• Welcome to Drummer Cafe Community Forum.

Re:Drum Teachers and Attitude

Started by DirtBomb, July 12, 2002, 12:05 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


You have to listen to this guy, he may sound like a hard ass and all but he sounds like he knows what he is talking about, and it's true that after seeing you play for 10 min or however long he said, he'll know what to show you, these guys know what they're doing it

Peter Jeffery

C'mon Side!  Who's the cat?   How about a hint??   He reminds me of Chaffee in his attitude (although couldn't be Chaffee if he's in San Fran)  ....I'd personally let those guys take me to the next level if I had such an opportunity,  attitude or not.   Funny about the third person thing.  Reminds me of Seinfeld.  "Jimmy likes Elaine."   Is it Chet Deboe??


65 per hour is steep.

Especially just to get your swing happening.

I used to do some teaching and the older students actually gave me the attitude, but since I was so hungry, it was like...Yes masterand then I would shred them into little pieces

BUT, I think you should get some respect as well.  Some teachers are Nazi's and that is how they teach...some are cream puffs, some are flakes and will let you do anything or are always "bizzy".  I don't know what kind will be best for you.  Remember, they have a regimen background that they are comfortable with.

I'm going to take some jazz lessons this winter from a guy that is just really cool.  He exposes me to some stuff, plays it better than me and says "try it like this".  And we talk about music, he usually recommends some cds/play alongs, check out a video...that's all you really need.

Have you gone thru Jim Chapin's Advanced tech.s yet?
Get Ted Reed's syncopation and learn how to used different filling techniques while reading swing time and you will be set.  

If you havn't, well you don't need a high profile guy to get you going because really you are just a beginner with good time and rock chops.  Syncopating jazz is another animal....  Find a college music teacher that will take you for 15-18 per half hour.


Big Yummy

Go see him play.

Some instructors (of any subject) have developed their own cirriculum.  They'll figure out where you are in that cirriculum and then get you started on it.  

They're not going to design every lesson just for you.  

You might get a lot from a defined cirriculum, but not necessarily what you were looking for.

Think of it as signing up for a college or university course, as opposed to hiring a tutor.  Which is for you?

Bart Elliott

Give me his name ... so I can find his address ... so I can go beat some sense into him! My lord what an arrogant @$$. If ANYONE thinks I'm arrogant ... well ... I'm nothing like this guy! LOL  :D

Here's my opinion on this "teacher" based on what I got from Sidereal's post:

First, I can tell the guy isn't a young lad anymore; he's older and doesn't want to put up with people; period.

Secondly, he's lacking patience. Don't know if I would want to study with someone who lacked patience ... especially when I can see it so early on ... and over the phone no doubt. We all know how many times we misunderstand each other on this forum, via the written word. We can't see each other's body language, and certainly can't hear the tone with which the words are delivered. But, over the phone, with the words that were used, it seems pretty clear where he's coming from. In his defense, he probably gets calls from very young players who try to tell him how to teach, so he starts throwing his weight around. He automatically put Sidereal in this category without really knowing. It's a safety mechanism for this guy and establishes who's boss very quickly. I don't like this type of posturing ... so I typically just say "no thanks" and hang up (I do it all the time with bands, artists, etc.).

Third ... his attitude may work for teaching at the college or university level ... but not private lessons (in my opinion). When I used to teach at schools of higher learning, I would determine what the student needed to work on to fulfill the course requirements. If Sidereal told me he wanted to play Jazz ... I would tell him that we are going make sure that he is proficient in ALL styles and that I've got a course outline for him ... a goal or lesson plan for the next _____ years. BUT ... we aren't talking about college are we? This is a private lesson. If a degree is not going to be awarded for studying drums, I think the process is MUCH different.

A private lesson is synonymous with private consultation. If you HIRE me as your consultant, then I'm going to CONSULT you an what YOU want to be consulted on. When you hire a trainer to help lose weight, tone up, etc., they ASK you what your goals are! I could go on and on with the analogies ... you get the picture. It would be different if Sidereal said "I want to learn Jazz", the teacher hears and sees him play ... which then prompts the teacher to say "we need to work on some technique first" ... and then Sidereal resists, etc. If you go to the doctor, the doctor takes the time to HEAR what it is that brought you there to begin with. If you start telling the doctor "well, I have this pain right here, so I need you to prescribe _____ medication and I'll be on my way," things aren't going to go so well. The doctor should hear what is bothering you, check it out, and make an assessment. He/she may find something that warrants further tests, etc. (Sidereal isn't going in for a general check-up, he's going in with a particular issue to be looked at) This is how a private instructor should be (at least in my mind) and this is how I conduct myself with my students. I listen, make assessments, communicate what I've found, and encourage redirection if it's called for.

