flip my hands back up and get in my comfortable state, its being to the point that, both german and americna are comfortable to me, but, only german during marching, and only american during set

  12. #12

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    Really appreciate all the encouragement, as well as the straight talk about being flexible enough to hang in there. I admit that I was discouraged when I posted to start the thread, and I realized today that all this has taken me back to a time when I was playing clarinet. I played for 2 years when I moved to a new school, and I just couldn't do anything to please the music teacher at the school. Even if I played a piece exactly like everyone else, he criticized me. I put down the clarinet and never played again. I'm sure my reaction is related to that moment. I don't want a teacher coming between me and my goal of playing the drums. Especially because I was progressing without a teacher.
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  13. #13

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    Another blast from the past...........3 years ago.........youve come a long way PB.

    It does get easier.
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  14. #14

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    Amazing what a difference in knowledge 3 years can make!

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