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6 Surprising Benefits of Learning to Drum as an Adult

learning to drumCurious about drum lessons, but worried you’re too old to get started? As it turns out, there are several benefits that even older adults can glean from learning how to play. Learn more in this guest post by Edmond, OK drum teacher Tracy D...

If you are considering learning to drum as an adult, you may have a few questions, among which might be, “Will I be any good?”, “Am I too old?”, or “Is it too late?” Perhaps you’ve heard that one can only attain proficiency at an instrument if he or she learns as a child. If that’s the case, I have some good news! In fact, there are many benefits to be had in learning to drum — no matter what your age. Let’s take a closer look:

The physical aspect

The drum set is a very kinetic instrument, as it requires the use of your whole body. Regular, dedicated play helps improve your coordination, because you use your limbs in differing combinations to make music. It is also beneficial to your sense of balance, because you must be well-anchored to play with power and ease (which is especially true if you make vigorous use of both feet; I cannot recommend that highly enough). The integration of these factors creates a pretty good core workout, and you are building a skill as well. How cool is that?

The intellectual aspect

Did you know that your brain’s neuroplasticity stays intact throughout your whole life? This means that your mind, with active engagement, will continue to grow, learn, and retain new information. Numerous studies have shown that learning new skills helps keep your mind sharp as you age. Other studies have shown that musicians have increased volume in several areas of the brain. If you learn to read music, you also interpret and reproduce the notes that you see, which is a great integrative exercise for the mind and body. The potential for exploration is virtually infinite. As you work out and assimilate progressively advanced concepts, you will find that it becomes even easier to learn new material, which is gratifying indeed!

The emotional aspects

One of the most important aspects of playing music is the sheer enjoyment! Playing is such an effective stress reliever, and the higher the level of facility you achieve, the more expression you can pour into your playing. It truly incorporates soul and body, and there is nothing quite like it.

In addition, if you already play an instrument, learning to drum will solidify and strengthen your rhythmic sense — and you can bring your melodic knowledge to bear on the kit, as it lends itself quite beautifully. You will also gain a more informed enjoyment of your favorite music through the sharpening of your listening skills. There is also income potential, if you wish to gig or teach.

In sum, if you truly fall in love with this instrument, you will discover numerous treasures along this most rewarding journey, and you will reap tangible benefits all the while. It’s never too late to unearth your passion. I should know. I didn’t pick up a pair of sticks until I was almost 30, and I went on to get a music degree. Enjoy!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums various bands for more than 13 years, and has also played intermittently with the OKC Community Orchestra for the past five years. Learn more about Tracy here!

 

Photo by Erich

 

How Much Are Drum Lessons for Kids?

3499296495_e6583904f0_b (1)Think you’ve got a burgeoning Tony Williams jamming over there in his bedroom? Playing the drums offers a lot more than the obvious fun factor. Learning how to play an instrument like the drums has many benefits, including increasing your child’s creativity, ability to focus, and coordination. If you’re thinking of booking lessons for your son or daughter but are concerned about costs, don’t let it get you down. Continue reading to learn the average cost of drum lessons for kids, and what factors can affect the price.

Average cost of drum lessons across the U.S.

Private lessons typically run in the $10-30 range for a half hour of instruction. However, experienced or uniquely qualified instructors may charge up to $50 or more.

What factors affect the cost of drum lessons?

  • Training: Instructors with advanced degrees or specialties may raise the cost of drum lessons. This added expertise, however, may help get children started out on the right foot.
  • Experience instructing children: Children learn differently than adults, sometimes requiring specialized teaching methods. Patience is a necessary requirement, particularly for young kids, since it’s much more difficult to keep their attention. Finding a teacher who is both experienced and successful at catering to kids is essential to helping your child achieve his or her musical goals.
  • Where the lesson is held: Lesson location affects the cost of drum lessons, whether they are held at your teacher’s home or studio, your home, or via an online video chat service. Lessons at home may be more convenient, but often cost more as instructors may charge for travel time and mileage. Traveling to the teacher is typically more affordable.
  • Lesson length: This is typically not an issue right off the bat, as beginning lessons are usually short – around 30 minutes – to better accommodate the shorter attention span of children. As lesson duration increases with your child’s skills, however, so will the price.
  • Location: Areas with a higher cost of living will have higher lesson prices than those in smaller, rural locations. If you live in a high-dollar area, consider live online lessons via video chat to save some dough – and take a mini-break from chauffeuring duties.
  • Your child’s proficiency: Beginner instruction often costs less than lessons catered to more experienced drummers. However, don’t neglect to find a teacher with additional experience once your child has achieved essential drumming skills.

