Tommy Lee, Steve Grohl, and Ringo Star all have one thing in common, can you guess what that is? They all know how to play drums and they are an inspiration to many. These drummers have made a name for themselves in the music industry and it all started when they took the time to learn how to play the drums at an early age.
Now you may not be a young duck, but learning drums is something anyone at any age can do, and we’re here to give you some tips on drumming for beginners.
Learning The Basics
When you want to learn to play drums, it is important that you know the basics first. The basics include things like:
- Learning Rhythm
- Count Quarter Notes
- Becoming Familiar With Your Electrical Drums
- Becoming Familiar With Your Sticks
- Proper Practicing
There is no point in spending a bunch of money on expensive drum kit until you understand the fundamentals of drumming first. To learn rhythm, you will first want to start with just using your hands.
Listen to your favorite song and try to replicate the noticeable rhythm with your hands on top of your thighs.
Counting Quarter Notes
If you are reading sheet music, there are many ways to break down a bar of music. However for our intents and purposes, we are going to talk about 4/4 time signature, which means there are 4 beats per measure. When you tap 4 equal beats, then you are counting quarter notes.
When you are starting out, you may find it helpful to verbally count the notes so you can keep of the rhythm. By doing this, you can work up to more complex beats. You can also keep track of beats with a metronome or a click track.
Becoming Familiar With Your Electrical Drums
When you are learning to play drums, you have your standard drum kit. It’s still important that you understand how to incorporate an electric drum into your set, especially if you are interested in digital-heavy music genres like pop-rock, neo-soul and trap.
The most common sounds that are programed into the pads are finger snaps, clap, cowbells, timpani, mallet percussion, toms, and gongs.
The easiest way to incorporate electronic drums into your set up is using the pad as a way to replace the backbeat and to layer the pad sound with your acoustic snare. You’ll want to set up the pads in a way that is going to be comfortable to reach while you’re playing.
In most instances, people will put the percussion pads to the left of the bass drum, or to the right of the bass but right in front of the floor tom.
A good rule of thumb is to have the sounds that you use the most closer to you. This could be claps and snaps, whereas transitional sounds, or those less frequently used like wind chimes or rain sticks will be placed further away.
Becoming Familiar With Your Sticks
There are many ways that you can hold a set of drum sticks, but the two most common (especially for beginners) are the matched grip and the traditional grip.
With a matched grip, you are going to hold the sticks between your thumb and index finger a few inches from the bottom of the sticks. The rest of your fingers will wrap around the stick. This is most commonly used because it gives you plenty of comfort while playing, but also gives you excellent wrist control.
The traditional grip is where the stick you hold with your non-dominant hand is just resting against your thumb and index finger, but it is also on top of your ring finger. Your thumb, index, and middle fingers should wrap around the stick.
With your other hand, you’re going to hold the stick with a matched grip. Some drummers prefer this type of grip because it allows you to play more involved rhythms.
A crucial part of learning how to play drums is having a good practice schedule in place. Not only do you want to have a proper practice schedule, it’s also important that you practice properly.
To do this, you need a metronome. This is going to help you play an even and steady tempo. Metronomes can be a little pricey. To get around this, you can find a click track or an app your smart phone.
To practice, you will want to play a simple hand beat on your drums. Play the 8th notes on the hi-hat and it the snare on every 2 and 4 note. Then you will press the pedal for the bass drum on the 1 and 4 note.
Remember to always count aloud until you feel comfortable enough where you do not have to do this. Over time, you’ll be able to develop a grove and play evenly without counting.
How To Play Drums Summary
When you start researching how to learn drumming techniques, it isn’t uncommon to feel a little overwhelmed by all the tutorials and guides that you’ll come across because you don’t know where to start.
Like anything else, you have to start at the very beginning and that beginning here is with how to count quarter beats, becoming familiar with your electric drums and sticks. But not only that, you have to have to be mindful about how you practice and how regularly you practice.
Like the rock star drummers you idolize, you can teach yourself how to play the drums without formal training. All you need is the equipment, a basic understanding of the fundamentals, and the drive to put in the work!