Drum Exercises for Beginners: How to Use Electronic Drums

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Do you fantasize about being the centerpiece of the next classic or alternative rock band, with your top-of-the-line drum set? Do you beat on tables, desks, your legs, or other surfaces to any music you hear, driving your family and friends crazy?

Time to make that inner passion a reality, and try your hand at using some electronic drums. 

Electronic drums have many convenient features that can help a beginning student of drumming learn the basics, while not driving out their housemates with noise. 

Easy drum exercises for beginners will help get you started. Read on to learn more.

Basic Equipment Needed

To begin, you need to buy sticks and a practice surface. 

Sticks come in every size, shape, and material. They are labeled by number and letter. The lower the number, the thicker the stick. The letter stands for the genre, such as dance, or orchestral style drumming. For a beginner, the numbers are more significant.

Drum instructors usually agree that the best stick for a beginner is a 5A stick. 

In years past, your only option for beginning practice was a plastic pad. While this option makes the people you live with happy, it gets boring.

Instead, consider investing in a tabletop or roll-up electronic drum kit. These kits have tons of different drum sounds and allow you to play with headphones, which will make everybody happy. You will be able to practice elementary drum exercises without having to spend a lot of money.

How to Hold the Sticks

Holding the drum sticks properly is the first rule. It’s not like brandishing a leg of meat or an ax, but a little more refined.

There are several ways to hold drumsticks. The traditional grip involves balancing the left stick between your middle and ring finger and controlling it with your pointer finger and thumb. The right-hand stick is held between the top joint of the pointer finger and the right thumb.

An easier way is the matched grip, where both hands hold the sticks balanced at the pointer finger joint. What is crucial here is that you hold the stick itself about 2/3 of the way past the tip, where you will get the most “bounce” on the drum. 

Finding the right grip and bounce might take a little experimentation. There are many online tutorials and videos you can watch to see how these grips look and find the one that is most relaxed and comfortable for your hands.

Drum Exercises for Beginners: Rudiments

Beginning drum exercises are known as rudiments. There are many rudiments to learn to become a drummer for a band, but many teachers agree these 5 are the best to start with:

  1. Single Stroke Roll: this is an alternation of the sticks RLRLRLRL, usually easier on the snare drum. START SLOWLY and work your speed up. All good electronic kits have a metronome or a click track built-in, so you can practice slowly and keep a steady beat, building speed over time.
  2. Double Stroke Roll: The same as above, but in this pattern: RRLLRRLL. This rudiment is also called a “diddle.”
  3. Flam: a flam is sticking that looks like this:  lR or rL. The strokes are quick, with the second stroke as the louder one.
  4. Paradiddle: meaning, “pair of diddles.” Looks like: RlrrLrll, with the strokes in capitals being the strongest. Once these get up to speed, you practice inverting them, for example, Rllr Lrrl.
  5. Six Stroke Roll: RllrrL or LrrllR, with the accents on the capital letters. 

What is most important when starting is to practice slowly. You can try these patterns on different drum surfaces on your electronic kit, but always use your metronome, and pay attention to keeping your strokes even and relaxed, to avoid tension in your hands. 

There are many more rudiments to practice, and once you’ve mastered these, you can take the next step and buy a full drum kit.

Next Step: Electronic Drum Kit

When you outgrow your tabletop drums, you will want to invest in a drum kit. While acoustic drums are the “real” thing, space, noise, and portability are factors when you decide to buy an electronic drum kit for your intermediate drum work.

Electronic drums come with the latest technologies that will give you different sounds, tutorials, practice songs, and many different ways to configure your drum sounds for endless hours of playing. 

Make sure you choose a kit with a bass drum and high hat cymbal pedals, as your pedal technique is as important as your sticking. If you have a teacher, let them guide you in this purchase.

Finding a Drum Teacher

If you’re serious about continuing to learn to drum, consider finding a good teacher.

If you are short of funds, many online tutorials can show you rudiments, and recommend ways to practice them. Then, as you progress, you can also find songs and other pieces of music to practice your new skills.

But, for the serious player, nothing beats the one-on-one mentoring of a private teacher, who can assess your drumming technique, offer examples and tutorials made for you, and help you select the next pieces of equipment you will need. 

Word-of-mouth recommendations are the best ads for any service, but if you don’t know where to start, try any local music stores, or even local high school or college music programs. 

Practice Makes Perfect

This old cliche is still true for anyone who wants to learn a new skill.

Being willing to take time every day to practice rudiments and other drum exercises for beginners will be essential to achieving your dreams of becoming a drummer, whether that be in a marching band, rock band, or for fun in your room with your headphones.

If you are interested in drumming and don’t know where to start, contact us with your questions, and we will help you find equipment, tutorials, and all you will need to begin your drum odyssey!

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