Drum Author, Performer, and Educator
Some of the most successful toys throughout history have been those that leave the creating to the kids: Tinker Toys, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Play-Doh, Sims, Minecraft, and the list goes on. Kids have a natural drive to create and explore – even as adults we are motivated by the opportunity.
Honing that drive is not as simple as telling a student to go home and create something this week. It’s our responsibility as teachers to structure creative opportunities in a way that develops, motivates, and is within the reach of the students’ abilities. Think how motivated a beginning student might be with a structured assignment like this: Create a 16 measure snare solo using quarter notes and eighth notes, and give your solo a title. In this way, the student is taking strides towards developing his/her own style and connecting with his/her instrument.
This is the concept behind my book, Alfred’s Beginning Workbook for Snare Drum – to motivate students to create, explore, and ultimately develop a superior skill on their instrument by providing structured opportunities to be creative.
I had the amazing experience of working with Dave Black while writing this book. His best-selling method books have been in my teaching arsenal for years. When I presented him with the ideas I have used to motivate creativity, he was excited about the idea of a workbook that could accompany any beginning snare drum method.
In this workbook, students work through concepts sequentially as they are encouraged to be creative through structured activities such as composing, matching, beaming, completing duets, improvising, solos, check-ups, final test, and more. The late Louie Bellson had this to say: “Alfred’s Beginning Workbook for Snare Drum is a comprehensive, well-written, and a useful manual which achieves its overall goal of encouraging creativity in the learner. It has my highest recommendation.”
With the right tools, teachers can make strides towards encouraging students to become more connected with their music through creativity—and the best part—students will appreciate the exciting challenge. There’s a reason Legos and Play-Doh have stood the test of time: the desire to create is in us all.