If you are interested in playing the drums, it is fairly easy to start, but while many end playing drums, few actually play it them well.
One of the reasons for this is that they are self taught, and while there are the select few that become great at their instrument, the sad truth is that most self taught drummers end up wandering off and developing faltering techniques.
Below is a general guide on what you need to get the most out of your drums, and buy a drum kit that fits you and your playing style.
Setting Up a Budget
Whether or not you are going to pay for lessons, drumming can get expensive fast. You can’t just buy a drum set and start whacking away at them. It’s important to set aside enough money to purchase a drum kit, the hardware and cymbals (most drum kits don’t include these), a seat, plenty of drum sticks and a metronome.
A question commonly asked by new drummers is if they should purchase a cheap kit and see if they even like it at all, or get a higher end model. Depending on your budget, if you can afford it I say definitely get a higher end model. This way you won’t outgrow it soon after you start learning how to play, and later down the road you can even use it to play live shows with a band you might form.
To start your drumming comfortably, I would recommend having at least $1,000 on hand. This will be enough to get a high quality entry level kit, plenty of drum sticks and a metronome, as well as all of the hardware and cymbals you might need.
Should You Get a Drum Teacher?
While this guide was mostly written to help self taught drummers, I think it’s important to at least talk about the possibility of getting a drum teacher. If you have ever tried to teach anything yourself and failed because you either lost focus, didn’t know where to start or you weren’t disciplined enough to keep going or practice, I would definitely recommend searching for a teacher.
The right instructor will stress the importance of strong foundational skills, teach you what you want to learn and change his methods to help you learn easier. Scout local ads, music shops and online ads to find a teacher. Ideally you’d want a teacher that doesn’t have too many students so they aren’t in danger of burning out, and make sure he doesn’t charge too much. Compare prices from various different resources so you get an idea of what you’ll be paying for drum lessons.
The Different Between Playing and Practicing
Throughout the eight years that I’ve been a music teacher, only one thing really bothered me that many of my students did; I would give them a homework assignment, and the following week when we met again they would cheerfully claim that they were practicing all week. Upon playing the assignment back to me, I would notice the same mistakes as last week still present, only this time the student could play it faster.
First of all, faster does not mean better. The slower you learn a piece, the faster you will be able to perfect it. Secondly, there is a big different between playing all week and practicing all week. To play the piece means to just regurgitate it as you remember it. Mistakes are going to stay, and there will be very little improvements. Practicing, however, means that you sat down, played the piece, analyzed it, observed what you did incorrectly and then work to correct it.
Now that you have a basic idea of what you’ll need to start drumming, you are ready to purchase your drum kit. When you first get it and everything is set up to your liking, I personally recommend not thinking about any lessons or technique for the first week and just bash away at them. After you get the initial novelty out of your system, then you will be ready to learn technique. Drums are great fun and a brilliant way to let out some energy. The fruit of your labor will come in the form of a band that plays the music you love, and who knows, you might even play live shows down the road.