Have you been so excited seeing someone play drums that you thought in your heart, “man, I wish I could do that too?”
Well, you can!
Like many other activities, the most challenging step is knowing where to begin. And in this article, we are going to share comprehensive how-to learning how to play drums.
You have already finished the first and most vital step- showing interest. Now all how need are determination and a few tips.
Depending on your level of enthusiasm and dedication, playing drums can be easy or hard. Continue reading to find out more.
Step 1: Understand Your Equipment
You cannot start playing drums unless you know what drums are right. In that case, you must get familiar with your drum kit.
Every drum kit on the market comes with varying drums. The market is full of different brands, sizes, sticks, and tunings, among other features.
However, there are three fundamental pieces you should get from every drum kit:
- The bass drum. This is the part that makes the low-pitched booming sound. A foot pedal operates on the weighted mallet.
- The snare drum. This is located on the side of the drummer that is non-dominant. As such, it is played by the non-dominant stick. It is a tight, bright drum featuring rattling metal beads under the head. You can tell its hit from its “click” sound and a resonating shuffle in the beads.
- Toms. There are different types of tom-tom drums. But you will mostly find floor tom, mid-tom, and high-tom with many drum kits. A basic package may come with the floor tom only. Toms are turned in different ways to produce deeper noises as fills.
There are different kinds of cymbals, just like drums. They come in varying shapes, sizes, shapes, types, and prices. A cymbal is the round metal object that creates resonance when hit. There are four main types of cymbals:
- The hit-hat. They are mounted on the foot. The left foot pedal controls it. They come together when the pedal is pressed.
- The Ryde cymbals. These create a more subtle deeper sound. It is played repetitively, resonating from one strike to another.
- The splash. From the name, this cymbal creates “splashing sound” like water. It is used for basic fills.
- The crash. This cymbal is similar to the splash; only it produces a louder, longer, and sustained sound.
Learn to hold drum sticks
There are two ways to hold drum sticks:
- The matched grip where you hold the stickles between your thumb and index finger. They need to settle a few inches from the bottom of the stick. The remaining fingers are wrapped around the stick.
- The traditional grip involved one using the non-dominant hand but resting the stick in the space between the thumb and index finger as well as the ring finger. The thumb, index, and middle finger are then wrapped around the stick. A matched grip is used to keep the other stick in place.
You must get comfortable playing with a stick. This is the best way to learn faster.
Get a starter kit
The best way to practice drumming without any interruptions is by having your own equipment. There are different kinds of starter kits, each varying in features and prices. You can start by buying a pair of cheap drum sticks.
From here, you can start hitting a pair of pillows. Then you can steadily move to other items.
And if this does not count for you, there must be something you can find at your local drums store. Buy yourself a practice pad and start serious training.
Another great way is to join your school band. Here, you will be exposed to several types of equipment to help you learn.
Practice with sticks and proper sitting posture
It may sound easy, but the sitting position is vital to getting the right rhythm. You must learn to sit upright and keep your elbows in. Also, ensure the pedals are at a comfortable distance from you.
Step 2: Learn Drum Rhythm
This is sometimes the most frustrating step for many beginners. The things are, you don’t need to have the best equipment to start practicing rhythm.
Start with your hands. It is not a must that you have a huge kit with a gong; let your hands be your primary tool. Use your hands and tops of your things while sitting to learn the underlying rhythm.
You may not get it right the first time, but with practice, you will get there. So that you don’t get frustrated easily, learn some sense of rhythm before investing heavily in a drum set.
Counting the quarter notes
4/4 time signature is the most uncomplicated rhythm in music. This means there are four beats in a measure, and you can tap out four equal beats using your hand.
Start by counting them out loud. This will help you develop and more complex awareness with time.
Now practice using a metronome to practice rhythm. They are easily available online or even on your phone.
Counting the eighth note
Quarter note comprises of two eighth notes. Practice this by reading out loud and steady. They are counted as 1-and-2-and3-and-4-and…
Now work with your other hand
The other hand will be for the snare. While counting out the eighth with your first hand, try to tap the table whenever you say “two” and “four.”
Head to the downbeat
Now, whenever you say ‘two’ and ‘four,’ tap your right or left foot. This is what you will be working on with the bass drum.
Step 3: Practice right
Well, now that you know that basic and you know the rhythm, it is time to step up the game a bit. There is a need to start practicing correctly.
The first thing is to buy a metronome. It will give you the best beats and rhythm features.
Now play your simple hand beat on the kit. Beat the eight notes on the hi-hat and hit the snare drum on two and four. Press the bass drum pedal when you count one and three. Keep counting loud as you play.
Start working on your hit-hat foot pedal. The hit-hat closes whenever you strike it with your left foot. Practice playing the eight notes using your right hand, ensuring you hit the snare on “two” and “four.”
And now you can start developing your footwork. Also, learn to work with the bass drum whenever you hit the hit-hat.
From here, you can start mixing things up a little. Where you hit the snare on “two” and “four,” try hitting the hit-hat instead.
While playing, continue counting out “one e and a two and a three e and a four e and…… At this point, hit the hit-hat using your right hand on the “one and two and three and four,” while hitting the snare on the “es and as.”
Step 4: Learn independence for your limb
At this point, you should be ready to play some meaningful rhythm. You may still be feeling some confusion in your coordination, but it only gets better with time.
Start with learning your snare drum rudiments. Do not underestimate the basic “single’ stroke and “double” stroke rudiments as they will help you develop limb independence.
It is all about coordinating the downward movement and the alternating hand and stick to create a pattern.
From one foot, you can now incorporate both feet. Learning drums means you will have to be doing complicated things at the same time. You may have to start doubling or tripling movements with one limb while doing something else with the other limbs.
Try using the right foot for the kick drum. With time, you should be able to get various beats right.
Step 5: Learn complex Rhythms
Once you mastered the steps above, it is time to take things a notch higher. Playing a more complex rhythm requires serious studying and practice.
Start with learning the triplets. You need to think in terms of half notes from quarter note triplets. In the place of half notes, count 1-la-le.
Move to the sixteenth notes. They are (1 e + a) (2 e + a) (3 e + a) (4 e + a) as you learned earlier. You count them [1 trip let and trip let] ]2 trip let and trip let]……
Now you can learn the thirty-seconds. They should be counted [1 e + a + e + a] [2 e + a + e + a]….” They require more subdivisions when counting, and you say them out much faster. The song “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix has the best example of this rhythm.
When learning these subdivisions, ensure the fit in time with your metronome. Every click represents a quarter beat; hence you will playing faster with higher subdivisions.
Step 6: Take care for yourself and your equipment
Learning to play drums can be exciting. Hence, many people forget to protect themselves and even their equipment.
First, ensure you have proper ear protection. Drums can be pretty loud and can cause severe damage to your ears.
Also, ensure you are sitting down properly while playing—the last thing you want it getting tired or putting pressure on your body.
Take care of the equipment. You want them to serve you for long, so clean them and change drum heads regularly.
It is good that now you can play drums. Your development depends on how much you continue practicing.