Drum Teachers Blog

Grades: nemesis or necessity?

When I was at school, I had two drum-teachers over the course of about twelve months. The first one was retiring and was more interested in skiing, and the replacement had a beard. Nothing wrong with that, but it was his aggression one day that I will only remember after, he had lazily stuck a chart on a music stand and instructed me to simply "play it.” When I fumbled my way badly through the first line, he snatched the sticks right out of my hands and throwing them on the floor, shouted at me: “You’ll never make a drummer!!” It has taken a long time to dissociate beards from aggression.

I stopped going to his lessons, and changed course. I am self taught. Never wanted to see a chart again, and learned my craft by listening to cassettes (remember them?!) and vinyl. Consequently over the years, there was a niggling doubt, that despite all the comments people used to throw at me like ‘amazing’, ‘talented’ and ‘unbelievable’, as a rock drummer playing fairly simple and solid stuff, I never felt like a ‘real drummer’ as I avoided all the basic rudimentary skills like they were for academics. I was rock n roll and on the radio; all the other stuff is for schools and grades, so too late for me.

Well, fast forward to a man who has just turned 49, with greyer hair and tinnitus, and you’ll see a drum teacher in me that actually quite enjoys looking at aspects of the grade books and rudiments especially. Why? The answer may help you if you are – or have been– anything like me. I use the grades as a tool, but also something to address my personal fear of sight reading and understanding all the bizarre little squiggles and notation. Here’s my latest approach: quite frequently I will take a break from song- based teaching and stealing ideas from a tune to show them how often it is used in so many other songs, to focus instead on rudiments such as the Swiss Army Triplet, the Ratamacue and the Pataflafla. Once I’ve spent the lesson going through various elements, I will then ask them a ‘Guess the Grade’ question. Most of my pupils learn for fun and advancement, and don’t do the grades, but I have a handful who do attempt to climb up the grading system. Grades, as you might be able to tell, aren’t my favourite thing to teach, but there’s the punchline: you should see their little faces when you reveal they have actually attempted, and pulled off a Grade 8 bunch of rudiments or even pieces.The latter I did just this week with a Muse track ‘Knight of Cydonia’ (which I remembered a fellow teacher had pointed me to a few years ago on Trinity Rock and Pop.) I took the main section and broke it down into 5 easier stages, the fifth being the actual speed (quite fast). Well, to a man, they all got to the fourth stage!! This included one young man who has struggled with much drumming, but he was beaming! So I say, use the grades as a tool to help your protoges enjoy drumming. Grades still scare me privately, but they are helping me as much as those I instruct. I think that teaching includes a massive amount of encouragement, and celebration of effort and attainment too. That’s why I vowed as a 14 year old that I would never be like that guy with a beard, and I like to think I have proven him wrong. We will never know what our acts of pushing our pupils gently forward with acts of encouragement will don in their lives, and that’s a privilege.

Thanks to Simon Marton for this great article. Please check out Simon's excellent testimonials and profile.

 

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 22nd Sep, 2:52pm

Drum-Ed is a whole bunch of stuff like...

  • free video content
  • premium courses
  • bitesize lessons in under a minute
  • discussions between experienced drummers
  • workshops delivered by guest artists
  • tips and hints from touring pros

Check out this video for more info.

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 30th Aug, 4:25pm

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 28th Aug, 12:43pm

Read all about Kasey's plans to build a new Drum Studio in Belfast: https://kaseypeters.blogspot.com

 

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 1st May, 11:25am

My name is Gideon Waxman and I’m a 24-year-old drummer from London. I have been playing for over 13 years and I studied music performance at the University of Westminster. As a working musician, I regularly perform events and parties as a freelance percussionist. Additionally I teach drums and I get a lot of satisfaction from helping my students progress and improve their ability.

I’m also the drummer of metal outfit Familiar Spirit, and we have just announced we will embark on a tour in July with legendary metal heavyweights ‘Mushroomhead’ around the UK!

I set up my website Drum Helper to be a reliable and high quality source of information for all things drums. I have written educational guides for important aspects of drumming such as The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Recording Drums and How To Ensure Correct Drumming Posture. I also write trusted, unbiased product reviews in order to help people find the best drumming products available on the market. Lots of drummers don’t know where to begin looking so I’m pleased I can use my experience to help with articles such as The Best Electronic Drum Sets For All Budgets and The Best Double Bass pedals. Drum helper’s mission is to inspire and to motivate, and to increase all drummers’ enjoyment and satisfaction from playing! Please do feel free to check out my site and I hope to maybe catch you at one of my gigs around the UK!

