Student Story – Michael Hutchinson – BA(Hons) Creative Music Performance (Drums)

Michael HutchinsonDrum teacher and new DIME ONLINE student – Michael Hutchinson.

I thought I would share my experience so far with you guys, not to inspire, more for my own personal reflection.

Making the decision to pursue a part time degree at 35 is tough, especially when you have a wife, three children, a dog and a bearded dragon. I forgot to mention full time work and my drum school! It all came about whilst watching an episode of Mike Dolbear’s web show, where the great Mike Sturgis was being interviewed.

He mentioned that he was Head of Education at DIME ONLINE – a unique, first of its kind degree course – where you could earn a BA(Hons) Creative Music Performance (Drums) degree from the comfort of your armchair.

So I thought, “why not”? I mean, I’m awesome at playing drums right? What can they teach me that I don’t already know or can’t find on YouTube? It’ll be a breeze and I’ll get my degree, Check me out! (Famous last words…)

So, the next day I got in touch with DIME ONLINE, and sorted out my funding They also sent me the assessment criteria & exercises I needed to complete in order to prepare my video audition.
Hang on a minute… Audition!?

• 2 Pieces on the drum kit
• A number of exercises based on rudimental work.
• A written piece.

So this is where the panic set in. I read through the exercises and my cocky attitude soon disappeared: this was harder than it seemed.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I prepared what they had asked and sent it through, and after what seemed like forever, they finally accepted me. Phew!

Starting on the course was wicked – we were given all our login details for the online learning platform, and were inundated with documentation to read through. Photos were uploaded for our student ID, and we were ready to go.
After fresher’s week was over we started on the modules; we were assigned the absolutely amazing Gabor Dornyei as our tutor and Head of Drums.
He was showing us things in the modules that I could never have found on YouTube.

My ability grew week-by-week, putting everything into context and allowing me to be creative with it. I had one-to-one lessons with the great man himself, and as much of his time as I needed to ensure that what I was rehearsing, was being rehearsed well.

So, the question: Is it hard to do an online degree? Well the answer is ‘yes’!
Self-motivation is a must – it’s easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”. It’s hard to say “let’s do it now”.

To get better you need to study – and to study you need motivation: this course really tests your motivation!

I love drums, I live and breathe drums, but I did get complacent over the years. With DIME ONLINE I have managed to get my learning back on track, and with the help of Gabor – I am more motivated than ever to succeed on this course. No more being cocky about my abilities… definitely not!

The course content is the best content I’ve ever seen and if you are serious about playing music for a living, then this course is a must.

So how far into the course am I? Well I’m in week 15, have just finished Trimester 1, and am eagerly awaiting my first assessment results.

My Skill set on the drums has grown 100% since week 1, and I can only see it increasing again. My practice regime is about 3 to 4 hours a day – 6 days a week – split up daily between Rhythm Studies and Technical Development.
I keep a strict practice diary and update my SWAT analysis to focus my rehearsal on my weak areas.

I’m looking forward to starting Trimester 2 in a week’s time and foresee it to be difficult, but fun. I am going to keep you all updated on my progress, my pitfalls, and my successes.

Even if my students read this, then they will realise that there is no time in your music career where learning should cease. There is inspiration everywhere; you just have to find it.

Michael Hutchinson
Triple-T Drumming Ltd.