My goal as a teacher is to maintain the enthusiasm students enjoy when they begin drum lessons. Every student hopes that enrolling in lessons is the start of an exhilarating and rewarding experience. I sustain this interest by empowering students’ musical improvement and achievement.
Through my experience as a performer and educator, I’ve learned that significant musical progress is always linked to three actions: collaboration, organization and problem solving. These actions are crucial skills that students can apply to any discipline, profession or enterprise. My lessons are designed to refine these skills while cultivating students’ passion for music.
Each student’s curriculum is planned in 12-16 week segments around collaborative performance projects. These are either live recital performances or performance videos. Often, these are duo performances with myself or ensembles with other student musicians. Regular performance collaborations provide students with intermediate goals and rewarding accomplishments.
The students and I begin working on each performance project by organizing a timeline. This timeline features regular, tangible short term objectives that confirm the student is making progress towards their performance goal. The short term objectives are documented in video submissions that verify the student’s progress.
Between each lesson I ask students to correspond with me by recording and uploading 1-2 short videos their practice material. I respond quickly to the student’s videos with written or video feedback. If the student is taking an hour lesson, there is 45-50 minutes of live instruction and the remaining time in each lesson is reserved so I can watch and respond to the student’s videos. The video submissions increase student accountability and provide me with the opportunity to clarify my instruction or provide timely feedback.
Playing the drums requires synchronizing motor and aural skills with visual and conceptual information. Virtually everyone is capable of coordinating these tasks but it’s an intricate and distinct process for each person. Through experimentation and problem solving students and I develop effective sequencing and practice methods that facilitate students’ improvement. Developing this type of abstract problem solving teaches students how to be self-sufficient learners.
Collaboration, organization and problem solving enhance the excitement students feel when they begin lessons. Collaboration provides students with mentorship and performance accomplishments. Organization documents and verifies the student’s progress. Problem solving affords students the ability to teach themselves.