Now that you know what to expect, get started by finding a great drumming instructor near you!

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How Much Are Drum Lessons? 4 Factors That Affect the Cost

How Much Do Drum Lessons Cost?When you want to start beginning drum lessons, you’ll find a variety of prices depending on a few factors. While the average price for a half hour lesson can range from $15 to $40, you might not be able to find a private drum lesson instructor at either end of the range. Some of the things that can contribute to how much you’ll end up paying for beginning drum lessons are where you’re receiving the lessons, what city you’re in, and the experience level of your teacher.

First Step: Where are the lessons?

You have a few choices for this one. The least expensive option is to travel to wherever your  drum teacher is. If he or she has a studio or rehearsal space, that might mean a bit of a commute for you every week. The flip side is that the space is already rented out, so your lessons are not going toward an unanticipated cost on the part of your instructor.

Another option is to book lessons with a teacher who can travel to you. While this can be a quite attractive idea if you are having trouble squeezing your beginning drum lessons into your schedule, it can add to the cost. Many teachers will charge for transportation time, or per the mile if they need to commute to a new location. Some instructors don’t give the option to travel away from their studio. Weighing the costs between the two is a great idea before pulling the trigger.

A third option is a decent compromise between the first two. You can take lessons via Skype or other video chat service. While this option can help you manage your time efficiently, the drawback is that you are not in the same room as your instructor during the lessons. If there is a particular technique or pattern that you need to learn, it can be much easier to pick up in person. For that reason, if you need to schedule video lessons, it’s best to still include one to two in-person lessons each month.

Second Step: Where are you located?

If you live in a bigger city or suburban area, chances are that the price for beginning drum lessons will be a little higher than the price for drum lessons in the rural countryside. The upside to the higher price is that you can find a lot more variety in your selection of drum teachers. If you want to focus on concert performance, rock drumming, or even a specialty percussion instrument, you have a better chance of finding what you need in a higher population area.

This isn’t to say that you cannot find a highly qualified instructor outside of a big city. But you have a better chance of finding multiple instructors that suit your needs, and one that can work with your schedule, if you are in a large city (or willing to travel to that city).

Last Step: How experienced is your teacher?

Beginning drum lessons teachers can vary in expertise, from ones still in music school to a professional percussionist with decades of experience. The more experienced the instructor, the higher the lessons price will likely be. As a beginning drummer, you won’t need to find a highly experienced teacher, but you will need an instructor who can teach you the basics of music at a pace that you can absorb.

If you are looking for beginning drum lessons, be sure to visit TakeLessons to search for qualified instructors in your area. Good luck with your studies!

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4 Steps to Prepare for Drum Lessons in Your Home

2435809775_05a4461713_bExcited to learn the drums? If you’ve opted for in-home lessons, check out these pointers from teacher Lauren P. to make the most of your time…

 

If you are nervous about how to prepare for your first drum lesson, relax — your lack of experience makes you the perfect student. Remember that teachers get nervous as well. They don’t want you to be an expert who doesn’t need their help. They want you to be friendly, interested, and willing to listen to their advice.

When you sign up for lessons, you may notice that some teachers offer the option of in-home lessons. Follow these simple steps to prepare for your first drum lesson in your home.

1. Come prepared with questions and new material

Use your lack of experience and knowledge to your advantage. No teacher wants a student who knows everything already. Be upfront about your shortcomings and goals, and your teacher will be relieved to have such a great student. If you have an “assignment” you want to learn, show your teacher a song link or piece of sheet music you want to learn. If possible, email or text him or her ahead of time with your ideas. This may allow him or her to come prepared with some engaging and helpful materials. During your school, band, or independent practice, take note of any questions or challenges you face. Write them down so you remember to ask for tips during your lesson.

