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Teacher Spotlight: Louis Sellers

Each month we take a look at a member of our Teacher Integration Program. This month we spotlight the UK’s Louis Sellers.

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

I’m located in Andover, Hampshire (UK) and teach in my own private music studio from home.  I’m willing to travel within a 30 mile radius of Andover to teach students at their own home.

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

To date, I currently teach 16 students (privately) ranging from 9 – 50+ years old per week/fortnight.  The amount of students that I teach is continuously growing, thanks to dedicating all my time to teaching and running a successful recording studio.

The abilities of my students is vast – some are purely beginners on the drum kit, whereas others are progressing to intermediate/advanced level.  Similar to the student’s abilities, the genres that I teach is wide.  One lesson I’m teaching pop/rock drumming, the next I’m helping students how to hear 7/8 and how to play fast jazz, for instance.

3. How are you incorporating new media and technology into your teaching?

Although nothing is quite the same as a traditional lesson with me explaining drum concepts to students and using a good drum book, I find myself reaching for my iPod and Macbook laptop more often.  I simply run my iPod or laptop into a monitor speaker to amplify the songs/exercises, allowing the students to drum along.  Also, we make good use of the CDs that come with drum books.

On my official tuition website – www.totalcontroldrumtuition.com – I upload my own drum tuition videos on a weekly basis.  I encourage my students to check out my website as often as possible.

Hudson’s DVDs come in use when I’m trying to inspire students in a certain way, or offering them new drum heroes to study.  The eBooks go hand in hand with the DVDs too.  I like to use  as many DVDs as possible to spark their creativity.

Social networks and multimedia websites are becoming more useful too.  We  often search YouTube for drum videos and songs.

Lastly, I offer to record my students in the studio so they have something to take away with them on CD/mp3.  Sometimes I record them playing graded pieces too, which is a nice memento for parents.  In addition, they get an insight into modern recording techniques.

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

Not too many at the moment; I’m sure some funnier moments are yet to come!  However, a student of mine, whilst learning “Trinity Guildhall” Grade 1 for drum kit, kept asking me how nice the examiner will be in the exam!  She wondered whether they would be friendly like the drum lessons I provide, or represent something more like the ‘demon headmaster’!  Suffice to say, I told her not to worry about the examiner and just get on with doing the business you’re there for – kicking butt on the Grade 1 exam!

Also, my students sometimes request to play on my ‘full’ drum kit, rather than a stripped down kit during the lesson.  My full drum kit has around 14 cymbals, which often leaves the student wondering which cymbals to strike and when, upsetting their time keeping as a result.  The lesson learnt here is to build your drum kit gradually over time.  Learn the ins and outs of the cymbal’s placement and what sort of tone the cymbal has, so you can maximise the potential of each addition to your kit.

5. What are your general thoughts on the future of music, teaching, etc?

I believe advances in technology will affect the future of music in a number of ways.  Students already have a wealth of information right in front of them when surfing the internet, and this will only continue to grow.  Students can get closer to their favourite musicians than ever before.  The drum community has never been so strong.

In regards to music teaching, technology allows music teachers to bring new teaching methods and tools to each lesson.  However, I don’t feel like this will substitute the current traditional methods of teaching.  Nothing beats a one-to-one lesson between the teacher and their student.

Contact Louis at www.totalcontroldrumtuition.com

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