Study With Sam
Lessons take place in the comfort of your own home. I teach exclusively on Zoom.
I focus on helping the student to build competency with the fundamentals of timing and musicality. We start with a core set of drum grooves and fill patterns and swiftly progress to apply those to common song structures.
I use a wide variety of classic and modern rock and pop songs in my teaching. You can get an idea of the available songs from this list: Beginner Playalongs. They are chosen because they accessible on the drums and form a strong foundation for playing in bands later on.
Learning is very flexible and follows the pace of the student. Generally, the more you can practice in between lessons, the faster you will progress. You can expect to have a solid understanding of the basics within 6 months, although this varies from student to student.
One of my goals as a teacher is to empower a student to be self-sufficient. To seek out material and methodically learn it on your own. In my experience, this process can be accelerated by helping a student discern what is essential to a piece of music and what can be tweaked, dispensed with, or simplified.
Knowing this, a student can successfully break down more complicated pieces to be able to play a simplified version now and work towards playing the full version in the future. I believe this skill is one of the most important for a drummer to learn because you will often be called upon to play a song or an entire set with very short notice. It is not always possible to learn a song note-for-note. Being able to simplify a song, make it your own and deliver an authentic performance in a short time frame is truly essential for any drummer. Whether it’s jamming spontaneously in the rehearsal room with your band, or filling in for another drummer at a gig.
Read on to learn more about my experience as a drummer and tutor.
Meet Your Tutor
Hi, I’m Sam.
I started Drum Zen Drum Tuition in 2005 when I was fresh out of music college. Since then I have helped hundreds of drummers, young and a bit older, achieve their goals and build healthy rhythms, both on and off the drum kit.
I love sharing my knowledge with others. I can think of nothing better than making music with like-minded souls.
My approach is to help you navigate a course through the amazing sea of information we are gifted by the internet. As someone who taught himself in the beginning, I know how long it takes when you do something yourself and how long it takes when you recruit someone to guide you. Recruiting a guide saves you a lot of time!
The primary advantage of engaging a guide is that they can identify how difficult something is and realistically assess how long it will take to achieve. A guide can provide a route to that goal which keeps the student focussed and engaged. You don’t engage a tutor to take you to the top, you engage a tutor to give you a strong foundation so you can build anything on it and be solid as a rock!
That’s always been my approach: make the path easier for the student and awaken the inner teacher. I want to show you how to learn new patterns, how to know what’s important to the music and what can be left out. If we can do that in one lesson, brilliant! If you’d like to have a weekly session with a guide that keeps you moving forward and excited about the journey then I can help. It’s what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years.
Drum Zen. Master the basics. Master the art.
Lessons are organised at your convenience after an initial free consultation and setup session using video conferencing platform Zoom. It is very easy to use, we agree to meet in a virtual meeting room at an agreed time, we set up the webcam so we can see one another and the microphone so we can hear each other and we’re good to go. I use a high quality camera for streaming so you can clearly see what I am doing. I also feed the audio from my electronic drums and accompanying voice microphone directly into the computer so the audio signal is clear and strong.
What Do I Need to Get Started With Virtual Lessons?
To get started, all you need is:
- a laptop or tablet
- a drum kit (acoustic or electronic)
- a pair of headphones (preferably over-the-ear headphones)
- a stable internet connection
What Do I Need to Get Started?
I’ve written a post about how to get set up with Virtual Lessons. It varies depending on whether you’re using an acoustic or an electronic drum kit. Have a read here: How to Configure Zoom for Virtual Drum Lessons. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
Position your camera in a way to show as much of the kit and yourself as possible. An external webcam can be useful if you have one so you can place the screen in a comfortable place to see me and still get a good camera angle.
Ready to book a free consultation and setup session? Send me a message via the contact page and we can start our learning journey together.
As we all know, the world changed greatly in 2020. Out of necessity, working and learning remotely have become the norm.
My world as a drum teacher (and a drummer) changed completely on 20th March 2020. I could no longer visit people’s homes, nor could they attend lessons in my studio. Over that weekend, I had to find a way to proceed with lessons or be forced to hang up my sticks for the foreseeable future. If you’d have asked me about virtual lessons prior to that date, I would have been reluctant.
What I Have Discovered Teaching on Zoom
Ever since 2005, I have always taught face-to-face, in the same room. I have taught groups and one-to-one. I thought about virtual lessons but I concluded they wouldn’t be as good, for the student, or for me.
