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Learning a musical instrument is never a bad idea. No matter your age, musical background or motivations for learning, there’s no shortage of rewards to be reaped from a musical education. To name a few positive side effects of music studies, we can think of:
Choosing a musical instrument to play can be tough, especially if your musical interests span the genres. The drums are often viewed as the less academic alternative to the more traditional and ‘serious’ musical instruments, however percussion gives you incredible versatility as a musician – opening doors to all kinds of musical exploration!
‘Every band needs a drummer!’ is an often-quoted reason why many budding musicians take up the drums. It’s true that the drummer forms the backbone for many performing bands, setting the tempo and keeping all the other players together. But that isn’t the only reason why you should take up the drums!
Learning the drums can improve your academic attainment in subjects such as mathematics. Playing untuned percussion well relies heavily on a sound understanding of beat, tempo and time signatures, as well as excellent execution of rhythms. To achieve this, drummers must develop fluency in mathematical skills such as division, creating fractions and recognising patterns.
Drummers also benefit from a big boost in brain power. When you’re playing the drums, all your limbs are doing different things at different times and your non-dominant side (your left, if you’re right-handed) is working as hard as your dominant side. This is a great exercise for your brain. Dissecting rhythms and reading musical notes is a great boost for you IQ too.
Learning the drums requires perseverance and discipline. When we see our favourite drummers on stage, it’s easy to overlook the years of practice, determination and repetition that got them there: breaking down rhythms into manageable chunks to master them requires real dedication. Becoming a skilled drummer means ignoring the shortcuts and taking the time to get things right.
Music brings people together, building teamwork and communication skills and encouraging collaboration. The percussionist sets the beat for the band that everyone else must stick to. In a big band, marching band of orchestra, any timing changes are communicated by an MD or conductor. In smaller groups musicians must create non-verbal cues to communicate throughout the performance, drummers often lead this communication.
A drummer needs confidence to really make the most of their instrument and play dynamically. Not only will you be required to hit those drums hard, but the learning process involves accepting constructive criticism and turning negative feedback into positive change. Over time, you’ll gain more confidence in your ability to improve and put on a great show!
Drums are an incredibly physical instrument (remember what we said about moving all your limbs at once?), toning up your muscles and causing your body to release endorphins that boost your mood. If you’re looking for an instrument that will help you to release frustration and stress, the drums might just be the answer!
So you want to play the drums? Remember that ‘percussion’ covers a huge range of instruments! Of course, you’ll immediately think of the classic drumkit that you see in rock bands but learning the drums can broaden your horizons to instruments from across the world. The djembe from West Africa for example, or the Cuban conga, the maracas (often used in Latin and Caribbean music), the classical timpani drums (often found in brass bands) or the a surdo, more at home in a Brazilian samba. Once you’ve mastered the rhythms of a given style, you’ll be able to more easily understand and execute rhythms of another!
Online resources are an incredible learning tool if used in the right way. Youtube videos, books and social media can be great for finding inspiration, giving yourself a challenge or learning a specific song. However, don’t forget that what you see in a Youtube video is not always demonstrative of the whole learning process – a lot a practice goes into being a good musician.
Not all online resources are trustworthy, be mindful of the following when using online resources:
Online resources are a great complementary learning tool for helping you to get more practice in and explore the instrument on your own terms but are no substitute for face-to-face time with an experienced drum teacher. That’s why many aspiring drummers choose to learn with a music tutor.
If you’re interested in joining a percussion-based band – like a samba or steel drum band – you may be able to join the learning band. In learning bands (AKA junior bands) novice players are tutored by more experienced musicians in the band until they are ready to perform with the main band.
A benefit of learning in this setting is that you can often use the band’s instruments and gain performance and ensemble experience early on, improving your ability to play in time with others and manage your nerves. However, bear in mind that the tutors are not necessarily qualified teachers, so your musical education may not be as thorough as in more focused tuition. In this environment musicians are usually taught in small groups; although a sociable learning environment can be motivating and inspiring for some, it’s not necessarily for everyone.
Private lessons are one of the most effective and efficient ways that you can improve and progress as a drummer.
Much like the self-teaching method, a private drum teacher will fit into your schedule, focus on what your goals are, inspire you and motivate you.
Unlike the self-teaching method, a private teacher can pick up on technique issues that you can’t identify yourself, giving you personalised constructive feedback on where you can improve. They might help you to make small adjustments that have a huge impact on your playing or set you exercise to improve specific areas of your playing and ensure that you’re doing them right. With someone else as dedicated to your improvement as you are, you’ll see a boost in your ability and confidence.
Your drum tutor will have years of experience in the percussion world, which means they’ll be able to tell you which books to buy, which youtubers to watch, what music to listen and what pieces they think you’ll enjoy playing. All this will be tailored to your personal goals, no matter you age, ability or motivations.
When you come to buying your own drumkit or percussion instrument your drum teacher will be able to advise on what to buy and where to buy it from, as well as kit setup.
You need to consider your own goals before you head out looking for a tutor. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions, but after some reflection you should have a good idea of what you want to get out of your drum lessons.
When it comes to actually finding a drum teacher, there are multiple options available to you. Search engines are usually a good start, you might try searching ‘drum teachers near me’ and browsing through the results. Alternatively, you could search through drumming forums for recommendations or ask in your local drum shop.
But for the most effective search why not use Superprof? We have over 900 passionate and dedicated drum tutors on our database, all operating in the UK. Our drum tutors come from a range of backgrounds and set their rates based on their location, experience, ability taught and demand for their tuition, so there are prices to suit every budget. Some tutors will happily teach small groups, so you can learn with a friend if you want to.
But how do you know if your tutor’s teaching style suits your learning needs? Each tutor uses their Superprof profile to tell you about their experience, methodology and specialisms, and students are encouraged to leave recommendations on their experience as a learner. Most tutors offer a free consultation lesson to give you a taste of their teaching style before your commit.
Unleash your inner Buddy Rich or John Bonham by finding your private drum teachers on Superprof today.
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