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learning drums

The Top 10 Benefits of Learning Drums [Infographic]

learning drums

There are several great reasons for both adults and children to learn drums. So if you’re on the fence about signing up for drum lessons, take a look at what the research says. Here, Philadelphia, PA teacher Andrea I. shares the top 10 benefits of learning drums…

1. Reduce Stress

Playing drums can relieve frustration, disappointment, and stress. Whether you’re behind a drum kit, hitting a djembe in a drum circle, or beating a marching band bass drum, drumming is a stress reliever. Playing drums, even for just a few minutes, can boost your mood.

Similar to a “runner’s high,” drummers’ brains release feel-good endorphins immediately after playing music. In the online journal Evolutionary Pychology, researchers concluded, “it is the active performance of music that generates the endorphin high, not the music itself.”

So if you’re feeling a little down or a little frazzled, grab your drum sticks and start playing!

2. Increase Academic Performance

The correlation between musical training and academic performance has been documented a number of times, particularly when it comes to math. Learning to drum, however, can also help you in subjects like English, by helping you identify emotional cues, a skill you can use to identify characters’ thought processes and motives.

According to one study, “Music enables students to learn multiplication tables and math formulas more easily (T. Mickela as cited in Kelstrom, 1998); rhythm students learn the concept of fractions more easily; students who were taught using rhythm notation scored 100 percent higher on tests of fractions; and a child may use the ability for logical thinking that was developed in music class to solve problems quite unrelated to music (Kelstrom, 1998).”

So parents, if you’re hesitant about your child learning drums because you’re afraid it will take away from his or her studies, rest assured, learning to drum may actually help your son or daughter perform better in school.

3. Boost Brain Power

When you play drums, you have to coordinate all four limbs to work together at the same time. If you’re right handed, chances are you don’t do much with your left hand. Your brain has to work your non-dominant side to strengthen and coordinate your non-dominant limbs.

In a recent study, researchers found that playing drums can boost brain power in a measurable way, specifically when it comes to IQ. “Playing the drums makes the brain think in a way that very few activities can,” said Pat Brown, International Drum Month chairman and Percussion Marketing Council co-executive director. “Being able to understand musical notes and dissect how rhythms work and go together is a very complicated thought process. The most recent study shows that being constantly exposed to this type of brain activity can actually improve one’s IQ level.”

4. Develop Confidence

Drumming is powerful. To be successful, drummers must learn to play dynamically: loud and soft. The act of playing a loud beat takes guts and confidence. In addition, drummers must possess a growth mindset. That is, you must believe that you can learn challenging parts by starting slow and breaking them down.

Learning drums challenges you to break complex tasks into manageable parts. Then, after persistent practice, you’re able to play something quite challenging. This is a skill that carries over in many areas of life. Believing you’re able to learn difficult material is crucial to overcome obstacles, both in music and in life.

5. Improve Communication Skills

Students with musical training communicate better with peers, are more empathetic, and get lots of practice expressing ideas without using words. Drumming also teaches you to read non-verbal cues, which can help you learn to read between the lines.

6. Be a Global Citizen

Drumming can open your world! Whether you’re learning Latin bossa nova, Afro-Cuban clave, or Jamaican reggae, you can benefit as a musician and a person from learning about musical traditions from all over the world.

It’s fascinating to see how new styles of music develop over time as cultures merged their traditional styles together.

7. Make New Friends

Wherever you go, you will be able to talk with people who speak drums. With lots of opportunities to form your own band or join an orchestra, marching band, drum circle, or percussion ensemble, you will have lots of options to meet new and interesting people.

8. Play Cool Instruments

Learning drums gives you the foundation to play a wide range of instruments: djembe drums, congas, clave, marching bass drums, triangle – even typewriters, spoons, and buckets.

A percussionist’s bag of toys is endless, and part of the fun is discovering new sounds to play.