2. Ask for a homework assignment

The best preparation is proactive preparation. If you speak with your teacher before your first lesson, consider asking the following questions:

  • “Should I buy any specific book(s)?”
  • “Should I practice specific pages or techniques ahead of time?”
  • “Do I need a drum pad, snare drum, or drum set?”
  • “Do I need any specific accessories like a metronome or drum brush?”
  • “Are there websites or YouTube links I should use to preview any skills or techniques ahead of time?”

Write down any instructions, materials, tips, tricks, song links, and page numbers you will need for practicing purposes. Keep these written assignments with your drum and workbooks so you don’t waste valuable practice time looking for materials.

If your tutor suggests pages from a book, practice them and strive to move on to the next skill or difficulty level. By mastering or at least introducing yourself to the piece of music, you will learn at a much faster pace. Showing this extra commitment will encourage your teacher to expect more from you, push you further, and help you learn the drums in less time.

3. Make a daily schedule: commitment over quantity

Do not wait until 10 minutes before your first lesson to warm up. The best way to prepare for your first drum lesson is to practice 10 or 20 minutes every day instead of one hour the day before your first lesson. You should schedule this practice time into your day just like you would schedule an appointment or class. Scheduling means you do not waste time making excuses or thinking about when or how long you will practice. Instead you simply practice when it is time for practice!

If you already have some experience playing the drums, practicing every day builds muscle memory and eliminates the threat of forgetting a skill. If you are completely new to drumming, search for YouTube videos of basic drum techniques, or simply pay attention to drum beats when listening to music. Spending 10 minutes a day attempting to replicate what you heard or saw will definitely help you as you learn the drums.

4. Have materials ready

When taking drum lessons in your home, the last thing you want to do is waste time or money. Now that you are mentally prepared for your lesson, it is time to get physically prepared! Don’t waste your valuable lesson time finding sheet music, song links, or other materials. Keep your drum set and supplies organized and in their appropriate places to avoid any wasted time looking for what you need. If you bring materials back and forth from home to school, make a habit of putting your drum sticks and sheet music back where they belong the moment you get home.  When your drum teacher arrives, you should be ready to take a seat at your drum and get started immediately.

Good luck with your drum lessons! Don’t have a teacher yet? Search for a drum teacher in your area here!

LaurenPLauren played concert snare drum and the drum set for five years and acted as a private teacher for the snare drum and drum set for three years. Currently she tutors various subjects in New York, NY. Learn more about Lauren here!

 

 

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5 Common Challenges Faced By New Drum Students (And How to Overcome Them)

7000427720_ac40e5bc51_kEncountering tough challenges is just part of the process as you first learn to play the drums. But instead of getting frustrated or giving up, take action with these helpful pointers from teacher Lauren P...

 

Every new drum student faces these common challenges at some point. Use the below tips to overcome these challenges with minimal amount of frustration and time.

1. I can’t move quickly enough

The most common challenge new students face as they learn to play the drums is building speed and coordination. The more you practice, the faster your wrist and ankle movement will become and the more quickly you will be able to make transitions. You can build muscle mass and muscle memory anytime. Tap your feet or tap your pencils on any hard surface or the rubber soles of your shoes. You don’t need to overexert yourself by forcing a fast pace for extended periods of time. Instead, try short bursts of fast-paced playing along with a metronome. You will slowly but surely build speed and coordination. If it is the transition between drums and cymbals that is challenging you, practice one or two components and slowly build until you can coordinate all components at once.

2. I can’t read quickly enough

If your biggest challenge is keeping up with the pace of reading sheet music, you can overcome these mistakes by previewing and preparing music ahead of time. One quick fix is to highlight every other line of music. This prevents your eyes from losing their place as you skip from line to line. Another trick is to say the beats as words in your head instead of just counting. Even better, say the numbers or words aloud to stay on track. You can even write in these words above the notes. For example, write and say aloud: “par-a-did-dle”; “right-left-right-right”; “one-e-end-a-two-e-end-three-e-end-a-four-e-end”; etc. When you are still learning the rudimentary beats, write “R” and “L” above each portion of every note to signify your right and left hand. Highlighting and annotating your music ahead of time will help familiarize you with the music and prepare you for speed.

