Part 3 of K-Bo’s exclusive interview with Billy Cobham and Thomas Lang about their online drum school…

Read Part 1 HERE

Read Part 2 HERE

K Bo: You’re both very busy professional musicians who are touring and working a lot.  How do you fit working with this online drum school into your busy schedule?

TL: I can answer questions from anywhere in the world.  I can work from my hotel room, sound check or anywhere that I am in the world.  However, since we are limiting the amount of students and we’re keeping it at a level that is not to overwhelming.  The amount that we’re aiming for is about 2,000 students worldwide and that’s a doable amount. I’m learning the balance but it’s working out.

K Bo: Thomas, are you going to offer would-be students who want to learn stick tricks and showmanship techniques any lessons or guidance on these subjects?

TL: Yes, of course, if someone is interested in those techniques we can cover that.  I did some stick tricks on a DVD once but whatever the students want to talk about, we’ll talk about.  That’s the case whether it is stick tricks or being more visual on stage.  And I mean that, I’ll talk about anything they want to talk about; stage clothing, travel tips—anything.  That’s because it’s a personal relationship and I have heard people say that they just want to play dance music and twirl their sticks.  I get that.  If that’s what they want I can accommodate them.

K Bo: Does your online school feature techniques or materials that can’t be seen anywhere else for your fans?

TL: Yes.  The material is mostly stuff that they can’t find anywhere else.  It is mostly exclusive and unique to this Artistworks Drummer Academy.  A lot of it is new.  For example, I have never taught beginners.  In fact, my DVDs and other materials were for advanced players so a lot of this material is radically new for me.  I’m teaching things that I’ve never talked about or taught before.  Also, all the video questions that I’m answering are exclusive and completely unique as well.  What is also nice is that it is a streaming-based technology so it cannot be downloaded so we don’t have to deal with  piracy issues.

BC:  What I also think that is organically important to understand is that Thomas is Thomas and Billy is Billy.  Each of us are based on our experiences in life.  So if we come with something we’re coming with what we learned as perpetual students and the way that we have put it together for ourselves individually.  Therefore, when we make the presentation it is unique and that is what this is all about. That’s why this is so special.  I am not teaching anywhere else.  I’m only at Artistworks.  So, if you want to study with me on a consistent basis you can only find me there.

K Bo: Looking to the future, there are always going to be upgrades, modifications and changes to any new program.  Are there any future goals or changes that you want to make that you can envision or share with us at this time?

TL: I think a real goal is to get the school accredited.  I would like to see it where people can actually get a degree online from this school.  You have world famous legends like Billy, for example, teaching here and he can’t teach everyone who wants to see and study with him.  But with this site, he can.  He can reach a huge audience.  And the way he teaches is so profound and I think that a platform that would allow people to get a degree makes sense because of that interactive element.  This is an efficient way to teach.  This deserves to be recognized.  So, my goal is to seek Artistworks to be accredited and to have students earn a degree after a few years of studying.

BC:  I think that would be a wonderful goal to be achieved.  I can say no more really.  That would be wonderful.  But I’ll say this.  I already have my hands full with this project.  It is fun and fulfilling and I’m pleased to be a part of it.  But I know we can go farther.  We’ll see.

K Bo: What is the thing that you’re the most proudest of with this school?

TL: I’m proud to be part of drummers who are idols of mine like Billy, first and foremost.  Second, I’m proud of the content and the way we did it.  The performances, my curriculum, the concept, everything.  I’ve put together a huge amount of material and I’m really proud of the results.  And I’ll tell you this.  If I were a student I’d be on that site every single day analyzing and learning and asking questions.  I see the potential in this program.  It’s huge.  No one else can provide it.

BC: For me, it’s the fact that we have this source and this tremendous think tank.  We’re creating our legacy and that makes me feel good.  I’m the old guy so I can speak this way.  So, what I’m bringing to the table is stuff that I’m really happy to share.  I’ve never been seriously approached about doing something like this before and others have dropped the ball when they did suggest it.  But with Artistworks this has been done and done well.  We’ve made this project and this concept a reality and for me this is home.  I’m proud of that.

K Bo: Last word.  For the would-be student, what’s the best piece of advice that you can give him or her?

TL:  For me, again, get on the site and explore.  Ask questions.  Get involved.  That’s what it’s there for.  Take advantage of that.  Take advantage of that interactive element.  It’s a new concept and I think people should learn about it and know about it.  It’s also very cheap.  Therefore, I would say get on the site and start learning.  And again, submit videos.  Ask questions.  Just do it and that’s what it’s all about.  And when you start getting responses it is mesmerizing and it is really fun.

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