School of Drums
COPYRIGHT@1998 By BILL POWELSON
The Drum Instructor's Guide (PART I)
*** THE DRUM INSTRUCTOR'S GUIDE ***
(FOR ADVANCED DRUMMERS)
All rights reserved Worldwide
GETTING STARTED . . .
If you are a (somewhat) accomplished drummer, and if you have the
ability to communicate your thoughts; YOU CAN TEACH DRUMS!
This manual is designed to help put away all negative feelings of self-doubt
and get you moving forward.
I sincerely hope it'll become the catalyst that helps you get started, immediately.
It is so easy to get setup and doing this,
I'm betting you'll be on your feet and doing it, . . . maybe by this time tomorrow!
After teaching your first student or two . . . you'll be hooked for life.
Teaching drums for a living (or part time) can be VERY lucrative. It can be
both rewarding, and
great fun! Take it from a guy who started on a shoestring in 1965,
with as much self-doubt as you may be feeling right now; Teaching drum set techniques is a lot easier,
and more fun than you can imagine.
I often shudder to think where my own life might have gone, if someone hadn't grabbed
me by the collar at a very young age, then begged me to teach them to
play. I taught my first two students as a favor (for free) at age 18, and it grew
into a lifelong career. You can most likely make that same thing happen
for yourself, once I've helped you see just how easy it is to get
started, then do it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST!
You do NOT have to be a 'nationally known' drummer to
begin teaching. Even a
beginning drummer can teach, as long as he or she knows more than the student.
The important thing is, the 'teacher-to-be' needs to enjoy 'talking drums',
and they need to enjoy the process of teaching.
Once you've digested ALL the facts below, and once you've discovered just
how easy it is to get started and gain a foothold as a teacher . . . I'm betting you'll
will be hooked for life. I'm about to unload a lifetime of valuable
secrets on you! You really have no idea, how easy, fun, and lucrative
all this can be!
Yes! Teaching drums pays VERY well!
To find out, just make a few phone
calls around your locality and ask what an hour of lessons will
cost you. If you have trouble locating a reasonable teacher at
a reasonable price, it should turn on a few lights within your head.
You'll immediately discover that you are onto an idea here that could
lead your life in some great new directions. I've recently raised my own rate
here in the central Florida area, to $50 per hour. I understand that
in some larger metro areas the going rate is even higher than that. It
doesn't matter where you live; As a drum instructor you can make very good
money right from the very beginning. This is also true for people in foreign countries as well.
Together, we will examine all the possibilities.
If there is a drum instructor living within you, this new and exciting career
will begin to open in front of your eyes within the next few minutes. You'll
begin to realize that the greatest obstacle in front of you may be YOU, and your own feelings
of self-doubt! Everything else will hopefully be very easy, once we get beyond that.
Though this manual may be short, (it's only about a one hour read), it may light
a fire under you that could last a lifetime. It contains numerous little known secrets and
ideas that should cause you to act immediately towards the
betterment of your own future, as well as those people you are soon to be
helping and teaching.
By the time you put this E-book down, you could be embarking
on a lucrative new sideline (or full-time) career as a drum instructor. It is
much easier than you might think. I will show you how to overcome
the major obstacle, your feelings of self doubt. It is entirely possible to
begin LIVING this brand new career, as early as tomorrow
afternoon, even if you are still a student of drums yourself. Believe it!
OK! I can hear your questions and arguments already! I can imagine all the
'what-ifs', forming in that cynical mind of yours! I can even understand
and relate to some of your cynicism. Sure, it can seem daunting if you
allow negativity to rule, but . . . honestly, if you'll read the
facts and ideas below, I think you see it all quite differently, just minutes
Some of your arguments and doubts may be warranted, but most are completely unfounded. So . . .
let's take it, 'one-doubt-at-a-time', and together we'll dispel them, right
here and now!
QUESTIONS AND ARGUMENTS. . .
How will I know if I'm good enough to teach?
- ANS: You'll overcome your initial doubts and fears by hand-picking your
first few students. You'll hand-pick, then teach your first few students, for free.
In other words, to give yourself a break and make all this extremely
easy, you should seek free students who know and like you already.
Teach a couple of neighborhood
kids, a young niece, nephew, or a close friend or two in the beginning,
until you have your act together. Once you've taught a couple
of friends or relatives, you'll gain confidence in your own
ability as a teacher. Then, you can use my (upcoming) economy-advertising
tips, or start running ads in local papers
and wait for the phone to ring. It will ring! Trust me! 98% of the
respondents to your ads, will be total beginners. They're very easy to teach!
You'll be teaching my proven lessons and methods, but you won't even need to
master each and every one of my lessons to begin teaching and making money.
You'll start on a shoestring, you'll grow as you go, and you'll earn as you
learn with this plan I'm about to layout for you.
