hand-eye coordination

3 Hand-Eye Coordination Exercises for Drummers

hand-eye coordination

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, good hand-eye coordination will help you develop accuracy and control. Here are some tips from music teacher Tracy D., to help you improve your hand-eye coordination…

When you’re learning drums, you need to watch and sense where your hands are in relation to the kit. It’s easy to let your hands outrun your field of vision, and this can result in sloppy execution.

Pay attention to your hands; make sure they land in the right place, and then think about your next move. You can accomplish this by moving your eyes before your hands. As soon as you land on one surface, move your eyes to the next surface or target. This will help you play with fluid, accurate movements.

Since your hands will be on different parts of the drum kit as you play, it’s also important to develop your peripheral vision, the ability to see objects and movement outside of your direct line of vision. Also, when you play with other musicians, good peripheral vision will allow you to focus on the drums and still see what your band mates are doing on stage.

Use the pattern and the exercises below to improve your hand-eye coordination.

Hand-Eye Coordination for Drummers

Take the time to work out each pattern, until you no longer have to look at the page.

  1. Look straight ahead and practice the first five measures four times through.
  2. This time, follow your eyes around the kit and practice the first five measures four times through. Make sure to move your eyes to the next target before your hands finish playing the pattern on the current surface.
  3. Challenge yourself, and practice playing with your eyes closed.

These exercises were written for a five-piece set, so adjust the notes accordingly for your own drum kit. These exercises should spark your creativity, so don’t be afraid to try some new things and have fun!

Developing coordination and technique will help you be a better drummer. Need some extra help? Find a private drum teacher near you.

TracyD

Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums in various bands for more than 13 years, and has also played intermittently with the OKC Community Orchestra for the past five years. Learn more about Tracy here! 

 

 

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Photo by Darrell Miller

drum lessons for kids

Drum Lessons for Kids: 4 Simple Ways to Help Your Child Succeed

drum lessons for kids

Parents play an important role in drum lessons for kids. Help your child be successful with these tips from music teacher James W

If you’re lucky enough to have a child who is blessed with a gift for music, then you should do what you can to nurture that talent. What’s most important for kids, however, is interest. If your child expresses an interest in drum lessons, do what you can to help him or her follow this passion.

The Best Time to Start

What’s the best time to start drum lessons for kids? While this answer may vary, children have an amazing capacity to learn when they’re young. A child’s mind is like a sponge, and even at a young age, your child has the ability to absorb a lot of information. Age five and up is generally a great time to begin drum lessons for kids. Regardless of your child’s age, however, if he or she is interested in drums, the best time for him or her to start may be right now!

Find the Right Teacher

Find a teacher who has experience teaching drum lessons for kids. You can search for registered teachers through TakeLessons. You may have to try a couple of teachers before you find the right one, but it’s important to make sure your child has a good rapport with his or her teacher.

Encourage Your Child

It’s very important to encourage your drum student. Allow your son or daughter to learn at his or her own pace. Praise your child, and do your best to inspire him or her to keep working hard. Make your child feel good about playing drums—this will keep your son or daughter from getting discouraged, and motivate him or her to practice.

Start Slow to Build Confidence

Starting off slow will help your child develop self-esteem, and keep him or her from getting discouraged. Encourage your child to learn four beats, or one or two bars of music at a time.

Once your son or daughter masters this initial lesson, it’s on to the next bar of music, and so on. Remember to praise him or her along the way. Your child is now ready to tackle some simple beats, and can eventually move on to more complex rhythms.

Most importantly, make sure your child is having fun! Check in with your son or daughter to gauge his or her level of enjoyment. If your child is having fun, he or she is much more likely to practice and continue playing.

Make practice more fun for your son or daughter with these easy drum songs for kids!

 

james-walsh-150x150

James W. started playing drums when he was 12 years old. He teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons team in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

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8 Tips to Be the Best Drummer You Can Be

8 Ways to Be a Better Drummer

8 Tips to Be the Best Drummer You Can Be

So you’re taking drum lessons and learning some new skills, but now you’re wondering how you can progress and take your drumming to the next level. Here, music teacher James W. shares his tips to help you sharpen your technique and improve your skills…

As a drummer, you have the most important job in the band, besides songwriting. You show the guitar player and the bass player where the groove should be, hold the band together, and drive the band forward. You have to keep time in your head and listen at the same time. Good drummers are always in demand, so it’s important to practice consistently and continue to work hard to improve. Here are eight tips to help you develop your technique and take your drumming to the next level.

