Learn to Play Drums
Choose one of the three categories below to browse content related to your purpose. If you, or your child, want to get started with no prior experience, click on Getting Started. If you already have some experience and want to supercharge your progress, click on How to Make Progress. If you want to learn about taking exams, forming bands and playing gigs, click on The Next Level.
This page introduces you to all the resources that are available to make progress learning the drums. We also delve into other forms of making music, such as beat making and music production. We will discuss:
- the equipment that is available,
- how to use the internet as a learning tool and,
- how to successfully build your practice at home or with friends.
We’re about to look at all the amazing pathways that now exist to drummers and musicians all over the world. Options have exploded in the last 20 years! When I started learning at the end of the 1990’s, the internet had no videos. There were very few dedicated drum websites and the quality and variety of drum transcriptions was nowhere near what it is today. If you’re curious about how things used to be, you can read about How I Taught Myself to Play The Drums Using The Internet (in 1999, before Youtube)
What Does it Mean to Practice?
Practice is the deliberate repetition of individual movements or patterns to build competency and awareness. Perhaps the clearest way to imagine learning a musical instrument is to liken it to learning a language. First, the student learns the alphabet, then they combine letters together to create words and finally words are combined together to create sentences and paragraphs.
The language of drumming is formed from a series of exercises called the rudiments. These evolved from marching drumming patterns on a snare drum. In addition to the rudiments, there are patterns, grooves, fills and techniques that drummers practice individually so that they can speak clearly on the instrument.
As drumming is a physical skill, the body must be trained to perform patterns fluidly. When we are young, we practice speaking so that we can get better at expressing ourselves. For most, learning one’s native language happens automatically by being surrounded with others using that language. We are given infinite opportunities to practice using the language each day
The single most important thing when learning the drums is to build yourself a regular practice that you enjoy.
Lessons are very useful to keep you on track. Whether you are watching videos on YouTube or having lessons with a real person. Inspiration and new material are essential to making progress and staying focussed.
However, the time spent observing new material should only amount to between 20-50% of the time you spend on the drums. Progress is made through repetition.
If you have an hour lesson each week, you should spend a minimum of one hour a week playing and practicing what you have learned. Ideally, this time is spread out over several sessions throughout the week, rather than being just one session. You will make more progress by revisiting the material more often.
It is assumed that if you are taking lessons then you are serious about learning. Of course, there are not always four hours spare in a week for musical practice. Four hours would be the optimum. But we all learn for different reasons and at different speeds.