This is a question that most people that want to know how to play drums will ask you. Some will ask this question well before they begin learning drums while others will ask a few weeks into their drum lessons.
To answer the question, how long does it take to learn to play the drums is difficult because how long is a piece of string? There is no precise or specific time a drum student can be good on the drum set. It all boils down to the purpose or reason you want to be good at drums.
It also depends on how much time and focuses you can spare during the learning phase of playing drums. What determines how long it will take you to learn to play the drums are the reasons behind your learning. The time it will take you that wants to learn the drums just to catch fun will be very much different from the time it will take someone that wants to become an expert and also use it as a source of livelihood.
Also, when you enrol for a drum class, there is a need for you to frequently take lessons and put what you have learnt into constant practice. By practising often, you get to learn faster than you might have planned.
It does not matter how proficient you are in playing the drums, there will always be a need to learn and discover new skills. Especially because not everyone has the option of being in a band to accumulate years of practice.
Below are some factors that will make it faster and easier for you to master the drums
Know your Purpose for Learning to play the drums
Before deciding on learning to play the drums, you need to set goals that you would like to accomplish. You might want to learn to drum just because you want to surprise someone on their big day. You might want to learn to make it easier for you to play other musical instruments you have mastered.
Some people also started learning the drums for fun and be creative about it. The reason you might want to learn can be quite different from all I have listed, but the major thing is to know why you want to learn.
However, by getting to know the reason behind you wanting to learn will help you to dedicate enough time for it thereby making it quicker for you to learn.
Eliminate weak spots
You may be very talented, but there is always a weak spot. Discover your weak spot, you can find out by discussing with your other drum students or your teacher.
You can also get to know your weak spot by recording some of your practice sessions and after doing that you listen to it and see where you have made a mistake. After finding your weak spot, develop strategies and try to monitor them. By doing this, you won’t give room for your weak spot to slow you down.
There is no short cut to success as we all know, the only short cut I know to learn to play the drum faster is by spending quality time to practice what you have been taught. When you feel that you are not progressing, try and reminisce on the reason you are learning to play the drums.
Also, write down all you have done in trying to accomplish your goal. By doing this, you will be amazed by how far you are able to go. How much you practice will affect the amount of time it will take you to learn to play the drums.
Additionally, as you go higher in your learning, you will see that drumming as a whole requires constant learning. One of the addictive things about drumming is that no matter how experienced or good you are, you have to keep on learning.
The Best way to learn the drums
Drumming is a refreshingly thrilling physical activity that helps to relieve stress and also lighten one’s mood. However, there are several options you can choose from when you want to start mastering the drums.
You can indulge in various online drumming tutorials. You can also get to play well by enrolling in a one on one drum tutorial or go for a drum lesson.
To start learning, there are some basic things you need to know. Things like the composition of a drum set, the best way to hold your drum stick, how to read drum tabs and so on. With this post, I will write out all the basic information that you will need to learn the drums.
Component of a Drum Set
The first thing to know while learning to play the drums is the component of a drum set. It comprises of the snare drum, bass drum, Cymbals Hi-Hat, and Toms. The downside of a drum set is that they are expensive. But along the line, you will get value for your money.
A drum set comprises of 5 pieces. The snare drum stays at the centre of these 5 pieces. If you want to be a good drummer, you need to know the way around your snare drum.
This drum is credited for most loud noise you hear when you listen to songs. The reason for this blaring sound is because the shell of this drum is manufactured from materials like wood or metals.
This is the largest drum among the 5 pieces of a drum set. Like the snare drum, the shell of this drum is gotten from wood (mahogany, maple) and metals (aluminium, stainless steel). This drum is important to the drum set because it produces a heavy and exceptional sound when your footsteps on the bass drum pedal
Cymbals, Toms and Hi-Hat
There are always two types of toms in a drum set. They are the floor toms and the rack toms. They are also manufactured from wood and metals. The toms usually work for drum fills. Hi-Hat and Cymbals add accents and also serve as the transition in music.
Getting to know the proper way to handle your drum sticks
The next thing after getting familiar with the divisions of a drum set is to purchase your drum stick. If you are lucky, you might get a set for free off someone you know.
For beginners, it is advisable that you first buy a drum pad that is made with rubber so as not to damage your drum. I found these nylon tipped drumsticks to be perfect for beginners – a cheap and durable option.
