IMPORTANT. PLEASE READ!
My #1 goal and intent as a drum instructor is for my students to be continually growing in all areas of performance – including musicality, technique, counting, timekeeping, dynamics, reading music, stylistic knowledge, attitude, mindset, professionalism, and more.
Maintaining that upward and forward progress creates an incredible win-win-win-win scenario:
• Students develop valuable musical skills, as well as well-deserved pride and confidence in those hard-earned abilities.
• Parents feel good about their investments of both money and time into their child's education and interests.
• School music teachers and band directors are pleased and fortunate to have such strong, well-rounded players in their ensembles.
• The private lesson instructor (yours truly) is happy that all those above are happy, and finds fulfillment in sharing the magic of percussion with eager students.
Probably coming as no surprise, one of the biggest keys to guaranteeing such growth is simply the act of practicing the instrument. WHAT to practice and HOW to practice are factors that a student must learn, as much as (if not more so than) the amount of TIME spent practicing. I feel, however, that getting into a regular routine of daily practice (or as near to daily as possible) is of critical importance and a good first place to start. It is easily measurable by using a short and simple logging of practice time, which is required of all students taking lessons with me.
Aspects of a given student's log may vary, depending on ability level, areas being focused on, and other considerations. That said, students will be expected, at the very least, to be regularly logging on paper the following minimum average daily practice times:
< 6 years old = 5 minutes per day
6 - 10 years old = 10 minutes per day
11 - 15 years old = 30 minutes per day
> 15 years old = 60 minutes per day
Keep in mind that these are minimums . . . and should consist of QUALITY practice. A self-motivated student is by all means encouraged to log well beyond the times listed here, and will definitely reap the rewards of that extra work. Do note that by "quality" we mean time spent focusing on current exercises, difficult passages, and things that the student is not yet capable of playing well. This is deliberate, intentional practice – not the student goofing off on the instrument and amusing him/herself with rhythms that they are already able to execute. There can certainly (and should) be time allowed for fun of that sort, but it doesn't count toward our quality practice time minimum.
BEFORE WE ALL AGREE TO COMMIT TO STARTING LESSONS, it is important for all of us to first commit to this ongoing practice (and the logging of it, which will be explained in lessons and revised from time to time, as needed).
• Students will be required to maintain a log of all daily practice and share it in each weekly lesson. They must be committed to improving their drumming abilities.
• Parents will be required to sign off on their child's reported practice times. Honesty here is crucial, as to not hinder the student's growth, waste everyone's time, and be throwing money away. They must be as committed to this as their child will be expected to be.
• School music teachers and band directors will be contacted about their student taking private lessons, and are always more than welcome to touch base with me at any time about his/her challenges in ensembles, etc. This makes their percussion sections and entire groups even better.
• I commit to checking logs to confirm regular practice is happening, and to communicate with students, parents and music directors about progress, expectations and other needs.
DOES THIS ALL SOUND LIKE TOO MUCH?
• Drum lessons WILL be fun, but perhaps you would prefer that they are primarily just for that purpose, rather than so focused on growth?
• Maybe you're a parent who's not sure if you are personally willing to play such an involved role in your child's musical development?
• Is the potential student super interested in playing drums but it's already known that his/her weekly activity schedule likely won't allow room for daily practice to be fit into the calendar?
All of the above are 100% okay. Music (and the study of a musical instrument) has a different place in everyone's lives. We don't all have the same goals or level of interest.
However, if anything along these lines is the case, this particular student and I may not be the perfect match. Not to worry. Contact me here and I will be more than happy to recommend a number of other fantastic percussion instructors in the area who may be exactly who you're looking for!
On the other hand, if all of the above sounds great and you're ready to start logging those hours, get signed up right here and we'll be in touch!