 

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 17th Apr, 2:25pm

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 12th Apr, 6:28pm

Stewart Copeland Lights Up The Orchestra UK Premiere tour

Stewart Copeland will be bringing his ‘Lights Up The Orchestra’ concert to the UK for March ’19 dates. The performance will be a celebration of the legendary drummer’s musical career. 

Along with other band members, sticksman Copeland formed The Police in 1977. The rock trio went on to become one of the most internationally successful acts of their generation with successive No 1 albums and playing sold out venues across the globe. In the mid-eighties Copeland began his move beyond the rock arena. With scores and soundtracks as his main occupation, the famous drummer became better known as a composer. Recognised for his uniqueness of style and innovation behind the kit, this concert is a rare opportunity to witness one of the greatest drummers of all time.

The high impact orchestral programme will feature epic music from the post-punk powerhouse songs of The Police to his best-known film scores including Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Rumble Fish’ Golden Globe nominated in 1984 and Oliver Stone’s ‘Wall Street’. Other works include the musical odyssey ‘Rhythmatist’, music from the much-loved platform game ‘Spyro the Dragon’ and the main theme from thriller ‘The Equalizer’. Co-arranged and conducted by musical director Troy Miller (producer credits - Jamie Callum, Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter).

Stewart Copeland

Lights Up The Orchestra

UK Premiere tour

Stewart Copeland - drums

Troy Miller - conductor

London Concert Orchestra (Birmingham and London dates)

Manchester Concert Orchestra (Manchester only)

Dates/ venues:

26.03.2019 Birmingham Symphony Hall tel 0121 780 3333/ thsh.co.uk

29.03.2019 Manchester The Bridgewater Hall tel 0161 907 9000 / bridgewater-hall.co.uk

30.03.2019 London Royal Festival Hall tel 020 3879 9555 / southbankcentre.co.uk

Further info at www.raymondgubbay.co.uk / www.stewartcopeland.net

National ticket hotline tel 0844 847 2319 - Calls will cost 7 pence per minute plus your telephone company's access charge. (booking fees apply)

Music featured:

THE POLICE darkness • don’t stand so close to me • miss gradenko • does everyone stare

THE RHYTHMATIST coco

TYRANT’S CRUSH

RUMBLE FISH • west tulsa story

WALL STREET anacott steal • bud’s scam

THE EQUALIZER main title

SPYRO THE DRAGON

BEN HUR pirates • chariot race

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 9th Jan, 3:40pm
 
Thanks to Feedspot for letting us know that we reached number 7 in Top 10 UK Drum Blogs 2018.
 
The Best UK Drum Blogs from thousands of UK Drum blogs on the web using search and social metrics. Subscribe to these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information. You can read more about the Top Ten UK Drum Blogs on the Feedspot Website.
 
These blogs are ranked based on the following criteria:
  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 5th Jul, 11:13am
Elliot says:
 
"From the skills that I have built up through studying, teaching, recording and playing professionally around the world, it has been my dream and goal to be able to engineer and record drums from my own purpose built studio. 
 
Fast forward to the present, I am now able to offer both remote drum recording or MIDI drum sessions using the highest possible gear. This may be for just one song, your album or an EP. Similarly, if you are an artist and need other instrumentation, several of my professional touring / session musician friends are only a phone call away. 
 
The studio has been designed by two giants in their profession. The first is Andy Allen, who owned both Cave Studios and designed and built the Coach House Studios in Clifton, Bristol. The later was made famous by the debut albums of Massive Attack and Portishead. Similarly, Andy also became the director of the famous Christchurch Studios Clifton, in Bristol. The studio was previously owned by the BBC and was rebuilt by Andy over a period of four years."
 
Mick Perry is director at Low Profile Productions Ltd. Here are just some of his headline credits as Technical Director:
 
MTV Europe Music Awards - 1994,95,96,97,98,06
MTV Asia Music Awards - 2003,04,05,06 (Co - Producer)
MTV Russia Music Awards - 2005 
Pepsi Dance Connection - 1996
Pepsi Chart Show - Initial tv
Robbie Williams, Bryan Adams, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2, all live at Slane Castle 
Madonna at Brixton Academy
Bruce Springsteen in Barcelona
Alicia Keys in Cape Town
and many more working for MTV Europe, MTV International, Done & Dusted, Splinter Films, Dreamchaser Productions, Granada and many others.
 
