Welcome to the Q & A section of my site. This is an ongoing forum where I address reoccurring questions, presented to me over time, about drumming.
Q- How do I strengthen a weak hand?
A- Snare drum rudiments ,rudiments, rudiments… Oh did I mention snare drum rudiments? It’s what the rudiments were designed for- to make a weak hand stronger (in my case the left). No, you won’t be using all 40 rudiments every time you sit down to play drum set as there will be a few main ones that you will use more than the others, but it’s still a good idea to practice all of your rudiments because,again, they were designed to make a weak hand stronger. It’s something I must do every single day (ok except Sun) so I can remain effective as a player every time the weekend rolls around and it’s time to go play my gigs. Another device that can be used to strengthen the weak hand is the grip trainer or hand gripper available at Academy, Walmart, etc. in the sports section. I squeeze this while I drive-works great. (If you are too young to drive-while you watch tv,study etc.)
Q- Do I need a drumset to start lessons?
A- No, because we will be starting you out on one drum first, which is the snare drum (the heart of the drumset), to get your hands strong and get you good at reading one line of music first (which is what snare drum is) before we get you reading three lines at the same time (which is what drum set will be). I don’t even recommend a snare drum at this point, I recommend a practice pad for around $25- $35. (I use one all the time myself.) This relatively short period of time (six lessons or so on snare drum alone) will either give the adult beginning student time to get out and shop drum sets, or give the parent time to see if the student will be committed and motivated to stick to a practice regimen before investing in a full drumset.
Q-Will you teach me how to read drum music?
A- Yes! If a music teacher professes to be able to teach you ANY musical instrument without teaching you how to read the music for that instrument, I have one word of advice for you–STOP! Get your money back! (Ok that’s five words.) By showing you a beat on the drums AND teaching you to read that same beat, you won’t get home and get ready to practice it and say to yourself, “Ok did it go badaboom badabing? Or Badabing badaboom?” You will be able to pull out your notes, read the correct way, and learn that beat in half the time or better. So, it’s a great time and money saver. Secondly, it’s a great exercise for the mind and great hand eye coordination exercise as well.
Now that being said, it will not be all reading all the time. Once you get a good reading base down and a start to a vocabulary of different beats under your belt, we will at that point begin to bring in CDs and learn songs of your choice in addition to the reading studies. Now here’s where the beauty of reading comes in. I can listen to that song, write out the beat for it, and you can then go home and read the beat while playing along to the CD! And that’s where it all starts-that’s the ultimate goal,right?-having fun playing actual music. So the next step (if you desire to go farther) would be to find some guitar buddies, form your own band and graduate up to the next level- playing with other live musicians.