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Advancements in technology continue to soar at an exponential rate. When I first wrote the article 20 Aspects to an Ideal Teaching Studio Environment, I knew that some of the content would soon become antiquated or even obsolete.

The following is a list of updates to the original article. As the years go by, I will continue to make addendums to try to keep it up-to-date.

Note: I have had the pleasure of bi-monthly Skype meetings with drummer/teacher/author/inventor, Alan Schechner (from San Rafael, CA). Alan enjoyed the original article, contacted me, and we’ve been lobbing ideas back and forth ever since. I would like to thank Alan for this dialogue and sharing his forward-looking ideas.

I recently purchased a Sanyo Xacti Dual Camera and have found it to be great for shooting instructional videos and then editing using iMovie. The camera does everything as advertised, including recording surprisingly good audio, but does not come with an external mic input. If I had it to do over, I would buy an HD camera with the mic input. You get what you pay for!

About a month ago, my cellphone stopped working. I treated myself to an iPhone 4S. I am happy to report that the iPhone does everything that my laptop did for teaching lessons (the iPad would work even better). I don’t even bring a laptop to lessons anymore! Here are a few additional thoughts on this.

  1. The iPhone shoots 1080p HD video. I use this function when a student needs a specific video example to supplement what we’re covering in the lesson. Some technological magic occurs here! The students shoot me while I play examples. In doing so, they not only have fun filming the short video, but also see the beat, fill, etc., through a different perspective. After they go through this process, they often don’t even need to see the clip. They’ve already processed what I was previously trying to teach them.
  2. Once the video is shot, it’s incredibly easy to instantaneously email the clip to the student. Apple has set this up in very user-friendly way and the file size alwaysseem to be reasonably small.
  3. I’ve been pretty cautious in buying apps. So far, I have Jammit, Shazam (a music identification program), and mimiCopy (an app similar to the Amazing Slow-Downer). Many great metronome apps are available, so I’m now wondering why I spent the money to buy two Dr. Beats for my two drum studios locations…
  4. There are a couple of disadvantages of not having a laptop in the studio:
  • I’m one step further away from having a healthy-sized monitor screen. I now show students video examples on a pretty small screen. I suppose I could still buy a big screen and attach it to the iPhone...
  • Finale isn’t available yet in an app format. In the past, when students didn’t show up for their lessons (or there was a gap in the schedule), I would use the time to write notation for my books and articles/blogs. Conversely, now I’ll have more practice time to dig into some David Stanoch, Bill Bachman, and Florian Alexandru-Zorn.

I couldn’t mention this when I wrote the original article, but the music stand situation has been drastically improved (sorry to float my own boat…) with the invention and now production of The Drummer Stand by Manhasset. A multi-angle multi-clamp (and 16” chrome shaft) allows for a full Manhasset desk to be positioned right over the rack toms (or wherever else you might want it). My students now look forward to reading music, because it is placed in front of them—they don’t have to turn their necks to the left.

In the same light (of shameless self-promotion), an article featured on Drummer Café called DIY Homemade Mute Pads details another useful tool for any drum studio (along with my book, Drumset for Preschoolers, I hope…). With these tools, any drum teacher can now accept clientele as young as 2 or 3 years old. That’s all for this update. Until the next time, treat yourself to an attractive and effective work environment.


Andy Ziker

Andy Ziker is a drum instructor and free-lance performer in the Phoenix area. He has authored several instructional books (including Drum Aerobics and Daily Drum Warm-Ups). Unofficial colored drumcharts transcribed from Rock Band are available for free on www.andyziker.com.

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