3. I’m not consistent in speed or volume

Many new drummers struggle with consistency in speed or volume. The best piece of technology a drummer can invest in to practice pace is a metronome. Buy a metronome or use one for free online. The metronome sets a pace for your playing and keeps you consistent. You can also record yourself or another performer playing so that you can practice the right volume and pace. By listening to yourself play, you can also become aware of how you fluctuate volume between your right and left hand or from the beginning to end of a segment. A band is nothing without a drummer to keep them on track. In terms of pace and volume, practice makes perfect to build muscle memory and overcome the consistency challenge.

4. I forget the lessons I learn

If you repeatedly forget a new lesson or skill immediately after your lesson, there are several easy ways to overcome this challenge. If you have a smartphone or tablet, record video or audio of yourself playing. You can even include your instructor’s advice or homework assignment to use as a reference for practice. If you do not have access to recording technology, take detailed notes of your assignments and any suggestions or potential misunderstandings that you want to remember later.

5. I can’t find time for practice

Even with a strong passion for learning to play the drums, the frustrations of independent practice can sap your enthusiasm to persevere. Overcome your challenges by making a conscious effort to keep your end goal in mind. This will keep you inspired and motivated to practice through your challenges. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to practice. Sticking to your daily schedule is more effective than planning to practice “when you have time.” Commit to setting your alarm 10 minutes early or practicing the moment you get home. The best way to overcome any challenges as you learn to play the drums is to hold yourself accountable for practice.

Of course, working with a private drum teacher can be a big motivation for keeping up with your practice; plus, he or she will be able to guide you along at the right pace. Teachers are well-equipped to solve the common challenges of new drum students. Hire an expert teacher in your area and you’ll be well on your way to mastering your instrument!

LaurenPLauren played concert snare drum and the drum set for five years and acted as a private teacher for the snare drum and drum set for three years. Currently she tutors various subjects in New York, NY. Learn more about Lauren here!

 

 

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In-Person, Online, or DIY: What’s the Best Way to Learn Drums?

4794489171_2e755f5c9e_bWhat’s the best way to learn drums? Here, San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W. explains the differences between the three paths you can take…

 

Do you want to learn drums, but aren’t sure which route to take? These days we are lucky enough to have many options, but having too many can also be confusing and overwhelming.

Let’s take a closer look at the three main options so you can figure out which one will suit your needs and goals the best. (HINT: You can use more than one)

1) In-person lessons. To me, learning in person from an experienced teacher is essential. There is no better way to quickly and efficiently progress than to have a coach who can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and put you on a path toward your unique goals. There is something magical about the “Sensei and grasshopper” relationship that cannot be fully experienced any other way than in person.

Remember, in-person lessons can be in the comfort and convenience of your own home, or at the teacher’s school or studio. Either way is equally effective, it just comes down to personal preference and resources.

2) Online lessons. There are so many ways to learn online today that not taking advantage of this amazing option will keep you in the dark about what’s going in the big world of drumming. Let’s look at a few ways to learn drums from online sources.

  • Skype. Skype is the next closest thing to the in-person lesson, and can be very convenient, affordable, and effective. Often when a drummer gets a gig to tour and has to leave their students, they will continue Skype lessons so the students can continue to grow, without having to switch instructors or start all over. This option is also popular if you want to study with a teacher who lives far away, or is famous and doesn’t give in-person lessons.
  • YouTube. I love learning from other drummers and seeing what creative ideas they come up with. It is amazing how many people are willing to give away their best secrets for free (usually hoping to obtain you as a student later). There is enough to keep you busy for a lifetime. Even after graduating Musician’s Institute, I continue to learn new fills, songs, and tricks from other drummers on YouTube. You can also learn a lot just watching for entertainment. The best part of YouTube is that drummers can build an online community. It is fun to meet other drummers around the world, and sometimes you can find great gig opportunities, too.
  • Membership sites. Often these are advertised through the free drum lessons on YouTube. These are usually very affordable, and you can repeat a lesson over or rewind if you are having trouble with something.

3) DIY. The do-it-yourself approach to my knowledge is the least effective. There are so many books, videos, and different things to know when drumming that you spend the majority of your time trying to figure out what to learn. When I first started playing the drums, this is the approach I took. I would listen to music and try to figure it out. Later, once I started taking lessons, I learned more in a few months than I was able to figure out in the years of trying on my own.

I hope this helped clear up some questions about the different approaches to learning the drums. Please feel free to comment, like, share, or leave questions below.

Looking for in-person or online drum lessons? Browse our drum teachers here!

