My drum lessons are based on the principle of viewing playing drums as “making music” and never losing touch with the music while playing. On the one hand this approach prepares you best for playing in a band or shows you new possibilities to improve your playing in a band and on the other hand it is simply even more fun when you can play to music and songs.
There is the possibility to play to original songs on which you can already hear drums, or to play-alongs, i.e. songs without drums. Both are a lot of fun and depending on the approach very efficient. In addition, I have an extensive selection of songs that are completely notated for drums and can be worked on in class.
By playing with the music, you can quickly recognize your deficits or the areas you want to deepen and thus get to exercises that train and expand the playing technique, train coordination or create new ideas for grooves and fills in the respective area.
The playing technique, i.e. the execution of strokes, posture of the sticks and operation of the pedals etc. is the basic prerequisite of drumming. The better, more versatile, more variable the technique of a person playing drums is, the easier it will be for him or her to realize his musical ideas. Or, to put it another way, poor technique often prevents the player from implementing ideas and making progress in his or her own playing.
A good technique is essential for progress in one’s own playing and for having fun in music. That’s why technique exercises should be done as regularly as possible, ideally every day.
In my lessons, I don’t just work through all the playing techniques, but only discuss them when the use of these techniques in the music is desired or considered to be a sensible next step.
It is very important to realize that there is not one right technique, but that there are many different ways to hold the sticks, to make movements or to operate the pedals. There are many different playing techniques and they are all options that I use depending on the sound I have in mind. The goal must always be to sound and groove well and whatever technique I use to achieve that goal, if I achieve it, it is good and the playing technique that led to it is the right one.
Movement & Coordination Exercises
Many “problems” that arise in drumming such as timing variations, lack of ideas, or difficulty in implementing musical ideas originate in limb coordination and playing technique.
Playing drums, unlike many other instruments, is a very physical activity. This means that even when playing quietly with small movements, the body is involved, since all 4 limbs fulfill a function and the sitting position and posture are crucial for the musical result.
So if a fill just doesn’t work, a groove doesn’t sound the way you want it to, or you just don’t feel comfortable playing a song, there are always reasons for this in the body. These can be, for example, inappropriate playing technique, too much body tension, a lack of independence or a lack of awareness of the time.
My job as a drum teacher is to discover these deficits, to point them out to the students or to help them to feel them and then to develop exercises that directly address the problem area and ultimately solve the problem. Often it is not so difficult and does not take so long to master a difficulty, if one only starts with the right method at the right place … and already practicing is fun again.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of a good lesson is the ability of the drum teacher to adapt spontaneously and always anew to different situations and problems. Often it is not a matter of applying a well-structured concept, but of having different methods up one’s sleeve in order to bring the learner to the goal depending on the situation. It is not uncommon for exercises that lead to the solution of a difficulty to arise spontaneously in class. My counterpart is involved in the development of the exercise and thereby learns to find ways to overcome certain hurdles.
The teaching materials I use in my drum lessons I have designed and written down myself. Partly I adapt the exercises during the lessons to the needs of the individual person. For each, both musical and technical, area of drumming there are own exercises and concepts, which are on the one hand strongly inspired by my experiences as a live and studio musician and on the other hand of course by the contents and curricula of the different classes of the Los Angeles Music Academy:
“Playing Techniques” – Ralph Humphrey, Mike Packer
“Rock” – Mark Schulman
“Funk” – Mike Shapiro
“Jazz” – Joe Porcaro
“Afro-Cuban Drumming” – Mike Shapiro / Aaron Serfati
“Brazillian Drumming” – Mike Shapiro / Aaron Serfati
“Big Band Drumming” / “Ensemble Reading” – Ralph Humphrey / Toni Inzalaco
“Reading” – Mike Packer / Dave Beyer
“Percussion” – Jerry Steinholtz
“Studio Drumming” – John “JR” Robinson
“Rhythm Studies” – Ralph Humphrey
“Honestly, I’ve always thought a drum teacher who completely won me over is something you have yet to create, I guess: He keeps a firm grip on the thread of development, but is extremely flexible in the lessons. He knows where I am right now; he senses exactly what I need at the moment. He challenges me and lets up when I – as a professional – simply can’t do any more. He gives me the feeling that I am not an interchangeable student, but a human being. And he doesn’t pull a “boot”, no always the same patent remedy program through. Oh yes, of course he is open to new things and listens to his students. He is a thoroughbred musician and a thoroughbred teacher at the same time. And of course it is fun in every lesson. Is that clear? Yes, there is! Lars.”
Hajo Kiener, 44 years
“Congratulations, you’ve found the needle in the haystack: a super drummer plus a natural pedagogical talent! One who doesn’t just give drum lessons because he has to – Lars Watermann wants to and can! Lars picks up every student where he stands, no matter if you are 8 or 8o, already have some skills or if you hardly dare to pick up the sticks. The teaching concept is well thought out and structured, yet it’s still a lot of fun! It is said that there have been people who were so enthusiastic about the children’s lessons that they started drumming themselves… The catch? Not found. At most this: Sometimes he has to be replaced because he is on tour with the band – has to be and you should also listen to that! Just try it out – as long as there are still dates available.”
Dorothee Johannsen, 45
“First and foremost, lessons with Lars have always been a lot of fun. What I liked best was that we worked a lot with music or play-alongs. That way you always keep in touch with the music – and that’s what playing drums is all about, after all!”
