DVD: Getting Started on Drums

TommyIgoe GettingStartedOnDrums 51fosdOoDGL__SY300_Those of us who learned to play music on the fly didn’t take a lot of formal lessons.This is both good and bad. For me, mostly bad. I could have used the structure. Symphony musicians obviously need tons of formal training. Folksingers, not so much.

Longtime professional drummer Tommy Igoe has produced (2001) an excellent introduction to the art and craft of drumming that is extremely low-key and entertaining.The first half teaches the basic nuts and bolts of just putting a brand new drum set together straight out of the box. Very useful and enlightening. The second half begins with the obvious but vitally neccesary skill known as :how to hold a drumstick. This might seem obvious but it’s not.  The stick has a fulcrum or balance point as the stick is just a lever after all. You hold the stick with the thumb and finger at the fulcrum and kind of flick or tap the drumtip on the drumskin or cymbal to play sounds. If you use a drumstick gripped tightly, like a hammer, you will damage your wrists and thus shorten your  drumming career. Ideally you have a “lot of air” in your drumstrokes.

Using three different students on camera Igoe goes through the basic exercise of continuous one-and-two-and-three-and-four taps on the cymbal (the shiny hat-shaped metal thing on a stick) while adding  snare drum beats on the two and four spots in the pattern and then a bass-drum beat on the “and-one” spot in the continuous slow and steady one-two-three-four-one-two-three-four of the cymbal taps or beats, as kind of a metronome or timekeeper for the drummer to “hang onto”, so as to keep everything straight. Once the student is secure on the basic timekeeping idea of drumming, Igoe adds in little tiny baby steps of say, a little hi-hat (floor cymbal) at the start of the “one” beat.

The phrase  “He makes it all look so easy” will surely come to mind as Tommy Igoe slowly brings intermediate students into drumming patterns (called Grooves) which sound remarkably like…Drumming!!

OMG,Becky-that kid is playing like a real drummer! That is the most impressive part of this video. Obviously, a lot of practice stands behind these student performances, but still it is amazing how much can be accomplished if you just “slow it down” as Igoe suggests over and over. Igoe obviously likes teaching and has a good chemistry with his students. An excellent DVD whether you ever play drums or not. Seriously.


photo: Amazon.com


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