Tag Archives: drumming

Proud day

Hi everyone. It’s impossible for me not to blurt out to the world how proud I am as a drum teacher right now. We have just received the pinnacle of academic achievement I have ever seen in my 14 years of teaching.    For some years now I have been teaching a young lad called Charlie Westbrook.  He is the perfect example of what can be achieved with the right level of commitment, enthusiasm and love for music.  So anyway, this young man just took his Grade 8 in Drumkit (Trinity Guildhall syllabus) and received a result of a pass of 99%!!   Knowing how tough the marking and scrutiny is under Trinity Guildhall and the requirements at this level and versatility required compared to rock syllabus’, this is an incredible achievement.  And it doesn’t stop there. He’s hungry for more.


We have a new deal available (which is unique to us), which allows you to save lots of money.

Basically you can book your lessons and learn in a pair instead of one to one, and split the fee between you paying only £10 each (half the normal fee).

Of course this means your learning time will be split between two but you can actually learn a lot by observing each other and learning together.   You will still each receive the same material each.   You may bring and book in with a friend or let us assign a student.

RULES APPLY!     You may find to begin with you are having a lesson one to one to begin with depending upon demand.  During those periods you can remain on the £10 rate.   If the other student drops out a new one will be assigned as available.   If you decide at some point to move to One to One lessons, you will need to book in separately and pay the normal £20 rate.     Lessons should normally be paid for in a block of 4 in advance (unless I agree to weekly terms).  Lessons are generally weekly.  Cancelled agreed lesson dates should be paid for in full.  If for some reason I am unable to provide a lesson in a particular week (which is rare), I will refund that week in full.

Please turn up on time- Not half an hour early or half and hour late. We have quite a tight schedule and its not fair to interrupt other peoples lessons.

To book call or email.

We look forward to you joining the fun.

Possible second band on the horizon

I have been mulling over for a while, the idea of working in a second band. Due to the nature of Demoniser, availability of the people in it means its not really possible to increase the number of gigs. I have recently been having a look through some material following a message from a band I know who may be looking at a personnel change soon.   This would be very different material stylistically from Demoniser.

What this space for new info soon.

Whiplash- Too much of a backlash from ‘famous’ drummers!

Its been interesting reading from some critics and drummers (mostly Jazz artistes) who have had a word to say about Whiplash the movie.   I think they are looking at it all wrong.

There are criticisms about the abusive main character for one thing. Maybe its true that Jazz musicians are too free spirited to allow an abusive man like that and maybe nobody exists like that.  They also criticise the fact the young lads hero is Buddy Rich but how can Buddy be an inspiration when he was a techno whizz showboat and tv personality and therefore not a great jazz inspiration?!!

I’m totally at odds with all that.  Firstly it’s a drama. Did anyone imply it’s was a documentary and would that be anywhere near as entertaining?   I think the way the character behaved was obviously awful and abusive but the film to me was about ultimate dedication and a want to succeed.   I don’t see the problem with Buddy Rich being an influence either. It doesn’t matter who your influence is so long as it drives you.  He wasn’t trying to be Buddy.  Another drummer in the film was trying to be a techno whizz and was blasted out of the way in the end.   It’s the first time I’ve heard Buddy as not being a good influence to Jazz. Very odd.  I’ve seen some performances that were quite restrained actually, for example the West side story show.

Anyway, I would personally highly recommend this film. Great drama and a good story about dedication to an art.

Motivation and practice

Motivation and practice– for students and parents alike

These two words that seem to instil fear and dread in all concerned.  This includes teachers, students be it children or adults, and parents.   For children, parents need to play a more active role in their child’s practice.   I’ve notice the children that tend to do well have support and involvement from their parents.  So, that in itself is tricky.  What if the parents are unmotivated people who would rather stick their kids in front of the telly and/or Xbox for an easy life.  A tricky one I think you’ll agree. Parents need to realise the importance of their role rather than focussing on whether the child seems interested in their musical instrument or not. Too often I’ve heard parents say he didn’t practice much these last couple of weeks so we won’t be having lessons anymore.  As a parent, you need to realise that in some cases at least you need to put in your own input, encouragement and positive reinforcement into your child’s interest.   Of course, with adults it’s a slightly different story but more or less the same from partners in terms of support is equally useful.

So practice, do we need it or can we progress with lessons alone?  In a way yes with regular lessons you can progress but it will be at a much slower rate than someone who does regular practice. This might seem obvious to some.   Much of our learning as human beings is related to repetition and observation.  Think of your early days as a toddler.  When you were learning to walk and fell flat on your face did you give up?

Rewarding isn’t really effective.  Possibly in the short term but you are reinforcing the idea that it is a chore.   I think the better results come from thinking about goals.   Write them down!   I think as students or parents we focus too much on time.  Practice for 15, or 30 mins a day.  What’s so special about these specific times?    If you focus on goals (which should be appropriately challenging to your level), it doesn’t matter whether it take 5.745126 mins or 1 hour precisely. Think about daily goals, weekly goals and monthly goals.   For children don’t be annoyed if they miss a day. It could mean they will practice twice as long the next day.

Examples of personal goals could be play an exercise without mistakes or play so many bars without mistakes or perhaps, play this technique for so many strokes per hand etc etc etc.

From a teachers point of view I would use positive reinforcement and encourage students when they do well and justify it by telling them why and how they did well.  “Now try this……”

Help your children fall in love with the instrument of choice.  Show them what music can be about. Take them to a concert, local gig or festival (but don’t spend too long on the bouncy castle!).

Know your child and find what motivation works for them. No two children are the same.

Step in the room when they are practising. Don’t judge, instead praise and monitor.

As a teacher and parent a great golden rule for learning is expect their best not your best.

What I also try and do as a teacher is show that I am a student aswell.  I’ve never stopped learning.  For me the discovery is one of the most fun parts.

If possible attend drumming events, shows, competitions, talent contests, clinics, charity events and get involved.  Try and always finish practise on a positive note.  If something is not quite going to plan, finish on a high. Have a muck about or play to your favourite song.

Food for thought anyway.