10 Things to ask potential Skype drum teachers
If you’ve been drumming for a while and also have the internet then you have probably noticed an increase in drummers offering Skype drum lessons. Just in case you’re not familiar, Skype is a video calling software that allows two people to connect via webcam and speakers. It seems that every drummer with an internet connection and a vague interest in teaching has a page on their website offering the service.
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Unfortunately like most things not everyone is equal out there. Hopefully the questions below will help you find the right teacher for you.
1. How long have you been teaching? – You’d be surprised how little teaching experience some of these teachers really have. Being a great drummer and being a great teacher are two different things. If the teacher can’t help you to understand the groove, fill or concept then it doesn’t matter how good they are when you see them play. Hopefully if you find a teacher that has been teaching for a while, then they will understand how different people learn.
2. What will I be learning? – This might seem like a strange one to ask, after all isn’t it the teachers job to teach? Well, yes and no. If I’m paying for lessons I expect to learn what I want and the same is true for my students. I don’t teach double kick to a student that has come to me to learn how to play brushes. There are certain things that I believe all drummers should know but a good teacher will help a student to understand why they would want to learn it and not resort to forcing their ideas on a student.
3. Who have you studied with? – I like to find out who my teachers have learned from as it’s a good gauge of their teaching style and areas that they are likely to excel in. I don’t expect my teachers to have been though college/uni but I want to know they take their education as seriously as I’m taking mine.
4. Do you specialise in anything? – The great thing about learning drums through Skype is the ability to find the master of a topic and get lessons from them. You are no longer limited to learning from the guy down the road just because they are the one that teaches. I recommend finding different teachers depending on what you are wanting to work on. I’m currently looking for a teacher to help me with my drum solos.
5. What material do you supply? – When you have one-to-one drum lessons it’s common to get the topics in the lesson written out for you to take home at the end of the lesson. Having drums lessons on Skype makes this a bit harder. It’s common to have a PDF sent over before the lesson so you can follow along on that. Some Skype drum teachers also record the lessons and let students have that to watch time and time again.
6. What happens if my internet isn’t working? – As with all technology there can sometimes be teething problems. A lot of Skype tutors will offer a first consultation call to check you have the set up working. After that if you have a problem with the connection then you will still have to pay as the teacher won’t be able to book another student at such short notice. If the teacher has a problem then they will usually make this time up at a later date. This practise is different from teacher to teacher which is why it’s important to check.
7. Do you do discounts on bulk lesson buys? – Everyone loves a good discount and there’s no harm in asking if your soon to be drum teacher can offer one. You may be able to get a free lesson when ordering a certain amount or a percentage off.
8. Can I have regular lessons? – Some of the top level pros only offer lessons when it’s convenient to them. Either when they are back from tour or not doing a sting of session dates. This can be a great as you can get loads of information then go work on it till they are back again. The problem can occur when you come up against something that needs addressing quickly. If you get stuck or need something explaining again and know you can’t have another lesson for 6-8 weeks, then it could really slow up your progress and motivation. Having regular weekly lessons also helps to keep you focused. It can be easy to put off practise today or tomorrow if you don’t see the teacher for a while. Knowing you’ll need to show your progress in a week will help you keep on track with regular progress.
9. What gear do I need? – I believe that a standard laptop with built in webcam and microphone is good enough for most lessons. Especially if you are learning on an electronic kit where you can control volume or you are working on rudiments on a practise pad. An acoustic kit will overload and distort a built in microphone but this is still normally ok for lessons. Some teachers might expect a better standard of camera and microphone. This is something that can be discussed in your first consultation call.
10. How often should I practise? – Different teachers will recommend different amounts of practise and different ways to practise. It’s good to make sure you are on the same page with your teacher. If they expect you to put in 2 hours a day and you only have 20 minutes then you could end up butting heads down the line when you don’t make the progress they expect.
I hope this has given you something to think about as you head out into the wide world of the web to find your new drum teacher.
Have you had Skype drum lessons? Are you considering getting any? Who have you got in mind?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. I think online drum lessons are going to get more and more popular in the coming years. Leave a comment in the comment section below.
If you are interested in booking online drum lessons then drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll sort out a free introductory lesson to make sure you have the Skype connection sorted out and have a chat about your drumming goals. That way I’ll be able to put together a course that will help you hit all your drumming and musical goals.
If you want to check out my teaching style then sign up using the form on the right and I’ll email you some free video drum lessons.
If you are interested in my drum books then check the links below
http://amzn.to/13VS8mm – How To Practise Drums – US Kindle Link
http://amzn.to/14JxAzZ – How To Practise Drums – US Paperback Link
http://amzn.to/1d3mzub – How To Practise Drums – UK Kindle Link
http://amzn.to/14JxcSj – How To Practise Drums – UK Paperback Link