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Teacher Spotlight – Alain Rieder

This month, Hudson Music spotlights Switzerland’s Alain Rieder.

1 Where are you located, and where do you teach?

I’m located in Geneva, Switzerland, and I teach both at my own studio and at International School Geneva. I teach both in French and English.

2. How many students do you teach, and what is their range of ability levels?

I teach about 20 students a week, one on one, and they range from beginner to advanced, children to adults. One fourth are girls or women at the moment.

3. What are your favorite teaching materials?

I wrote a book for beginners that has most of what I need to get them started, as well as the seeds of what is ahead if they pursue their studies. I also wrote a book called Time Manipulation, that was published long ago but has been out of print for a few years, and I’m working on a new edition. It’s a powerful structure to work on groove, polyrhythms and displacements. For play-alongs, I’ve been relying extensively on Tommy Igoe’s material over the last few years, and I also use Tommy Igoe’s DVDs to introduce the songs. I also own many other books with CDs, more than a hundred as a matter¬†of fact, and I use them whenever I need. With students interested in Jazz, I use John Riley’s books and DVD, and I also just got From Baby Steps to Giant Steps and find it very good and useful. I also still use older books like Syncopation or Stick Control.

4. How are you incorporating new media (DVDs, Mp3s, Internet, etc) into your teaching?

I love using the technology. I have Mac computers at my own studio as well as at the International School. I carry a hard disk with everything I need to teach and also to practice myself: iTunes library and my favorite DVDs. I use my iPhone to quickly send links to the students during the lessons, so once they are back home they can download print a specific chart that is on my private server, for example. I do it only for samples of my own charts by the way. For transcribing I use an application called Transcribe! To write charts, I’ve been using Sibelius in the last few years. Before, I was using Notator on the Atari and then Logic on the Mac. At a point I was a beta-tester for Logic, and I’ve been instrumental in getting functions I needed into the notation part of the application: the ability to have slashes replacing the rests, as well as the ability to write nested tuplets.

5. Do you have any funny anecdotes or stories from your teaching?

Recently, I asked a total beginner to play a basic groove pattern, at the start of his second lesson. He looked at me in disbelief and said: “But! I already played this last week!”

6. What are your general thoughts on drumming, teaching, music?

I’m still as interested in drumming as I”ve ever been and I still consider being at the start of my career, although I’ve been playing and teaching for many years. Teaching is just an extension of who I am, and I feel I’m an artist and a musician much more than I am a teacher. I try to help my students find that same space in themselves – being more of an artist and a musician than just a student.

I have a website which is in two parts:

Alain Rieder – Time Manipulation (personal site) (can also be accessed through)

Time Manipulation – Drumset Workshop (educational)