Columbia students

Hey all,

This page contains general information about private lessons at Columbia College, as well as important materials specific to your instruction.  Please bookmark this page if you haven't already, as you'll need to reference it in the future.  If you have a question about pretty much anything regarding lessons or study, odds are the answer is somewhere on this page.

Columbia College Drumset Placement Auditions (For New Students)

These auditions are to determine your playing level for ensembles and your focus in private lessons. Your audition will be approximately 15 minutes long.

There are three levels of private lessons: 1000 (entry), 2000 (intermediate) and 3000 (advanced). Most new and incoming students will start at the 1000 level and work their way up through the program.

Materials you need for the audition: pair of sticks, pair of brushes, pair of headphones or earbuds for play-alongs

Areas covered:

Rudiments: basic to advanced (any within the original 26), moderate march tempo or open-closed-open

Reading: snare drum

Reading: drum chart (big-band style: slashes, hits, etc.)

Styles, with play-along recordings: Rock, Blues shuffle, Jazz Swing (sticks, brushes), Funk

Instrumental Performance/CUP-intended students: Fast rock, R&B, Hip-Hop

Jazz majors: 3/4 swing, fast swing, jazz ballad, trading 4's, bossa-nova, samba

Some important details about drumset auditions

This audition is to determine your overall playing level, help get you into an appropriately-matched ensemble, and help your instructor focus on specific areas that might need attention.  You may prepare for this audition (via the materials listed below), but this is not a “pass/fail” situation.  We’re simply trying to get a general idea of your playing level.

Materials used in auditions

Rudiments: PAS Rudiment List (though we will largely focus on the “original 26”)

Snare drum reading: A moderate-level single-line piece chosen by the instructor, but one may practice out of Ted Reed’s “Syncopation”, Charles Wilcoxon’s “All American Drummer”, or anything else that may contain rhythmic reading exercises

Chart reading: A moderate-level passage chosen by the instructor, but one may practice out of Steve Houghton’s “Studio and Big Band Drumming” or Dave Weckl’s “Ultimate Play-Along” series

Styles:  Play-alongs will be chosen from Tommy Igoe’s “Groove Essentials” series.  Jazz styles play-along will be the iPhone/iPad app called “iRealb”

Private Drum Lessons Syllabus

Instrumental Performance/CUP

Jazz Majors

New Students NOTE:  Required books/materials to get immediately

Drum books:

G. L. Stone, Stick Control for the Snare Drummer
Ted Reed, Syncopation (For less-experienced jazz players; required for NON-JAZZ majors only)
Jim Chapin, Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer (For more advanced jazz players; required for JAZZ majors only)
Gary Chester, The New Breed
Tommy Igoe, Groove Essentials 1.0 (Book/CD pkg) (Required for NON-JAZZ majors, but encouraged for jazz majors as well) 

Other materials:

Spiral-bound notebook for me to write instructions in (8.5x11" standard; please do NOT get anything smaller)

Sticks: Vic Firth 2B or something larger than what you typically use on the kit. The reason for this will get explained in lessons.

SDHC card, at least 4GB, at least class/series 4. I record each lesson, and this is for your reference.  More details are below.

Scheduling A Lesson

You must use Time Trade to get a lesson time this semester.  The Student Instruction guide can be found here.

Private Lesson materials you need to bring to EVERY lesson

  • Spiral-bound notebook for me to write instructions in (8.5x11" standard)
  • I always recommend getting a pair of sticks that is thicker and heavier than you typically use on the kit; a Vic Firth 5B or 2B works well for me.  This is for snare drum rudiments, Stick Control, and other "hands only" practice, in order to help facilitate development of the bounce.
  • I use a Zoom Q3HD to video record every lesson I teach.  What you need, in order to archive each lesson, is an SDHC card, at least class 4 (the higher the class/series, the faster the read speed), with a capacity of at least 4GB (higher recommended).  This 8GB card is perfect.  If you have a smaller-capacity card, it won't be able to hold the video of an entire lesson, but I could audio record it.  Also, make sure your computer has an SD slot.  Most computers (Macs and PCs) made within the last 3-5 years have one built in, but if yours does not, you could get an inexpensive USB card reader like this one.

Practice/study Materials


PAS Rudiments

Basic Jazz Comping

Also, for your practice, if you don't have one already, you'll need some sort of digital metronome; in fact, these days, I use metronome apps for the iPad, iPod touch or iPhone.  I use both Tempo and Tempo Advance (Frozen Ape), but there are also many free apps that work just fine.

Reading materials & other resources

Thoughts on Good Practice Habits

Practice Habits, pt 2

Tom's Book Picks (reg. books; not drum-instruction books but related to practicing and development)

Tom's Video Picks (drum videos)

Groove Essentials 1.0 mp3s

Groove Essentials 2.0 mp3s