1. Develop Muscle Memory

Don’t take the basics for granted; make sure you learn your paradiddles (basic beat drum patterns). Play with your eyes open for 20 minutes, and then close your eyes and get your snare drum hand in sync with your metronome or click. Visualize your kit in your mind, think of it as an extension of your arms and legs. When you practice with your eyes closed, you develop muscle memory in your arms, legs, feet, and hands.

Once you have locked in with the metronome, try to play by feel. You can play on the front of the beat like most drummers, or you can be like Ringo Starr and play on the back of the beat.

2. Learn to Keep Time

Just as the clock on your laptop keeps the time, it’s your responsibility to keep the time for the songs you play. Try using headphones and synchronizing them with your laptop so you can have the click in your ear. Practice keeping time with the songs you hear on the radio. This is a great way to learn because the work is already done for you by more experienced drummers.

3. Work With Others

Your band mates can help you improve as an individual. On stage, they can lock in with you and make suggestions to help you improve. Try bouncing ideas around with your band mates. This creates a fun dynamic. Your band members can also give you valuable feedback that can help you become a better drummer. If you’re not in a band, you can still learn how to work with others. Your teacher is a great resource to provide feedback and suggestions to help you improve. If you have friends who are musicians, ask them to listen to you play, they may have some great tips to help you get better.

4. Use Video

Make sure you have a regular exercise pattern to warm up. Play in 4/4 time, and film yourself so you can evaluate your weekly progress. I don’t suggest posting your video on YouTube just yet, but keep it handy so you can use it as a learning tool. Analyze, assess, and re-evaluate. Think of ways to reinforce the things you do well, and then take note of what you can improve. Did you notice anything sloppy about your playing? If your style is already loose, try to play with more precision. Want to play faster? Remember, speed is a byproduct of accuracy.

5. Make it Swing

Play 3/4 over a 4/4 beat to make the song swing. This is an old jazz trick. Paul McCartney does this to great effect in some of his songs. Start slow and gradually increase the tempo. Some drummers have amazing endurance and stamina, and with some practice, you will, too. Even the world’s greatest drummers had to start somewhere.

6. Start Slow

Pick easy songs that you love to play. One drummer I met at Musician’s Institute told me he played only Jimi Hendrix songs for five years because he loved Mitch Mitchell’s style. Eventually, he started using his own ideas, and his band naturally went from playing cover tunes to original songs.

7. Master the Basics Before You Develop Your Style

Study different genres; pop, rock, jazz, Latin, classical, etc. Pick your favorite drummer from each genre and focus on what you love about the way they play. Once you master the basics, try to incorporate your own style.

8. Develop Both Hands

Relax your hands when you hold your sticks. Your dominant hand will naturally be stronger at first, but you can work on developing your weak hand. Use your right hand to strike the soft notes, and use your left to play the more pronounced beats. Now, flip your sticks over, and use the fat end to play more aggressively. 

Next, try using brushes to play a soft, ballad-like style. Now you’re creating notes using dynamics that occur naturally in music.

Your drum set is an extension of your eyes, hands, and feet, so practice working them both together and separately. Your eyes will follow your hands around the kit, and your brain knows to let your feet do their job with the hi-hat and kick drum.

If you combine these tips with consistent practice you will expand your range and improve your drumming skills. Remember, it takes work and effort to improve, but it will be worth it in the end. Drumming is physically demanding, but it’s also mentally satisfying. Now it’s time to just play and have some fun. Don’t be afraid to be creative and adventurous. If you need some help with your technique, find a private drum teacher to help you refine your skills.

james-walsh-150x150

James W. started playing drums when he was 12 years old. He teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons team in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

 

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10 Inspiring Quotes for Famous Drummers

10 Inspiring Quotes From Famous Drummers

When you’re learning drums, you may not always feel motivated to practice. Here are 10 quotes from some of the world’s best drummers to inspire you to follow your dreams.

You Only Get Better by Playing

Photo by Martin Le Roy

One of the most famous drummers and dubbed the world’s greatest, Buddy Rich lived up to his words by skillfully playing until his death in 1987. He even kept drumming after bypass surgery.

 

Playing Fast Around the Drums

Photo by Martin Wood

Tony Williams was one of the most important and influential jazz drummers of the 1960s. Miles Davis said Williams was “…the center that the group’s sound revolved around.” If you find yourself getting caught up in fast rhythms, remember these words to get back to your purpose; the music and your audience.

