Having managed to get my second hand bargain Arbiter Flats Lite drums set up at home and sounding similar to what I thought drums were supposed to sound like, which is kind of difficult to tell because nothing quite prepares you for the volume of a drum in a front room in your house. I had now watched a couple of YouTube videos and managed to bash out a standard rock beat, 8th notes on the high hat, kick on notes 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4. I was drumming and enjoying it enough to clumsily bash a cymbal or a couple of toms every now and then but more importantly enjoying it enough to want to learn more. Now I’ve taught myself to play the guitar in the past to a level where a non musician might think that I was okay and the lasting memory of learning to play was that in the beginning everything sounds awful, out of tune, wrong notes and quite dispiriting. The great thing about the drums is that they sound fairly close to great out of the box, if you manage to strike the skin with the stick you’re drumming.
In conversation with several colleagues at work I had been enthusiastically told that there was a drum teacher in the village, one quick telephone call later and I had arranged to meet him and during that first meeting enthusiastically booked my first lesson. He had told me to buy some 5a Nylon
tipped sticks and to bring them with me.
As I walked up the stairs to his studio in the loft of the imposing looking double fronted Manse House in the High Street I could hear a funky rhythm emanating from above and I thought he must be warming the drums up ready for me, as I walked in to the studio and caught sight of the small bespectacled boy stomping and punching out the funktastic beat I started looking forward to this lesson more and more.
Once I had been sat down and made comfortable I was told that the very first thing we were going to do was to video me playing the drums before I had been taught anything at all. This video was going to be my baseline to refer back to at regular intervals so that I could mark my progress over the coming weeks and months. (The video is on YouTube titled Gary Browne playing the drums
I was then plunged into a world of singles, doubles, paradiddles and basic little beats which formed the framework of the lesson. Each new section was introduced and where necessary explained, the tutor either sitting at a matching kit and playing along so I could get a feel for the timing or standing at a snare in front of me keeping the beat and driving me on past any missed or fumbled hits. After 5 minutes the hour long lesson was over and I was marvelling at how quickly the time had passed. A quick shake of the hand and with my head full of snares and toms and splashes and crashes I eagerly dashed home to transfer the diddles, doubles and kicks to my own set.
Now at this point I really must emphasise that I must have the most enthusiastic tutor there is, my hour lesson was in actuality an hour and a half, during which he had enthusiastically shown me YouTube videos of previous students performing at drum competitions in London, he had also arranged to come to my house and help me set my drums up and tune them and asked me to come half an hour early to my next lesson so that he could show me the different types of drums, cymbals and hardware that were available so that I could start to think about what type of kit I might ultimately like to build up once I started to become proficient on the standard 5 piece set I had. He had been quick to enthuse about the Paiste PST3 cymbal packs
available on the Normans Music Store and had cottoned on to my obvious interest in double kick pedals
I am at this point counting off the days to my next lesson (1&a2&3&a4) and practicing the simple beats I have learned so far. In my next blog post I will review the Arbiter Flats Lite set properly from an absolute beginners perspective, now that it has been expertly set up and I have had a chance to hear how it can sound in the hands of an excellent drummer.