I was basically self-taught for my first 8 years of playing drums.  I learned everything about the drumset through trial and error on my own (aside from a few months of initial lessons on how to play basic grooves and fills).  I think that period of exploration/discovery was an important link in the chain for me in my development as a musician, but ultimately I didn’t make any real progress on my instrument until I found a teacher to guide me in some serious STUDY of the drumset.

Yesterday, when I was considering what makes a “good” teacher, I came up with this idea:  The most important job of a teacher is to show the student what “good” is.  Therefore, a good teacher will spend the majority of the time articulating what the bull’s eye is, not just giving the student tips on how to hit the target.  This is true in my experiences as a student, especially when I think about the teachers that really impacted me.  The best lessons I’ve ever had are the ones where I realize that the target I’ve been aiming for is perhaps not the best target.  As the teacher helps me bring the real bull’s eye into focus, I am then able to make slight adjustments in my efforts, and I immediately see more progress as a result of a more accurate aim.

Just something to consider I guess… that a good teacher should not just show you how to get good, but also what the true definition of “good” really is.