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What is a Drum Teacher?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2018
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A drum teacher instructs students in various aspects of playing the drums, from technique and theory to music history. There are several different types of drum teaching jobs available; for instance, an instructor may be employed by a musical training institute or studio, offer private lessons from his home, or lead a middle- or high-school band program. Though drum playing ability is a key requirement for instructors in the field, aptitude alone does not guarantee that the teacher will be successful overall. As with most forms of teaching, an effective instructor should possess broad background knowledge of his field as well as the patience and the skills to communicate with his students clearly.

One of the chief responsibilities of a drum teacher is ensuring that his students learn proper technique. Naturally, the appropriate technique will vary depending on the type of drum which the student is learning to play. For students of the rock-style drum kit, for example, this can include instruction in holding drumsticks correctly and pedal work. In the case of congas or other drums played with the hands rather than sticks, the instructor may instead focus on finger and palm placement.

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Also central to most drum instruction is music theory. The drum teacher will often train his students to read percussion notation, a form of sheet music which uses symbols to direct the player to strike his instrument. Further, he will teach him the principles of time signature, or the number and length of beats in a given segment of music. As musical groups often use a drummer’s beat to keep time, this last point can be particularly important.

Additionally, a drum teacher may instruct his students in different drumming styles. The type of style taught may be dictated by the teacher’s job. A high school band instructor, for instance, may be required to teach a marching style. In other cases, the style taught may depend on the individual student’s preferences; a drummer interested in Latin music, for instance, may benefit from learning the marcha rhythm common to salsa songs. To maximize one’s abilities as a teacher, it is helpful to have a broad knowledge of world music styles and the drum rhythms which correspond to them.

Some students may hire only drum teachers with proven qualifications. Thus it can be helpful to obtain professional training before seeking a position as an instructor. Many universities offer music programs that include coursework in education. Alternatively, a potential teacher might strengthen his credentials by joining a professional organization like a musicians guild.

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