What Makes a Great Drum Teacher?

What Makes a Great Drum Teacher?

An ancient Chinese proverb says “to know the road ahead, ask those coming back”. It’s a good one, right? In our journey to becoming better drummers, we want to learn from the best drummers around, that’s a no-brainer. However, not all of them have a knack for / are good at / enjoy teaching! So, picking a great drum teacher is important!

With this mind, I wanted to share some thoughts when searching for a drum teacher. And I think a good place to start is establishing the similarities and differences between a great drummer and a great drum teacher. Let’s explore below.


Let’s start with the things both groups have in common.

To my eyes there are basic elements that can make a great drummer and a great drum teacher very similar. At the end of the day, both groups are knowledgeable drummers!



Great drummers

When it comes to the differences, I believe the devil is in the detail. Great drummers come in many shapes and sizes. Some focus on technical proficiency and speed, some on pocket and feel, and some are great at both, and some are just great entertainers. Generally-speaking, what all successful drummers all have in common is great sense of time, musical sensibility, and are active listeners.

Yet when it comes to teaching, however, they might struggle. This is because:

  • They might not know how to explain and break things down and explain concepts
  • Might struggle in guiding a pupil through a development path in order to a skill that comes naturally to them
  • They might not have the patience to do the above, and not know how to motivate a student


Great drum teachers

In contrast, a great drum teacher is the drummer who is able to provide guidance, nurture and develop skill. The focus, therefore, turns away from his / her own abilities and towards the student’s. This translates to understanding where you stand as a player, identifying your goals and getting to know how your mind works to use to effectively communicate with you. This goes in tandem with spotting areas that need development and creating tailored exercises for these. In doing so, being patient and supportive, keeping fun in mind, yet always challenge to push you forward.



To sum up, I think it’s important to acknowledge that some drummers are better teachers than others. This doesn’t make anyone worse or better drummers or musicians than the other by any stretch of the imagination. Some like teaching, and are great at it, some don’t like teaching and therefore prefer not to. Conversely, it’s important to be aware that some may like teaching but may not have the aptitude, whilst some may not like teaching but be reluctantly be good at it!

If you’re interested in learning the drums, check out my drum lessons. Yet I would also encourage you, if you haven’t already, to check out other drum teachers, as it’s important to find someone whose style you can connect with! You can find drum teachers near you by searching the DrumTeachers.co.uk database!