We live in the information age. There is an endless supply of free educational content out there. In general, drummers are curious and determined people. So, when you combine determination, curiosity, and free educational resources, it seems that drummers have everything they need to progress.

So, why do we pay drum teachers to teach us?

To be more specific: What do we expect from a teacher that we can't get for free online? - Do we expect motivation when we need it? Do we expect a physical trainer-type character to keep us in check? Do we expect more detailed and applicable information?

Of course, there are many varying opinions on this topic. However, if possible, I'm looking for a semi-objective answer that represents the general community of drummers.

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    The most important thing you get from a teacher is feedback. YouTube videos can show you how to do something right (at least, assuming the video's creator actually knows anything about the subject, but how can you evaluate that, if you don't know anything?), but they can't tell you exactly what you are doing wrong, or how to fix it. – user19146 May 3 '17 at 4:37
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    If you don't know what the difference between a person and a recording is, then I pray to God I don't ever have to perform anything with you. – Kilian Foth May 3 '17 at 6:36
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    Related question... What is the use of a drummer nowadays? – Neil Meyer May 5 '17 at 16:23
  • @NeilMeyer - interesting question, but couldn't find it anywhere! – Tim May 8 '17 at 6:28

All teachers bring something to the student that the student cannot get online: experienced observation and training catered to both the strengths and weaknesses particular to the student.

Everyone is different. Everyone's bodies and brains work in subtly or seriously different ways. But drums (and guitars and math and Shakespeare) are all pretty much the same.

When you teach yourself, you have to figure out, usually through trial and error, how to evaluate your own learning and how to cater the raw information to your own style of thinking and moving and feeling.

A teacher observes what a student does and compares it to the raw information and to other students, and can adjust, filter, and augment the training to fit the particular needs of the student(s).

As a self taught drummer, I feel compelled to mention that I've met several drummers who are much more apathetic than curious or determined. They seem no better and no worse in general than any other arbitrary group of people.

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    A teacher can also provide direct answers to student's questions, and rephrase the answer if the student doesn't understand. A teacher will bring up questions that the student didn't know they needed to ask. A teacher is able to physically show technique to the student, and correct technique errors as the student learns them. There is also the anticipation from the teacher that the student will have practiced for the next session that helps propel the student forward. – Alphonso Balvenie May 3 '17 at 4:55
  • A good answer. I'd like to add that, to progress, one should do a targetted practice. This means working on what does not go well. To distinguish what a drummer is good at, or not, an objective observer helps heaps. This is similar to watching a game of chess from aside. This is the role of the teacher. They are someone who have been through the same thing long ago and have heaps of experience to help you get better in less time. Trial and error works, as in everything else, but can take a loooong time. Yes, material on the net is a fantastic thing nowadays and can get one started. – Alen Siljak May 26 '17 at 8:44

Having learnt to drum a very long time ago, when videos were unheard of, and also working with many drummers who were also self-taught, I still can't see exactly where the question is going.

Why stop at drumming? Just about any skill is available to be 'learned' from videos and on-line. Brain surgery, anyone?

It would appear that the OP has never had any teacher - which would be surprising, given that they're probably past school/college age. They've never understood that when they ask the video they're watching a question which needs answering now there's no reply, let alone an appropriate explanation. They've never understood that a good teacher will pick up on little mistakes that the pupil himself hasn't spotted - because, after all, that student is hardly experienced.They've never had the pace of their learning regulated by a teacher with experience?

To directly cope with the question, how did so many drummers manage before the days of videos et al, and who never had teachers anyway? There are a lot of 'experts' out there, who post stuff on the internet, which then of course, gives a certain credence. How would a beginner recognise a good video in any case?

Right now, I have a pro drummer that needs teaching how to read drum music. Self taught. No lessons, from teacher or videos etc., plenty of work, but turned to a teacher for that particular skill. Nuff said.


There are many purposes for a drum teacher:

1. A drum teacher can tell you what you are doing wrong but a video/tutorial can only show you what is correct,

2. A drum teacher can give you advice that is specific to you such as whether you are ready to take an exam or what you should work on,

3. A drum teacher can show you exactly how to do something,

4. You can ask a drum teacher to show you how to do something,

5.You can become friendly with a drum teacher, get to know them and be friends :)

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