---------------------
 
"The new Slowly Rolling Camera album ‘Juniper’ is out July 2018. The drums were engineered and recorded by myself at EB Studios. 
All music by Dave Stapleton 
Produced by Slowly Rolling Camera 
 
Juniper is the emphatic and uplifting third album from Cardiff based Slowly Rolling Camera and their strongest and most impactful statement yet. Masterminded by Edition label boss Dave Stapleton, producer Deri Roberts and drummer Elliot Bennett, Juniper fuses expansive jazz grooves with rich cinematic soundscapes marking the beginning of a new era for the group, anchoring new instrumental roots whilst bringing together a dynamic instrumental team of ex-Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum, bassist Aidan Thorne and Belgian saxophonist Nicolas Kummert. With Juniper the band have returned to the original vision of their instrumental roots and the result is vibrant, bold and excitingly fresh. 
 
The new music sustains their lush aural trajectory, evoking comparisons with the Cinematic Orchestra, blending strong melodies, big grooves and surprising turns of phrase, instilled with an expansive emotional gravitas. Colliding worlds of jazz, trip-hop and cinematic soundscapes, this music is a rich culmination of 15 years of friendship and making music together."
 
Releases July 6, 2018 
 
Credits: 
  • DAVE STAPLETON keyboards 
  • DERI ROBERTS electronics 
  • ELLIOT BENNETT drums 
  • STUART McCALLUM guitar 
  • NEIL YATES trumpet 
  • NICOLAS KUMMERT saxophones 
  • MARK LOCKHEART saxophones 
  • AIDAN THORNE double bass 
Recorded by Slowly Rolling Camera 
Mixed by Deri Roberts and Andy Allan
——————————————
 
Microphones:
Neumann M147 Tube 
Calrec 1050c 
AKG 451B 
EV Elecro Voice 868
Senheiser 604 
AKG D112
AKG 414 B ULS
Sure SM57
Beyer Dynamic opus 65
Senheiser e945
Rode NT2
 
Mic Preamps:
Focusrite ISA One
Broadhurst Gardens No. 1
 
Computer:
Mac Book Pro with Retina Display
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
16GB 1600MHz memory
Logic X
Steven Slate Plugins
Steven Slate SSD4
Steven Slate Blackbird suite
ICON QCON Pro
 
Interface:
Focusrite Saffire 56
Focusrite OctoPre Mk2
 
Monitoring:
Yamaha HS8
Genelec 1029
 
Cymbals:
12" Studio Recording hats
13" Constantinople hats
14" Constantinople hats
 
18" Breakbeat ride
20" Constantinople Med Thin Low
22" Constantinople Med Thin Low
22" Constantinople Renaissance 
22" Constantinople Flat Ride
 
8"   A custom Splash
8"   Z Bell
10" Piggyback China
17" K Custom
16" K Light Crash
16" Constantinople
18” Constantinople
19” Constantinople Crash / Ride
20" China Low Boy
20" A Custom EFX
 
Snares:
13*6    DW Exotic
14*5.5 Limited Craviotto      
14*6.5 UnLimited Craviotto
14*5.5 Ludwig 400
14*4    A & F Brass Limited
14*4.5 Sonor Designer
14"*10 Gretsch late 50's RoundBadge Mahogany with Maple hoops (Levon Helm)
 
Pearl BRX 20" BD (Owned by Art Blakey)
 
Kit 1:
DW Natural Satin Oil Drum Kit
22*18"BD
8*7",10*8",12*9",14*11",16*13" Toms Fast Size Toms
All Drum Workshop 9000 hardware
 
Kit 2:
Sonor Designer - African Bubinga
22,10,12,15
 
Percussion:
LP Classic Conga & Tumba
LP Classic Bongos
Plethora of LP hand percussion
 
By Julian Marsden
Posted on 25th May, 1:11pm

Welcome to our latest Canadian Drum Teacher in Nova Scotia Mark Di Claudio. Check out Mark's profile on our Canadian site www.drumteachers.ca

Mark endorses Los Cabos Drum Sticks.

By Julian Marsden
Posted on 24th May, 5:31pm