The different stages of teaching
When I came out of Berklee College of Music and started to teach in Chicago I wrote a lot of exercises to prepare my lessons. It was, a the time, done by hand and I had to make copies at the local copy store. It was long, cumbersome and expensive. But, like most of us back then, I didn’t have a computer at home.
Later on, we’re talking maybe 10, 12 years later, after one of my students had told me on the advantages of the digital world, I got myself a PC. The learning curve was not easy, let me tell you, and I thought it was not cheap either because between the machine, the screen, the printer and the music programs, I got so broke I was going to walk bare feet and shirtless into the modern world.
That was the opportunity to update all of my lessons. As I was putting my handwritten exercises to the digital format, I took the opportunity to add a few more pages to complete the set. My experience had told me that, sometimes, I was putting my students in front of too big of the mountain when I was giving them hand outs with 28 exercises on them (Rock Approach B, anybody?).
We are now into a new era. I know it because we went from an analog/digital world to a digital/digital world. In other words, from in person lessons to online lessons. These days, I do both. Some people prefer online, some want to show up in person. I set up my studio for me to be at least 8 feet away from my student, I have a great digital webcam and a powerful internet connection, so I do both.
And, as you guessed correctly, that has given me the opportunity to have another look at my teaching. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I’ll say this, I just finished writing about 400 pages of new exercises that allow me to cater to my student in a more careful and simple way. I also made some music that goes along those PDF, a little something that people can play along with to make sure they try whatever pattern they’re studying in a musical situation. That is a lot of work. But Covid-19, forcing us all to stay at home, afforded me a lot of time for the task.
The results is that I am now able to explain any concept, no matter how complex, in a more palatable way. I am more relax during the lessons and the students are having more fun. And a happy student is a returning student. So, as I am embarking on my third stage of teaching, I am inviting everyone to come take lessons with me to experience what I am going on about.
As always Sol, great article!
I can attest as a student of Sol, learning from him is an honor and a privilege. Each lesson you learn more about the drums, and also your voice behind the drums, and other doors you didn’t know were there. Tie that with his unbridled enthusiasm and passion, it makes each lesson a worthwhile experience that I always look forward to.
Keep up the incredible work and rock on man!
Thank you for the good words, A.J. You are a very special man, your passion for drums and for life is contagious, yours are the lessons I am looking forward to every month.