A place for your questions (and answers) ...

Q. Why are there no written instructions or diagrams in the books?

    • The Teacher and Student Method books were created for use with a personal instructor. It is always recommended to seek guidance with a professional teacher when learning an instrument, because you have hands-on instruction with an expert who can demonstrate the correct way to play. You can learn by yourself, but it will always take much longer, and you can pick up some bad habits that will hold you back in the future.

Q. What are the Teacher’s Notes pages for?

    • The Teacher’s Notes pages are there instead of instructional pages and diagrams. Your instructor is able to show you, first hand, how you should be gripping your sticks, striking the drum head, developing the Moeller Technique, etc. Sometimes, he/she will need to write things down, especially when you are learning how to read and write drum music. Think of the Teacher’s Notes pages being used like a school teacher uses a blackboard, to write demonstrations that explain every new topic, and it will be there for you when you practice as a reminder. This way, your instructor is able to craft your lessons in a way that is tailor-made for your own needs and level of understanding.

Q. Where can I find a teacher near me?

    • It’s not usually as easy as looking through the Yellow Pages, but a search on the internet can help. Check into local music stores that offer lessons. Or, if you would prefer someone to come to your house, there are some companies out there that offer “mobile” music lessons. Make sure that they perform a background check on their instructors. Other than that, you can check out our Teacher Directory.

Q. What if I want to learn by myself or work with a parent or guardian?

    • It is still possible to use The Teacher and Student Method books without a teacher, but you will need additional material to help you with the techniques required, not to mention the reading and writing of drum music. I personally recommend the Drum Lessons Girl DVD, because it walks you through the basics just like an actual teacher would, and is filled with friendly and clear instructions. It could also be useful for a teacher that is new to the game. You can then go through the exercises here, to further your studies.

Q. Why is there not an electronic (Kindle) version?

    • The books were designed as an interactive teaching manual for your teacher. So, unless there is an electronic reader that allows you to compose notes and drum notation, then it isn’t much use. We’re going Old School, baby!

Q. Why are there not many exercises on rudiments?

    • For the average modern drummer, there is not much of a need for rudiments. The fundamentals are here and explored, but for the most part, you never really use more than 3-4 rudiments in modern Pop or Rock styles of music. I would absolutely recommend learning all the rudiments, but not until later on, when the student is starting to explore more complex patterns and beats. There are already many great books that extensively tackle rudiments, and the ones I recommend are cited in the About This Book section inside the books.

Q. Why are some of the subjects very repetitive?

    • Because they’re supposed to be. Drummers, especially beginners, need to build up a good, solid drumming vocabulary. I should emphasize that you cannot cover any subject too much ... the more, the merrier. A drummer has to be a “solid” player, that can carry a beat and stay in time. The band will fall apart and sound sloppy if the main timekeeper—namely, us—is all over the place. Some subjects are also repetitive because they are a little trickier to get down, and simply require more practice. Remember, for the most part, as drummers, we are repeating things a lot when we play music as it’s our job to keep the music flowing!

Q. Why does it take so long to get to playing “off” the beat?

    • In my time as a teacher, I have found that working on synchronization (hitting with the beat, or hi-hat) is paramount for a beginner. The playing gets sloppy if the student is trying to tackle more complex patterns too soon, so book one works heavily on keeping the drummer grounded. I believe that staying in time is achieved easier when the player is learning to play with a “steady” rhythm first.

Q. Why is the sticking that way?

    • I use the most common form of sticking in my books, which is known as “Traditional Sticking.” It is geared for a right-handed player, and follows a pattern that makes things easier to learn, as well as allowing the beginning student to keep in time more naturally. If you are left-handed (which can be a huge blessing), then your teacher can simply adjust the sticking patterns for you. Either way, it’s not a bad idea to try out both left-handed and right-handed variations, no matter which is your main sticking hand.

Q. The book is written for a five-piece drum set with a crash and ride cymbal. What if I am missing any of those?

    • A five-piece drum set with a crash and ride is the basic minimum I would recommend for any beginning drummer. Four-piece setups are also popular, but I think it is good to start off with five (three toms + bass + snare), just to see if you use tom 2 much with your playing. The drum manufacturers seem to agree with this, because almost all starter kits come with three toms. If you happen to have anything different, your teacher can adjust the exercises accordingly.

Q. Why do I need to play most exercises four times?

    • Four is the magic number, in that most song sections are structured around multiples of four bars. For example, listen to a song and see how many times it repeats a pattern during the verse or the chorus ... chances are, that it is a multiple of four. So, it is good to group sections into fours, as it will make counting bars a lot easier, especially when you are in your first band that is writing its own songs. When you are tackling the exercises, remember that being able to count how many times you have played a particular pattern is also very important.

Q. Should I practice with a metronome?

    • YES!!! Not just drummers, but all musicians need to practice with a metronome. It is the single thing that makes you a “solid” performer. If you are aspiring to be a professional drummer, or even a decent one in any form, then remember that following a “click track” is not only advised, but a requirement. There is always one present when you are recording in a studio, and it is becoming more common for live performers to play with a “backing track,” which also requires a metronome to be present. Your teacher can help plan your practice sessions and set the tempos for you to work with. You can buy metronomes in music stores, but there are other options nowadays with apps for your phone or tablet. There is also a free metronome at metronomeonline.

Q. How often should I practice?

    • It’s easy for me to say “whenever you can,” but realistically speaking, try to do at least 15-20 minutes every day. But do it EVERY DAY, because that way things stick with you better, and your brain and “muscle memory” absorb things more thoroughly. It is always important to warm up first, and your teacher can help you to create a routine, based on your level of ability. Remember, playing an instrument (especially drums) is a physical activity, and you need to stay in shape. I also recommend Drum Aerobics or Daily Drum Warm-Ups by Andy Ziker, as companion books to work on warm-ups and staying in shape.

Q. What do I do when I finish the books?

    • The game is never over; there is always something new to learn! My advice would be to pick a particular style of music, and learn that extensively. There are many great books out there for a whole range of styles, and I listed my favorites in the Resources section. And don’t just learn one style ... pick a whole selection!

Q. Since I started drumming, I have inadvertently started to tap my hands or fingers on pretty much every surface I come in contact with. I also click my teeth if there is nothing to hit my hands on ... is there anything I can do about this?

    • No. You have now opened Pandora’s Box, and the rhythm is pumping through your veins ... at all times! ;-)

Q. Will there ever be web videos or online lessons available for the exercises in this book?

    • As I said, I will always recommend getting your own teacher so that you can have the exercises and techniques explained to you until you get it right. It’s simply the best way to learn. Also, you are helping to support a dedicated army of musicians to help pay their bills. So, it is very unlikely ... but I will never say “never!”

Q. We want to try out the drums first before committing to buying a book. What can we use in the meantime?

    • There is a Beginner’s Packet available for download in the Resources section. This should keep you busy for a while, until you realize that drumming is indeed filling the hole in your heart.

Q. Why are there no songs or song examples in the books?

    • Due to copyright laws. However, my good friend, Dan Brigstock, has a huge selection online that you can pick and choose from. So, head on over to drumscore.com to get your mind (and body) blown!

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