There are no real rules to drumming but there are basic techniques, rudimentary studies and practices that all drummers should learn so that you have a good foundation for any style of drumming you may want to pursue. These will guide you and help make you into a good and competent player.
It’s important to remember that all drummers are different. Some are into rock and roll, some jazz… then there’s hip hop, punk, speed metal or marching drums. Within each style you will also find differences. No two drummers in the world play the same. Some sit high, some low, heel up or heel down, traditional grip or match grip and if match grip is it French, German or American? All these methods work, what you have to do is find out what works best for you.
The two crucial characteristics of a good drummer are technique and feel. Technique can be taught…feel can’t. You use technique, theory and rudiments applicable to the style of drums you want to learn to play… to make you sound good and to give you control over your fingers, wrists, arms and legs. You practice technique so that it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it while you are playing. When you have mastered technique it frees your mind up to allow you to get into the sound of the grooves you are playing, to get in to the sound of the drums and bring out the feel of it, the music of it. Feel is the spark that defines the great drummers.
My drum lessons are about incorporating these ideas, concepts and practices. I teach that the drums are a musical instrument as well as percussive and to think creatively on the drum kit. I use rudimentary studies not just as exercises but also as an integral part of playing and I encourage students to learn various styles of drumming in order to improvise and to enhance one’s own individual style.
I have over 60 books in my drum book library covering all the fundamental principles of drumming (hand technique, feet technique and independence) and drum styles ranging from jazz to rock to hip hop to funk, linear, reggae, new Orleans, Latin…and so on. Basically, I love drumming and all styles of drumming. I never stop learning myself from these books not to so much to become purist within that style of drumming but more to expand on ways to play grooves/fills and to get ideas and enhance my own playing. This can help with bands, session and soundtrack work when the drums may not so much be about laying down a straight groove…you may have to think out other ways of rhythm and how to express a feel to accompany the music. As you can see from my discography, live, soundtrack and session work this has enabled to me to work in many different forms of musical expression which has been very gratifying. So for me playing drums is about playing music. Making the drums sound good makes the musicians you are playing with sound good, which makes the music you perform together sound even better. That can be a straight 4/4 or something really bent and crazy and anything between. I come from the “its not WHAT you play, its HOW you play it” school of thought.
Subjects covered in drum lessons – Hand technique, snare drum rudiments, co-ordination and independence, bass drum technique and high hat technique. I work specifically on the what the student wants to accomplish from drum lessons and the style of drums he or she wants to learn as well as, if they want, introducing them to a number of other drumming styles…rock, rhythm and blues, funk, jazz, Latin, hip hop etc. which can help in developing your own individual style, creativity and improvisation. Playing to music is also an integral part of the lesson and a great way to learn about arrangement, feel and dynamics.
Drum Teaching Testimonials:
I’ve always been really bad at geeking out about drums and never looked up specific drummers which was pretty dumb of me. However I did idolise the shit out of the drummers that played in my High School bands before me. Also my first drum teacher, Tanya Cavanagh, always inspired me because she knew her shit and could make a living off drumming. And my last teacher Ash Davies because he was insanely creative and he played the drums like a melodic instrument.
My son met Ash as a 12 year old struggling with left handedness and technique issues that were starting to get in the way of his love for drumming. Very quickly Ash identified what he wanted to achieve with drumming and set up a program that worked on the fundamentals as well as introducing new styles and challenges. One year ahead of expectation our son earned a coveted spot on the kit in one of his school’s jazz ensembles – a level higher than the one he auditioned for! A lot of the credit must go to Ash’s rare blend of drumming and musical expertise, teaching prowess and his natural gift of just ‘getting’ where kids are coming from. We love Ash – could not have asked for a better teacher.
As a producer and someone who is studying drumming to help with my work in the studio, Ash has taught me invaluable knowledge about music, feel and technique. I am always challenged yet never feel like I am out of my depth. He has greatly built my confidence as a musician and given me the skills and discipline I can apply to my music projects.
My 14 year old son has been learning drums with Ash for over three years now. Ash’s methods and focus on “feel” are fantastic and he maintains a great rapport with his students, with an easy-going style that is great for young drummers. Prior to starting with Ash, my son was starting to plateau a bit with his drumming, but since moving to Ash, he hasn’t looked back and the improvements in his technique and capability speak for themselves. More importantly, he really enjoys his weekly session with Ash and happily treks across town each week, under his own motivation. Ash is a great player – a bit of his style / feel rubs off each week – and a great teacher. We couldn’t be happier with his tuition – Ash gets our highest endorsement.
Dave, Moonee Ponds.