In January of 2001, Andy was introduced to the world of drum tuition after previously being approached at one of his gigs by the owner of a music teaching facility in Aberdeen City.
At that time, Andy considered himself more experienced as a ‘player’ rather than a ‘teacher’ but decided to jump at the challenge…..for a couple of reasons:
He remembered how difficult he found it trying to find suitable drum tuition when he was growing up and thought this would be a great opportunity to offer others what he struggled to obtain. He had also noticed the lack of promising young players coming onto the circuit during his time playing in bands.
“The only drum tuition that was available to me locally meant attending a music school to learn how to play many other percussion instruments but I didn’t want to play the glockenspiel or marimba I only wanted to play drums but there was nothing to cater for that. I can only guess that other people had come up against this same obstacle and may be part of the reason for the low influx of decent drummers onto the Aberdeen scene” [Andy Thomson]
Andy had to travel the country doing intensive courses and attending ‘drum clinics’ alongside many other drummers obtaining varying feedback and experiences about playing this instrument.
There were drummers of all ages and abilities, all with something to offer and something to learn but everyone was treated as equals as everyone shared one thing in common: We all wanted to play the drums and learn how to become better drummers!!
“I’m so glad that I chose this route as I learnt so much in such a short space of time and in a relaxed environment which, not only proved invaluable for enhancing my own playing but also for my teaching. This was the kind of environment I wanted to create for my students.” [Andy Thomson] Once Andy had started teaching at this school It didn’t take too long for his fears to be realised……..and that was many of the students were being made to play things they weren’t interested in or wanted to do!
The reason they wanted to play the instrument in the first place was being overlooked, along with the basic fundamentals of playing the drums, they were being fed down one path only and it was a path only too familiar to Andy himself and one he was all too glad he did not take.
“Students were being taught how to pass exams and not how to play a musical instrument and even now, many years later, it still goes on! It has become another subject and exam to them and not the fun they expected it to be. Students are passing exams and advancing up the ‘grades’ ladder but in reality they are not as accomplished at playing as the grade suggests. The student eventually hits a break wall and can go no further. This only results in a loss of confidence and interest!
It’s hard enough trying to get students to practice enough nowadays what with all the distractions in the World and all the different activities they are taking up but if it is treated as another school subject instead of a fun leisure activity then it makes the task all the harder” [Andy Thomson] When the school was forced to close less than a year later, Andy decided to set up his own drum tuition business at his home in Aberdeen.
Andy teaches drums in a way where the student still learns the relevant skills that are required to play the instrument but hopefully gets some enjoyment out of learning in the meantime. He likes it to be seen as a leisure activity away from the classroom and, for the older of his students, as a release from the stresses of the everyday work routine.
“Every student is different and wants to learn different things so; along with teaching the basics to everyone I try to work the lesson around the student as much as possible”
“There are many reasons why people want to play the drums and in my experience the main ones are usually a ‘fun’ reason e.g. they want to play in a band with other musicians, they’ve seen a drummer playing in their favourite band and think it looks cool, they wanted to play when they were younger but never got round to it and looking to relive the childhood ambitions or they just want to be good at something as a hobby. That’s why everyone is out there buying ‘Guitar hero’ and ‘Rock Band’ because it portrays playing music with the image of having fun and they also get to play tunes their favourite bands are playing.” [Andy Thomson] Although it has now been more than 10 years since Andy started teaching drumming, he is always looking for new ideas and different ways to approach practicing and is always trying to improve as a teacher…………and by listening to feedback from students over the years and working with them in order to try and accommodate everyone’s varying requirements, he has devised his own unique system which he believes works in helping any student breakdown the whole approach to practicing and make playing the drums a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Andy’s studio is equipped with all the latest hi-tech ‘Roland’ electronic drum kits, linked up to a pa system that allows the student to play along with their favourite songs at lower volumes, practice pads, facilities for double bass playing and tuition books and DVDs to grab ideas from.
All lessons are on a 1-to-1 basis with Andy and last for half an hour or 1 hour, depending on student requirements and availability. They run from 4pm to 9pm Monday to Thursday or 12pm to 4pm on a Sunday. Arrangements can be made for anyone who wants to come before 4pm if that works better for them.
He accepts students of all ages and abilities, so whether you’re someone who has never picked up sticks before and want to give it a go or you’re looking to sharpen up existing skills then do not hesitate in contacting him for a free no obligation quote.