 

Life is About Rhythm

Photo by Tombrewe

Mickey Hart is known for inspiring quotes about music’s influence on the heart, mind, and soul. Hart helps all musicians, not just drummers, remember the soul and spirit of music. His visionary work links music not only with art and science, but with the role it plays in health, particularly in the mind.

 

What Drives Me

Photo by Tim

Sheila Escovedo ranks among the most famous drummers of funk music, and is considered to be one of the best female drummers ever. Playing with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Ringo Starr and Gloria Estefan, she has shared her gift of music with the world in her albums which span a wide range of styles. She also dedicates her time to a number of philanthropic efforts. She is co-founder and co-chair of the Elevate Hope Foundation, which provides music therapy to abused and abandoned children.

 

Female Drummers

Photo by Frank Tellez

Alice in Chains’ Sean Kinney knew that great drumming skills weren’t reserved to those with a Y chromosome. Talented female drummers like Janet Weiss, Moe Tucker, Karen Carpenter, Sheila E., Georgia Hubley, and Sandy West have graced us with their talent on stage, and inspired many drummers to follow their dreams.

You need to take risks

 

Brian Blade’s inspiring quotes point to music as a fellowship, and a way of promoting togetherness. To Blade, music exists beyond borders and promotes spirituality, sensitivity, honesty, and loyalty. He encourages drummers to develop their musical instincts, and identify and connect with all the textures of the drums.

 

People Never Think of Entertainers

Photo by Darryl Kanouse

When you get discouraged, remember this  quote from Karen Carpenter. The drummer of the famous 70s duo, the Carpenters, recognized that despite what the audience might think, musicians are only human.

 

Sound is Power

Layne Redmond may not have played with well-known bands, but she literally followed the beat of her own drum by playing small, hand-held frame drums from the ancient Mediterranean world. Not just a percussionist, Redmond was a historian, writer, and teacher whose work focused on the healing and spiritual aspects of drumming and rhythm.

 

Seemed to Me
This famous jazz drummer continued to play well into his 90s. He served as goodwill ambassador for President Eisenhower. He earned a spot on the Board of the Kennedy Center by President Bush, and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton. Hampton also designed programs with the University of Idaho to help teach and preserve the future of music for others.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

Eric Moore has performed with a variety of popular artists from Bobby Brown and Debarge, to his current band Suicidal Tendencies. Moore’s focus on exercising the gift of drumming through continued practice shows through his versatility, which ranges from punk and gospel to extreme metal and R&B.

Hopefully these wise words from famous drummers make you want to grab your drum sticks and start playing. Want to take your drumming to the next level? Find a drum teacher near you.

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A Beginner's Guide to Drum Rudiments

A Beginner’s Guide to Drum Rudiments

A Beginner's Guide to Drum Rudiments

When you’re learning to play drums, you will inevitably hear about drum rudiments. Drum rudiments are essential, and learning and mastering them will help you improve as a drummer. Here, Woodland Hills, CA teacher Emerson W. breaks down what you need to know about rudiments.

Drum rudiments are to drumming as the alphabet is to language. They’re the foundation of the music you make as a drummer. Rudiments are small musical ideas that can be easily memorized.

When you’re learning, it’s important to pay close attention to the skeleton of the rudiment. The skeleton is the rudiment in its most basic form; the rhythm without the ornaments. For example, the skeleton of a Five-Stroke Roll is four eighth notes. Once those four eighth notes are mastered, you can add the ornaments (rolls and accents.) When learning a rudiment, pay close attention to which hand you use for each note—this is called sticking. Every rudiment has a specific sticking pattern.

The Percussive Arts Society has documented the 40 essential drum rudiments. Rudiments are necessary for endurance, agility, stretching, smooth movement around the drum set, accents, syncopation, and special effects.

Rudiments as Warm-Ups

Rudiments are easy to memorize, and you can use them to warm up your hands, wrists, and forearms at the beginning of your practice session. You can use a metronome to help you keep a steady tempo.

Try to practice a rudiment for three to five minutes at a quick tempo. This will help you  strengthen your wrists and forearms and increase your endurance.

Rudiments on a Drum Set

Adding rudiments to your music can enhance your skills as a drummer. Rudiments allow drummers to move smoothly from one drum to the other at a very fast pace.  You can play rudiment variations in endless combinations.

