In my lessons I always try to focus on three very important areas:
-The most important part of being a drummer is the control you have over your sticks. In every lesson I make sure you are always improving your grip and the ability to play correctly.
-The next thing is learning how to read and understand drum notation. It's very important to learn and grow as a musician. The ability to read and write drum notation is a crucial part of being a top notch drummer.
-Last but not least is performance. The ability to play along to music, whether it's on your headphones or with a band. This is the reason most people start taking drum lessons, therefore it's important to learn how to play the styles of music you love like a professional drummer.
Modern Drummer- is my favorite drum magazine. They have been in publication since 1977, and cover a variety of details in the drum world. They also have teaching articles inside the magazine that cover some really cool advanced aspects of the drum set. Definitely worth the subscription
Drum Magazine- is another drum magazine that has much great info as well. Again there is a instructional section that covers some very interesting exercises for drummers. Even though it's a newer magazine it still covers a lot of what's going on in the drum world today.
Mel Bay- has been bringing out some of the best drum books for years. I use a lot of these books and examples in my lessons. Very good material and excellent descriptions.
Hal Leanord- publishes some of the best lesson books around. They also have quite a few play along books that you can use in your lessons to either learn new songs, or build up your chops on the set.
Alfred Publishing- puts out some very good books as well. There are a few I have been using for the last 24 years to build up my reading and performance on the snare drum.
J.R Publications- I've been using books by Joel Rothman with my students for almost as long as I've been teaching. They cover very important topics and do a great job with the material they use. Check out their website for some really interesting books when you get a chance.
I think this would have to be about one of the most important things I could tell you as a student. GET A GOOD DRUM PAD. Find something you like to play, otherwise you'll never spend the proper amount of time building your up your chops. My favorite drum pad is the 12" Evans 2-Sided Practice Pad.This pad has an awesome feel when your practicing and gives you a really good rebound. The only downside is the only stand you can use is a snare drum stand which usually costs at least $25, which happens to be about what the pad itself costs. The 7" version of this pad comes with an 8mm theaded insert on the bottom for a practice stand. Another pad I really like is the Ahead 10" Snare Pad w/Snare Sound. This pad has built in beads below where you hit to give you a snare sound when struck with the stick. Even though I'd recommend the Evans pad over this one as a basic practice pad, I really like the snare sound to show me how accurate my strokes are at low volumes.
You don't always have to spend $30 or more on a drum pad just to get something to hit on. You can purchase one of the Soundoff by Evans Drum Mute pads that go on top of the snare and toms on your drum set to silence them. I'd recommend at least a 10" pad which goes for around $8 on amazon.com. You can slap these pads on any surface and practice to you heart's content. You can also roll them up so they are easy for transport. Also don't forget that if you wan't to challenge yourself you can always play on a pillow to build up your single strokes.
Best Practice- is a free program that allows you to slow down the tempo to your songs so you can play along to them. I like this program because it also allows you to change the pitch of the song. This way the song will retain it's natural pitch no matter how slow you make the song.
Lesson Videos- As a teacher i'd like to take each of my students as far as I can in their drumming education. What i'd like to do is make a video response to a lot of the commonly asked questions during the drum lessons. I'm in the process of putting up some video's to help you guys with some of the speed bumps you'll have along the way. Check out a few of the videos I have up so far. I hope they help you out.
Metronomebot.com- is a free online site that you can use as a metronome when your out and about. The thing I really like about this site is it offers a few options for a talking metronome. I got use to the voice but my students still wince a bit every time I put it on. Either way a very valuable tool indeed.
Audacity- is a easy to use audio editor and recorder for windows and mac. You can edit audio using different effects within the software. One really nice feature is that you can record audio to your computer using this program. Best of all it's free. Check it out!