Where will I teach? I don't own a studio!
Here are a few suggestions:
- ANS: You can start in your own garage or living room.
Some students may want you to come to their home. The options
are many and varied, but none are expensive. There's no need to
lay-out a fortune in the beginning. Start small and grow as
you go. Teach anywhere you have space for a drum set!
Where are your drums right now?
That's your studio!
So what, if it's a bedroom or a garage. That
doesn't matter! Most SERIOUS students won't care. If you
are good at helping them learn, they'll follow you to the moon for
their weekly lessons. It's a fact! Believe it!
Just get started asap!
HERE'S A COOL STUDIO TIP:
At one point for a while in the late 60s, I had a drum kit
setup in the back of my van, and I drove around the city
of San Antonio Texas. I drove to people's homes, giving lessons.
It was great for them! They loved the idea of taking drum
lessons in their driveway. (I only did it that way to get started.)
It made it easy for me to build a schedule of students by going to them.
The traffic was horrendous, but it worked. It got
me started! You may want to consider this as a potential startup tip.
(Actually, I was much happier later,
after my schedule grew enough to warrant opening my own brick and mortar
store. Still, it was a way to start!)
HERE'S ANOTHER STUDIO TIP:
One other time . . . I made a deal with a mom on the far side
of town. I already had the brick and mortar store going pretty
well on the North side, but I had a couple of days with
open time. I needed more students and I knew there were a lot of students
on the South side of town who wouldn't fight the 5:00 o'clock traffic
driving 25 miles across town to me. I needed to fill up another
day of my teaching schedule in a hurry. The wolves were
at the door. So . . . we made a deal. I taught her son,
in their family garage, for
free, one day a week, . . . But, while there, I advertised and
brought in other students, in 30-minute sessions, between 3:00 and 7:30 pm.
The free space was my payment for the free lessons her son was receiving.
It turned out to be a win/win for everyone.
At the wishes
of some students who already own a drum set, you may
even elect to go directly to your students homes and use their
equipment. I've done that a lot, at various times when my own teaching studio
wasn't as great as I might have liked. The students you teach that
way tend to get the best end of the deal. You'll be running around
all over town if you decide to do this. The traffic can be a real
nightmare at times. I usually charge a little
more, if I have to fight the traffic and go teach just one student.
As your student schedule increases and your confidence grows,
you will then (hopefully) be in a position to open your own brick and mortar
shop one day soon.
Better than that, you'll have some special leverage then; You can work a
deal with almost any music store in your area. Having a line-up of weekly
students (10 or more) will give you talking-power and leverage
that could get you a spot in any large music store in your locality.
Almost any music store will be quick to find a little spare
space, if you can bring them guaranteed business (instrument sales and
room rent) without them having to advertise for you. The demand for
GOOD drum instructors is actually very high, especially in small towns.
Here are some additional tips on acquiring a teaching space . . .
Your local church may offer inexpensive space on weekdays when the church
is closed. Also; many small towns have community centers that can be
perfect for such an enterprise.
At different times in my own career, I've rented teaching space (very inexpensively)
in Karate schools, dance schools, and once in a TV repair shop, after hours. (Haha . . . that last
story, is a rather long story of lean-times.) I'll not go into it here,
but the point is . . . "Where there's a will,
you will find a way"!
Utilize your own garage, patio, living room or bedroom as a teaching studio
in the early days, to save money and get started. Once you have a few
students, offer a percentage of your fees to any shop with space, after hours.
It can be any sort of shop, but a shop with a connection to education or music,
is best, (ie; music stores, dance studios, karate schools, churches,
community centers, etc.,)
Higher quality studio space will come to
you, once you have a fairly large schedule of students. Until that
occurs, teach anywhere you can find space enough for a set of drums.
What about licenses and permits?
- ANS: Don't worry about city ordinances, permits or licenses in the beginning.
Music instruction is normally allowed anywhere. Many music teachers
teach from their homes, and you won't really need a city license
until you open a brick and mortar shop, later on. There's
no law on the books that says you have to have a license to
help someone learn art, music, or most vocational trades. If you can't
invite a friend to come to your house for a drum lesson,
there's a little issue of freedom there. You can do it!
It may be best to check, just to be certain, but I've
never had a problem with this issue.
How long will it take to begin making a livable wage?
BUILDING A SCHEDULE OF DEPENDABLE STUDENTS
(AND A DEPENDABLE INCOME.)
- Ans: When everything goes as planned, I've found that with minimal
advertising and a little luck, I can usually build a schedule
from scratch, to 10 or 12 students within a five to eight month
period. It takes time, luck, and patience but this tends to
be the average.
