Miller Drum School
Hourly Teaching Rate- $85.00
My methodology is based on the teachings of my father and The Al Miller Drum School, which has been in existence for over five decades. It is an easy program to follow and has provided our students with the tools needed to understand rhythm and technique. The system is based on Al's proven instructional method, begun in 1951. Many of today's most well-known drummers have studied the Miller drum system, including Billy Cobham, Greg Bissenette, Dom Famularo, Bobby Rondinelli and Rod Morgenstein, to name just a few.
Even the great Buddy Rich recognized the value of his system and asked my father to teach him to read music. Since my father's passing in 2000, I've expanded his method and personalized it for the modern drummer.
With brand new students, One of the goals is to have them playing a beat in the first lesson. At the same time, we introduce certain foundational elements. Although the consistent use of method books is important, emphasis on "playing," improvisation and fun are always a large part of the experience here.
Intermediate and advanced
The lesson plan is based on reviewing the previous lesson and then taking each assignment to the next step. My only expectation is that my student will come to the lesson prepared to move forward. He or she should be ready to turn to the next page of any given book and add something new to a technique that has been discussed in the previous lesson. There is always a forward motion - this is the key to reaching the goals set by the student.
Core Books That I Use:
Modern Drum Studies by Simon Sternburg. This a great book which is taught using a process my father developed. The book is presented in cut time, however, Al came up with the idea of having each passage played five different ways, implementing different types of rolls: 16th even, 16th triplet, 8th note triplet in 4/4 and then played as originally intended, using the 8th note triplet roll in cut. The fifth, and most challenging, is the eighth note even.
Syncopation by Ted Reed. Used as an introduction to reading.
N.A.R.D. for Rudimental studies
Al Miller Volume 1 through 6 Jazz and Rock Studies
Rockin' Bass Drum by Charles Perry and John Lombardo. Used as an introduction to rock drumming.
Many other books are used as more challenge is needed.
NYSSMA studies are an essential part of this program during the school year.
Within the program, I implement a course that I call "The Recording Session." It's a music minus-one study using a library of recording sessions that I've played on, in a variety of musical styles. The student picks a tune that he or she wants to work on. They will hear the song with and without my drum track. When they are ready, they will replace my track with their own. This is done in a 16-track recording studio using Pro Tools.
It gives the student a real sense of pride when they hear themselves "on a record." I've witnessed tremendous results with this and it is just one of several unique approaches that I use.
My greatest joy is to inspire my students - I focus on encouraging them to achieve new levels of fearless expression. While I do emphasize the books and the lesson plan, it is crucial to keep a very friendly environment where students feel free to be themselves and share their thoughts. This is what sets our drum school apart and why I have been very successful in maintaining a long lasting student body.