There are all kinds of students. And, from the novice to the pro, I seem to get the whole catalog. But, the ones that are truly fascinating, are the ones who claim to have no rhythm. These are the special cases.
What is a drum teacher to do with someone who says: “Look, I have no rhythm! There has been a curse on my family made way back by the witches of Norland, and, since then, we have no idea what to shake, swing or boogie when we hear a rhythm.”
Time to bear dance. I put on a song, something with a beat as obvious as a military march, the kind you can play with a bulldozer.
I then ask the student to stand up. Then to wobble one foot after the other on the beat that he hears. So far, nobody hasn’t been able to do that. I let them get into it for awhile, get some confidence in their abilities. If I feel they’re getting good at it, I ask them to clap the “2” and “4”. That’s where we’ll place the snare drum later on. That emphasizes a landmark in the music.
I only met once someone who couldn’t bear dance. He wasn’t a student of mine. I was still young, at the time I didn’t have the time to do the work with him. I’m sure he would have gotten it though. Given enough time and patience. Good old bear dance.