My classes vary depending on the drummer I am working with. As a starting point they stress reading, coordination, technique and good time keeping. I have been taking lessons on and off my entire life and they really do help. Working with someone who can bring you to a new place in your playing is incredible. It is a great to have someone coach you, to let you know maybe you are doing something a bit strange, or that there is an easier way to execute a pattern that you might have overlooked. So in addition to listening to, and going to see great players, try and learn from them in a one on one setting.
Iíve had drummers from the age of 5 to the age of 50 be able to read music. I have two reasons for this. One, you will most likely not remember what every groove or exercise we work on in a lesson will sound like. If you go home and can read it, it will always be there. Two, it helps to see what a groove will sound like. That can be a real help when it comes time to memorize a pattern so you can really concentrate on the sound you are creating. I use all sorts of reading tools from books, to hand written exercises to transcriptions of songs.
The ability to keep your limbs working together while playing is a very important skill. The better control you have over your body, the more fun you can have. In addition to your two hands and two feet, I treat the voice as a fifth limb. So everyone learns to count and sing while they are playing.
If you have strong technique and good coordination there is no limit to what you can play. I really work with everyone to find the best way for them to hold the sticks, hit the drums and kick the pedals. Rudiments, sticking/pedaling exercises and the mollar stroke are all great things to have in your bag of tricks.
If you play long enough your going have to record or play live to a metronome or some kind of pre-recorded music. To develop good time, I get music that I believe has good time, or that I know was recorded to a click, and we learn to play over it. I also make my drummers play with a metronome for at least part of their training. Playing with a click is a life long learning experience. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better it feels.
If you are interested in lessons just email me, I will see what I can do for you.