Anne Carr is an English teacher, writer, and drummer who enjoys reading, writing, and music. She is passionate about drumming and writing.
A lot of people decide they want to learn to play drums early on in life; many as children or teens, who eventually go into music programs in school and learn a lot from that. For some of us, however, it is not that easy. I started drumming at the age of 27, and for me, that made it much harder in the beginning. Although I had taken chorus and marching band in high school, I had never attempted or tried to play the drums before, so a lot of things that I thought I knew about drumming were totally different than I expected. In spite of that fact, one thing was for sure; there was nothing like the feeling of playing my first beat. There is something to be said for the passion, elation, and extreme high that learning to play the drums gives us. That is what has kept me going for the past couple of years.
In the early parts of learning to play drums, I felt frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t advancing fast enough. Like most beginner drummers, I wanted to learn how to play fast. But I learned that this should never be the goal as a drummer; the bigger goal is to learn how to be versatile, to keep time, to enjoy what you are doing and discover your own unique style. And with daily practice, I was able to overcome my frustrations. Being a drummer takes a lot of hard work and practice, but in the end, it is totally worth it. So, here are my tips for beginner drummers.
Tips for Beginner Drummers
- Invest in a practice pad.
- Start with the rudiments.
- Take drum lessons.
- Network: get to know your drummer community!
- Enjoy every moment!
1. Invest in a Practice Pad
This is one of the most basic (and crucial) items that you can get, and it is cheap and easy to obtain. Before even starting on a kit, it is important for you to learn the basics of stick technique as well as basic rudiments that will help you navigate around a kit once you are ready. I spent 3 or 4 months just working with a practice pad every day before I even began working on a kit, and this really helped me build my technique and learn valuable lessons that transferred over to the kit once I began playing on my kit.
2. Start with the Rudiments
There are so many basic rudiments that are going to be valuable to you as you continue your journey as a drummer, so it is important for you to start learning them now. In the beginning, yes, it might seem daunting and not as fun as playing along to your favorite song, but you will thank yourself later. If you have a smartphone, there is a great app called The Drum Dictionary. You can download the free version and have access to lots of rudiments you can practice with your practice pad. In addition, it also includes a metronome, explanation of the rudiment, and you can also play the rudiment at different speeds, so you can listen and get comfortable with practicing along with a metronome or some kind of beat. (Which is also an important yet undervalued skill when it comes to drumming. Know how to keep time with and without a metronome!)
3. Take Drum Lessons
While some people might argue that you don’t necessarily have to take drum lessons, lessons will be very beneficial for you. Check out your local music stores and see if there are cheap lessons you can take. Having someone watch you practice and see your posture and technique as you are learning to play will really help you. In addition, they can help guide you to the style and type of music you think you are interested in, which will help you enjoy playing and improve your overall skills and abilities as a drummer. Also, before investing in a drum kit, taking a few lessons will really help you decide if drumming is right for you or not. Most places will have a kit for you to play in a lesson room, so you won’t have to worry about paying for a kit for your lessons. All you will need to bring is your favorite pair of drumsticks.
4. Network: Get to Know Your Drummer Community!
One of the most valuable things I learned about drumming is that it is so much more than just learning to play the instrument. If you are really looking to expand your horizons (other than playing at home in your garage or making Youtube videos), you need to network. I found my home at a local music store and quickly made friends with all of the people that worked in the drum department. This was beneficial for me because when I had questions about things or needed help, I know they are always there to help me with anything I need. I also was able to get certain items at discounted prices because I was a loyal customer and also stayed involved with their community. Community involvement is key when you are a drummer. I found out about a drummers night at the store that happened once a week, and I started going. Not only did I improve my skills, but I met a lot of new friends and learned a lot from these people. At first, it is scary going in to group jam sessions, but in the end, it will only help you. And don’t feel intimidated; every drummer started where you are now, and the more you listen to others play, practice, and learn from them, the better you will get. More importantly, networking will help you connect with other musicians, and you might even find a band or a group of people that you can play with.
5. Enjoy Every Moment!
Sometimes, as drummers, we can think that we are just not good enough, or we keep practicing over and over until we get to the point of frustration; however, as a drummer, it is important for you to remain positive and optimistic to keep yourself motivated. Even if you have been practicing those paradiddles all night and you still can’t seem to get it right, don’t be discouraged. Think about all of the good things you have done, all of the progress you have made so far, and let that help you stay positive and goal-oriented.
Keep On Rockin’ It!
Whatever your goals may be as a person starting out with drumming, remember, drumming is all about finding your style and your passion for music; where you decide to take this journey is entirely up to you. If you have started learning to play the drums and you are absolutely in love with it, as I am, never give up. Keep on moving forward in the direction of your dreams and you will meet with a lot of success and happiness as a drummer! I hope you have found these tips helpful and that you will use them to keep your determined and inspired as you continue on your journey. Keep rockin’!