13 Jan Trust the process: An interview with tutor Peter Udall
East London drum tutor Peter Udall is experienced both playing internationally and teaching locally. Here we find out more about his approach to teaching, along with some of the experiences that brought him to the east of the capital.
If you’re looking for lessons with an East London drum tutor, check out Peter’s full profile here.
Hi Peter. You’ve been drumming most of your life. What age did you pick up the sticks?
I was using wooden spoons on pots and pans at two-years old. But I think I got my first pair of real drum sticks when I was five and it progressed from there really.
Did you ever take any drum exams growing up?
I did my grades up to grade 8.
And did you just stick with the drums or did you pick up any others along the way?
I also play piano and guitar. Piano was my second study instrument in the second and third year of my degree but drums are my first love!
Where was this?
I grew up in Petersfield, Hampshire but I attained my degree from Leeds College of Music.
When you were in Leeds you worked in a drum shop. How was that experience?
You meet so many different people at different stages in their lives and careers. Some were professional musicians, others were just curious. Everyone saw the drum kits in the window and wanted to check them out. We had some known faces come in too, including Ash Soan. Five Finger Death Punch’s drum tech also visited and gave me two VIP tickets to their show that night.
Having an understanding of the different methods of crafting your instrument is really helpful when looking for what to buy and play.
East London to Northern France
You then left Leeds and moved to East London. What was it that made you move here?
To pursue my music career. The east is such a great part of the city to be in.
It’s so vibrant, there’s always something new to check out!
Definitely. There’s always something cool going on and I’m always discovering new, exciting places. It’s quite different from where I grew up so I find it exciting and interesting. East London is well connected and getting around the city is easy!
You’ve been playing with some big name acts recently.
Yeah, it has been amazing. It’s so rewarding to use skills you have worked on in concentrated environment. From learning a large setlist in a short period to playing two shows a day in the same festival. Renegade Brass Band are really lovely guys and so are easy to travel with. Festival JSLP was in a relatively small town called Coutances in Northern France and yet the town was crammed full of music acts and fans. There were stages on every street corner and musicians flying in from all corners of the globe. It was amazing to be a part of that and to meet fans and sign merchandise.
The best audience I have ever played to was at our evening show at JSLP. Düsseldorf is beautiful city. I don’t think I would ever have visited if it wasn’t for my gig there with Renegade Brass Band. I’m so grateful to be able to do what I do for a living and I’m very grateful to those who believe in me and have helped me get to where I am today.
Trust the process
Moving onto teaching, what advice can you give anyone who might be thinking about taking drum lessons?
Trust the process. You won’t be shredding like a pro in the first few weeks. You’ll need to start simple, practise and then you’ll have a solid foundation you can build on.
Is there any advice you can give to anyone currently taking music lessons?
Again, trust the process and hang in there if you feel like you’re in a rut. Comparison with others will only make you feel inadequate. It’s great to be inspired but nobody wants to be put down. You want to be the best at being you at your instrument.
When I teach I try to help musicians find their sound and work at it as opposed to being a carbon copy of someone else.
Build a relationship with a teacher
With so many teaching resources and video courses online, what makes coming to lessons worth it?
There’s nothing better than having a one-to-one teacher, giving you personal and constructive feedback. Online resources often can’t feed back to you. Building a relationship with a teacher who supports and invests in you can be invaluable.
What is your current kit set up?
Those DW Collector’s kits are the dream! In your lessons is there a particular resource you use a lot?
Ted Reed’s Syncopation for the Modern Drummer is a brilliant resource at any level of playing. It’s such a versatile book.
It’s a classic for a reason. Speaking of which, who do you look to for inspiration?
Some of your students opt to take exams. It’s not for everyone but do your students get a lot out of the experience?
It’s a brilliant way to measure progress and see improvement. There are so many different elements in exam syllabuses that require pupils to work on different elements of their playing, from sight reading to rhythm recall and much more.
When a student passes it’s such a good feeling. Do you have a stand-out moment from any of your lessons?
There are so many to choose from. Most of them are when a pupil absolutely nails something they have been working on for a while. That’s one of my favourite things!
Before we wrap up, is there one single tip you can pass on that has made the most difference to your playing?
Rudiments are king. They might seem old fashioned but they are the foundation for drumming in any style. (Note: Check out this brilliant piece detailing 40 essential rudiments every drummer needs to know).
Thanks so much for your time Peter!
If you’re looking for an East London drum tutor and want to contact Peter for lessons, simply drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also check out Peter’s tutor profile right here.