Since I am currently looking for and accepting new students, I thought I would share what I feel are the most important reasons for taking private drum lessons.
1. We are all self-taught, and none of us are self-taught.
It's easy to get into the romance of being "self-taught" and worrying that a teacher will destroy our individualism. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good teacher will direct you towards concepts and ideas you wouldn't have dreamed of, yet at the same time, it's still the student who is doing the work and deciding how to apply these discoveries. All the teacher is doing is saving you from wasting valuable time. Speaking of which……
2. A good teacher will help you avoid bad technical habits.
A instructor worth their salt will help you play in the most natural and relaxed way you can. If you start playing the drums this way, you won't have anything to "undo" later on.
3. A teacher can help you get the most out of your practice time.
Working with your teacher, you can prioritize what you work on in each practice session, and for how long.
4. There are many styles and types of teachers to choose from.
There are so many people out there playing and teaching the drums, that you are bound to find the one that focuses on what you want to learn. Be prepared to shop around and don't hesitate to ask questions of a potential instructor. Even personality and communication style can be a factor, so don't just go with the first ad you see, or who charges the least.
In closing, Tony Williams studied with Alan Dawson. But so did Vinnie Colaiuta, Cifford Jarvis, and Gerry Hemingway. None of these great player sound like Dawson, or each other! So, find a great teacher and get cracking!