9. Get Fit

A hardy session of drumming is a great way to get your sweat on while having fun. According to one study, “Just by using hand drums and moving to the beat, people burned an average of 270.4 calories in a half hour.”

In addition to the calorie burn, rhythmic performance can significantly impact stress reduction and wellness.

10. Lifelong Learning

You can be a drummer at any age. Once you start, you can keep drumming as long as you want. Learning drums will enhance your life well beyond your first few lessons, and as long as you never stop learning, you will have endless opportunities to improve, perform, and be the best musician you can be.

 

learning drums


Ready to get started? Search here for a drum instructor near you!

 

Andrea IPost Author: Andrea I.
Andrea I. is a Philadelphia-based English teacher with a lifelong obsession with drums. She has taught drums with Girls Rock Philly, a rock ‘n’ roll camp for girls, and played in various bands. She currently teaches online and in-home lessons in Philadelphia, PA. Learn more about Andrea here!

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Video: The 7 Essential Drum Rudiments

drum rudiments

When you’re learning drums, it’s important to practice rudiments. Drum rudiments are essential and mastering them will help you take your drumming to the next level. In this video, Tulsa, OK drum teacher Tracy D. shows you how to play seven essential drum rudiments… 

Why Practice Rudiments

Drum rudiments are like words in a drummer’s vocabulary. In essence, rudiments are drum patterns that you can use for drills or warm-ups, or develop into more complex drum patterns.

These drum patterns have been fleshed out from the “standard” 26 to the 40 Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Official International Drum Rudiments, to an ever-increasing number of stick-twisting (and oddly-named) hybrid rudiments.

Drum rudiments are your foundation as a drummer, and all of these rudiments will help you develop finesse. In this video, we’re going to focus on the seven “essential” rudiments, from which the others are derived.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn the single-stroke roll, multiple-bounce (buzz/press) roll, double-stroke open roll, five stroke-roll, single paradiddle, flam, and drag. You should practice these open (slow), to close (fast), back to open.

*NOTE: There is a tipping point in double strokes that shifts from muscular-control dominant to rebound dominant (and so approaches a buzz roll) as the tempo increases, so practice these as prescribed to build control.

This video will help you practice the essential rudiments. So grab your drum sticks and let’s get to work!


 

drum rudiments

*Courtesy of: P.A.S. Official International Drum Rudiments, Jay Wanamaker and Rob Carson.

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!

Photo by Travis Isaacs

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10 Steps Guaranteed to Make You a Better Drummer

10 Steps to Become a Great Drummer 3

If you’re taking drum lessons, you probably want to know the fastest, most efficient way to improve. While learning drums takes practice and hard work, there are certain steps that can take you from a beginner to an intermediate drummer, and beyond.

In this guest post, Marcel Blanchet, a drummer, producer, composer, and recording artist, shares his 10 steps to help you advance beyond the beginner stage, and put you on the path to becoming a great drummer… 

Every beginner has to have a starting point, but a beginner also needs a reference point to come back to in order to move forward.

I have been playing drums professionally for many years, and during this time I have learned  important lessons from trial and error, drum teachers, friends, and other professionals.

Here are 10 steps that will help you become a great drummer.

 

REPETITION

Repetition is the key to learning anything, but when it comes to drumming, you will have to repeat the same exercises over and over in order to improve.

Repeat the same hand and foot movements, read, or play the same rhythm over and over.

 

CONSISTENCY

 

For drummers, consistency is related to accuracy. When you’re accurate, you play in time. The groove is a consistent groove.

You will always be looked upon as a time keeper first.

sticks

 

You need drum sticks, you don’t necessarily need drums, at least when you’re a beginner.

Don’t just get a pair of drum sticks and think it’s the only pair of sticks you will ever need. Really spend some time at a music store or drum shop, and hold and feel the drum sticks.

Make sure they’re not too heavy or too long. Go with a teacher or another drummer and pick sticks together.

*For a look at different drum stick brands, check out our drummer’s gear guide.

