Teaching. Drumming lessons

 

- Technique
- Reading
- Style
- Independence
- Rudiments
- Displacements – Polyrhythms – Modulations
- Irregular metrics
- Improvisation
- Creativity / Ideas

 


All students are unique and unrepeatable, just like any ordinary person. As a result, there is no one single method or recipe to study a musical instrument, in this case, the drum kit, whether the student has professional or beginner interests.

Every individual has his own interests, worries, strengths and weaknesses; therefore, the lessons I offer are student-tailored taking into account these personal variables.

Over the years I’ve spent studying and learning, I’ve gone through successes, failures, technical bad habits and conflicts of any kind, either of my own or acquired from someone else. These experiences made me develop a special interest in not only teaching but also focusing on how to do what I teach and why I should do it that way, so as to provide the student with a technical framework which will enable him to pull down barriers in the creative and expressive process when playing the drums.

Following is a description of some aspects to be addressed when you learn to play the drums, with some written and/or audio-visual examples.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any doubt or comment.

 

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Technique: The technique I use and I teach is based on the concepts developed by Moeller and Gladstone. It is also based on the mechanics on the drum kit, which is at all times aimed at relaxing and getting rid of unnecessary movements when drumming in order to make the most of one’s energy while playing. We will work on exercises to master arm, wrist and finger control.

The goal is for each student to technically develop himself out of a given rhythmic pattern, though particularly designed in a specific and personalized fashion according to the music style each student seeks to play and the sound type he little by little discovers from his instrument.

It is important for each student to understand how to apply all the concepts he has learned and the reason for each technical explanation so he can avoid bad habits or ill-learnt movements, which may lead to some kind of standstill or even tendinitis.

The technical work will be carried out using a practice pad and on the drum kit.

As regards the feet technique, we will work on different hits on the bass drum and the hi-hat, as well as the bass drum double pedal.

 

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Reading: Why should I learn to read music? Learning to read music will be useful to have a good command of the written rhythmic language and little by little to auditively incorporate the rhythmic spatiality between figures and silences, which contributes to building a good feeling of rhythm and tempo.

Moreover, reading music properly from the very beginning will be important for those students who would like to play the drums at a professional level in atmospheres where reading is compulsory.

 

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Styles: (jazz, funk, rock, reggae, blues, etc.)
We will start out with simple binary and ternary rhythms, so the student can start to develop the rhythm sensation and grasp the first sound concepts. We will do this using tracks, the metronome or no support at all.
The intention is always that the student learns those styles he would like to play and to be taught the skills to develop his own creativity on them.

 

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Independence: We will base our work on the book “New Breed 1 and 2” by Gary Chester, apart from other specific books which each student needs to study based on the difficulties that may arise.

 

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Rudiments: Once the technical concepts have been studied, we will embark on drum digitations and the study of rudiments, using the books by Wilcoxon, Alan Dawson and Gary Chaffee. Rudiments applied to the set.

 

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Displacements – Polyrhythms – Modulations: We will work on the pulse divisions and the groups of each division (semiquaver in groups of 3, 5 and 7 or triplets in groups of 2, 4, 5 and 7 or quintuplets or seventiplets in groups of 3, 4 and 6, for example), and the resolutions of the displaced phrases on different numbers of compasses. Polyrhythms of 6 against 4; 3 against 4; 5 against 4; 5 against 7, etc; and their application to grooves, fills or solos. The main references I use are the books by Pete Magadini and the books written by Gavin Harrison.

 

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Irregular metrics: Comprehension, construction and use of rhythms and phrases of irregular metrics and their respective keys (clave). Improvisation on metrics.

 

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Improvisation: Both beginners and advanced students will work on how to “bring knowledge to life” so that practising is not just about doing exercises to be repeated, but exercises that become handy when it comes to improvising and being spontaneous with the instrument.

 

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Creativity / Ideas:The goal of playing a musical instrument creatively is expression. To be able to express yourself, it is crucial to study the instrument; that way, you’ll be able to say what you really want to say, without getting stuck or, at least, with as few limitations as possible. This is the goal of any technical and detailed study process.

 

From the very beginning, it is essential to promote the flow of personal ideas and the student’s own inventiveness.