So ... I don't know if this kind of attitude is common or not Sidereal. I've run across it before and I don't like it ... and usually don't tolerate it. We all have different temperaments ... so maybe this is just how this guy communicates. BUT ... you are PAYING him to teach you and communicate knowledge! I can get this kind of attitude off the street ... I sure don't need to pay for it. As a good friend of mine once said ... "it's business, so keep it there ... don't get personal with it ... keep it on a professionallevel."

If you feel that you have the strength to put up with him, and you know he has a great musical reputation, then maybe you should still consider studying with him.

At the risk of sounding judgmental, I have to say that this guy sounds like the stereotypical New York / New Jersey, old school posturing for survival purposes. Based on your description, I would bet he's a better player than teacher. Telling you to come out to hear him play doesn't automatically mean he is a good communicator and/or teacher ... or that studying with him will make you a great player. We all know plenty of incredible players who don't know or can't explain what the heck they are doing. Now THAT's frustrating ... to try and study under somone like that.

I had a couple of lessons with a well known instructor (in the area where I live) ... and he also teaches at a major music school. I've played with musicians (here and in another state) who have played with this guy, and they all had good things to say about his playing. I called the guy up and told him what I wanted to work on ... and why I was wanting some lessons. I told him that I wanted him to dissect my playing, and be a hard ass when it comes to my technique. Interesting enough, like Sidereal, I was wanting to focus on Jazz, which was this instructors main bag. So I take my lesson and the guy immediate starts me out on the first three tracks of Essential Styles ... which are NOT jazz styles. With no regard to my requests, my teaching experience (I teach out of this very book and know it forwards and backwards), or my degrees in music, this guy immediate choose to believe that I didn't know what I needed to work on ... so he started from the beginning. I took a second lesson ... same scenario. He was not giving me what I wanted ... and talked (75% of the lesson time)about things that had nothing to do about me, music, the lesson ... you get the idea? After my third (and last) lesson with this guy ... I clearly saw a pattern. I was kind and considerate of him throughout all the lessons, and never disrespected him. He called me up after a number of weeks and wanted to know if I wanted a lesson. I kindly told him "I will no longer be needing your services; thank you" and hung up the phone. If he had asked WHY or WHAT was going on ... I would tell him ... but getting all personal or confrontational does absolutely no good unless the other party is open and willing to work on it.

Let me say that last sentence again, just a little differently ... I think it's worth clarifying.

Confronting someone will only produce positive results if BOTH parties are willing and wanting to work at resolving the differences. This applies to every relationship you'll ever have on this planet; spouse, employer ... and teacher. If you are unable to communicate with this individual ... you either have to continue trying, taking little steps over a course of time ... or you have to bail. What you choose to do will be based on what you are willing to put into the relationship. If you want to keep your job, then you'll have to deal with your boss. If you want to keep your marriage, then you'll have to love your spouse unconditionally and deal with the differences. If you want to study with this guy ... you are going to have to deal with his attitude and posturing; if not, then just walk away.


Sidereal, screw this guy (I hope it is not D.G. because I really respect and dig his playing and have been working out of two of his books). The instructor should not dictate to you what styles of playing you want to peruse. He should recommend to you what areas should be worked on regrding your technique and work with you on those deficiancies if there are any.  The "prime time" statement sounds like jive arrogance to me.

Some of the people here know I study with Joe Morello. This is the first lesson started with Joe. Joe asked what I wanted to work on, not vice-versa. After we discussed this he asked me to play some singles and doubles for him. Joe immediately knew what areas of technique I needed to work on. He then gave me some exercises on the style of playing I wanted to pursue with him along with technique exercises, not the other way around. It has been total bliss studying with this master.

There have been several occasions where Joe has said, hey if you want to study with such-and-such go ahead. I would never stop you from studying with another drummer. That shows that Joe is totally secure in himself and in his playing and instructing. To me that is how a true world-class instructor and player should conduct themselves. Not the way this person conducted during the phone conversation with you.

James Walker

I don't have as strong a negative reaction as Bart does, but this person's attitude does raise some red flags for me.  The fact that he's not interested in what *you* want to work on, makes me wonder what kind of versatility he has.  To be honest, the "I'm not willing to be auditioned" comment just reeks of insecurity - if he's truly confident in his teaching abilities, he won't mind being compared to other teachers - and if he really is dedicated to education and to seeing young musicians learn, he won't object to them studying with someone else (to echo Steve's comments).

As one of my teachers said to me, "In music, no one has 'the corner' on the truth."

Ask this teacher if he'll give you a list of his "alumni" - find out if he has current or former students who are willing to discuss their studies with him.  If he's serious about his teaching, he should have a list of contacts and referrals.  Not just names ("hey, kid, Joe Gazoo studied with me, and he's a badass player, now give me my $65..."), but contact information:  "Here are five students who have worked with me if you'd like to hear what I'm about as a teacher."  Given everything else I've read here - he doesn't want to hear what YOU want to work on??? - if he's not willing to do that, then I'd find somebody else.