WATCH AND LISTEN

Between YouTube, DVDs, and live performances, there are so many ways to watch and listen.

Watch as many other drummers as you can. Listen to the way they sound. Watch how they tune their drums, how they play, and how they hold their sticks.

Pay attention to their technique and practice this on your own.

 

RUDIMENTS

As a beginner, you don’t need to know all the rudiments to start playing, but it’s important to learn the basics.

Learn the single-stroke roll and the double-stroke roll, and learn to play them with your feet, too!

 

experiment

Experiment when you play; try something new every day.

If you’ve mastered the single-stroke roll, try playing it in between your hands and feet.

Try to play new sounds. You don’t even need a drum set for this, look for new sound sources like boxes, tin cans, plastic paint buckets, plastic pipes, and metal lids.

BE OBSESSIVE

We mean this in a good way, of course, but be obsessive about learning and playing drums.

Eat, sleep, read, watch, and consume all things drum related.

BE UNIQUE

Don’t just copy others, set yourself apart from other drummers.

This doesn’t mean you can’t learn from watching other drummers.  In fact, study their every move, but figure out what you have to offer that is unique, different, and special.

Find and develop your own signature sound.

stick with it

Find a style that you like and stick with it. You can always try new styles, but as a beginner, pick one style and stick with it.

If you like rock music, then play rock music. If you’re a hip hop fan, then play hip hop.

find a teacher

Find a teacher, and let him or her know what you really want to learn.

A private drum instructor can help you reach your goals and master your technique.

Marcel Blanchet is a drummer, composer, producer, and Sony recording artist. Marcel is a touring drummer for traveling shows, and has provided motivational keynote speeches and business entertainment through his drumming skills. Learn more about Marcel here!

 

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6 Surprising Benefits of Learning to Drum as an Adult

learning to drumCurious about drum lessons, but worried you’re too old to get started? As it turns out, there are several benefits that even older adults can glean from learning how to play. Learn more in this guest post by Edmond, OK drum teacher Tracy D...

 

If you are considering learning to drum as an adult, you may have a few questions, among which might be, “Will I be any good?”, “Am I too old?”, or “Is it too late?” Perhaps you’ve heard that one can only attain proficiency at an instrument if he or she learns as a child. If that’s the case, I have some good news! In fact, there are many benefits to be had in learning to drum — no matter what your age. Let’s take a closer look:

The physical aspect

The drum set is a very kinetic instrument, as it requires the use of your whole body. Regular, dedicated play helps improve your coordination, because you use your limbs in differing combinations to make music. It is also beneficial to your sense of balance, because you must be well-anchored to play with power and ease (which is especially true if you make vigorous use of both feet; I cannot recommend that highly enough). The integration of these factors creates a pretty good core workout, and you are building a skill as well. How cool is that?

The intellectual aspect

Did you know that your brain’s neuroplasticity stays intact throughout your whole life? This means that your mind, with active engagement, will continue to grow, learn, and retain new information. Numerous studies have shown that learning new skills helps keep your mind sharp as you age. Other studies have shown that musicians have increased volume in several areas of the brain. If you learn to read music, you also interpret and reproduce the notes that you see, which is a great integrative exercise for the mind and body. The potential for exploration is virtually infinite. As you work out and assimilate progressively advanced concepts, you will find that it becomes even easier to learn new material, which is gratifying indeed!

The spiritual and emotional aspects

One of the most important aspects of playing music is the sheer enjoyment! Playing is such an effective stress reliever, and the higher the level of facility you achieve, the more expression you can pour into your playing. It truly incorporates spirit, soul, and body, and there is nothing quite like it.

In addition, if you already play an instrument, learning to drum will solidify and strengthen your rhythmic sense — and you can bring your melodic knowledge to bear on the kit, as it lends itself quite beautifully. You will also gain a more informed enjoyment of your favorite music through the sharpening of your listening skills. There is also income potential, if you wish to gig or teach.

