Finding the Path
I think of myself as a guide on my students’ musical journey, helping them navigate the limitless possibilities of an instrument.
Even the newest, youngest, or most challenged student has abilities and strengths that can be used in support of learning music. Whether it’s as simple as singing the ABCs, playing a sport, understanding math, a tendency toward tapping rhythmically on the nearest surface, or hand-eye coordination from playing video games—such strengths can be parlayed into musical application. When helping a new student begin his or her journey, I start with his or her strengths and then take small, achievable steps that add up to significant accomplishment.
As my students’ guide, I believe it’s important to help them have fun while learning to play the drums. I believe in playing music, not just musical exercises, because it improves my students’ abilities and because it’s fun. From the very start I get students, regardless of skill level, to play pieces of music. As we do that, we take the accompanying skills and concepts and find a plethora of uses for them. It’s exciting exploration that offers a lot of results!
I am always mindful that not all students learn in the same way. Some learn better by seeing, some by hearing, some by reading, some from a tactile experience, some by having it explained technically, some by analogy. I evaluate what works best for a student and cater the lessons with that in mind. I find it very effective to present material and concepts in a variety of ways, such as verbal, visual, aural, textual, or kinesthetic.
Passion, Diligence, & Patience
For continued success, I believe in setting and achieving goals, however flexible. Goals, which can be set by me or the student, such as playing at a recital, playing along to a recorded song, performing a piece for school band, composing an original piece, preparing a WSMA performance piece, or rehearsing for a gig. Regardless of the particulars, setting and achieving goals, with their deadline power and self-enforced action, keeps my students moving forward on their musical paths.
In support of all of these things, I believe in daily, focused practice. We learn music because it’s fun. If a student isn’t having fun, then he or she isn’t motivated to practice. Practice is work, but it can and should be fun, as a part of the greater musical endeavor. Needless to say, practice is absolutely necessary to improve. The better you are, the more fun you’ll have. Passion, diligence, and patience are students’ greatest allies in becoming the best musicians they can be!