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The pros and cons of taking percussion lessons are related to the cost and effort involved in the lessons, contrasted with the value of what the student stands to learn. Like all musicians, drummers and percussionists need to think about whether to get formal instruction in their musical fields. Thinking concretely about all of the benefits and disadvantages of percussion instruction can help an individual make the best choices for a role in a band or orchestra, or any other musical aspirations.
Some of the main drawbacks to taking percussion lessons relate to the price of lessons. Getting individualized instruction from a skilled, experienced percussionist will often be expensive. There’s also the challenge of finding qualified drum teachers in a local area. The obscurity of percussion in the general music world can make it almost impossible to find a skilled teacher outside of major cities.
The combination of a general lack of drum teachers and the need for a specialized teacher can make the costs of this kind of education even higher. Many students actually travel around the world to get percussion lessons, which is usually prohibitive in terms of cost. Online lessons can be an alternative, but the quality of these types of lessons is controversial.
Some of the positives of drum or percussion lessons have to do with the specific goals of the student. When it comes to mastering a certain type of drum, even online lessons can be extremely helpful if they are the right kind of lessons. Specialized instruction can help a student get proficient on a specific percussion instrument.
Another very positive aspect of getting certain drum lessons is that they can open up a student to the more advanced types of percussion and timing. Drummers in some parts of the world may tend to follow a simpler, straightforward beat, where in other regions, local percussive cultures have created extremely advanced and complex timings. To understand the more obscure and challenging parts of percussion theory, a beginner will often want to get some formal lessons, and build on them to become a more well-rounded drummer.
Percussion lessons can also be valuable as a credential. Music departments of schools or universities may honor formal instruction as a certification of a drummer’s skills. These sorts of qualifications could also come in handy in some other niche areas of the general music field, such as eligibility to participate in master classes.
I began taking drum lessons when I was 13 and I am still playing at 35. I give a lot of the credit to my first drum teacher, a guy named Brian who loved the drums more than anyone I've ever known.
He was an excellent and very patient teacher who did a lot to foster my early abilities. He also introduced me to a lot of incredible music, stuff that made me completely reconsider the ways it's possible to play the drums. His enthusiasm for the instrument was infectious and he made me want to be the best drummer I could. Having a great teacher at an early age can really help a young musician's progression.
Taking percussion lessons can be a big help but don't underestimate your ability to teach yourself without spending the money or the time taking lessons from a pro.
The internet has done wonders for music education. An aspiring drummer can now access hundreds or thousands of free videos that will explain the principle of rhythm and percussion and teach aspiring drummers lessons that they can do for practice. These videos contain everything you would get from a professional lesson.
The one draw back is that the internet cannot respond to your own drumming. A real life teacher who is working one to one with you can point out ares where you are struggling and offer advice to work through them. For some people this kind of advice is dispensable, for other people it is invaluable.