Since 2007 when I first started teaching, I have developed a passion for teaching drums as it has helped increased my confidence in communicating with other people, develop a sense of service to the community, and last but NOT least, made me a better drummer/musician. I am very effective in helping my drumset students reach their goals such as playing in their first bands or performing well at the drumset exams.
My teaching philosphy:
A great teacher in any field of learning, as I’ve discovered through my own research and discussion with many capable teachers, is one who empowers his/her students to become independent learners. Independent learners are able to create their own paths once they’ve mastered the rudiments toward establishing their individual niches. This is precisely what I would like to do for my students.
Here is an outline of what my drum lessons cover across all levels. Please take note that this outline is only a template for learning progression but can always be customized to better fit the student’s needs. I am all for helping the student target his/her challenges on the drumset to help take their playing to the next level. Please take your time to read through:
I. BEGINNER STAGE (minimum 6 months):
1) Sight-read up to 16th note rhythms and play in the following meters: 4/4, 2/4, 3/4 using a top-rated Snare Drum Method titled “Alfred’s Drum Method”
2) Play basic rock beats and fills in 8th notes and 16ths notes using a comprehensive Drumset Method book titled “The Total Rock Drummer” by Mike Michalkow.
3) Fundamental Stick Control: Rebound (or Free Stroke), Controlled Strokes (for playing accents and non-accents), Controlling stick heights for different volumes (dynamics), Wrist and Finger Control. The Alfred’s Drum Method and other supplementary exercises will be used.
4) Embark on a journey to developing great time-keeping using the metronome, drum machine, or electronic music loops
5) Introduction to the basic rudiments of drumming: Single Stroke Roll, Double Stroke Roll, and Single Paradidle using the Beginner level warm-up routine for the hands from “The Lifetime Warmup” system by Sonny Igoe and Tommy Igoe along with supplementary exercises, leading to the exploration of their applications on the drumset.
6) Bass Drum Control using the “Heel-Down” technique. Printed exercises will be given to the students.
7) How to achieve smooth co-ordinaton between all 4 limbs using fun and challenging exercises
8) Learn how to read and perform professional drum charts using the excellent award-winning “Groove Essentials” play-along package by Tommy Igoe, and fully notated drumset pieces from actual songs and exam pieces.
9) Develop listening skills necessary for building one’s musicianship.
II INTERMEDIATE STAGE (minimum 8 months)
Besides being technically ready to expand on what they’ve mastered in the Beginner stage, students in theIintermediate stage should also be ready to begin the life-long process of finding their individual niches as drummers. In this stage they will:
1) Learn and master Triplet rhythms, and meters such as 6/8, 12/8, 2/2. as well as the ability to execute 32nd note rhythmic ideas. The Alfred’s Drum Method, The Total Rock Drummer, other supplementary exercises, and lots of musical examples for referencing and playing-along to will be used. .
2) Expand on their fundamental stick control to achieve more finesse, more speed,and more power, with the emphasis again on efficiency of execution and tension-free hands.
3) Be exposed to a wide variety of technically challenging musical styles from R&B, Funk, Jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, to other types of “World” music, using the “Groove Essentials” system by Tommy Igoe along with supplementary material such as actual songs and exam pieces.
4) Expansion on the rudiments covering Flams, Drags, and the Press Roll using the Intermediate Level of “The Lifetime Warmup” system and supplementary exercises, leading to the exploration of their applications on the drumset.
5) Bass Drum control using the “Heel-Up” technique. The highly effective instructional system titled, “Bass Drum and Hi-Hat Technique” by Michael Packer will be used for studying different variations of this technique.
6) More challenging co-ordination exercises to prepare them for the technical demands of the above-listed styles of music covered
7) Rhythmic phrasing incorporating Odd Note Groupings and their applications on the drumset
8) Introduction to Polyrhythms: 3 over 2, and 4 over 3, as well as their applications on the drumset.
III. ADVANCED STAGE (minimum 6 months)
Advanced Learners will embark on some new concepts and also get the chance to embark on a more in-depth study of drumming styles listed below:
1) Introduction to Odd Meters using exercises from The Total Rock Drummer, Groove Essentials, and actual songs.
2) Expansion on Polyrhythms
3) Coverage of the Advanced Level of “The Lifetime Warmup” routine
4) Optional: Basic Double Bass Drumming as applied to Rock, Heavy Metal, and Fusion.
5) Linear Drumming as applied in Funk and Fusion. The book, “Future Sounds”, by legendary drummer and drumset educator, David Garibaldi will be used.
6) Soloing with Foot-Ostinato patterns
7) In-depth study module for Jazz, Funk, World Rhythms, Rudimental Snare Drum. A set of method books will be prescribed for the student’s choice of study. Students can purchase the books directly from me.
NOTE: Throughout a student’s learning journey with me, I will incorporate the element of improvisation. The aim is to allow him/her to build his/her own ideas of whatever drumming concept imparted during the lessons. This is an excellent tool of empowerment.
From time to time I receive requests from students who do not wish to learn sight-reading and only want to learn by ear. I can accommodate such requests and can tailor the lessons to teach the fundamentals through show and tell. However, from experience, many of these students eventually realize the benefits of sight-reading once they start advancing in their playing and gain exposure performing with other musicians.
Preparation for Trinity/Guildhall and Rockschool Drumset Exams. All Grades welcome.
Students of ALL levels will also receive the following modes of exposure that will deepen their insight into the role of the drumset in making music:
1) Get to jam/perform with either students learning other instruments with other teachers at Home Ground or with the teachers themselves at least once a month
2) Drumset workshops for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students.
3) Yearly Student Showcases (individual or group performances) either in Home Ground or at an external venue.
I hope to hear from you soon and I look forward to helping you with your drumming goals!
In my next post, I will be covering some frequently asked questions concerning beginner students.