Instructables

How to play the drums

Picture of How to play the drums
Learning to play the drums is intimidating. People often tend to believe they have no rhythm or that drumming just requires too much natural talent, but this is not true. As is the case with any musical instrument, anyone can learn with enough practice and the right amount of discipline.  This instructable is designed for someone who wants to learn the basics and get on started on the right track to becoming a drummer.  This instructable is not an exhaustive guide containing everything you need to know, but it will introduce basic concepts and provide you with a guide to learning.  If you already know how to play the drums, you will gain little to no knowledge from this instructable, as it is all pretty basic.  The procedure I've outlined in these steps is my suggestion to the user.  This is the process I went through to learn, and I feel that it was successful.

 
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Step 1: Acquire the things you need

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Time. Practice makes perfect. It’s pretty simple; if you don’t invest the time to learn and practice, you will never get better. Spending a few hours a week practicing should be enough, but practicing more never hurt anybody.

• Drumsticks are the first thing you’ll need. A packaged set of sticks with multiple pairs can be purchased for $10 - $30.

Drum pad. Once you have something to drum with, you’ll need something to drum on. To avoid annoying your roommates or family, a drum pad is the best bet. Drum pads are relatively quiet and typical pad is around $20, although you can find them for north of $100 if you want one with a metronome.

Metronome (recommended). Drumming is all about keeping a steady tempo. A metronome is a device that produces metrical clicks at whatever tempo you choose.  This allows you to have more structure when you practice. Whether you think you have rhythm or not, a metronome is a must.  As previously stated, you can buy drum pads with metronomes built-in.  This would be a good investment.  A standalone metronome can cost anywhere between $10 and $100.

Note:  Make sure you buy a metronome that you can either hook up to a speaker or is loud enough to hear over your drum. 

Rudiment Book (recommended).  If you don’t know how to read music, it’s ok. Learning note values is not difficult. If you can do basic addition you can learn note values. This will help you in learning and practicing different rudiments, which are fundamental to drumming.  There are tons of different books out there, but they all have different variations of largely the same exercises.  Go online (I list a website at the end of this step) and find a book with a high user rating, and you should be set.  If you search, you can also find tons of exercises online for free.  

Lessons (recommended).  Unless you’re a prodigy, taking lessons from an experienced drummer will help you learn and hone your skills much faster than you would if were to practice on your own. There are also many video lessons online (sometimes for free) that are a viable alternative, but make no mistake that a video lesson is no replacement for a weekly one-on-one lesson.

Drum set. Once you learn the basics and have determined that drumming is something you'd like to continue with, a drum set is the next logical purchase.  You should be confident that you can and should move to the next step before you make this purchase.  It is important to note that this is not something you would want to go and purchase right away.  You wouldn't buy an expensive car if you didn't know how to drive, so you shouldn't buy a drum set unless you know what you're confident in your fundamental drumming skills.  You need to learn the basics and have them down long before you should consider making this purchase. You could literally spend tens of thousands of dollars on a drum set if you wanted to, but unless you’re a professional drummer a beginner or intermediate set for between $400 and $800 will do the job.



Note:  In my videos on this instructable I use an electronic drum set.  Electronic sets are great if you live in an apartment or somewhere you can't make a lot of noise.

Note:  Musician's Friend is a great website that sells practically anything music related that you could ever want.
 
SteeleWorks2 years ago
in matched your not supposed to have your thumb pointing upwards along the stick
thanks so much for this instructable! its brilliant!
peach_fart4 years ago
in traditional youre pretty much flipping the bird, because the side of the joint rests near the top and it is held out straight
Skyfinity4 years ago
Very well written. Great job.
Decepticon4 years ago
Nice! I wish I had the $ for a decent set of drums to practice on. For now...it's Rock Band drums.....sigh.
I got my drumkit for about $270 - not a huge amount. I have over time bought various add-ons for it. Buying new is probably out of reach.