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Frequently Asked Questions About Taking Drum Lessons

By Sophia, published on 02/07/2018 Blog > Music > Drums > Taking Drum Lessons: FAQs

“… asking questions is the best way to learn.” Tom Felton

Indeed it is the curious mind, often child-like, that continuously questions.

How does that work? Why do people do that? When should we…? What do you know about…?

Conversely, a more regimented intellect will launch more pointed, quantitative queries.

How much did that car cost? When did you graduate university? Or: how long have you been playing the drums?

As illustrated so beautifully in The Little Prince, some minds require tangible, measurable evidence.

Those of a more artistic bent prefer asking open-ended questions that could lead to even more questions.

In fact, the deluge of questions could become maddening, such as when a very young child asks, over and over again: but why?

To that end, many companies and other entities have established a page on their website dedicated to answering frequently asked questions – what are known as FAQs (pronounced fah-kyoos) about their organisation, products or services.

Note: those pages were generally established for adults who might all ask an entity the same questions, not for small children who always ask why.

Now, Superprof takes a page from the corporate playbook in establishing an FAQ that covers the questions most prospective drummers might ask, such as:

  • How old does one have to be before taking drum lessons?

  • Where can I find some good books to learn the drums?

  • What online web pages are good for learning how to play drums?

  • How long will it take for me to learn the drum?

Of course, you might simply type those questions into your web browser and divine an answer for yourself… among the thousands of pages your searches will return.

Or, you could just trust that your Superprof has culled out the best answers for you, and presents them in this article.

What is the Ideal Age to Learn the Drums?

Some drum teachers aver that children aged between nine and 13 years old are most apt to want drum lessons, and would be best at retaining what they learn.

Conversely, those of that age group are also most apt to lose interest quickly – especially once they learn how much work goes into learning how to play the drums.

They then go on to express a passion for something wholly different, like painting or sports… much to their parents’ dismay!

On the other end of the spectrum, you may have some 40- or 50-somethings who have not quite gotten the Madchester vibe out of their system and want to take up drumming, if only to play in local clubs.

In between, you may have drummers in their 20s who hope to make it on the music scene and stressed-out office workers in their 30s who are looking for a constructive outlet for their aggravations.

You might say that that demographic is represented by Todd Rundgren, with his song Bang on the Drum All Day!

Are you getting the idea that one can learn the drums at virtually any age?

According to Andy Ziker, veteran drummer and author of the book Drumming for Preschoolers, age is the least of the factors to consider when contemplating drum lessons for your child.

Physical strength matters much more: the ability to control arm movements, grip the sticks properly, and the coordination to use arms and legs independently – legs to hit the bass drums and hi hat pedals while arms hit cymbals, are of paramount importance.

Are you worried that your preschooler or primary schooler is too small to play?

If your youngster shows a talent for percussion, you may look into junior drum kits: a scaled down version of a full drum set, possibly colour-coded for easy play using matching drum notation!

You can find many books to help you learn the drums Even professional drummers, at one time, sought out drum notation books to learn the drums! Source: Pixabay Credit: Nadfrank

What are the Best Drum Books to Help You Learn to Play?

Besides the aforementioned instruction manual for teaching drums to preschoolers, there exists a plethora of books for anyone to learn how to play the drums.

  • Kids’ Rock Drum Book/CD combination by Dawn Richardson

    • You might consider Drum Lessons for Kids of All Ages, too!

  • Alfred Kid’s Drum Lessons Complete

  • Alfred Kid’s Drum Set Course Complete Starter Pack

    • includes two books, CDs and accessories, such as a frame drum, maracas, a wood block and mallet

All of these books are available on Amazon, for a range of prices starting at around £20.

These books are touted as suitable for beginner drummers of all ages, but perhaps you, your teenager or spouse would not like to learn from kiddie books.

