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Phil Maturano / The Official website

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Trusting your teacher

It goes without saying that the right teacher changes your life in drumming. Finding this teacher is one of the most important things you can do in your drumming life.

Now…being self taught is something that many take pride in announcing. However, i just don’t think that is possible. If you have ever heard another drummer on a recording or seen someone play live…you just took a lesson. And one that is absolutely necessary and useful. The self taught concept by definition means you learned on your own. And now with so much learning material available, tons of books and DVDs etc. It’s almost impossible to escape an influence from someone. So lets not kid ourselves. You are only self taught when you are the first person ever doing whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. If you think you are learning on your own and you are studying out of a book, you are forgetting that someone really went to tremendous effort, putting that material together for you, did it in a systematic way and put it to the test with many other drummers. (Well, in most cases with books anyway) The point is someone put that together. YOU didn’t come up with it. You are literally studying with someone. Their mind is transmitting information to you through that book. Which leads me to…

Imagine how much quicker the right teacher can get you where you need to be. One with vast experience playing and teaching! Its absurd to not study with someone. Why? Because drumming takes 10 lifetimes!! If you really get into it. And everyday you are working on something the wrong way makes you waste time on planet earth! Life is short! Keep it in mind!

Another phenomenon I have seen quite often is students inventing their own exercises. EVEN when they are studying with someone. There is this habit of trying to move ahead or rearranging the work they need to do to suit themselves. Ummm….There is a reason of course they tend to do this, and that reason is because the student has lost touch with music. So the creative side of someone wanting to play gets absorbed into exercises and technique. Wanting to create something that doesn’t need recreating. And that just makes the students wheels spin in the sand of time. Time is what we burn in the practice room. Practice time needs to be focused and controlled in detail if you want to get to a professional level. Remember the span of practice amounts to years! (not a few weeks) and extends on into the rest of your life. If you are a student and catch yourself inventing exercises when you should be working on your STUFF….then its time to reassess your practice routine.

So just a few thoughts for younger guys studying drums. Don’t invent things when you don’t have notion of the learning curve you are facing on the kit. There is enough to work on already.

Find the best teacher you can find. Don’t study with kooky guys who have never done a gig and post their stuff on youtube.

Develop a discipline of practice!

Invest in yourself and use tried and true methods books. Stay away from students who just graduated themselves from school and decided to write a drumming book without ever having played a gig.

Your true test…will be when you are out in the world trying to get gigs. Will you be ready or will you be flopping around wishing you would have studied something when you had the chance? There are guys out there that are BURNING to play! And devour books and study with the BEST teachers around and can play their butts off for their age groups!

Passion got them there and discipline and guidance helped them along the way!

Thanks for reading

Phil M