In sum, if you truly fall in love with this instrument, you will discover numerous treasures along this most rewarding journey, and you will reap tangible benefits all the while. It’s never too late to unearth your passion. I should know. I didn’t pick up a pair of sticks until I was almost 30, and I went on to get a music degree. Enjoy!

 

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lesson in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums 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 Much Are Drum Lessons? 4 Factors That Affect the Cost

How Much Do Drum Lessons Cost?When you want to start beginning drum lessons, you’ll find a variety of prices depending on a few factors. While the average price for a half hour lesson can range from $15 to $40, you might not be able to find a private drum lesson instructor at either end of the range. Some of the things that can contribute to how much you’ll end up paying for beginning drum lessons are where you’re receiving the lessons, what city you’re in, and the experience level of your teacher.

First Step: Where are the lessons?

You have a few choices for this one. The least expensive option is to travel to wherever your  drum teacher is. If he or she has a studio or rehearsal space, that might mean a bit of a commute for you every week. The flip side is that the space is already rented out, so your lessons are not going toward an unanticipated cost on the part of your instructor.

Another option is to book lessons with a teacher who can travel to you. While this can be a quite attractive idea if you are having trouble squeezing your beginning drum lessons into your schedule, it can add to the cost. Many teachers will charge for transportation time, or per the mile if they need to commute to a new location. Some instructors don’t give the option to travel away from their studio. Weighing the costs between the two is a great idea before pulling the trigger.

A third option is a decent compromise between the first two. You can take lessons via Skype or other video chat service. While this option can help you manage your time efficiently, the drawback is that you are not in the same room as your instructor during the lessons. If there is a particular technique or pattern that you need to learn, it can be much easier to pick up in person. For that reason, if you need to schedule video lessons, it’s best to still include one to two in-person lessons each month.

Second Step: Where are you located?

If you live in a bigger city or suburban area, chances are that the price for beginning drum lessons will be a little higher than the price for drum lessons in the rural countryside. The upside to the higher price is that you can find a lot more variety in your selection of drum teachers. If you want to focus on concert performance, rock drumming, or even a specialty percussion instrument, you have a better chance of finding what you need in a higher population area.

This isn’t to say that you cannot find a highly qualified instructor outside of a big city. But you have a better chance of finding multiple instructors that suit your needs, and one that can work with your schedule, if you are in a large city (or willing to travel to that city).

Last Step: How experienced is your teacher?

Beginning drum lessons teachers can vary in expertise, from ones still in music school to a professional percussionist with decades of experience. The more experienced the instructor, the higher the lessons price will likely be. As a beginning drummer, you won’t need to find a highly experienced teacher, but you will need an instructor who can teach you the basics of music at a pace that you can absorb.

If you are looking for beginning drum lessons, be sure to visit TakeLessons to search for qualified instructors in your area. Good luck with your studies!

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Should Drummers Focus On Just One Style or Genre?

What Style Should I Have As A Drummer?If you’re new to the drums, should you focus on drum music from one particular genre — or explore several different styles? Here, Decatur, GA teacher Paul S. shares his advice…

 

It’s a thrilling time to be a musician, let alone a drummer. 2015 will continue to reveal the trend of a brave new world, a world where one person can record a fantastic album alone in their bedroom and a viral musical sensation can blow up overnight. While capitalizing on Internet success may occasionally prove difficult (the music business is a BUSINESS, after all), the limitless creative possibility of our current musical atmosphere is something everyone can appreciate and be a part of.

Now, to answer the question, “Should drummers focus on one style or genre?” As with many things in music, the answer isn’t black and white. On one hand, knowing your stylistic strengths and weaknesses is extremely important. Agreeing to play congas in a smoking salsa band would not be wise if your only experience as a conguero was in your college jam band days: “Uh, dude? I think you turned your rumba clave into a son clave at some point when we were playing that E major chord for 20 minutes.” However, in fitting with today’s current musical trends, it seems foolish to limit oneself to playing only one genre. Let’s put this in a global context.

