How to start drumming - Ultimate guide
After more than 15 years in drumming I decided to make this Ultimate guide on How to start drumming.
I gathered all the questions young drummers have and all the questions I had to be sure I cover everything.
In this guide you’ll learn drumming essentials for the beginner after which you will be ready to start rocking.
Drummers usually quit out of two reasons, a lack of motivation or lack of time, or both.
So, if you are not planning to quit and you are ready to jump into this amazing journey, stick with me to get all the information beginner drummers need.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Table of contents
HOW TO START DRUMMING
Who invented drumming?
I will not harass you with complete drum history but do a quick summary:
- Different percussion parts were found in ancient Asia, Africa, Greece, etc
- The snare drum was invented in the 13th century in Europe
- The Bass drum was invented in 1909 by William Ludwig
In the years to come, all these elements came together and formed a drum set we know today.
So, there is no one guy who invented neither drumming nor drum set, it is one continuous process, and drums evolved through the years.
If you want to find out more about drum set history, I suggest you check this cool article I found.
How to learn drumming?
Step 1 - Get drumsticks
Don’t wait anymore!
Go to a drum shop and get yourself a drumsticks. It would be meaningful if you get a drum pad also, but it is not necessary.
The drum pad is used for drum practice at home, and it is designed to mimic the rebound of the real drum set.
This way, you will be able to practice the control of rebound.
With drum sticks only you can learn a lot.
Step 2 - Practice drumming without a drum set
Learning correctly basic rules is essential for your drumming in the years to come.
Not having a drum set shouldn’t stop you from learning:
- How to hold drumsticks
- Wrist control
- How to sit properly
- How to stay relaxed
- How to breathe properly
- Various rhythms
- Drum set notes
- Linear drumming, tuplets, phrasing, dynamics, and a lot more
Yes, all these things you can learn with just a pair of drumsticks, and if you get a drum pad, you can practice finger control and finger technique.
Some master drummers like Dennis Chambers suggest practicing on pillows.
I know all these terms are new to you but don’t worry, I will explain more as we go through the article.
Step 3 - Practice technique (wrist & fingers)
It is essential to get used to using just a wrist, let’s say while playing slow tempos to get more control.
Likewise, using fingers in fast tempos so you can stay relaxed and achieve more speed with less work, that’s what technique is all about.
I made an article about learning drumming basics, I suggest you start there.
Step 4 - Learn basic rudiments
Basic rudiments are:
Single stroke roll RLRL
Double stroke roll RRLL
Paradiddles RLRRLRLL, RRLRLLRL, RLLRLRRL
Triple paradiddle diddles RLRRLL, RRLLRL, RRLRLL
Of course, you realize this goes a lot further, but you need to start somewhere.
Later on, these rudiments are orchestrated (played around a drum set).
Also, they are combined with legs and played with all four limbs.
What are rudiments in drumming?
If drumming is a language, then drum rudiments are the letters.
Learning drum rudiments is essential to get your “database” filled with information.
Every new rudiment you learn is a step further into new rhythms.
To begin with drum rudiments, I suggest checking out Vic Fith’s article about 40 essential rudiments.
A while ago, I recorded an exercise on How to learn 100 new rhythms with only one exercise.
Go check it out.
How to practice drumming?
There are few crucial “rules” in drum practice that can make a substantial difference in the end result.
Concerning how you apply these “rules,” you will shape your drumming.
For instance, if you are not used to practicing slowly, it will take a lot more time to learn new things due to the brain’s disability to process the information.
Here are the rules I learned throughout the years and the same rules that I heard master drummers talk about.
Practice slow – I already mention how practicing slow is essential.
Nowadays, you have many smartphone metronome apps.
Two of my favorite ones are the Soundbrenner metronome app and Benny Greb Gap Click.
Set tempo to 50 BPM (beats per minute) and give your brain enough time to process new information.
Practice rudiments – getting literate as a drummer is very important.
Knowing what you play and knowing what you’ll play before you play it can make you a better drummer.
Practice time – It’s up to you, if you have 8 hours per day great, if it is 30 minutes, fine but make sure it is quality and focused practice.
Practice with music – it is best to start drumming with a band if you don’t have one.
Practice drums along with your favorite songs and try to mimic the drums.
Practice technique – The better your technique is, the easier it will be to perform, you will not get hurt, you will be able to play complex stuff, and your sound will get better.
How to get better at drumming?
Like Calvin Rodgers said in the interview we did, “It’s not about speed, it’s about control.”
I also interviewed Gorden Campbell; he said, “slow done and work on it.”
If I can help with a couple of tips, I would say:
- Practices slow
- Set your goals
- Be consistent
You can find many tips online on how to get better at drumming so that I won’t go in-depth with this; I would instead give you a few tips about setting your goal.
I think this is important because knowing your goal will save you time.
Generally, we can split drummers into two groups.
Crazy fast drummers, with complex chops and rhythms and studio drummers who are focusing more on the sound and what song needs.
I often ask my students, “Who you want to be, Eric Moore or Ash Soan?
Both of them are great but focus on totally different things.
There is a hybrid “type” found in guys like Vinnie Colaiuta, Dawe Weckl, Peter Erskine, Simon Philips that have the best of both worlds.
How much are drumming lessons?
Recently I entered Dave Weckl’s website to see how much it costs to have a one on one online lesson with one of the best drummers in the world. It’s $250, and I think that’s about how expensive it gets.
But if you ask me, there is no need to have a lesson that expensive unless you have already learned “everything” and need to clear some things with a guy who’s already been there.
I don’t prefer group lessons, so if you stick with one-on-one lessons, either private or online, they go from $20 to $100.
What is linear drumming?
Linear drumming is a term for drumming without unison strokes but each stroke for itself.
The genre with the most linear drumming is funk, and the drummers known for linear drumming are Steve Gadd, Mike Clark. David Garibaldi.
Let me give you an example of linear drumming.
Let’s take a basic paradiddle as an example:
Played linearly can go:
FF meaning foot, foot
That’s just a straightforward example of linear drumming. Let’ say I play.
That’s not linear drumming anymore.
I hope you get the point.
Now It’s Your Turn
In this guide, we looked at everything there is to know about drumming.
From hot to learn drumming, how to practice drumming without drumming to drum lessons and linear drumming.
Now it’s your turn to dive into the world of drumming. After this guide I hope you will not ask yourself how to start drumming but really get into it.
Leave a comment below to let me know how the article appeals to you.