In his popular book Outliers, author and researcher Malcolm Gladwell lays out what he calls the "10,000-hour rule." This rule states that anybody can become a world-class expert in anything if they are willing to put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.
If you ask any conventional music tutor, they’ll tell you a similar proverb; “Practice makes perfect.”
All of this goes to say, that consistent, dedicated practice is the best way to be a better drummer. Very few people are born natural drummers. They have to spend years learning how to keep a rhythm, move their hands, play with a band, research their drums, and how to perform on stage.
The drummer is the band member that holds the entire band together and keeps all of the other instruments in rhythm. A band without a drummer is like a ship without a sail. It’s no wonder why good drummers are in such high demand.
Can Virtual Drumming Games Actually Help You?
So what’s all this about practice got to do with video games? A lot actually. Many drummers claim that they are able to get a lot of practice by playing video games that simulate real drumming games.
Lately, there's been a lot of debate on the efficacy of video games. Almost everybody can agree that an occasional video game is fun and enjoyable, but it becomes a problem when people get addicted to their screen time and let their other hobbies and daily activities suffer as a result.
What if you could get the best of both worlds, though? Over the past decade, there’s been a growing trend that seeks to move away from the classic video game experience to create games that are both educational and interactive.
These are games that you can play by yourself or with friends and family. You’ll have a blast and be able to show off your sick drumming skills without shaking down the walls of your house.
Aside from having fun, however, virtual games can be a great way to maintain what skills you already have. Of course, they can never replace good old-fashioned practice on a real drum set, but they can ensure that your hand motions, your rhythm, and your flow don’t fall out of practice.
One of the disadvantages of practicing any musical instrument in your home is that they’re loud. Drums especially so. If you share a house with roommates or you live in an apartment, the hours which you’ll get to bang on your drums without having angry knocks on your door are going to be slim.
Virtual drumming games can be a great way to practice in those hours when you can’t be on your actual drum set. You just plug your virtual set into your game system, and you can play through a wide selection of songs with complete control over the volume.
One of the most important things to develop as a musician is muscle memory, and that’s where these drumming games come in handy (pun intended) the most. You get your hands, arms, and feet in the rhythm of drumming out anything from slow jams to heavy metal depending on your skill level.
Best Drumming Games That You Should Be Playing
Now that we’ve shown you that video games can, in fact, help you to improve your existing drumming skills, let’s take a look at some fun drumming games that you can get your hands on at your local GameStop.
Most of these games were developed for all consoles, and you can find multiple versions featuring new songs, and new challenges. Depending on what console that you own, you'll need to purchase a compatible drum or band set.
This is essentially a virtual drum set, with small rubber drums that you can play with your own sticks. It's connected to your console and produces a realistic response in the game whenever you're playing.
Band Hero was first created in 2009 to work across all major video game consoles. It was created as a competitor to Guitar Hero and was the first game to include a full band set up that included virtual drums. This game set a precedent for future games to include more than just a virtual guitar.
Guitar Hero was released in 2005 for the Playstation 2, but the franchise has since expanded across all major consoles. Initially, it was a guitar-only game, but to compete with Band Hero, they decided to introduce a virtual drum set and vocal microphone to create a full band experience.
Rock Band shares the same creators as Guitar Hero, Harmonix. After the success of their first franchise, Harmonix decided that they wanted to create a full rock band experience that was meant to be played by a large group of people.
The Rock Band kit includes lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, and a microphone. Out of all of the games on the market, this was created to give the most realistic experience to players.
If you’ve managed to hold onto your old Playstation Portable, then it’s worth trying to find an old copy of Patapon. While this game doesn’t include a virtual drum set, it’s a great game if you want to improve your ability to maintain rhythm and stay on top of your beats.
It’s set up like a strategy game where you are being attacked by tribes of warriors, and must beat them back with the power of your drums. It’s a creative, fun, and intuitive game that won quite a few awards when it was first released in 2007.
Taiko Drum Master
Taiko Drum Master is another classic that was originally created for the Play Station 2. If you can find an old bundle package with the plug-in plastic drumsticks, then you’re going to be in for a fun and challenging time.
So what are you waiting for? Hit up Amazon or your local used game store and get your hands on some virtual drumming games. They’re a great way to maintain and show off your skills when you can be on your actual drum set.