What I have discovered since March 2020 is that not only are virtual Zoom lessons as good as face-to-face lessons, they are in fact better in many ways. My students have progressed at the same rate using virtual lessons as they have with traditional lessons, and I have been able to better support them with video recordings and progress tracking.
It seems that however we interact with a tutor, the most important thing to achieve progress is to be inspired on a regular basis and to be accountable for one’s practice in between sessions. The clearer we are about exactly what we should be doing next to progress, the more excited we are about practice. And when you’re excited and having fun with your instrument, you naturally make progress.
So, why did I think virtual Zoom lessons would be inferior?
- I didn’t think I’d be able to see clearly enough to adjust technique
- I thought the time delay would be insufferable!
- I didn’t think we’d be able to play along with music together
- I didn’t think kids would concentrate
- I didn’t think anyone would make any progress!
As it turns out, I was wrong on every count! All those things were possible. Sure, there were a few connection hiccups along the way, but with even a half-decent internet connection, the video and sound quality are perfectly adequate for online drum lessons.
What are the Advantages of Virtual Lessons?
So immediately after I realised all the downsides were non-issues, I started to realise that there were several upsides to virtual lessons, some of which I could never have foreseen.
Firstly, my students were very happy to be able continue. Lockdown was a lonely time for some and we all had lots of free time, it was important to maintain some semblance or normality and the release of playing the drums is an instant mood-lifter.
Subtler things also came to light: there were no travel times or parking fees. My students and I simply switched on at the same time and we were ready to go.
To support learning, I started to create videos of the things we were practicing. This met with great approval, not only did it serve as reminder of what to practice between sessions, but it meant they could play along with the video over and over until they got it right.
I started to up my game with student progress tracking, taking extra care to keep track of where every was and thinking about what they should be studying next.
In about two weeks, I went from thinking I’d never offer virtual lessons, to realising that they at least equal in effectiveness for supporting and nurturing a students development.
Free 15-Minute Consultation
Your first step is to book a free 15 minute video-call consultation session. During this session we will:
- Discuss your learning goals and what you would like to achieve
- Configure Zoom and other equipment
- Check your internet connection
- Find the optimum position for the camera
- Troubleshoot and optimise the audio
- Discuss else anything that you’d like to know more about
The consultation session is completely free and carries no obligation to book future lessons.
Book a Lesson
- Monday 10am-6pm
- Tuesday 10am-6pm
- Wednesday 10am-6pm
- £20 (30 minutes)
- £40 (60 minutes)
How to Book a Virtual Drum Lesson
By now you might be curious to try a virtual drum lesson for yourself. To see if this way of learning is right for you, I offer a free no-obligation 15 minute consultation for new students. We use the time to optimise the setup for learning, discuss what you’d like to learn and your goals and to get to know each other. I’m always happy to answer questions and of course, if you’d prefer not to continue with formal lessons, there is no obligation. It’s completely free. To book your consultation, or to ask me a question, head on over to the Contact page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are virtual drum lessons?
Virtual drum lessons are a great way to access high-quality musical tuition from the comfort of your own home. All you need are a tablet or laptop and a pair of headphones. Virtual drum lessons differ from subscription services and YouTube tuition videos because you are actually in touch with a tutor who provides a personalised learning experience with tailored material to help you progress swiftly. A tutor can be viewed as a navigator; there is plenty of information out there but without guidance it can be disjointed and overwhelming. Consulting with someone who has already walked a similar path saves you time and keeps you sane when things get a bit tricky.
What is your cancellation policy?
24 hours must be given to cancel lessons. Lessons cancelled with less than 24 hours will incur the full lesson fee.
What should I practice between classes?
In each class we will recap previous material and build upon what we have already learned. Drumming is very much about repetition. The more you can practice in between sessions, the fastest you will progress. It will be very clear what to work on next and from the very beginning we learn songs and play along with them.
If you are not sure what you should be doing, I am always ready to help via email.
What materials are provided to support my learning?
I provide all lessons materials and exercises in PDF format. Some are neatly hand written, others are written digitally.
I write notes after each lesson so I can track each students practice. These can be shared in a Google Document to refer to homework and you can make notes. Alternatively, you can print out the notes and keep your own system in a folder or ring-binder. I can provide templates for a practice diary and a progress tracker.
I hope to soon be able to track progress online through the site, just as soon as I find a suitable plugin.