A lot depends on whether or not there is,
or isn't, competition in the immediate area where you want to
teach. Most people do not want to drive much further than
ten to twelve miles for lessons. This means there's a lot
of opportunity out there, if we're willing to drive to different
areas of town on different days of the week. If some other drummer
has your neighborhood covered already, then go to an area that is without
any competition. Survey your entire town or area to learn these things,
before you spend money on a lot of advertising. (I'll be showing you my best kept
advertising secrets a little further on in this E-book.)
If you want to build your schedule really fast, and you don't mind driving
a few miles each day, it's possible to build a full week of afternoon
lessons by moving around each day. Teach in other nearby towns or in other
parts of a large city. Build a schedule on different days in each
area you are willing to drive to. Make a deal with one student in each
area, to teach them free for providing you a space where you can teach others.
I've done this, and it works well for getting up to full speed within the
shortest amount of time.
Otherwise, expect to be building your schedule in one location for
a year or more before you can relax and call it a full time job.
Don't quit your other job until then.
What will I teach? I can't write music notation all that well?
- ANS: This is the easiest question to answer! Use MY
prepared lessons! It's ok to print
them and teach them, one-at-a-time, to any of your local students. Just don't try
to sell the course as a whole. That would constitute a copyright infringement.
Yet, I'm telling you plainly right here, it IS ok to print-out and teach
my lessons one-at-a-time, as long as you do not change any of the lessons,
and you do not try to sell my work as yours.
You'll be feeding your students MY lessons,
one-at-a-time. If you understand the lessons, you can easily teach them.
By following my lesson plan,
your students will excel and progress rapidly! I've devoted a lifetime to preparing
these lessons. It's a proven method, and it works really well! There are more than
125 lessons in the course. Do the math, at $20 per (30-minute) lesson, per student.
- Where will I get the paying students?
- This is easy to answer as well . . .
Advertising is the key to success. You'll need an inexpensive,
steady, repeating ad, in a publication that covers an area of about
a 15 or 20 mile radius near your studio. You'll want to concentrate
your advertising in your immediate 10 to 20 mile neighborhood. Most students
want lessons near their home, (within 5 or 10 miles.)
The little (weekly) suburban shopper newspapers are usually the
very best places to advertise. Around here, a 2 or 3 line classified
ad will only cost a few dollars per week. I just have them bill me by
the month and I pay the bill faithfully, even if
the phone doesn't ring. It takes a while to get the first few
calls. Be prepared to wait faithfully for the first calls
to begin trickling in. It's something called the rule of seven.
ADVERTISING, AND THE RULE OF 7:
that an individual needs to see an ad six or seven times before
they will respond directly to it. It must be true! Every time
I move from one locality to another it is the same way. The ad will
very often run 4 to 6 weeks before I get that first call. From
then on it will usually remain fairly steady, from one to several calls per
week . . . (If the advertising publication is being read by 50,000
or more readers of each weekly issue.)
Certain times of the year are far better than others for gaining
new students. The
best time is usually 3 weeks before school starts in the fall,
and it is often still doing really well through late November.
It usually dies around Christmas then picks up
again following the Christmas holidays through January to March.
A slump may begin to occur through March, April and May. Then (here in
America) there may be another busy time as school lets out for the
summer. Some new students may begin lessons for the summer, while
others drop or go on vacation, until school begins again in the fall. Mid summer
is usually the pitts here in the US. Everyone tends to vacation
at that time. That is when I usually pull in my own shingle and
go sleep in the woods myself.
TRY THIS IDEA (BELOW), until you can afford to pay for advertising:
Print out twenty or thirty 3" X 5" AD-cards at your computer, then
distribute the cards with your phone number to all the
free bulletin-boards around your neighborhood. Most
grocery stores, laundromats, churches, public (and private) schools, plus some restaurants, have
bulletin-boards that are totally free. Use them! Walk in and
tack-up your small ad on any board you can find.
- School newspapers and church-bulletins are both
cheap and excellent places to advertise. You'll get results,
if you just get the word out. You want to reach primarily the school age
kids in the 8 to 15 year old group, and their parents.
Speaking of schools! Visit the schools in your
neighborhood. See the band or music director and offer your
teaching services for free once or twice a month. Just tell
the band director you would love to help the drum squad with
rudiments, drum set techniques, or whatever. This way, once the kids become aware
that you are teaching drum set techniques on the kit . . . they will
cry to mama for private lessons with you. It is a cry that no reasonable
parent can refuse. Be sure to give each student one of your
business cards, and your phone number. You will be hit with student overload.
This may be the absolute BEST way to get new students, if you'll do it.
Keep your ads simple and to the point, even if you pay for advertising.
A 2 or 3-line ad is usually all that is necessary. My ads most often look
something like this:
*** DRUM SET LESSONS ****
Your place or mine. Ph. 555 5555
KEEP THAT AD RUNNING!
Place your ad and keep it running. Pay the bill even
if the phone doesn't ring at all. It may not ring much for 5
or 6 weeks but it will eventually ring, if you leave the ad
running, (and, if people are reading the publication your
ad is in.) It is important that you advertise only in your area.
