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Thread: Drumset Pedagogy

  1. #1

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    Default Drumset Pedagogy

    It seems every drumset teacher has a different way of teaching, books, emphasis, etc. When I studied trumpet there was a standard pedagogy or path most players followed in terms of what books and exercises everyone studied along with certain bench marks that indicated proficiency. I have not found that to be the case with drumset. Further, I have found it very frustrating when trying to figure out where I am at or where I need to go in my development as a drumset player. Does anyone have a good drumset pedagogy they are willing to share?

  2. #2

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    For drums, everything starts with rudiments. Get those basics down then a lot of those basics can be applied to the set in various ways.

    After that there's really no hard fast rules for a set...just keep the beat and make sure it fits the song. There's lots of room for improv.
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Drumset Pedagogy

    mlewi, I think that drums is one of the few instruments where being self-taught is more common. As a result, when someone with some knowledge does reach out to a teacher for help, the teacher will have to assess the needs of the student, and devise lessons that assist in the student's growth. For instance, in my own case I started with a teacher, but it wasn't a perfect fit. That's not to say that he was not a good teacher; just that he was not perfect for me. Affter taking lessons from him for 8 months, I spent the next year or so drifting as I tried to guide myself. Eventually, I sought out another teacher, and she had to assess my needs, and she has done a good job of filling in gaps and helping me to progress. There are times that I get quite frustrated, and other times when we spend some of our lesson time discussing where I am, and where I am going. My teacher and I have a good relationship where we laugh with each other, and she kicks me in the tush when I need it too. Recently, I got very frustrated with my stick control and my teacher noticed that I had lapsed back into a bad grip habit. That day, my lesson changed to deal with my grip again. My teacher reminded me that she had said, when my bad grip habit had been discovered, that even though it was corrected, it would most likely pop up again.

    I gues what I am saying is that having a good teacher, and a good relationship with that teacher, is the most important part. For someone like me, rigid pedagogy would be counter productive. On the other hand, if that is the style you need, then search for a teacher that can fill that need. I am sure they exist, and you just need to let them know what you need as a teaching style.
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  4. #4

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    I concure with Pastor Bob's assesment of the drums being a self taught type instrument. I started playing by ear but developed many bad habits. I could only afford a limited amount of lessons but the basics were explained to me in rudimentary form and it was up to my own method of implementation to work those rudiments into my form of music.

    Watching videos and mimicing dynamics of the pro's helped a great deal but frustrations still abound and swril around my brain. I found that if I break down my practice sessions where I concentrate on rudiments first, then free play second, I enjoy the time spent behind the kit. On other days, I reverse the order and free play first then rudiments second. If it gets too frustrating....I breakdown the kit and re-arrange the hardware to find if it's drum placement issues or I'm just too impatient to start out slow.

  5. #5

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    This is just my take on this, but drums don't follow the typical "ground rules", for lack of a better term, that you find with other instruments. With an instrument like the trumpet, regardless of what music you are going to play or interests you the standard theory still applies. Scales, composition structure, how the insturment relates to other instruments, etc. is at the root of whatever you do with the instrument. Althought this is somewhat true with drums, it's not quite as cut and dry. The options a drummer has to where to put his or her efforts really depends on the direction they want to take. For example, independence is a great skill to grasp, but extreme independence is over the top for someone who has an interest in playing pop, top forty, hip hop, etc. Yet someone interested in hard core, free form jazz would have little interest in putting time into developing a strong sense of dance grooves. There are just so many hours in a day and someone can't expect to get or learn it all and a drummer, unlike the tuned instrument players needs a different sense of direction or focus to their "pedagogy." This is why I'm guessing you have realized the looseness to drumming that you don't find with other instruments. Also this is just my opinion, but I don't think it has anything to do with drums being a self taught instrument. It has to do with the nature of the instrument. It's also the missing core structure to learing the instrument that makes drums one of the hardest instruments to learn with competency. It's like learning to read without a dictionary and having to understand the meaning of words strictly on the context in which they are used in what you are reading. Sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you don't. Obviously this is just a loose interpretation and anyone can add the proverbial, "Yea, but what about . . . ." Nothing about music escapes the exceptions.

  6. #6

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    I think we should be thankful that drumset does not have the same strict pedagogical strategies applied to it. If you look at "classical" music instruction, it is so rigid because the expectations are so narrow. If you don't play a certain way, you are of no use. Your desires and ideas for how you want to sound are not valued.

    Contrast that with much vernacular music (pop, rock, "world," etc.) and you will hear that the the music has traditionally relied upon the individuality of the artists performing it. It is undesirable for every musician to sound ONE way so why should every drummer be TAUGHT one way?

    That is why I don't teach public school music anymore. I got tired of stifling the creativity of my students. I think an effective pedagogy would promote the particular idiosyncrasies each student possesses and show them how to frame them in real musical situations.
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