The positives of learning music onlineMarch 31st, 2021 by Magesh
I have had a great career as a professional drummer working for artists like Lionel Richie, Ricky Martin, Rhianna, Chris Brown and host of other pop stars. I have also taught drumming for over 20 years. When COVID-19 struck I noticed a lot of music stores quickly started giving lessons online. The sudden change had teething problems for both students and teachers when it came to things like audio/video software and timetable issues for international students. I want to share some tips with you to get the most out of having drum lessons online.
1. What type of device should I use?
Obviously phones and tablets are the most popular devices because of how portable they are. Although I strongly recommend using a laptop computer for taking online drum lessons. The reason behind this is the drum set has many parts unlike a guitar. If you take guitar lessons the teacher only needs to see your hands and the guitar. If I'm teaching a student and can see their hands I may also need to see their feet. With a laptop this is an easy fix as a student can just angle the screen to give me a view of their bass drum pedal without actually moving the computer. This isn't possible with a phone or a tablet. Another reason phones can be difficult is because they quickly run out of battery. If I had a dollar for every time a students phone ran out of battery mid lesson I'd have 135 dollars. Having people call you, Snapchat or Facebook updates while in your lesson may seem like no big deal to you, it is secretly sending your teacher into a rage making them want to pull their hair out.
2. Where should I position my device?
I once logged on to an online lesson where the student's webcam was giving me a view of their ceiling. This would have been great if I was a builder giving them advice on renovating their home but as a drum teacher it wasn't helpful at all. To get the most out of your online drum lessons take the advice of real estate agents everywhere. 'Location! Location! Location! If you set up your device on your left-hand side (where your hi hats are positioned) your teacher can have a good view of your technique and can see how you have positioned the drums. This will help them give you feedback on if anything needs to be moved so your posture won't be affected. It is also important to have your device close to you. I've had students have their devices across the other side of the room to the point where I almost needed binoculars to see them. It's impossible for a teacher to give you constructive criticism on your hand technique if they can't see your hands.
3. Should I invest in any other equipment to make online lessons better?
If you have invested money in a drum kit and online lessons please invest in a decent stand for your device. A stand that makes it easy to change angles and that is sturdy. I had a student make a make shift stand out of a tissue box. They were bragging how much money they saved by not buying a stand. They though this was great, well it was great until the tissue box broke and the tablet fell onto the concrete floor cracking the screen.
4. Is there anything that will make online lessons run smoother?
Having your drum kit/device set up near your modem will make everything easier for you and your teacher. You will avoid the audio dropping out and the video screen freezing. Another 2 things that secretly send your teacher into a rage and make them want to pull their hair out.
5. Do I need multiple cameras to have online drum lessons?
I don't think the student needs multiple cameras to have online drum lessons but there are definite advantages of a drum teacher having multiple cameras. The reason I teach with multiple cameras is so the student can see my hands and feet simultaneously. I can also write music on a white board and have that on one screen while the student sees me demonstrate the beat on the drum kit on a separate screen.
I really feel there are many advantages having drum lessons online. Mainly the time spent in traffic and the money spent on petrol driving to a music store. So much of our everyday lives are now ingrained in doing things online I think what was once considered a back up plan has now become the new standard.