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  1. Registered User

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    Default Thoughts on self-learning drums

    So, Im a drum teacher, and have been teaching for many years. Similarly, I believe in the value of education, and take lessons regularly, and do self study.

    That said some people choose to go full solo in their learning... Are you one of those people? If so, I wrote a blog you might be interested in with tips for successful self-learning.

    https://nickschlesinger.com/learn-to...ne-like-a-boss

    If youre a drum teacher or a drum student, Id love to get your take on this, and if you have thoughts on the blog post, Id love to read em!

  2. Miles Gibbons

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    I think you can be successful in achieving your goals no matter how you learn, but would say you have to be extra critical in your thinking, when you are teaching yourself... you have to make a point to actively absorb more information - without guidance from a teacher, you have to listen with great focus to music, and analyze what you are hear, and watch great drummers play, and analyze their methodology and movements so that you can pull some learning out of the experience. You have to be extra diligent in choosing how and what you practice, and be a little more critical and honest with yourself.

    I think you need some sort of initial guidance, in order to self-learn effectively - one or two formal lessons, or some informal guidance from a friendly musician go a long way. Starting "blind" is not impossible, but adds an extra barrier to the learning process - what should you learn? How should you learn it? - it can be hard to find that path without some guidance.

    I usually suggest this to people that are "new" and curious about learning music - take a couple intro lessons (be clear about your intentions) and then do your thing after you have a solid foundation. When you hit a wall, seek guidance. Check in with a more experienced musician\teacher occasionally for fresh perspective, or to help identify problems you might not be aware of.

    It's easier to plan for a reliable, employable and universal skill set with a teacher. You can do it on your own, but having feedback from other people is super critical, unless you want to be a Youtube drummer with an idiosyncratic style (which is cool, if that's what you want). "Other people" that provide feedback could be a drum teacher, an experienced drummer, or other musicians you play with and\or respect. Playing with other musicians is the quickest way to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and super important. If you're teaching yourself, that's your only metric for really measuring how well you are doing.

    I also think teaching yourself is easier if you have a deeper innate talent for music - anyone can learn to play music, but some of us are just wired to do so more naturally.

    Great blog post by the way - I definitely agree that video drumming tutorials are often an unbalanced and incomplete way to learn the instrument. They can be a great supplement, to pick up new ideas, but can't be the "core" of your learning experience. Also recording yourself is ACES. Not enough people do it, regardless of experience level. Being able to objectively gauge your playing is so important, and recording yourself for this purpose is so easy and accessible now. Cell phones weren't really a thing until I was in college, but everyone has one now, and they are a great learning tool for this reason.

    My dad is a lifelong player, and sat with me for a couple hours when I expressed interest, to show me some basics. After that, I taught myself for a few months (he'd offer feedback here and there, but didn't try to "teach me"). I took lessons for a bit, then took time off, then took lessons, then took time off. I think both "phases" were important. The lessons helped kick my *** and give me some focus, but I also needed time to find my own way.
    Last edited by MilesAway; 04-01-2021 at 09:19 AM.
    "I'm gonna sleep outside... it's like Earth here, except less pollution, and more moons"

  3. The Sensitone Guy

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    I learned to play drums on my own starting when I was a freshman in college back in 1983. Nobody in my family had any musical background. I had no special talent; just the desire. I don't read music, can't play most rudiments but can pretty much play any song I hear on the radio.

    I enjoy drumming just as much as when I started. For me, taking lessons would have killed the fun aspect of drumming. Now; 38 years later... I look back on my "drumming career" and am very pleased what I accomplished. What did I accomplish? I never progressed farther than "average" in ability but absolutely excelled at being a team player in a band. Many drummers underestimate the value of someone who...

    Shows up on time or early
    Is easy to get along with
    Enthusiastically jumps to help carry heavy PA speakers and bass amp
    Provides a practice space
    Owns a PA

    You don't have to be a great drummer to be very successful in the local scene. All it takes is being a team player.

  4. Drumming Since 1943

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    *coughADPLACEMENT!!cough*
    Way Too Much Crap

  5. old dog, new tricks

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    there's almost no such thing as self taught as no one really learns anything by themselves. If you look at youtube drum videos, you are learning from them. If you listen to music, you are learning. If you see someone play, you are learning. With all the available online resources now I would say you could do well without an 'in person' teacher.

