FAQs

If you are ready to start your San Diego drum set lessons, but have a few more questions; please feel free to contact me. Alternatively, there is a compilation of frequently asked questions below.

Do I need a drum set if I am taking drum lessons?

It certainly helps so that you can practice what you have learned in your drum lessons. That said, I will show you how to practice using just a practice pad – so it’s not essential, and shouldn’t put you off getting started. If you do not own a drum set (and many people choose not to buy until they have had several lessons) you can come to my studio where all facilities are provided. Check out the blog series “A Guide To Buying Your First Drum Set” for helpful advice on purchasing drums.


Can I still keep up drum practice at my home if I don’t have one?

Absolutely. There are many exercises that we will cover in our lessons that you will be able to practice at home with a practice pad and your knee! I practiced on a bean-bag and cushions before I got my first set.


What do you mean by “A modern approach to teaching”?

There are plenty of drum instructors out there that want you to play the snare drum exclusively before you even sit behind a drum set. For the first few months, only drum set rudiments are practiced. While it is essential to study these areas, my method involves getting you behind the drums from the outset; playing grooves, reading music, playing drum fills and playing along to music – and then showing you how rudiments and theory based applications can embellish and enhance your playing further.


Do I have to learn to read music?

You don’t have to, but it really does help. There is a popular misconception that reading music is hard. While it can be challenging at first; the basic patterns we will use are, with a little practice, very straight forward to understand, and you will find that you are reading basic drum music notation in your very first lesson!


I already read music. Is drum notation the same?

Having knowledge of music notation is certainly an advantage, as note values, rests and time signatures are the same in drum music as other notation. The notation itself is different, but after a handful of lessons, you will start to feel comfortable. I recommend that you purchase the book “Understanding Rhythm” by Michael Lauren. We will go through this for 20 minutes in each lesson. You can buy this book on Amazon.com. All other sheet music will be provided in your lesson.


Do you give on-line drum lessons and/or professional consultation?

Absolutely. You will find all of the details you need to know on this right here. All you need is a Skype or Apple Face Time connection, and a PayPal account.


If I have had back or neck issues; can I still play comfortably?

Posture is something we will pay very close attention to when learning the drums. You may find this article helpful.


Am I too old, or too young to play the drums?

Generally, as long as your child is tall enough to sit behind the drums with both feet comfortably on the foot pedals, then you are ready to go! You are never too old to learn. I have had many students who start in their retirement years when they actually get time to pursue their interests.


I already play the drums. Do I need to take lessons to move forward?

There are many great self-taught drummers out there. At times though, we all need a little help and can sometimes feel like we have reached a plateau. A good drum teacher can help you move forward. Check out this article from February 2012.


I have two left feet, dance like a chicken, and have no natural rhythm. Will I still be able to play?

I am probably the world’s worst dancer, but that didn’t stop me! Some people are naturals, and some require more work. Either way, it is definitely achievable with the right instruction and motivation.


Drums are loud? Am I really going to upset everyone around me?

There’s no doubt about it: drums are loud! However, did you know that these days, there are a variety of noise reducing/eliminating products available? Drums can now be equipped with sound dampening pads which reduce noise by 95%, and there are also electronic drum sets available with adjustable volume. I will be happy to advise you on appropriate products – just contact me. You don’t have to spend the earth to get started either!


Should I think about ear protection?

For drum lessons at my studio this is less of an issue as we will play on a state of the art electronic drum set. However, for home practice and general performance, you should definitely think about protecting your hearing. There are various options available, and I will be happy to advise you – just contact me.


Do you travel far for drum instruction?

Typically, I will travel within a 20 mile radius if zip-code 92127 (Rancho Bernardo). I can accommodate longer journeys for an agreed increase in hourly rate, strictly to cover my costs. The main issue is availability. There are a lot more slots available if you are able to come to my studio. If you live a long way away, you can also consider on-line lessons.


Where is your drum studio located?

I am based at Studio West in Rancho Bernardo; within easy access of i5, i15, and CA56. Accessible within 30 minutes from most areas of San Diego County. View a map to the studio here.


What if I need to cancel my drum class?

I understand that from time to time, things come up and plans need to be changed. I will be as accommodating as possible in re-scheduling your lesson, but must charge a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your lesson. On rare occasions; I may have to change your lessons date/time. I will only do this if I can give you at least 24 hours notice.


How often should I attend drum lessons?

This really depends on your area and level of study. For beginners, I would recommend one lesson per week, or one lesson every two weeks. For advanced players who are focusing on specific areas of technique, you may wish to leave at least a two week break between lessons. This is to allow you enough time to absorb and practice what you have learned in your lessons.


Are electronic drum sets good for learning and home practice?

This topic was recently covered in a 2012 drum blog. Click here to view. Electronic kits are great because you can adjust the volume levels, which means there is less constraint on your practice time. As with all instruments, there are some models that are more suitable than others. I will be happy to advise you – just contact me.


Where can I buy a drum set, and what do you recommend?

When you first start to research drum sets, it can be a bit of a minefield. Rock sizes, Hybrid sizes, different shells, double braced hardware… What does it all mean? Don’t worry! If you are new to the market, all of the names and terms can be a little confusing. Please feel free to contact me – I will be happy to talk you through the options, and shed some light on the terminology!


How quickly will I pick up playing the drums?

This depends entirely on your motivation, and how many practice hours you are prepared to do outside lesson time. As each individual is different in natural ability, this is a question that is best approached after a handful of lessons. I will help you devise a practice schedule to maximize your progress.


How much practice should I do outside lessons?

Practice outside of lessons is essential if you wish to move forward on a lesson-by-lesson basis. In my experience; 10-25 minutes per day is good. Regardless of available time, the main thing is to make your practice productive, and fun. We will talk more about this during your lessons.


What do I need to bring to my drum lessons?

Yourself, your music books, a pair of drumsticks, lesson fee and any sheet music that you have been given in previous lessons.


Why are drum lessons one hour, and not forty-five/thirty minutes?

You will be surprised at how quickly time flies when you are having an enjoyable lesson. I always find that an hour is just the right amount of time to review previous lessons, study new areas, check understanding, and answer questions. We don’t want to rush the learning process.


Can you help me with drum stick selection?

We will talk about this in our first drum lesson. As a general rule, most students should purchase a stick size 5A for their first lesson. For beginners, it really doesn’t matter if the sticks have a wood or plastic tip. Sticks cost between $8-$15 from your local music store. If you would like specific advice, please contact me.


Do you have any references, and have you undergone background checks?

I have a full section of testimonials from music professionals, and students. For your complete assurance, I have undergone extensive background checks, and have no criminal record or convictions. Details are available on request.


Are you qualified to teach?

I have studied the Guildhall Grade System in London, and been a professional drum teacher since 1997. My education has comprised of private lessons with noted London teachers, as well as Master-classes with high profile players.


Are there any styles of drums that you do not teach?

I am a drum set teacher, and as such, do not teach orchestral percussion (timpani, glockenspiel, marimba, xylophone etc), or hand percussion (congas, djembe, bongos etc). I do have a good relationship with local drum/percussion teachers, and would be happy to recommend appropriate teachers for areas in which I do not specialize.