Modern Drummer’s review of How to Teach Drums (June 2014 issue) says “Want a career in education or simply a better structure for your lesson plans? Look no further.”
I’m delighted that “How to Teach Drums” has been reviewed and recommended by Modern Drummer. It’s the USA’s biggest drum magazine and I’ve enjoyed reading the magazine for years (it’s a lot easier to get hold of in the UK than it used to be!). It’s great that I’m able to help current and potential drum teachers across the world.
Here’s the review in full (reproduced from Modern Drummer’s June 2014 issue, page 89):
HOW TO TEACH DRUMS: YOUR GUIDE TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL DRUM TEACHER
by Claire Brock
“In this no-nonsense, notation-free, easy-to-read textbook-style manual, Claire Brock outlines several basic ideas geared toward helping you begin instructing students of all levels. Whether shedding light on the subjects students are interested in learning, illustrating a proper way of explaining fills, or providing tips on teaching with Skype or YouTube, Brock offers valuable insight that could come only from extensive experience. A key component is her concept of the drumming time line – what you want to teach and the order in which you want to teach it. Modern issues like building a website and thoughts on advertising are also touched on, so you can return to the book even after you’re past the point of explaining single strokes to beginner students. Want a career in education or simply a better structure for your lesson plans? Look no further.” Ilya Stemkovsky
Many thanks to Ilya and Modern Drummer.
In “Rudiments Aren’t Boring. #1“, I talked about using paradiddles in beats to make them more interesting for your students. This time we’re super-charging that idea to an advanced level with a 7/8 linear groove that, if I do say so myself, sounds killer! I’ve been teaching it to a few of my students recently and they’re loving it (as you’ll see, it’s definitely not for beginners, but you could always play it to them to inspire them to practice their rudiments more!).
It’s made up of 3 paradiddles followed by 2 singles:
RLRR LRLL RLRR LR
Download the pdf here to use in lessons. It’s best explained in person, so without further ado, here’s the video:
Hopefully it’ll show your students how useful rudiments are for creating both linear and odd time grooves.
Hope you like the new drum kit, it’s a Premier Spitfire, sounds and looks stunning! Watch out for the next installment in the “Rudiments Aren’t Boring” series where it’s time to move away from paradiddles onto another equally useful rudiment!
When teaching drums to beginners, one of the first things you’ll need to show them is how to hold their drumsticks. There are a few different grips you can use and they all have their strengths, weaknesses and most suitable applications. Personally when starting beginners I use matched grip (German) with first finger fulcrum, but whichever you choose to teach, the most import thing is to be able to describe it to your students in a clear, concise and memorable way.
The following extract is taken from How to Teach Drums p21:
Before even thinking about playing a drum, you’re going to have to show your student how to hold the sticks. Some of you might never have really thought about how you hold your sticks. Perhaps you were shown in your very first lesson or if you’re self-taught, do what you’ve seen on videos or what feels right to you. This is where I think teaching is great for every drummer as it actually makes you analyse what you do, especially technically, and can make you a much better player as a result. Look where the stick is in relation to your fingers and work out how to explain this to your students.
In the book I go on to describe in detail how I explain the positions of wrist/fingers/stick etc. to my students, as shown in this video:
Common issues I find are the students holding the stick too tight, not having any stick out the back of their hand (if there’s some markings/words on their sticks that happen to be in the same place as their thumb for example, I tell them to always look for that when holding their sticks) and pointing their first finger up the stick towards the tip rather than gently wrapping it round the stick. Once you’ve sorted these issues, it’s all about flicking from their wrists and getting a good rebound off the drum.
Hopefully this has given you some things to consider when explaining how to hold drumsticks. Helping your students get their grip right from day one will make your and their lives much easier in the long run.
Rhythm Magazine’s 4 star review of How to Teach Drums (Dec 2013 Issue), recommends anyone seriously thinking of getting into teaching to get a copy of the book and keep in it within reach.
I can’t tell you how pleased I am. Firstly, it’s great to feature in the pages of a magazine I’ve been reading since I was a kid, but most excitingly because respected drum teacher Colin Woolway (Founder of “Drumsense“) basically says that I’ve achieved exactly what I hoped to do when I started writing the book!
Here’s the review in full (reproduced from Rhythm Magazine’s December 2013 issue, page 20):
HOW TO TEACH DRUMS
A ‘kit-side’ companion for the budding teacher
“Claire Brock’s useful guide for drum tutors contains some really valuable advice and embraces not only lesson planning but contemporary aspects of teaching such as Skype teaching, website building and YouTube videos.
Claire delivers her wisdom in a user friendly manner, devoid of jargon, her tips on advertising and things like Public Liability are just the kind of advice an aspiring teacher could use, and she even has tips on dress sense, which if you’ve never taught in a school before, you might not have thought of. Anyone thinking seriously of getting into teaching should get a copy and keep it within reach. (CW)”
Thanks to Rhythm and Colin.
Rudiments don’t have to be boring. In fact, working on them should be fun for both you as a teacher and for your students. They’re the building blocks of so much we do on the drums and can be used in fills, beats and soloing. Don’t just make them a dull snare warm-up at the start of the lesson with no focus.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing a series of blogs (each complete with video) giving you some ideas of how you can teach rudiments in a fun and relevant way. To start us off we’re going to focus on…
There are hundreds of ways you can use RLRR LRLL, but one way I use a lot with my students is as a beat (it’s also great for honing ghost notes). With one hand on the hi-hats and one on the snare, using a mixture of ghost notes and accents, you can create a great sounding beat. Without further ado, here’s the video:
Played on the hi-hats it would be good for funk and fusion, but by moving it to the ride bell you get a much rockier vibe. Get your students adding fills and trying different bass drum patterns too.
I’m really excited to say my new book How To Teach Drums will be released this month on Kindle and in Paperback. I’m also going to be writing this blog with tips, suggestions and ideas about teaching, so subscribe to keep up to date.