Saturday, April 26, 2008

We Can Work It Out

Educational Psychology and modern teaching theory both indicate that information is more easily learned if it is considered relevant by the learner. If the information is perceived as useful and can be assimilated easily into the learner's schema, it is more likely to be retained. That said, it behooves the educator to relate new information to the learner's experience, interests, and learning style. So how does this relate to teaching drumset? Well, for my part, I ask students what they're listening to and I give it a listen. Here's the deal, they like what they're listening to or they wouldn't be listening to it. So I listen to it and try to use that to teach them . Example: I have an eight year old student who came to me with a genuine love of The Beatles. Surely that came from his parents, but who cares? This kid loves The Beatles. He tells me Beatles trivia. He knows the words to tons of their songs. Now, I worked with this guy on basic drum grooves and counting time and such, but it didn't start to come together until we started playing along with Beatles songs. I found that if he sings the lyrics, his meter is spot on. Furthermore, I had him play (and sing) We Can Work It Out . There are triplets in the bridge and this kid nailed them by ear. I honestly don't believe that this eight year old is ready to comprehend the theory involved in a 3:2 polyrhythm (I won't bother to quote Piaget here). Now I ask you, should I be making this kid play rudiments and try to tell me the difference between a half note rest and a quarter note, or should we just be jammin' along to Beatle's songs?

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