Percussion is one of the world’s oldest instruments, so logically, there is a lot of material to learn. In fact, there is so much history that one drummer could never scratch the surface of understanding every style of drumming that humans have produced. When I write “drumming” here, I mean much more than the drum kit. Here are a few examples of mind-boggling drum styles from around the world:

  • Zakir Hussain’s masterful control of the Indian tabla
  • Doudou N’Diaye Rose directs his Senegalese drum orchestra with his energetic sabar playing
  • Mestre Ombrinho plays berimbau, sings, and leads a group of musicians accompanying the Brazilian martial art capoeira

Are you getting the picture? If you or someone you know is a drummer with a big head, these videos are sure to put that ego in check. Being humble to the breadth of percussion is important. As musicians, we must realize that there is an infinite amount of knowledge for us to possess. It’s up to us as individuals to understand as many styles as we can perform respectfully and successfully.

With all of that being said, it’s wise to specialize! Know the styles of drum music that you love to play and that you play well. What moves you, and why does it move you? Travel deeply inside each groove you practice and perform, and don’t ever stop listening to a wide variety of music. Do you love jazz? Listen to every Max Roach, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa recording that you can find. If you play along with these masters every day, metaphorical wheels will start turning and you’ll find yourself with control you didn’t think you had. You’ll make mental and physical connections every time you pick up a pair or sticks, whether you’re playing by yourself or with others.

To summarize, let us return to the question, “Should drummers focus on one style or genre?” In my 20 years as a percussionist, I say yes AND no. That’s music for ya, folks!

Marietta music lessons with Paul S.Paul S. teaches drum, piano, music theory, in Decatur, GA. Paul’s specialties include classical, jazz, and popular music styles. Find out more about Paul here!

 

 

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Drums?

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How long does it take to learn drums? Find out the reality in this guest post by Seattle, WA drum teacher Mason L...

Many of my new drum students ask me this question a few weeks into their lessons: “How long does it take to learn the drums?” The answer to that question depends on what you’re trying to get out of drumming. If you want to master a few songs and beats, it might take a couple months; if you want to be reliable and confident enough to be in a band, it might take a year or two. But the great drummers we all look up to, the ones who have great careers as drummers, see drumming as a lifelong journey of constant learning. There are so many drumming techniques and styles that even if you master rock drumming, or swing harder than Tony Williams, there is still so much to learn.

My students usually ask me this question with a concerned tone, as they’re struggling with a concept we’ve been working on. Just like anything else you learn to do, sometimes you can feel uninspired, or maybe you feel stuck. Everyone has this feeling at some point, whether you’re just beginning to learn drums, or you’ve been drumming for a long time. Over the years, I’ve noticed some things about the way I learn to drum, the way I practice, and the way I handle adversity.

Set Reasonable Goals

One big mistake that students make is that they bite off more than they can chew in the practice room. For example, my current long-term goal is to become a better jazz drummer, but my goal isn’t simply “learn how to jazz drum.” My current goal is to develop my right hand to play a swing ride cymbal pattern consistently and quickly; more precisely, I’m working on playing a swing ride cymbal pattern at half note = 140. Setting goals is one of the keys to being successful, but if you set your goals too broadly, you might frustrate yourself by trying to handle too much at once. If you set smaller goals, you’ll make progress faster than if you set larger goals, and you’ll notice yourself improving when you see that you’ve completed your goal.

Be Strategic About Your Practice

The strategy of your drum practice is just as important as the amount of time you practice. Before you sit down in the practice room, you should decide what you are going to work on, and how long you’re going to work on it. Maybe you have three different things to accomplish; plan out exactly what you’re going to do and how long you’ll be doing each of the three things. It’s possible to waste a lot of time finding materials, thinking of what to do, and just jamming. If you’re drumming without a recording, always practice with a metronome. And make sure to learn about the way you practice and find the amount of time you can focus and work. I work best in small amounts of time with short breaks in between; I can cram and practice for large chunks of time, but only rarely. Figure out what works best for you.

