I have been seriously studying drums for over 15 years, having acquired the basics at a young age, and am continuing to do so, realising everyday how much there still is to learn.
I studied with Rick Finlay, whilst gaining my degree in Jazz from Middlesex University, and under Trevor Tomkins at the Guildhall School of Music where I did a Masters in Jazz Performance. I was also tutored in performance by the likes of Nikki Illes, Pete Churchill and Scott Stroman whilst at the Guildhall.
I have been teaching drums for many years, primarily as a Perpatetic Teacher at secondary schools, but also privately to a wide range of children and adults. I have a good understanding of how to impart drumming concepts and skills to people especially kids and had particular success with students who have special educational needs. I believe it is important to have a methodical approach but also to have fun and to give an understanding of how drumming relates to a range of musical styles.
I have written my syllabus to loosely tie in to the new Trinty Guildhall Exams. This provides an excellent basis for teaching and a guide for progress, even if the exams aren't taken, but I have successfully prepared students for the exams as required.
It is important to find the balance between the aural tradition, hearing and feeling the groove, and interlectual understanding. Being able to play the Grade 8 Peices, perfectly in time with the metronome, does not make you musical or a necessarily a good musician. I seek, for myself and for my students, to be a complete musician. This requires a strong technical foundation, but one that is focused on making music and is associated with real world music and performance, not just the practice room.
It is also extremely important for drummers to have a grounding in music harmony and theory. I strongly recommend drummers gain some basic piano/keyboard skills, especially as they become more advanced musicians. I also encourage listening to a wide range of music, not just the style that appeals to you, everything from rock, to drum'n'bass, and classical music. I actively incorporate listening, analysing and playing a long with tunes into my teaching.
I am currently in the process of turning my sheets, which I have been using for many years with my students, into a more complete book entitled "On The Fundamentals of Drumming". The aim is to provide a solid and comprehensive starting point for those starting out as drummers.