MOVE TO IMPROVE

Moving better will seriously help you improve your sound and feel.

What I offer:

I offer Private Lessons and Group Masterclasses.

Group Masterclasses are offered in 60 minute introductory programs, and can be formatted anywhere from 2 hours to 2 day workshops. Private Lessons are 50 – 60 minutes in length.

practice drums
drummer

Where I Teach:

I offer online and in-person options for both Private and Group formats.

I am able to travel to your location. Or, for those coming to or living in Georgia, my studio is about 30 minutes north of Atlanta, at the Murray Arts Center near Kennesaw Mountain.

How I Teach:

Both Private Lessons and Group Masterclasses (whether online or in-person) involve some playing time at the kit (or practice pad), and some time away from the kit where we’ll use a type of sensory-motor learning called Awareness Through Movement.

drums

The basic format goes like this:

  • Play Test – at the kit: I ask you to do some playing and pay particular attention to some aspect of how you’re playing that we’ll be exploring in the lesson. To learn something new, it is essential to have a “before” experience to refer to at the end.
  • The Lesson – away from the drums, either standing, sitting, or lying down: I guide you to observe yourself as you do various movements that relate to a certain functional theme. This part is very much about the HOW of what you are doing, and you’ll pay particular attention to sensations of effort, weight shift, breathing, and other elements of movement. This combination movement with attention is what helps you to cultivate the Flow State.
  • Transition Time – walk, take a short break: this is effective for giving your system time to integrate new material.
  • Real Time Application – back to the kit: this part can take at least a couple different forms. One way is a very guided approach, where you’ll take cues from me to sense or pay attention to certain elements of yourself in motion that were part of the lesson. The second way, is more self-directed, where you explore on your own anything you discovered in the movement lesson.
  • Wrap Up – I give you ideas related to the theme of the lesson that you can apply during the week or even while you are playing to take the lesson deeper.

Testimonial

I’ve been playing drums off and on for the last decade. I taught myself how to play really basic beats and slowly increased my ability through sheer determination. About six months ago I hit a wall. I felt like I wasn’t able to teach myself more complicated material no matter how hard I tried. I sought out an experienced teacher to help me overcome my frustrations and guide me to better playing.

When I started taking lessons from Brian, one of the first things he did was investigate how I was playing in addition to what I was playing. He taught me about different grips, the importance of the quality of movement and how to use my entire body to play, not just hitting hard and hoping for the best. We started working on the full-stroke, down-stroke, up-stroke and tap. I wasn’t really able to move my arms and wrists well enough to play them like Brian did. It felt awkward and difficult to emulate. Because of this, we talked about kinesthetic awareness and Brian introduced me to the Feldenkrais Method.

When we started focusing on rotating my arms and feeling the different muscles and tendons, I started to appreciate the way my whole body was interconnected. We worked on rotating my arms forward and how that caused my back to curve forward. We worked on rotating my arms backward and how that caused my back to expand and arch. These movements felt strange at first, but with Brian’s guidance I became much more fluid and aware of how I was moving.

After practicing this technique, we played different strokes on a drum pad. Instantly the quality of my stroke improved. I could play para diddles with greater speed and accuracy. For the first time, playing felt fluid. My wrist stroke no longer became a struggle. I was playing, and playing well!

If you had told me a year ago I would be studying movement as much as playing, I wouldn’t have believed it. Now, though, I’ve come to appreciate playing the drums is way more involved than putting on headphones and repeating beats until they’re “good enough”. There’s a science to proper playing and without Brian, I never would have been able to make the progress I’ve made since working with him.

John Dupper

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