Give Yourself Time to Improve

Remember that it takes time to learn drums well. When you feel like you haven’t made a lot of progress recently, check your list of goals to see what you’ve accomplished. If you have the gear, you can record yourself with an audio recorder or a video camera. It’s a little strange to watch or listen to yourself at first, but reviewing recordings is one of the least forgiving, quickest ways to find your weak areas and improve them. When you need a break from working, go back to lessons you’ve already worked through or songs you can play and remember what it feels like to be comfortable behind your instrument. If you’re spending a good amount of time drumming, and you have good practice habits, you’re probably making progress.

Music takes a lifetime to master, but you don’t have to be a master to enjoy music. Beginners can enjoy playing music and listening to music just as much as the experts. With time and good practice habits, you can make progress quickly and efficiently. And, in the grand scheme of things, making progress feels just as good as playing drums.

Mason

Mason L. teaches drums in Seattle, WA. He received his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from University of North Texas and has been teaching students since 2011. Learn more about Mason here!

 

 

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5 Common Challenges Faced By New Drum Students (And How to Overcome Them)

7000427720_ac40e5bc51_kEncountering tough challenges is just part of the process as you first learn to play the drums. But instead of getting frustrated or giving up, take action with these helpful pointers from teacher Lauren P...

 

Every new drum student faces these common challenges at some point. Use the below tips to overcome these challenges with minimal amount of frustration and time.

1. I can’t move quickly enough

The most common challenge new students face as they learn to play the drums is building speed and coordination. The more you practice, the faster your wrist and ankle movement will become and the more quickly you will be able to make transitions. You can build muscle mass and muscle memory anytime. Tap your feet or tap your pencils on any hard surface or the rubber soles of your shoes. You don’t need to overexert yourself by forcing a fast pace for extended periods of time. Instead, try short bursts of fast-paced playing along with a metronome. You will slowly but surely build speed and coordination. If it is the transition between drums and cymbals that is challenging you, practice one or two components and slowly build until you can coordinate all components at once.

2. I can’t read quickly enough

If your biggest challenge is keeping up with the pace of reading sheet music, you can overcome these mistakes by previewing and preparing music ahead of time. One quick fix is to highlight every other line of music. This prevents your eyes from losing their place as you skip from line to line. Another trick is to say the beats as words in your head instead of just counting. Even better, say the numbers or words aloud to stay on track. You can even write in these words above the notes. For example, write and say aloud: “par-a-did-dle”; “right-left-right-right”; “one-e-end-a-two-e-end-three-e-end-a-four-e-end”; etc. When you are still learning the rudimentary beats, write “R” and “L” above each portion of every note to signify your right and left hand. Highlighting and annotating your music ahead of time will help familiarize you with the music and prepare you for speed.

3. I’m not consistent in speed or volume

Many new drummers struggle with consistency in speed or volume. The best piece of technology a drummer can invest in to practice pace is a metronome. Buy a metronome or use one for free online. The metronome sets a pace for your playing and keeps you consistent. You can also record yourself or another performer playing so that you can practice the right volume and pace. By listening to yourself play, you can also become aware of how you fluctuate volume between your right and left hand or from the beginning to end of a segment. A band is nothing without a drummer to keep them on track. In terms of pace and volume, practice makes perfect to build muscle memory and overcome the consistency challenge.

4. I forget the lessons I learn

If you repeatedly forget a new lesson or skill immediately after your lesson, there are several easy ways to overcome this challenge. If you have a smartphone or tablet, record video or audio of yourself playing. You can even include your instructor’s advice or homework assignment to use as a reference for practice. If you do not have access to recording technology, take detailed notes of your assignments and any suggestions or potential misunderstandings that you want to remember later.