Rudiments in Marching Percussion

Rudiments are extremely useful for marching bands, and there is plenty of literature dedicated  to marching-influenced rudimental drum solos. They allow drummers to play accents at unexpected times and create syncopation. Rudimental snare drum solos are also very exciting and unique, which is why rudiments are found in a lot of classical music.

Books on Rudiments

Here are some books I recommend for percussionists:

Drum rudiments help you develop endurance, agility, stretching, smooth movement around the drum set, accents, syncopation, and special effects. Rudiments are crucial to your success as a drummer. Learn them, practice them, and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
EmersonW.

Emerson W. teaches drum, guitar and percussion in Woodland Hills, CA. He is currently attending California State University Northridge working toward his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance. Emerson has been teaching students since 2007.  Learn more about Emerson W. here!

 

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How to Practice Drums

How to Practice Drums: 9 Steps to Make the Most of Your Time

How to Practice Drums

It’s important for beginner drummers to learn how to practice drums effectively. Here, music teacher Tracy D. shares her tips to help you plan a more effective, productive drum practice.

How to practice drums may seem like a simple question. When you’re learning drums, however, practice is the single most critical component of your development, and it’s vital that you have an effective practice method. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your practice time.

1. Have a Plan

If you’re not prepared, chances are you’ll end up playing a few familiar grooves and then get bored and quit. A plan will help you set goals and focus on steady, measurable improvement. Focus on the specific skills you want to improve, and create a schedule to meet your goals.

Here’s an example:

  • Five minute warm-up for hand/foot speed
  • 10 minute style practice. Work on your favorite style or try something new
  • 25 minute dexterity practice
  • 5 to 10 minutes of exploration

This is a basic outline to give you an idea of the process. You can adjust this to suit your needs. Try something new each session. This will challenge you and help you stay motivated.

2. Be Consistent

Consistency will ensure steady growth. On busy days, make every effort to carve out practice time, even if it’s only 15 minutes. If you can, practice when you feel alert and energetic.

3. Use a Metronome

The metronome, or “Governor” as I like to call it, is your friend. It helps you build a solid sense of time, ensure proper note placement, and track your progress (in terms of increased tempo). There are lots of free or inexpensive metronome apps. I suggest working out your groove/exercise before using the metronome; this will alleviate frustration. Speed will naturally follow repetition. Accuracy should be your primary concern.

4. Isolate Trouble Spots

If you encounter a tricky or challenging pattern, work on it until you improve your accuracy. Then, work the pattern back into the music and smooth it out. Isolate, refine, reintegrate.

5. Find Your Inspiration

There’s a world of inspiration at your fingertips with YouTube, drum solo videos, and drum websites. Take advantage of these resources and stay motivated by watching different drummers (young and old, male and female). Be creative with your search; you never know what you’ll find.

6. Play Along With Your Favorite Songs

This will help develop your accuracy and style. It will also be an indispensable tool if you choose to play in a cover band. Practicing with your favorite songs will also sharpen your ears and strengthen your understanding of song forms.

 7. Transcribe

As you become more familiar with drum set notation, sketch out musical ideas and work on writing the drum parts that you hear in songs. This will sharpen your listening, reading, and creativity.

8. Take a Break

If you get frustrated, take a break from your structured practice and  just groove. This will relieve the tension and help you refocus.

9. Just Play

You should have a better understanding of how to practice drums, so this is your chance to let go and show off those skills that you’ve been practicing.  These tips will help you practice between drum lessons; feel free to experiment and explore, but most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

TracyD

Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums in various bands for more than 13 years, and has also played intermittently with the OKC Community Orchestra for the past five years. Learn more about Tracy here! 

 

 

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How to Motivate Your Child to Practice Drums

“But I Don’t Want to Practice…” How to Motivate Your Child to Practice Drums

How to Motivate Your Child to Practice Drums

As a parent, do you sometimes find it hard to motivate your son or daughter to practice drums? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Next time your child is reluctant to practice, try these tips from music teacher Willy M...

Parents, listen up: don’t yell or pull out your hair. I know it can be frustrating to get your child to practice drums, but it’s not impossible.

If you’re reading this article, you probably have a son or daughter learning to play drums, and you’re wondering how to motivate your child to practice. If you notice that you constantly have to remind him or her, take some time to find out why he or she may not to practice. Below are some factors which may influence your child’s desire to practice drums. By paying attention to and changing some of these things, you may be able to motivate your child, and make drum practice more fun.

1. Practice Space

Does your child have a dedicated place to practice every day? This is important because drums require a lot of set up. If your son or daughter has to move their set around constantly in order to practice, then they’re less likely to want to play. Give them a set place to practice each day and they wont be discouraged about having to set up their equipment.