As far as studying with a "big name" is concerned...it means nothing in the long run, outside of what you learn in the lessons.  Nobody cares who you studied with, only whether you can play.  Now, studying with a "big name" can be great - Steve just mentioned his studies with Joe Morello - because of the experience and wisdom they can impart - IF they are good teachers as well.  But studying with a "name" for the sake of "studying with a name" is a waste of time and money if they can't teach worth spit.

Keep asking around in your area - I'm sure you can find a teacher who wants to actually teach, versus a player who charges "students" for his time purely to augment his income.  Some of the best teachers are indeed taskmasters - there's nothing wrong with being demanding of your students, and often that's the best way to teach something - but if it's all guff and ego with no substance behind it, then you're not going to benefit from it.

Bart Elliott

I think everything James and Steve have said is right on spot.

Mark Schlipper

im with bart, screw this goon.  i dont care how good someone is, theres no excuse for being a jackass.  take elvin for instance, ive heard more than a few stories about people going in to take lessons from elvin jones.  he was friendly, polite, and helped cats work on what they wanted to work on.  if there was an issue the student missed, he'd bring it up, but he was no facist.  you can find better.

and just because someone is talented, or famous, doesnt mean they are better than some unknown guy at the local shop.  i studied bass with eliot wadopian.  nobody really knows him.  hes just this cat from north carolina who  happens to be one of the finest bassists ive heard.  hes even played on grammy winning albums.  but hes just a regular shmoe, teaching at the local college.  same with reuben radding.  a bass player here in seattle (actually he just moved).  he studied with some of the best in the jazz world.  even has a sun ra tribute band that former members of the arkestra totally endorse.  killer player, great guy, great teacher.

Mark Schlipper

oh yeah, one more thing on topic.  if youre in seattle, and want lessons i recommend the folks at the seattle drum school.   john wicks for jazz and funk and generally smooth kinda stuff.  and mike peterson for jazz, rock, metal, avant garde, wierd, whatever.  these guys are great drummers, friendly people, and excellent teachers.


Thanks guys. :) I knew I'd get some great advice here. I'm going to keep on with my search and find someone I can get a better rapport with. I really don't mind getting my ass kicked into shape in a positive way, but I can do without the negativity. I think I may buy a couple of his books though! ;D

btw, I'm not going to say his name. I thought about it again, but I don't want to hurt anyone's reputation.


i dont know who im quoting now, but:
"the best drummers in the world are the best teachers"

If i think about the fact to have lessons with a big name drummer, and who charges about 65$ per hour, i would wonder if there isnt some old talented jazzdrummer hanging in a local pub with whom you can probably get along with much better, and charges only a free beer or so.

Louis Russell

Being a great drummer does not automatically make a great teacher.  I recently retired after teaching for more than 30 years.  I was a flight instructor and a pilot examiner so I am well aware of the problems of combining technical knowledge and eye/muscle coordination in an instructional situation.  Some of the best pilots I have known were lousy teachers and some of the best instructors were lousy pilots.  Also remember, not all teachers will be compatable with or an effective instructor for all students.  The most important factor to consider is can you establish a line communications with the instructor.  The greatest drummer in the world will be unable to transfer his knowledge if he is unable to communicate effectively.

Bart Elliott

Quote from: asklouis on July 13, 2002, 08:20 AM
Being a great drummer does not automatically make a great teacher.  I recently retired after teaching for more than 30 years.  I was a flight instructor and a pilot examiner so I am well aware of the problems of combining technical knowledge and eye/muscle coordination in an instructional situation.  Some of the best pilots I have known were lousy teachers and some of the best instructors were lousy pilots.  Also remember, not all teachers will be compatable with or an effective instructor for all students.  The most important factor to consider is can you establish a line communications with the instructor.  The greatest drummer in the world will be unable to transfer his knowledge if he is unable to communicate effectively.

Great point again. Makes me think of how the brain works.

The left hemisphere is dominant in verbal, analytic, abstract and logical activities.  The right hemisphere is dominant in nonverbal, analogic, nontemporal, intuitive, and spatial activities.

People that are extremely creative may lack the ability to fully express or teach what it is that they do.

The ideal situation would be to fully develop both sides of the brain to work together in a more balanced manner. It's a proven fact that patients, having lost one complete side of their brain, are able to relearn and develop the remaining portion of the brain to carry out the tasks that were lost. It's an incredible thing really, but I'm getting off topic.

I think we all have to be careful to not discount someone because of some lack that we may see which is not directly related to the task at hand. We assume that a great player can teach us to do what he/she does; and equally assume that someone who lacks the "wow" in their playing ... automatically means that there is nothing we can learn from them, and therefore would make a terrible teacher. Two extremes for sure. The key, in my mind, is to find the balance with each individual, and go from there.

Now I've just got to start doing what I say.