20 Things I Have Learned About Teaching (So Far)

1) Single stroke roll is easily the most important sticking for all students to learn. Forget paradiddles at the beginning, RLRL is where it's at!

2) Accents via the downstroke is the next step, technique-wise.

3) Who you are in front of the student is almost as important as what you teach. I learned this from working in the public school system.

4) Hitting 2 and 4 on the snare strongly adds energy to the rock beat. Teach it early.

5) Local school bands are vital to the motivation of drum students. If the band has low expectations, plays infrequently and exists mosty for band trips, it is harder to get quality students.

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6) Not everyone is interested in the fine art of drumming (or should be). Don't put them off of music.

7) The drum set is a unique instrument and should not be treated as an extension of the snare or practice pad.

8) Not many students listen to jazz.

9) It's too bad more students aren't interested in the keyboard instruments (marimba, vibes, etc.). They are such groovy instruments.

10) Getting students to practice is always a work in progress. Sometimes lessons are their only real practice time.

11) Talk less, show more.

12) Musical training creates better drummers. Drummers should be musicians who play drums.

13) Not much has changed in the percussion section since I was in one in the 1970s. Girls still have to fight for recognition, drummers get bored and break stuff, one drummer can monopolize the good parts, playing tests often reflect bad pedagogy and unreal expectations, students are kept off the drum set until later, drums are sometimes seen as second class instruments.

14) Drummers can make or break a band. A well trained percussion section can knock the socks off any audience.

15) Counting quarter notes while readng is more important than "one-e-an-a". Easily trainable skill that must be taught early.

16) Practice time has more competition from the internet, sports, and video games.

17) Girls seem to read better than guys.

18) Percussion needs more girls.

19) Percussion sections need leaders to dole out parts in a fair manner.

20) Sticking affects reading. Correct stickings and lo and behold, reading improves!