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How do I Become a Drum Teacher?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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To become a drum teacher people must have strong skills and training in percussion instruments. It’s possible to specialize and teach only drums that might be played in rock or jazz settings, or as part of drum lines. Other percussionists teach quite a bit more than drum set or single drum work, and may be able to coach people on a variety of instruments like conga or bongos timpani, and marimba, xylophone or vibraphone. Exactly how skill is acquired to become a drum teacher varies by individual, and some people have mastered a variety of instruments through practice and performance, while others have had more formal training with private lessons, and/or college studies. Where people want to teach may dictate what skills and training are necessary.

Gaining skill and knowledge is the necessary first step to become a drum teacher, and it’s noted with all musical instruments, that while practice improves performance, most people have to have some talent. Being unable to keep rhythm after several years of practice suggests that this may not be the best instrument. As people continue their studies they should note a steady progression of musical skill.

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Many people start their training in elementary school bands, and some become drummers in junior or high school. Due to the diverse use of percussion instruments, an earlier start is better, and then students should take every opportunity possibility to play with school bands, youth symphonies, rock or jazz bands and elsewhere, since each performance teaches. As people continue on the road to become a drum teacher, they may discover that they love introducing others to their instruments just as much as they love playing them. Talented high schoolers can immediately begin this career by offering private lessons to elementary school or junior high kids, which is profitable and good for the career at the same time.

Those who find they best love teaching may decide to become a drum teacher that instructs in all instruments. The best way to get this training is to head to college and get a degree in music education, followed by a teaching credential. Others got to college, take music performance classes and make their career about both performing and offering private lessons. Some people skip formal education and immediately begin a performing and teaching career, or fund their ability to perform with a successful private tutoring practice.

There are evidently many paths to become a drum teacher and if there are two essential ingredients required, they are passion about teaching and demonstrable skill as evidenced in performance. The surer path is possibly to garner a traditional teaching credential, though many schools have cut budgets for music programs. Moreover, a full time teacher may not get to perform as frequently given a heavy work schedule, and some people are happier approaching this work from a performance angle.

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