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Learning to Play the Drums

Billy Kilson Billy Kilson Photo by Morrice Blackwell

Do you enjoy rocking out to the radio and can’t stop tapping to the beat? If you’ve ever thought about learning to play the drums, we’re here to help. The Jazz Review asked the pros for a bit of advice on how to find the right instructor to get you started with drum lessons.

“Having a good drum set teacher is a great thing.  He or she can open your musical eyes to hitherto unknown sonic horizons and should be able to help you achieve your musical goals more quickly and efficiently,” said Philip May, a 30-year teaching veteran (Greenwood Drum Studio - Sudbury, Ontario, Canada)
May also pointed out that “a good drum set teacher knows how to communicate.  He should be empathetic and a good listener … a good drum set teacher knows her subject.”

There is also more to being a good instructor than just knowing the subject. “A good drum set teacher will have an open mind.  It's the destination that counts, not the way you get there.  There is often more than one way to achieve the same result and as such your teacher should be able to vary her approach with each individual.  That they have a basic understanding of different learning styles is a plus … a good drum set teacher is a person of integrity who you must feel is worthy of your respect,” said May.

We also asked Grammy-winning drummer Billy Kilson (Chris Botti, Dave Holland Quintet and more) his opinion on the number one thing students need to look for in a teacher. “Dedication.  Your teacher should be dedicated to you and your growth as well as dedicated to his or her craft,” he said.

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