    When I first started in 1991, I was playing on my own or jamming with friends. I wasn't aware of drum instruction videos (on VHS) but knew the basic mechanics of how to get around a drum set mostly from watching the drummers at my church. I played for about 18 months like that until my parents offered to pay for drum lessons since they saw I was serious about it. Only after meeting with a teacher did I understand that my grip was wrong, I was hitting way too hard with too much arm and not enough wrist, he corrected my posture and even the angle at which I was setting up my kit. Of course, those are all things readily available in videos on YouTube but that didn't exist when I was younger.

    The other thing my teacher did was broaden my musical horizons and teach me how to read music, which opened up gigs where I was playing with people a lot better than me pretty early in my musical journey. That helped me grow quickly into a competent player, then into a really solid player. Experience playing with other musicians is the greatest teacher you can have and that's one thing you can't learn online.
    You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. - Harlan Ellison

    link below for my kit build thread

    https://www.pearldrummersforum.com/s...t-build-thread

  6. Registered User

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    Getting a good teacher is probably the best investment we can make as drummers. I wish I had learned how to read much sooner. You can approximate certain feels, like Songo or Mozambique using your ear and listening skills but it'll likely take much longer and you might interpret something incorrectly, that then becomes hard to unlearn. If you can read, you can learn it much faster and more than likely, the correct way. Having a teacher and the understanding of how to read, proper grip and a firm grasp of different stickings and the rudiments, can ONLY help you as a drummer. You'll never run out of challenging things to learn and having these skills will just make you more prepared as you work up the skills ladder.
    Last edited by j kuhl; 04-10-2021 at 11:21 AM.

  7. Away From The World

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    My first tutor was the radio, and I became a skilled air drummer lol. First sat behind a kit at 17-18 and took to it like a duck to water. No person to person lessons, bought some VHS tape "how to's" and just kept playing as I could. Took some lessons many years later and we just focused on the traditional rudiments, I had never learned them and to this day still lack in that area. Playing along to recorded music was how I practiced most, which did help my sense of time. But interacting with other musicians has been the best way I have grown as a player, as you all can attest to. Yes I wish I had started younger and had more formal lessons to aid my development and broaden my vocabulary, but I'm certainly still happy I can play to a tolerable level (for others) and enjoy it

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  8. Masterworks / Sabian

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    My two cents, which probably isn't the best advice, is YES, you can do it alone, but I also strongly suggest at a minimum laying a good foundation with an instructor who you gel with. I am still Facebook friends with my first instructor from the mid 80s. Great guy all around and wish I would have had more time with him, but moved from CA back east.

    Neil Peart, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl Rick Allen AVH were my idols at the time. Todd Sucherman now. So I played and tried to emulate them. Virtual instructors I suppose.

    You can never go wrong with more training versus less training with all the above said.

  9. Drumming Since 1943

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
    My first tutor was the radio, and I became a skilled air drummer lol. First sat behind a kit at 17-18 and took to it like a duck to water. No person to person lessons, bought some VHS tape "how to's" and just kept playing as I could. Took some lessons many years later and we just focused on the traditional rudiments, I had never learned them and to this day still lack in that area. Playing along to recorded music was how I practiced most, which did help my sense of time. But interacting with other musicians has been the best way I have grown as a player, as you all can attest to. Yes I wish I had started younger and had more formal lessons to aid my development and broaden my vocabulary, but I'm certainly still happy I can play to a tolerable level (for others) and enjoy it
    I’m with you there 100%.
    Way Too Much Crap

  10. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by JY Kelly View Post
    *coughADPLACEMENT!!cough*
    Ha ha! I appreciate that. I'm actually curious about this stuff, and I write a blog so I'm always curious as to what people think about the things I write about. I like to learn from people's experiences and views as I think these enrich mine.

    But, yes, I can see how it can come across as that!

  11. Registered User

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    Yes, agreed with you 100%. And thanks for reading the blog; glad you liked it. I love hearing people's takes on the stuff I write as, like I said to JY Kelly, it enriches my own experience and widens my horizons.

    Anyhow, self-awareness is such a massive aspect of it, isn't it. Partly why it's very important to record oneself, not just audio but video too. Similarly, having a mirror is a good idea to have positioned strategically so you can see what / how you're doing things.


  12. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy H View Post
    I learned to play drums on my own starting when I was a freshman in college back in 1983. Nobody in my family had any musical background. I had no special talent; just the desire. I don't read music, can't play most rudiments but can pretty much play any song I hear on the radio.

    I look back on my "drumming career" and am very pleased what I accomplished.

    You don't have to be a great drummer to be very successful in the local scene. All it takes is being a team player.
    Great thoughts. My experience has been the same.

    I would only add that a solid kick and snare sound can make you stand out regardless of any other "chops."
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