2. Necessary Materials

Does your son or daughter have everything he or she needs for practice? No one wants to play by themselves; does your child have a CD player, MP3 player, or computer to listen to music while they’re playing? This can make practicing easier, and make their practice time more enjoyable. Also, make sure your child has the right drum set and gear. For example, if they’re learning drum rolls, make sure they have a drum head or pad to use for practice. Make sure your child has the right equipment in order to succeed.

3. Practice Buddies

Does your child feel bored and lonely while practicing drums? Maybe he or she wants to play with friends rather than practicing? Encourage your child to invite one of his or her friends who play an instrument. Maybe tell them, “if you practice for 20 minutes Monday through Thursday, then on Friday your friends can come over for a jam session!” This is a great way to motivate even the most stubborn child to practice.

4. Find the Right Teacher

Is your son or daughter happy with his or her drum lessons? It’s important to make sure their teacher is encouraging and supports their individual learning style. Consider sitting in on a lesson to gauge your child’s level of enjoyment. The right teacher can help your child learn, and inspire him or her to want to improve.

Hopefully these tips have taken some of the guesswork out of how to motivate your child to practice drums. When your child is learning drums, it’s important to be encouraging, and a great way to do this is to play along with them! Beating out a simple rhythm isn’t that hard, and you can play a hand drum or tambourine while your kid plays drums. It will not only help them become a better musician, but it will strengthen your relationship with your child.

Willy M

Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He has been playing drums since he was in high school and enjoys playing hand drums and percussion, as well as other ethnic drums. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80′s. Learn more about Willy.

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Photo by Antoine Butler

3 Simple Drum Grooves for Beginners

3 Simple Drum Grooves for Beginners

3 Simple Drum Grooves for Beginners

Want to practice your drum skills but not quite sure where to start? Here are some beginner-friendly drum grooves from music teacher Willy M….

When you’re learning to play drums, you may have difficulty alternating between your hands and feet while playing. I have come up with some drum grooves for beginners that will help you develop independence between your hands and feet.

Quarter Note Drive on Kick Drum

To play this groove, count out one, two, three, four on the kick drum, and alternate by hitting either the one and three, or the two and four on the snare. Once you get used to this, switch it up and try it the other way. Once you’ve mastered this, try kicking on the one and three, and snare on the two and four. This is a great way to differentiate your hand and foot movements.

Ride on the Hi-Hat

Start by playing a simple set of eighth notes on the hi-hat with your left hand. Then, combine that with the previous exercise; kick on the one and three, and hit the snare on the two and four while the hi-hat keeps a continual drive over the top.

A lot of students are right handed, so this use of the left hand is often easier for right-handed drummers than playing a more complicated pattern. Lefties seem to grasp this easily, so if you want to make this more difficult, try playing two eighth notes followed by a quarter-note repeating pattern. The hi-hat rhythm becomes one – and – two – three – and – four. This drum groove is simple but satisfying because it feels like you’re playing real music.

Switch it Up

Once you’ve got this down, switch from playing the snare with your right hand, and play it with your left. You can also try switching from playing the ride on the hi-hat, to playing it with your right hand on one of the other cymbals. This causes you to rethink which hand you’re counting the eighth notes on, and you’ll develop the ability to handle new drum grooves.

You may struggle to play all the way through a song as a beginner. If you continue to play the drum groove through an entire song, however, it will help you develop your muscles and you will be able to play for longer periods of time.

When you’re learning to play drums it’s important to be patient and keep practicing. In order to improve, you need to constantly change what your hands and feet do, so you can develop the independence you need as a drummer. Once you’ve mastered the basics, learn to play the drum grooves while alternating between the groove and a fill. If you can learn how to keep the groove going while incorporating different fills, you’ll progress far beyond  just learning the groove by itself.

Willy M

Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He has been playing drums since he was in high school, and enjoys playing hand drums and percussion, as well as other ethnic drums. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80′s. Learn more about Willy.

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Photo by Nic McPhee.

5 Must-See YouTube Drum Solos

5 Must-See YouTube Drum Solos

When you’re learning to play drums there’s nothing like an epic drum solo to inspire you and keep you motivated to practice. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced drummer, these five videos will get you excited to keep on rocking!

Dylan Elise is a popular YouTube drumming sensation, and has many featured videos. His drum solos feature everything from one-handed snare rolls to 17-stroke rolls, and everything in between. He also uses multiple bounce rolls and flam paradiddles. Here’s one of his many impressive solo videos.

