Martial Arts and Drum Lessons
If you’re the teacher or parent of a drum student taking drum lessons, this article will identify a lesson plan similar to that of a marital arts training session. This is a sort of a personal story of a martial artist and musician. Group lessons, like martial arts, follow a certain format most of the time and I notice that this format allows several students to have an understanding of what they’re supposed to do inside of their lesson and helps make sense of what is going on in the lesson. So, here are the lessons that martial arts can teach musicians.
The Warm Up
The first part of a lesson should be a warm up. In martial arts this allows your muscles to prepare for the workout. In drum lessons this serves the same purpose. The warm up, in most music lessons, can be showing the teacher what you’ve worked on that week. It’s the best time to perform with all your heart. This part of the lesson is as useful to the teacher as it is the student, because the teacher isn’t judging at this time, he or she is just listening for what parts still need to be worked on and it can provide the teacher with what should be the focus of the lesson, if they need to change their lesson plan or not.
Technique of the Day
Following the warm up in martial arts is the introduction of the technique of the day. The focus of this section isn’t speed, but precision. The martial artists will do the movements slowly and make sure that the placement is perfect, or reveal what is difficult for them in that moment. The sweat is flowing and the brain is focused. This part of the drum lesson is very important and is the reason that lessons need to happen in a quiet room with few disturbances. Musicians need the same type of focus that martial artists use in order to make sure that their technique is focused and precise, because most of the time the technique is new or one in development.
Grab A Partner
In most martial arts classes, after you’ve worked on a technique alone it’s time to grab a partner and learn, in theory, how this will work. So, you’ve guessed it, it’s time to break into the theory of drum lessons. The drum teacher, many times, will grab the theory book and it’s time to do an activity with your drum teacher where you can learn how the technique of the day fits into the theory of music. For example, what does a paradiddle technique look like when you write it out in notation? This is music theory. It’s an assisted activity where you learn how technique applies to music.
Gear Up, and… FIGHT!
We’ve reached the climax of the martial arts class and it’s time to grab everything we’ve been working on prior to today, the technique and theory we’ve learned today, and apply it to the music. At the end of the lesson, we apply our technique and theory to our song or beat. It’s time to rock out. This is the most fun part of the martial arts class, and the most fun in a drum lesson. Our teacher lets us show what we can do, and so does your drum teacher. It’s time to turn on a backing track or a song and play along.
At the end of the martial arts class, we usually end with a stretch. In drum lessons, this stretch is a quick review of everything we covered in class and what we’re working on for the week. So, take a breath, you’ve had a great class and we’re all set for next time.
Now mind that every martial arts class doesn’t go exactly this way and it takes about 2 hours to go through all of these sections during a martial arts class. But every music lesson doesn’t go this way either, because of any number of factors. However, the best chance to have lessons be so thorough is to make sure that there is time to go through each section without having to rush. So, most students over the age or 8 years old should