The Art of Not Teaching

I've taught drums and percussion since the mid 1970s. In all that time, I've learned to get out of the way and not teach. I try to be more of a coach, guide, cheer leader than anything. I don't have a set system that I use with everyone. Yes, I often use the same materials, but I might use a different approach with different students. I really don't like that cookie cutter approach to learning.

I assess the needs of each student and show them ideas that may help them along their own path. Sometimes I just play albums and talk, getting them to listen to things that demonstrate ways they can create music. Other than beginning students, I dispense with the rudiments very quickly. I see no use to spend your time with me, playing paradiddles, when you can do that at home all week long. I'd much rather give you something to think about and work on, perhaps in a more conceptual way.

And it's that way in all my lessons, “Here's the basics. Grasp them. Now let's move on.” Boom!

I also encourage my students not to copy me. They need to think for themselves and come up with their own thing. The last thing I want is a bunch musical clones of myself out there in the world.

And that's it. My method is to give the students the work and ideas, let them loose, and be there to guide them and answer questions. Then we move on to the next step (which is coming soon).

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry water / Play Gongs™




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