To satisfy a more mature craving, we return to the catalogue and present:

  • 4-Way Coordination (Marvin Dahlgren and Elliot Fine): how to cultivate limb independence

  • Drum Set Essentials (Peter Erskine) – a great book for the beginner drummer

  • Stick Control for the Snare Drummer (George Stone) – to improve general technique

  • The New Breed (Gary Chester): drum sets for rock and funk

  • Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer (Jim Chapin) – full of tips for jazz drummers

  • Progressive Steps to Syncopation (Ted Reed): voted the best book for learning drumming

Naturally, there are more than just these few books available to the drum enthusiast.

For an expanded selection, Modern Drummer magazine has compiled and thoughtfully grouped their picks for the best titles according to the style and technique the volume addresses.

Indeed, that hyperlink indicates a web page. Now we’ll go find more sites that can help you learn to play the snare drum, bass drum or the toms; and any style of music from swing to funk.

You could gain more practice with online drum lessons You may want to investigate online drum lessons Source: Pixabay Credit: Signtv

Learn to Play Drums Online

YouTube! Best site ever! Mark DeBeaux

That video enthusiast is quite right: one can find just about any type of video: actual, factual, musical and/or instructional, on that site.

Do you have a gig coming up? Are you planning a drum solo during your fledgeling band’s signature song and want to come up with a new groove?

Do you want to enhance your standard paradiddle?

You may certainly find videos of people playing drums and instructors demonstrating drum rudiments on YouTube; in fact, there are multiple channels that feature drum lessons.

You may choose from beginner drum lessons or those for the intermediate player; drum fills, and even advanced and expert lessons!

You can also learn how to play the electronic drums…

By far the better way to organise your online drum lessons via YouTube is to select a channel or two that most closely addresses the styles of music you will play and the range of percussion instruments you plan to include in your kit.

If you are a beginner, you may want to focus on learning to read music, how to hold your drumsticks and basic drum beats.

With no particular endorsement, we list a couple of channels that will help you gain a solid foundation to build future drumming lessons on.

Drumeo hosts a channel dedicated to drummers of all stripes and levels of ability.

You might watch individual videos that address each drum rudiment – each clip lasts only a minute or two.

Or you could study technical aspects of drums in a series hosted by Jared Falk: how to choose a bass drum head, for example, or the comparative merits of various snare drum heads.

In fact, so renown is Jared that you can also find his instructional videos on Drum Lessons.

Here, he takes a different tone – still a drummer who loves his job, but the accents are more eclectic: heavy metal drum fills, for example, or sixteenth note groove with a backbeat.

What we really like about drummers like Jared is that they emphasise best practices while drumming: always warm up, use a metronome and make use of your practice pad!

Every good drum instructor will tell you to practice with a metronome! All good drummers practice their beats with a metronome! Source: Pixabay Credit: Sebastiano Rizzardo

How Long Does It Take to Learn the Drums?

We now return to those pre-teens whose impatience compel them to abandon potentially lucrative and definitely engaging activities because mastery requires dedication, effort and time.

Or, we could go back further on the age scale, to the younger children who, 15 minutes after being safely strapped in their seat, ask if they’ve arrived at the intended destination yet.

Isn’t odd how, earlier in this text, we expounded on the fact that it is generally adults who ask pointed questions but, in this instance, the roles are reversed?

As drumming is presumably something adolescents and beyond actively pursue, they do not seem to mind the amount of time it takes to learn the drums properly.

And really: what does time matter?

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is often wrongly attributed to Confucius.

Regardless of who first coined that phrase, the implication is clear: doing what you love obliterates any awareness of passing time, any stress or burden, and any displeasure as performing that task.

You do love playing the drums, right?

As long as you remember that you should spend an equal amount of time practising on your drum pad as you do behind your drum kit, as long as you follow a regular schedule of practice – whether there’s a gig to practise for or not, and as long as you keep your focus sharp…

There is a really good chance you would play sufficiently well within a year!

Of course, music, like language, is a lifelong learning proposition. You don’t just learn the 40 fundamental rudiments and call yourself Larnell Lewis.

If you look at drumming in that light, you might decide to forget all about how much time it takes to learn and simply enjoy the adventure of learning!

Let us know how you get on, will you?

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