5. I can’t find time for practice

Even with a strong passion for learning to play the drums, the frustrations of independent practice can sap your enthusiasm to persevere. Overcome your challenges by making a conscious effort to keep your end goal in mind. This will keep you inspired and motivated to practice through your challenges. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to practice. Sticking to your daily schedule is more effective than planning to practice “when you have time.” Commit to setting your alarm 10 minutes early or practicing the moment you get home. The best way to overcome any challenges as you learn to play the drums is to hold yourself accountable for practice.

Of course, working with a private drum teacher can be a big motivation for keeping up with your practice; plus, he or she will be able to guide you along at the right pace. Teachers are well-equipped to solve the common challenges of new drum students. Hire an expert teacher in your area and you’ll be well on your way to mastering your instrument!

LaurenPLauren played concert snare drum and the drum set for five years and acted as a private teacher for the snare drum and drum set for three years. Currently she tutors various subjects in New York, NY. Learn more about Lauren here!

 

 

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Learning the Drums

8429488902_d0c501f4bb_kThinking about signing up for beginner drumming lessons? Read on as teacher Lauren P. guides you through five helpful questions to help you prepare…

 

Maybe you are obsessed with your local rock and roll band or maybe you are mandated to join the school band. Whatever your reason, consider asking yourself these five questions before taking beginner drumming lessons.

What is my end goal?

Before deciding to learn the drums, ask yourself honestly what your end goal is. Do you have to join an elective and think drums are cool or easy to learn? Have you idolized John Bonham since you heard your first Led Zeppelin song? Whether you want stardom or an easy A, the reality is you will need to work hard for both. It is important you are passionate about mastering both music theory and technique or your drums will end up collecting dust in a matter of months. Stay passionate by keeping your end goal in mind and hiring a private drum teacher to hold you accountable for practicing.

Can I soundproof my space?

You can have all the passion in the world, but your parents or neighbors may limit your practice time if they cannot stand the noise. Ask yourself, do you have a basement, attic, garage, or a decently secluded room to practice? Choose a space that is as far away as possible from potentially irritated listeners. Rooms with thick carpets, curtains, and wall hangings also absorb sound. Ask your parents or housemates’ consent to let you play during specified times of day. Reassure them that additional measures can be taken to “mute” the sound of your drums. Some examples include: placing a pillow or bundled fabric in your bass drum and toms, lining the underside of your drum heads with masking tape, or even playing on a drum pad.

How free is my schedule?

How much time can you realistically set aside every day to practice in between your beginner drumming lessons? Hopefully at this point you want to spend every waking moment learning to play the drums. You need to keep the momentum going by scheduling drum practice just like you would any formal class or appointment. Setting aside time to practice for 20 minutes every day is better than playing for three hours every Sunday. Sticking to a schedule also reduces the likelihood you will “run out of time” or forget to practice.

What can I afford?

You do not need thousands of dollars to buy an expensive, new drum set. Search the Internet or look up a local instrument shop to find an affordable drum set. Better yet, seeif you have any friends or family members who have unused drums. Send out a mass email or social media post: Explain your interest in finding a used set of drums and that you are willing to negotiate price. A family-friend may love to have you take their drums for little to no fee.

How do I find the right drum teacher?

To really commit to learning to play the drums well, you need a private teacher to help you learn music theory and technique. Ask yourself what days and times you can commit to taking lessons. The only way to improve and hold yourself accountable is to find a teacher you enjoy working with at a consistent time every week.

Now that you have considered the right questions to maintain your passion and commitment to learning the drums, good luck getting started with your beginner drumming lessons!

LaurenPLauren played concert snare drum and the drum set for five years and acted as a private teacher for the snare drum and drum set for three years. Currently she tutors various subjects in New York, NY. Learn more about Lauren here!

 

 

 

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5 Small Changes That Will Make You A Better Drummer

3217158010_8505247452_oThere’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.

Practice Smart

• 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!

Get Organized

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!

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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