Hi, my name is Tom Nelson. I have 20+ years of experience teaching public school instrumental music. I have taught private lessons for most of my adult life and I am an adjunct professor of percussion for Bucknell University. I am a performer, dad, coach, community member and all of the things that go with being a school teacher. In addition I am an author who has authored an instructional book for playing the drums. I have decided to create video lessons for my book and will be posting them here as I create them. Would you like to learn drums? How about for your son or daughter? Read on!
This video is Lesson #1. It is the first lesson I teach to all of my drum students out of my book. Lesson #1 is the first of many that will teach the student to play the snare drum over a period of 1-3 years. This is the equivalent of private lessons at a local music store or lessons from a school band instructor. This is not a "Drum Set" lesson. There is a separate video that teaches drum set on this site by me that is actually designed to accompany this video but is optional. The intent of this video is to begin what can become a weekly private drum lesson online for the purpose of learning to read music and play in an ensemble such as "school band".
Coming from a rural area with limited resources, I hope for this video drum lesson series to provide affordable drum lessons for students who may not have access to a private instructor.
This is Lesson #1 for students. The lesson can be completed in one week after which you may choose to sign up for Lesson #2. Each lesson is intended to last a week before moving on to a new lesson. There will be close to 25 in all.
Why take this course?
What do you need?
A pair of sticks, a practice pad and a music stand = $30 or a make shift set-up that I will show you for even less and you are ready to go.
So what do you say? Want to learn the drums?
Welcome to your first drum lesson. This lesson is designed to teach you how to read and play music on a snare drum. This lesson is the same as a drum lesson you would take in a school band program. It is also the same as a drum lesson you would take from a local private drum instructor. This is not a drum set lesson however I do have a video on this site called "Drum Set for Beginners" which does teach drum set. That video can be learned on it's own or along with this video. It is best learned if you also take the lessons presented in this video. For this video lesson you will need the following:
PG-13: If you are under 13 years old, you should work through this video with a parent or friend who is over 13.
If you are under 8 you may be too young to understand everything in this lesson. Any age above 8 is a good age to start learning an instrument.
For parents, a thought about "Drum Lessons"
When I was a kid I started taking private drum lessons at a local music store at the age of 10. Once a week for 30 minutes I would learn to play the drum with a local instructor. I took drum lessons until I graduated high school and went to college for a music degree. I recall those days of paying for my own private lessons and realize that if not for those experiences, I would not be where I am today. Taking lessons on an instrument is good for kids in many ways. It is similar to dance class, gymnastics, swimming lessons and other good things for kids. I currently live in a rural area where qualified music instructors are scarce. I have created this drum lesson video series with the intent of providing high quality affordable drum lessons for students who may not have the resources to study drums with a local private instructor. I realize that nothing is as good as learning from a qualified instructor in the same room, but I have taken my 20+ years of teaching experience and put it to use in trying to provide a thorough video method that can be used successfully by students in the comfort of their own living rooms. Parental guidance is highly encouraged to ensure that learning is maximized.
As you work through this video please consider a long term commitment to drum lessons. My method book has approximately 25 lessons in it which means you an expect the same number of video lessons to go up on this site from me. As you finish one lesson, consider signing up for the next lesson and so on. Many of my school students who have studied my book with me are competent drummers and musicians playing in rock bands, jazz ensembles, school concert/marching bands, church groups and more in their communities. The gift of music lasts a lifetime and stretches far beyond the person holding it. Best of luck as you embark upon your musical journey!
In this video I will show you how to set up your drum or practice pad. I will then show you how to correctly hold your drum sticks and how to correctly strike your drum/pad. Also, check out some of the links I have included for more information about the topics covered in this video.
In this video you will begin playing. Make sure you have your drum/pad set up properly, music stand in front of you, computer on your left and your sticks in your hands ready to play. Make sure you follow all of my instructions and play along with me when I ask. I can not see you playing so I can not correct anything you do that is wrong. You will have to do your best to follow my instructions closely so that you are learning correctly. Feel free to replay this video as many times as needed in order to be able to play correctly.
This video will not ask you to play. This video explains how to read music. Make sure you watch this video so that you understand what to do in the next video. Pay close attention to all of the things I explain in this video. Watch it twice if you do not understand something. You may also refer to it later if you find that you don't understand something. I have included a few website links that go into more depth if you are interested in learning more about reading music.
In this video you will begin to read and play music on your drum/pad. You will need your print out of page 25 on your stand in front of you. Get your sticks and get ready to play along. Remember to follow my instructions closely. As you work through this video remember that you can always replay any parts that were hard for you. You may also pause throughout the video to practice lines of music on your own. If something does not make sense to you in this lesson, please contact me through the website so that I can explain. I have included a wikipedia link that explains more about the quarter note.
This video is a continuation of the last video. This video will teach you the rest of page 25 and the top of page 26 to conclude the reading lesson for this class. Once again remember to repeat anything that is hard for you. Feel free to repeat any video if you need to review any information presented. If you find that the speed of the reading is too fast, try playing the lines on your own a little bit slower.
An Etude is a short musical composition written for the purpose of teaching a lesson. Etude #1 is a review of everything you have learned in Lesson 1. If you can play Etude #1 correctly then you will show mastery of the entire lesson. It is important that you practice Etude #1 for the week as assigned in the video. After a week of practicing you should be ready for "Lesson #2" and/or "Drum Set for Beginners" both of which are available through this web site. There are several ways you can practice Etude #1:
However you decide to practice, it is mostly important that you play the Etude at least three different days this week and that you play it at least three times each time you practice. Daily practice is best but three different days should be enough. The goal is for you to be able to play the Etude easily. If playing the Etude is difficult for you after a week of practice, then you should spend another week practicing before going on to Lesson #2.
When you are ready to move on, look for Lesson #2 on the web site to learn about half notes.
My book is available for digital download at www.teacherspayteachers.com (search for "drum book")
You can contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you in Lesson #2!
PS I added two website links for you to check out. The first details the history of the Etude as a musical composition. The second is a youtube video of a performer playing a very challenging Etude on a snare drum, check them out!
What have you learned so far?
Tom Nelson has been teaching drums and music for over 20 years. He holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Education along with a letter of endorsement in Instructional Coaching. He has been teaching instrumental music in the public schools of Pennsylvania for the last 20 years and is an Adjunct Percussion Faculty member at Bucknell University. He maintains a private drum lesson studio and is sought after as a clinician and guest speaker. He is a member of the Vic Firth Private Instructor Team and the author of his own method book "Nelson's Great Big Drum Book".
In addition to his collegiate studies, Tom has studied drumming under the late world renown jazz drummer Joe Morello.
As a performer Tom has performed on numerous independent recordings including several that have been featured on The Weather Channel. He works with The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and several local groups ranging in styles from rock to jazz to country. He is also the drummer for the National/Regional Fleetwood Mac Tribute "Tusk" performing all over the Northeast area of the country.
In his free time Tom enjoys volunteer coaching soccer for local teams that his kids play on. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.