There’s a lot to remember when you’re first learning to play the drums! But there are certain things you can do — both in and outside of your lessons — that can make a big impact on your progress. Learn more in this guest post by Woodland Hills, CA teacher Emerson W…
In this article I will explain five important things that will help you as you’re learning to play the drums: ensemble experience, practice, live performances, organization, and recording. These things will help you become a better drummer and an overall better musician. I hope these help you as much as they have helped me as well as so many others!
Get Some Ensemble Experience
One of the most important aspects of becoming a better musician is playing with other musicians. There are countless groups to play with, including orchestras, rock bands, wind ensembles, school bands, marching bands, choirs, etc. Playing music with friends in no-pressure situations is also extremely important! Music should be fun… playing with your friends is one of the best ways to make it a fun experience.
• Knowing how to practice drums is a crucial skill for a music student!
• Practice needs to be done daily and with a metronome.
• Thirty minutes of practice every day is much more effective than one hour of practice every three days. Daily practice is what keeps your musical skills sharp.
• Practice slowly at first! Gradually work your way up to the desired tempo.
• Set short-term goals and long-term goals. Short-term goals are goals that are somewhat easy to achieve in a short period of time whereas long-term goals are goals that can take anywhere from a year to 10 years or more to achieve.
• Keep notes of your practice sessions in a practice log!
Attend Live Performances
Going to live performances of musicians you look up to can be a very inspiring thing. There is so much to learn from live performances of music, including stage presence, improvisation, overcoming stage fright, and overall musicianship. Please go to live performances as much as possible!
Being organized is a skill that is often overlooked by students learning to play the drums. One great way to be organized is to use a three-ring binder for your lessons and your personal drum papers. Be sure to use dividers in your binder. Dividers might be organized into sections like this: Assignment sheets, Songs, Exercises, Notes, Jazz, Latin, Rock, Rudiments, etc.
Record Your Lessons
It’s important to record your drum lessons! However, make sure it’s OK with your instructor. You can use a laptop, digital camera, or a phone to record. Video recordings are more helpful than audio recordings, but both will help a lot! There are a lot of things discussed in music lessons and it’s great to have it all recorded. Videos take up a lot of space on computers so it’s a good idea to get a flash drive to store the files. You can purchase a 64 GB flash drive for around $40. Recording your practice sessions and live performances can also be very helpful.
Overall, small changes can make you a much better musician. Ensemble experience, practice, live performances, organization, and recording yourself are all easy steps to take. I hope my suggestions will help you for years to come!
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!
Photo by bigdrumthump.com