The next video is from a very well-known professional drummer, Travis Barker. Barker’s solos feature a wide variety of rudiments to create a very intense, rhythm-oriented style. Here’s one of his drum solo warm-ups.

You may or may not have heard of this Korean street performer.  Using rudiments in repeating patterns, cymbals, and a bit of showmanship for her fans, she creates a wonderful routine that captivates her audience. Sometimes when you look for the best solos, you can find drummers simply playing for the love of it out on the street.

Seven-year-old drummer Avery Molek is bound to pop up when you search for the world’s best drum solos. He may not be one of the biggest names out there, but he still has plenty of time to get there. Molek uses double drag taps, single stroke fours, and Swiss-army triplets with beautiful finesse.  Here’s Molek playing “Tom Sawyer.”

The last of the amazing drum solos on this list is “The Language of Drumming” by Benny Greb. Greb has a simplistic style that is refreshing and precise, and he sometimes uses a slower, more controlled style rather than simply relying on speed.

There are lots of great resources available if you want to learn drums. With everything from blogs to YouTube channels, drummers have a variety of educational materials at their disposal.

With all the material out there, you’re well on your way to mastering this amazing instrument. To take your skills to the next and learn amazing techniques, however, there’s no substitute for a well-qualified, face-to-face teacher.

What are some of your favorite drum solos? Share them in the comments below.

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Buying Your First Drum Set

Buying Your First Drum Set: A Guide for Beginners

Buying Your First Drum Set

So you or your child has started taking drum lessons and now you need to buy some gear. Not sure which set is the best one for you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here, drum teacher Maegan W. shares her tips for buying your first drum set…

“Which drum set should I buy?” is such a common question for new drummers.  Whether it’s  for yourself, your child, or someone you know, the first drum set can make a world of difference in a beginning drummer’s journey.

There are a few things to consider when deciding which drum set to buy. I’ve been asked over and over, and the answer remains the same: none! Yes, this may be surprising, since drums seem like they’re essential when you’re learning to play, but the bottom line is that it’s too early on to make an informed decision when you first begin playing and learning.

When you’re just starting out, there’s so much work to do on a practice pad alone. I recommend postponing buying a drum set for at least a few months. If there’s still an interest in playing and learning after a few months on a practice pad, which can run anywhere from $20 to $100, then you should look into investing in a drum set. A practice pad can be helpful throughout your entire drumming career, so it’s a great place to start.

Another reason to hold off on buying a drum set is that you, or whoever you’re planning to buy the set is for, will start to develop personal preferences. Drum sets are unique in style and sound, just like any other instrument, and need to be selected according to your goals and tendencies, and these will change as you evolve as a drummer.

If you feel like you have already made up your mind to buy a drum set for yourself or your child, than here are some things to consider.

Practice Environment

What is your practice situation? Do you need to keep quiet? Do you have a lot or a little space? Are there stairs ( easy load in and out?) An electric drum kit may be a good option If you need to play quietly or have limited amount of space.  An acoustic drum set with muting pads may also be a good option if you have unsatisfactory practice conditions.

Budget

Of course, we musicians like to think money doesn’t matter, but it does. An electric kit may also be a good option If you’re still trying to figure out if you or your child will continue playing. Electric drum kits are less expensive and generally include everything you need. When you buy an acoustic drum, you usually have to buy everything (cymbals, stands, throne, pedals, snare, etc.) separately. Also, the base price for a low-end acoustic drum will usually be at least couple hundred dollars more than an electric drum kit.

Intention

If you or your child are in love with the drums, and you know it’s going to be a main focus, than it may be worth investing in a nice kit right away. If this is the case, then acoustic is the only way to go in my opinion. There are so many things like dynamics, finesse, rebounds, feel, and hi-hat technique that can’t be learned or applied on an electric drum kit. Also, playing a live show with electric drums is like driving a go kart vs. a real race car.

No matter which way you go as far as acoustic vs. electric, or high end vs. low end, it’s important to do some research. Go to music stores and try out different sets. Look online at the drummers you admire or the style you’d like to play and see what they use. You will notice most drummers in a particular style or genre generally use similar drum kits.

Finding the right drum set is like falling in love, when its meant to be, you will know!

I hope these tips were helpful, I will try to answer any and all further questions, so leave them below.

Maegan-WMaegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

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Photo by Peter Sawatzky