Some city newspaper cover too large an area, and you'll wind up
paying for ads in an area you can't service. The city newspaper
rates are MUCH higher because of that coverage you can't service.
Don't make that mistake. Stay local with your advertising and
stick with the absolute lowest-rate / highest-circulation you can find,
within the immediate neighborhood you plan to service.
WHEN THE PHONE RINGS: (Your Sales Pitch.)
You will develop your own pitch but it is best to
keep it simple and sweet. Something like this . . .
"I specialize in drum SET techniques. You may start
without a drumset but if things go well you may want to
pick something up within a month or two. My rate is $XX.XX
for one 30 minute lesson per week. You will be asked to pay
by the month, in advance, at the end of the first lesson. If
you feel these lessons aren't for you, there will be no charge
for that first lesson. I have Tuesday at 4:30 open. How does
Usually there will be a little discussion about which
of your openings are best and then they will sign up.
You are officially in business!
SIDE NOTE: It goes without saying, every student you teach
will be needing and wanting a drumset. So . . . teaching
offers the teacher a great lauchpad for selling drums
and other musical equipment. I've never liked retail.
It can become a conflict of interests for an honest, dedicated,
teacher. But, that's for you to decide. There's a lot of
money to be made, retailing drumsets. But, since this isn't the
topic of this manual, I'll just leave it at that.
- What if I get a student who knows more, and is already a
better drummer than I am?
Ok! I hope I've dispelled and relieved some of your fears and doubts
about this teaching gig, but lets' keep going. Now, we need to do some deeper
soul-searching. I want you to look at the whole thing objectively
before you leap into all this. Hopefully, the 'objectivity' that follows
will serve to fire you up a little more . . .
- ANS: Good point, and it's a worthy worry! Yep! It has happened
to me too! (RATS! Until then, I was totally convinced I was
the #1 drummer on the planet, haha.)
I suppose it happens to all teachers sooner or later.
There's nothing more scary than to have a new student walk-in claiming
to want and need help . . . only to burn you on your own drum set.
Those types are tough on our egos and our confidence.
Over the years, I've found a GREAT way to impress and hold other accomplished drummers totally spellbound,
even when I've felt they were as good, or better than me. It'll work for you too!
Here's my SUPER SECRET ANSWER to that frightening dilemma:
Honestly is always the best policy! If I see immediately that a new student
already knows most of the same techniques, and materials that I know, I
go immediately to plan B.
First, I tell them the truth. I never try to bluff them into thinking I'm something I'm not.
It won't work anyway. They'll know immediately!
Instead, I simply compliment them on their equal or better ability,
then I explain that there isn't a lot I can do to help them.
EXCEPT . . .
BEFORE THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO LEAVE, I hit them with my very best stuff!
I throw my 'Ace in the Hole' at them, right away. It's guaranteed to
blow even the most advanced of the
monster drummers, totally away . . . no matter what! This is the perfect 'Ace
in the hole' too. You'll also have access to it if you're enrolled into my complete course.
MY ACE-IN-THE -HOLE:
This 'Finite to Infinity' knowledge is the answer.
No one is aware of the material contained in this little e-book. Buy it,
and learn what's in it! You'll never, ever, be stumped again, when it comes to teaching
even the most advanced and most technical pro-drummer. This is my secret
weapon, and it can be yours as well. Yes! It's truly awesome! Buy it and
then use it when teaching your own advanced students. This small (7-lesson)
e-book will take any drummer to new amazing levels overnight. It's absolutely
the most power-packed, unbelievable music knowledge on the planet today.
No kidding! Check it out, and get a copy for yourself. Finite to Infinity
will become your 'Ace in the Hole' for life. Guaranteed!
In this 'Finite to Infinity' e-book for ultra advanced drummers, you will learn secrets
that are guaranteed to hold ANY advanced drummer spellbound for many lessons.
You may not hold them for long, but after you've
taught them this totally awesome material, they'll leave you
with tons of respect, and nothing but kudos, for the ease at which you've
helped them grow. This material is unbelievably simple, yet it's absolutely
mind-boggling in scope. Within seven short lessons, the student will add 18 quintillion
new beat patterns, and total command of the entire time signature system,
to their arsenal of knowledge.
Even if they CLAIM to understand the
entire time-signature system, you'll prove them wrong, then teach them
the truth as they've never seen it before.
This knowledge isn't available anywhere but here. It's my own
'Ace in the Hole', and you should make it yours, if you hope to rise in the
ranks as a respected teacher and/or drummer.
NEXT, we'll do a little self-assessment and discover if you have what it
takes to become a GREAT teacher. If you don't possess these qualities
already, maybe I can help you grow them . . .
Self Assessment . . .
International copyright secured @ Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.