By Patty N. - Houston Drums Teacher
As a percussion instructor and teacher of Houston drum lessons, I have seen firsthand how learning percussion affects other areas of education. The skills needed to read percussion music are also needed in reading, rhythm, mathematics, and many other areas of "everyday" education. My students have all improved their reading skills, and in turn their grades as well.
When I start teaching my students percussion as part of their Houston drum lessons, the very first thing I work on is counting and reading ahead. In order to keep a steady tempo, lead a group of musicians, and play with musicality and dynamics, a drummer needs to be able to read ahead and know what is coming in the next few measures. This transfers directly into their studies. When reading a story or even a history lesson, reading one word at a time would not make any sense. You read a sentence or a paragraph to understand what the story is about. In percussion, you can't play one note at a time; you have to play measures, phrases, and stanzas.
The next area I work on is counting. In each measure, there is a certain amount of beats, and many ways to fill those beats. Drummers have to be able to add to 3 or 4 beats in many different ways, including fractions such as quarters, halves and eighths. This is not just basic math; it goes into algebra, geometry and more advanced math as well.
The biggest improvement I see in my percussion students as a result of their Houston drum lessons is their general reading skills. My students WANT to read. They enjoy reading everything from newspapers to new books from the library. They look forward to picking up a new story, and most importantly, they enjoy reading new music. The look on my student’s faces when they sight read a new line correctly (without my help!) is priceless. The pride my students get from being able to play an instrument is very rewarding and makes teaching music more than just a job; it turns it into a hobby and a great way to spend my free time!
I am 42, and started young of 12 years of age with drums. I also play the guitar, bass, piano, and sing, but am classically trained by professionals for a decade or more in drums. I take the student through the subject and address the very beginning, to more advance concepts and relationship to "what is going on" and "how to address blocks" with insight, techniques, and support. I like to teach out of the book and in the book with occasional additional guitar or bass to develop my students.
I strive to provide students with the tools needed to master musical skills. I also strive to be creative, nurturing and most of all, patient. It is very rewarding to see a student of mine excel in their musical endeavors. Every student may learn at their own pace but I build them all up so that the end result is the same: musical mastery.
I have been drumming for 7 years, I received drum lessons for 6 months and was also a student in the percussion section in school from grades 6-11 so not only do i have the improv skills but also the technical and structured part of it as well. I have a great system for teaching students who are eager to learn.
First and most importantly, students will learn the foundations of playing the drums. Proper sticking techniques. How to read and write music. understanding rhythms. how to hear a beat. playing with accompaniment.
You'll have fun learning the fundamentals that will make you capable of playing along with most popular genres of music on a full drum kit or hand drum. I was able to teach a childhood friend of mine who is special needs, and who doctors condemned to "a five year old's reasoning skills," and a "degenerating condition." He learned not only to play but is good enough to play for his church. Additionally, his overall multitasking ability, reasoning skills, and coordination greatly improved. He now is playing guitar for his church's youth group, drives a car, and has a full time job! With practice and commitment, the sky is the limit!
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