Maegan-WMaegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

 

 

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10 Important Qualities to Look For in a Drum Teacher

8346502791_53658f98ca_hWant to learn to play the drums? Signing up for private lessons — and finding a qualified teacher to guide you along the way — is key to your success. Here, Virginia Beach, VA teacher Jeff Z. shares a few things you should keep your eye out for as you look for a teacher for either you or your child…

 

Looking for a qualified and engaging drum teacher isn’t always easy. If this is your first time looking for a drum instructor, you may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” How do I find the perfect person to help me learn to play the drums? The following guide will help you identify the unique qualities to look for in a drum teacher.

1. You like the way they play

You or your child should enjoy listening to the way your teacher plays. Even though a good teacher doesn’t try to impart his or her style into students, as an artist their fundamental playing style needs to be approachable, enjoyable, and engaging. Look for someone who sounds like a professional.

2. Performance experience

Music is a communal experience. As such, the ability to play complicated patterns, mind-blowing fills, and crunching beats doesn’t mean much if the drummer can’t work with a band or an ensemble. Try to find an instructor who knows what it means to be part of a larger musical experience. Especially for a beginner, there is no more fun way to learn how to play the drums than by playing with others.

3. Patience

Learning any new skill is a journey. You need an instructor who is willing to have your back for the long haul. As your instructor develops a learning relationship with you and/or your child, expect there to be ebbs and flows. There will be weeks when life gets in the way of practice. There will also be weeks when it may seem like progress is stalling. A good instructor is one who can go with the flow and find ways to make the most out of every session. Patience is the key to taking the time and effort to understanding the needs and abilities of his or her student.

4. Other musical interests

Music doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Drums are but one part of the rich spectrum of ways to experience music in our lives. Expect your teacher to have other interests than playing their drum set. The best instructors are often those who also know fundamental music theory, another instrument, or are songwriters. Having that additional skill set affords the instructor the ability to expose you to what being a well-versed musician means.

5. Ability to infuse excitement

You should always walk away from a lesson thinking, “I can DO this!” Good teachers infuse excitement into their students’ every session, encouraging them to work on their skills and providing positive feedback that promotes practice and dedication. Keeping the fire alive is a critical element to sustained improvement (and happier students).

6. Makes practice fun

Ah, the classic dreaded practice time. Who likes to sit alone in a room and work on hand and feet patterns? MY students! The ability to make practice fun is an especially vital skill for teachers with young students. Look for an instructor that implements games and reward systems into the weekly ‘homework.’ Finding ways to make practice fun guarantees your child will actually want to work on his or her improvement.

7. Knows current trends

Forward thinking drum teachers are here in the now. They are aware of the current trends in music, what artist is #1 on the charts, and who their students admire. Any genuinely tuned-in musician is interested in all music; your teacher should be tuned in to what gets their student excited. They should be able to demonstrate how what they are teaching sounds like songs on the radio.

8. Responsibility

The student-teacher relationship is a social contract. As a student, you will put in the work: you’ll show up for lessons, practice at home, and apply what you’ve learned. As your teacher, I will always be on time, I will provide a safe and clean studio, and I will dedicate my effort to ensure you are reaching your goals. Your drum teacher should have excellent communication, organization, and people skills. You are their client — expect a professional.

9. Flexibility

Flexibility is nothing more than listening to the student to understand their goals and dreams. Too many drum teachers follow a method book with blinders on, leading to bored students who aren’t understanding how learning ‘paradiddles’ leads to rocking grooves. A great drum teacher follows a method but tailors it for each student’s unique needs and wants.

10. Shows you the path

How many times have we wondered in school, “WHY am I learning this?” It’s asked so many times by frustrated students because, well, it’s a GREAT question! The WHY is as important as the HOW. I always show my students the path — why are we learning ‘flams’ on the snare drum today? Because in a month I’ll show you how to translate that into some really complicated fills on the toms. Give the student a map to their learning, and they’ll want to follow.

Look for these essential qualities in a teacher and you’ll learn to play the drums quicker than you can imagine.

JeffZ.

Jeff Z. teaches drums, ear training, music performance, music theory, and songwriting in Virginia Beach, VA. He received his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from Peabody Conservatory. Jeff has been teaching private lessons for 15 years. Learn more about Jeff Z. here!

 

 

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