As a drummer, you need to get a metronome, this will allow you to keep a steady speed of the underlying beat and also help you to develop the ability to work well with time and a regular pattern. With the help of this metronome, you can explore a different time signature.
After a successful purchase of a drum stick, the next step is to learn how to handle your drum sticks properly. There are two essential ways by which you can hold your drum sticks. They are the matched grip and the traditional grip.
For the matched grip, we have 3 different ways you can hold your drum stick. They are the American, French and the German grip.
Holding your drum stick in the German way means that you will hold it with your palm facing down then you use your wrist for motion. For the American grip, your hand should make an angle of 45 degrees; your wrist will serve as power while your finger serves as a control. To do the French grip, your thumb faces up and you put your palms together.
Generally, for matched grip, you’ll hold the drum sticks the same way with your both hands. Your thumb should be lie opposite to your index finger on the stick. The squeezing between your index finger and your thumb is your pivot joint.
For drum lines and jazz music, a traditional grip is often used. It is done by holding the drumstick in your right hand, your thumb faces the left while your other fingers wrap around the stick. Open your left hand with your palm facing up; place the back end of the drum stick between your third and ring fingers.
Slide the drum stick into the shape that your thumb and pointer finger makes. Close your hand lightly then put your third finger about one-third of the drum stick entering your third finger. Your ring and pinky fingers should go under the stick.
However, you can practice all this method then go with the one that is quite easy for you to do. The essential thing is for you to be able to hold your drum stick the proper way.
Playing Drum Rudiments
Now that you know the components of your drum kit and the best way to use your drum sticks, the next step is to know how to play drum rudiment. A drum rudiment is the fundamental building block when you want to master the drums.
For the drum rudiments, there are like 40 important rudiments and each of them has an unparalleled pattern. However, learning this rudiment to a high degree of proficiency will surely give you an edge when practising.
Learning to Master the Drum Sheet Music
Most drummers are expected to know the drum sheet music. If you get to understand the drum sheet music, this will enhance your drumming lessons. Also, as a drummer, you are advised to learn to read drum notations. This will allow you to understand the essentials thereby giving you the knowledge you need to improve your drumming skills.
However, you need to learn how to play and read rhythm on a drum. As a beginner, your focus should be on playing the cymbals and the snare drum. After successfully playing exercises that have to do with two rhythms, you can then add your bass drum feet.
If you are having issues with coordinating both hands and feet, you can still use just the hands until you can combine both hands and feet. After successful coordination of your hands and the bass drum feet, you will need to add the fourth limb, which is the Hi-Hat pedal foot.
Learning to Read the Drum Tablature
Drum tablature which can also be shortened as drum tab is an abbreviated form of musical instructions used instead of the traditional sheet music. However, drum tabs are quite different from sheet music in that, they are written expressly for instrument and not sound.
The drum set has various drums and cymbals, and they all have different abbreviations and names. The moment you can know these abbreviations, you are one step ahead of knowing drum tabs. The function of these drum tabs is to show you the part of the drum set to use.
Finally, after all these steps, you must practice a lot for you to be better at drums.
Is it Necessary to take Drum Lessons to Play the Drums?
Taking drum lessons may not be all that necessary for you to learn the drums. Although, there are lots of things to consider to decide whether to go for drum lessons or not. If you are naturally a gifted drummer or you are the type that can learn things by yourself, you might not need to take drum lessons.
You can as well learn to play the drum by making effective use of drum books, internet resources, youtube videos, online tutorials and so on. However, getting an experienced drum teacher or going for drum lessons will make it easier and faster for you to master the drums.
Furthermore, taking drum lessons or learning by yourself have their advantages and as well some disadvantages.
How to be Good at Drums
It is quite easy to just pick up a drum stick and start playing the drums. It looks easy but it doesn’t work like that. It requires a whole lot of hard work, focus, and as well practice to enhance your drumming skills. After taking drum lessons or learning by yourself, there are some things you need to do to be good at drums.
- Devote at least 30 minutes a day to practice.
- Set attainable goals for your practice time.
- Play with other musicians: this will help you improve as you will share ideas and get more creative
- Read more music.
In conclusion, you can listen to challenging music from different category of drumming and begin to imagine different technique you can use to include it in your style. With all these I have listed, you will be good at drums in no time.