Although there are many drum schools out there–online and otherwise–as well as many qualified and talented teachers there is one online drum school which stands out to me and that is Thomas Lang’s Drum Universe. Lang, a multi-dimensional player who has mastered such things as match and traditional grip playing, double bass technique, cymbal play, showmanship and so much more, is arguably one of the best soloists/clinicians in the world.
It’s difficult to pinpoint Lang’s watershed moment in his musical career because he has constantly re-invented his playing styles as well as adapting to and mastering many techniques over time. (The good news is that Thomas is not showing any sign of slowing down either). Nevertheless, the following video pretty much demonstrates Lang’s phenomenal drumming abilities.
So, what makes TL’s Drum Universe different than others? First, it’s Lang himself. Few drummers are as fluid and dynamic in their visual performance as Lang. Furthermore, Thomas is very diversified and rarely do you hear the same solo twice so being stale or repetitive is not an issue for TL. Lang also seriously maximizes the use of all four of his limbs to such an extent that the listener often thinks there is more than one performer in play. The interdependence of the limbs becomes a significant factor because Lang effortlessly toggles between right and left hands or feet which often leads the listener to wonder “where did that sound come from?”
Second, the caliber of a teacher that the student gets for the price is more than fair–it’s just $30.00 a month or $249.99 a year. To have access to ridiculously cool patterns and techniques from a master player for such a price is very reasonable.
Third, as Lang explains below the school is interactive which is really important. As far as teaching goes, having an interactive forum is a must as feedback from a pedagogue is the only way for the student to actually check him or herself.
Fourth, although much of what Lang plays may seem complex (or it is simplistic in nature but played at a fast tempo which makes it sound complex) I find that Thomas’ patterns and material are actually very useful for working drummers. In other words, I have found use for many of Thomas’ patterns in my own gigging which is refreshing because frankly, not all teaching material is exciting and to actually utilize what you learn and/or practice on a live gig is nothing short of exhilarating.
Finally, one cannot overlook Thomas’ sound which really enhances the experience. Lang’s fantastic sound is due in large part to the folks at DW Drums and Meinl Cymbals. Since Thomas relies on his feet so much the tones and punch of his bass drums–courtesy of DW–are particularly compelling and it further helps to reinforce and substantiate Lang’s heavy reliance on his feet. Make no doubt about it, Lang’s sound is a big factor and that plays perfectly into his style.
In the end, there are many reasons why Thomas Lang’s Drum Universe is the one of the best of the online schools out there and I certainly recommend it for players of all ages and skill levels. I don’t think Thomas Lang knows anything other than excellence in playing and performing and that’s the kind of teacher that I want and so should you.
So let’s hear from Thomas himself as he talks about his drum school: