The first thing that I am looking for students to be able to do is to play rebounds strokes around all the different surfaces of the kit.
For me, technique it a means to an end, so I don't usually start worrying about technique until it becomes an issue. However for most students that is fairly immediately, so playing together and asking students to copy my strokes while talking about what I am doing is usually a good way to get students getting a feel for what it is like to allow the stick the freedom to rebound out of the drum.
The key concept at this point is fulcrum. That is having a pivot point on the stick between the thumb and forefinger and allowing the stick to behave like a lever and rebound out of the drum. With a little movement of the wrist to get the stick moving, we allow gravity to pull the stick into the drum and then allow the bouncy drum head push the stick back into its starting position. To achieve this we need a light grip on the stick, fingers open and not clenched on the stick and a nice loose wrist.
I usually get students to start with full strokes (the stick traveling through 90 degrees.) This helps to produce maximum energy into the drums and therefore maximum rebound out of the drum. That should help to make it easy to feel the stick wanting to rebound out of the drum
Repetition and imitation is the key. That means lots of demonstrations from the teacher
Get the student to start with their dominant hand and then get them to try reproducing it in the other hand. Sometimes playing both hands together at the same time is helpful.
Once this is starting to look and feel good, try playing it along with a metronome to start developing the concept of a steady beat
The Drum Kit
These initial exercises may be done at the kit but using a practice pad will help to keep the volume more bearable.
However for most students, the kit is what they really want to play, so I try to remove the pad and getting them hitting the drums as quickly as possible. Get them to try playing rebound strokes on all surfaces of the kit. This is produces a nice segway is learning the names of all the drums.
I like to think about the kits as a few drums, and a few cymbals.
Drums - Bass Drum, Snare Drum, and toms (usually 2 or 3.)
Cymbals - Hi-Hat, Crash, and Ride.
The discussion about cymbals usually includes the default way of playing them.
Ride Cymbal -usually played with the tip of the stick (but can be crashed using the shoulder of the stick on the edge)
Crash cymbal -usually played with the shoulder of the stick on the edge to produce a crashing sound (but can be also be played with the tip on the top of the cymbal to produce a sound similar to the ride.)
Hi-Hats -can create a range of sounds from very short and clean (by applying a lot of pressure to the pedal - Heels up) though to vey long and loose sounds (by dropping the heal and gradually lifting the toes. Can also create closed open patterns.
Adding the feet
Once students can play nice relaxed rebound strokes with both hands around the kit, the next step is usually to start adding the feet. Imagining that each stroke is a quarter note, try adding quarter notes on the bass drum to each drum hit trying to make sure that they are played exactly together (not flamed) and the hand stokes are still rebounding out of the drum.
When playing a rebound stroke, the sticks starts and finishes in in an up position.
When people start playing adding the bass drum, they often revert to the hand strokes starting and finishing in a down position.
Play right hand stokes on every drum and cymbal while also playing the BD with every stroke.
Repeat with the Left Hand
This exercises can be done by verbally giving instructions on what to play, or by getting to student to copy what you are playing. Either way, I like to get them playing the coordination patterns they they will play when learning the quarter note rock beat page. That way we know they can already play the beats before having to learn how to read drum notation