Cornelius Ulrich, 22, preparing to study at the Hamburg School of Music.
“I’ve been playing drums for a few years now and was looking for someone to teach me individually. Lars addresses everything, explains every detail and looks for ways to learn desired things in an easy way. If the first way doesn’t lead to the goal, he finds a second or third, until it just works. And, Lars is the most motivating drum teacher I have ever had. It’s not uncommon for me to go to the practice room the same evening after class and immediately try out what I just learned.”
Heike, 38 years
“Lars is a very cheerful, enthusiastic person and that is infectious. When you sit on the practice stool with him, the sticks in your hands immediately itch. His lightness is free of superficiality. He deals with my mistakes and my inability in a very human way, he can encourage, yet he shows – and this is what I value – how to learn from mistakes. His song analyses are excellent and the resulting lessons are a super nice combination of practice and theory. I found Lars’ live performance to be very energetic and precise.”
Michael F., age 40, focus on song analysis.
“Drum lessons with Lars means to me:
– absolutely relaxed and friendly atmosphere
– flexible lesson times, including playing together on my own set in the rehearsal room
– easy learning of fills, postures, techniques, set building etc. through easy to understand examples or “demonstrations”, references to play-alongs and of course through 2 built up sets on which Lars and I can play at the same time.
– valuable and easy to use tips, examples and demonstrations when it comes to tuning the set
– comprehensive advice when it comes to buying new cymbals etc…..
– fair prices”
Jan Lorenz, 24 years
“The lessons with Lars are a good preparation and help for the musician and band life. Every new technique is transferred from theory and thus becomes easy to apply. You can take something useful from almost every lesson, some things can be played almost unchanged. Apart from that, Lars has a good eye for creeping mistakes and provides useful suggestions for improvement. Last but not least it has to be said that Lars is just a very nice guy and his two drum sets already had to survive the one or other fat jam.
Leon Rueb, 18
“You can’t describe Lars’ lessons, you have to experience them yourself. Through his good and understandable explanations, you learn very quickly. Lars motivates you every time anew and his lessons are a lot of fun. If you need help, for example in choosing a new drum set, you can rely on him. Lars is not only a super teacher and a great drummer but also a great personality.”
Nadine, 16 years
“I am a single parent with my drums (…) and indeed Lars is always concentrated to teach us sophomores the perfect handling of the instrument. Even if you haven’t found the time to practice, he copes with it easily and creatively – you make progress while playing, so to speak. Learning takes place in a lively mixture of rehearsals and song accompaniment (you can bring your own favorite music, Lars will help you with everything in a relaxed manner), or simply drumming away. One hour is always over much too fast! A recommendation for all who want to have fun with music and for whom good lessons are important at the same time.”
Sabine, 39 years
“I decided to play drums seriously relatively late (about 2 ½ years ago, at 22). I was looking for a drum teacher, because I didn’t have one at the time – that became Lars – and looked at the Hamburg School Of Music as a medium-term goal. When I started with Lars, I already knew a lot of things, but for example I couldn’t play an 8th note pop groove to a play-along straight on – at least not well. So together with Lars we went to the basics like groove and time, musical listening and playing, dynamics etc.. These things were practiced regularly to music in the form of play-alongs and original pieces, so practice-oriented.
Lars also taught me playing skills in the following styles: rock/pop/funk (ternary and binary), jazz (with sticks and brooms), big band drumming, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music, reggae, disco/house. Topics also included technique and independence, note reading, chart reading, sound, and various tips and insights into various aspects of music and business from his own experiences as a professional musician. In short, I completed a kind of two-year crash course in all the important areas of drumming, practiced purposefully for the entrance exam at the school and then passed it without any major problems. I think the results speak for themselves, everything also takes place in a relaxed atmosphere and, in my experience, is tailored to the needs and demands of the individual student.”
Mattin, 24 years old, preparing for studies at the Hamburg School of Music
The fee for a 45-minute lesson is €45 and €15 for each quarter hour beyond the 45 minutes.
The first lesson is free of charge as a trial lesson.
Appointments are flexible (no need to make a regular appointment) and are arranged individually with the student. The lesson times are not bound to school times / school vacations or to fixed days.
The length of the lessons can also be arranged individually and flexibly. In case of a longer journey or for more time-consuming topics such as song analysis, a longer lesson unit (60 min., 75 min., 90 min.) can be booked.
Only the lessons that actually took place will be charged. An agreed appointment can be canceled and will not be charged. However, if the cancellation of the agreed lesson takes place on the day of the agreed appointment, the lesson will be charged in full. In case of cancellation on the day before the appointment, half of the lesson will be charged.
The fee includes 19% VAT and is due at the end of the month after invoicing.
My classroom is located in the “Hansa-Gewerbezentrum” (no bunker!) at Gustav-Kunst-Str. 14 in the Rothenburgsort district of Hamburg.
Bus line 160 stops directly at the Hansa-Gewerbezentrum, which runs from Berliner Tor via Horner Rennbahn to Wandsbek Markt. The bus stop in direct proximity to the rehearsal room is called Gustav-Kunst-Str.. The journey from Berliner Tor and from Horner Rennbahn takes about 12 minutes each.
In addition, my room can be reached on foot from the S-Bahn (2 stops to the main train station) Rothenburgsort in about 15 minutes.
Parking spaces are available free of charge directly at the classroom.