Does it make sense to learn the drums online?
December 8, 2009 12:53 PM   Subscribe

How do online drum lessons compare to taking lessons in person? Does it make sense money-wise if both cost about the same?

I have some musical background and have been playing around with the drums since I was a teenager without any serious instruction or commitment.

I would like to start taking lessons and, in looking online, found a teacher in Canada who's style I really like. I live in NY.

This teacher gives lessons online for $50 a pop.

The way it works: He sends you an hour long video with instruction plus PDF's of written music. You do your homework and practice and then video yourself playing and send him the video. He comments and critiques. Rinse and repeat.

I can take lessons with someone local but he's not as qualified as the Canadian. Plus, as mentioned, I really like the Canadian teacher's style. The price difference is minor.

On the other hand, there is a certain urgency and push that a teacher can give that I don't thin can be transmitted online.

Anyone have any illuminating comments on this. If you have experience with learning another instrument online that would also be helpful.

Thanks much people. Happy holidays!
posted by seatofmypants to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Took music lessons for about ten years. Taught music lessons for most of the last year.

Okay, so here's the deal: you need an instructor to STOP YOU IMMEDIATELY if they notice poor technique, bad habits and mistakes. The fact that you are practicing and then recording yourself, you run a much greater risk of allowing yourself to develop and cultivate bad habits.

It's great to have post-practice critique, and that's an integral part of a larger lesson system. But it can't be the entirety of the system. Even if you were Skyping with this guy for the lesson I'd feel more comfortable with it.

But you NEED instantaneous interaction with a teacher to really have a meaningful experience.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:05 PM on December 8, 2009

Just my $0.02, but if you've never had drum lessons before, there may be just so many basic things you never learned, or bad habits you'll need to relearn, that it would make more sense to start out with an in-person instructor. I've no personal experience with video lessons, but my guess is that it would be more appropriate for an advanced student with some years of lessons under his/her belt, without which you might lack even a common language to communicate verbally about subtle points of musicianship.
posted by drlith at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2009

Best answer: I studied drums and also gave lessons, but I never did so 'online'. I definitely believe it is worth finding someone in your area, even if they are slightly less qualified. Having direct interaction to work on your posture, sound and techniques is incredibly insightful (even if you played for a long time, there will be subtle things to correct, you'll want to learn to read music perhaps). Being able to look at your teacher, interrupt them to ask questions and also play together with them will give you way more than watching a video.
posted by ddaavviidd at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2009

Your online teacher won't be able to grab your hands and force them into the right grip for you, and if you've never had lessons before, I say this is a great loss.
posted by Evstar at 1:29 PM on December 8, 2009

My impulse would be to agree with drlith, but all of us so far are speculating without having ever tried on-line lessons. Why not just give it a try and switch to a live person if it doesn't work for you?
posted by umbĂș at 1:34 PM on December 8, 2009

Online lessons are great if you have a solid understanding of fundimentals, and are looking to learn something else (such as different approaches to groove, how to put together crazy fills in 17/8, etc.). I would not suggest them for a beginner.

You say that the online teacher has a style that you like, so I would suggest starting with a local teacher to learn how to correctly hold the sticks, hit the drums, and that kind of stuff, than once you are playing fairly comfortably, try the online teacher to learn how they approach drumming differently than the local teacher.
posted by markblasco at 3:56 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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