Scholars Academy believes in providing beginner students a solid grounding in fundamental drumming technique.
Based on our teaching experiences, we have come across students who have been playing for a number of years but still barely have the adequate technique and co-ordination. They play very stiffly when they should ideally play loose and relaxed. They also have no understanding of the mechanics of the hands and the feet, and how to control them in various ways in order to play with ease what comes to their minds and hearts. Also, such students have difficulty achieving a balanced, unified sound on the drum set because their hands and feet are not properly synchronized with each other. This is known as co-ordination problem.
The following are the areas of technique that Scholars Academy can effectively help our students achieve:
1) Getting a relaxed stroke from the drum
Allowing the stick to rebound off the drum and not playing on the drum. This will avoid absorption of the shock made by the impact of generating the stroke into our hands. We can then prevent hand injuries such as Tendonitis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
2) Learn the mechanics of great hand technique
Wrist control, finger control, and combining both for maximum efficiency of execution and tension-free hands.
3) Learn the mechanics of a relaxed Bass Drum technique (foot).
The foot operating the Bass Drum should function just like a relaxed pair of hands. – allowing the bass drum pedal beater to rebound off the bass drum immediately after every stroke. This allows the tension generated in the foot whilst making the stroke to be relieved before launching the next stroke.
4) Develop a good flow when moving around the drum set. This is very important especially when playing fills or solos.
Besides technical exercises, we also incorporate the element of improvisation. When a drummer improvises, he/she is orchestrating instantaneously on the drum set with the ideas that are developing in their minds at the moment. This allows exploration of many ways of orchestrating original patterns across the drum set, thus developing creativity.
5) Help students develop good co-ordination between their hands and feet
Students undertake fun and challenging co-ordination exercise from tried and proven instructional sources to improve the synchronization of their hands and feet. Such instructional sources include the legendary “The New Breed” by Gary Chester. This will continue even through the Intermediate and Advanced Levels of learning.
The importance of Sight-reading for beginner drummers:
The ability to read drum set rhythms opens up a very wide range of options. This includes playing in live performances, weddings and corporate events and, of course, teaching.
The other major benefit of sight-reading is that students will be independent. With this skill, they are able to learn from books and videos on their own. This leads to students carving out their individual niches as drummers, which is the ultimate goal we wish to help all our students with.
In our lessons, regardless of level, students are given a lot of opportunities to work with the following to help them develop their sight-reading skill:
1) Snare Drum pieces from the excellent Alfred’s Drum Method to grasp comprehension of basic to advanced rhythms.
2) Learn actual songs either chosen by the teachers or by themselves.
3) Play-along music with professional drum charts are also provided to our students using a highly acclaimed instructional/play-along package called Groove Essentials. It is by the renowned US drum set educator, Tommy Igoe
4) Past drum set exam pieces from the Trinity/Guildhall and Rockschool syllabus.
5) From time to time, our students will only be given the lyrics to the songs they are working on and they learn how to chart out the drum set parts for their own reference with the aid of the lyrics. This is also a great way to encourage appreciation for the lyrical content of the song which helps them play the song with meaning and purpose.
How our teachers teach beginner drummers to keep great timing with a metronome, drum machine, electronic music loops, playing-along to pre-recorded music, and playing along with other musicians?
1) Working with a metronome or a drum machine
It teaches a drummer to space every note he/she plays evenly and with consistency from bar to bar. This is the fundamental ingredient that proficient musicians look out for in drummers. It will be easier for these musicians to synchronize their parts with drummers who can keep an even tempo.
2) Playing-along to pre-recorded music with or without transcribed drum set parts
It is an excellent way for drummers to develop not just solid time-keeping but also FEEL. Feel is essentially the emotional sensitivity to the music you play. Every style of music has its own rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements. A musician must make the emotional and mental connection to those elements in order to perform that music with utmost authenticity. When a drummer can play a style of music with authenticity, the performing experience for the band and the listening experience for the audience become much more enjoyable.
3) Playing with other musicians.
This is the culmination of all the work students have put in with the above and the ultimate test of whether the student can truly function well in a live band. At our studio, we will provide our students with opportunities to jam with other musicians playing other instruments. On top of that, they are also highly encouraged to seek out musicians amongst their relatives, friends and colleagues to further develop their musicianship skills.
Scholars Academy beginner drum lessons in Singapore will provide all our drummers with the tools to succeed.