“I don’t wanna to work, I wanna bang on the drum all the day!” And who can argue with Todd Rundgren, the artist responsible for that 1983 classic. It’s fun to play, there’s a ton to learn about, and it even comes with health benefits. And the fact that you’re reading this must mean you have some interest in taking drum lessons. So if that’s the case, stay tuned as you will hopefully be convinced to take on drumming after reading this article.
Why Should I Learn?
It may not be the sexiest instrument in the world (although many would beg to differ), but it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most important when it comes to music. It keeps the timing and tempo for everyone else playing an instrument, basically meaning that it’s all up to the drummer to keep everyone in sync. A good drummer can make all the difference between a mediocre band and a great one. And if that’s not enough to convince you to play the drums, these other benefits might influence your decision.
Good for your mind – Playing the drums increases the development of various regions in your brain, including the corpus callosum, motor and auditory cortexes. This is due to the fact that you are learning how to use both your hands and feet simultaneously while in rhythm, for an extended amount of time. Some studies show that children and teenagers who play the drums also displayed an increase in literacy and math skills, as well as raising their overall IQ.
Health benefits – Drumming has been known for centuries as a form of therapy, and scientific research has proven this as of recent years. It can help alleviate stress, depression and chronic pain. One study taken at Stanford University School of Medicine had 30 depressed people enrolled in a weekly music therapy group. The results showed that they were less anxious and less depressed while having higher self-esteem after learning how to play a simple rhythm on the drums.
From an exercise standpoint, when playing the drums in a consistent manner, you burn an average of 250 calories an hour. If you think about it, that’s similar to going out for a long walk outside. Except of course you have the benefit of playing music!
It’s fun and rewarding – How often do you get a reason to hit something? Playing the drums can be extremely enjoyable for people of all ages. And since drums are used in almost all styles of music, you have the option to form a rock band, freestyle with jazz musicians, enter a concert band or even join a marching band. The sense of achievement you gain as you develop your drumming skills and timing will be rewarding and is a great confidence booster.
As a beginning drummer, you will want to start with a very basic setup. Don’t be distracted by the full drum sets you see the professionals using because it’s a big investment to take on and you probably aren’t sure what each drum and symbol does. Therefore, all you really need are the two items listed below:
- Snare drum (or practice pad)
- Set of drum sticks
Yes, that’s it! You can take it a step further and purchase a bass drum and a snare drum stand, but you usually won’t be needing those until later on during your lessons. Your beginning lessons will mainly focus on the basics, which is form and keeping rhythm.
Before you jump straight into your drumming lessons, try performing some these simple tasks so you will have a better understanding of what you will be getting into.
Grip the drumsticks – When playing the snare drum, use the matched grip by pinching each stick between your thumb and pointer finger about a third up from the butt. Wrap your other three fingers loosely around the butt for better control when playing. It may feel awkward at first, but your fingers and hands will slowly get used to it.
Learn a basic beat – Listen to a song that has a simple beat, and play simultaneously with the music so you can get used to hitting the drum and keeping rhythm. Try to avoid songs that have a quick tempo or use a wide range of percussion instruments, as it will make things more difficult. Tap your foot on every beat during the song to help you stay in rhythm.
Talk to fellow drummers – If you know anyone who plays the drums, ask them for advice and tips on the beast approach towards learning. They can show you some good drum patterns to learn and practice with.
Go to a concert – Check out your favorite band or any concert that involves a drum. Hearing drums being played on a recording versus in person is a big contrast. You will sometimes notice that drummers are the ones who end up exerting the most energy out of everyone else in the group, especially in rock bands.
Enroll In Drum Lessons
It’s time to start learning! Although there are many self-taught drummers out there, the best way to learn how to play the drums is by taking lessons from professionals. This way you can ensure you are using the proper form and technique. Rodrigo del Castillo has been playing the drums for nearly 20 years and is sharing his expertise on drum technique.
And just like learning anything else, continue practicing what you are taught. Now, when you listen to music, focus your attention on the drums and count with the beat to practice your rhythm and timing. So keep banging away at those drums! Although, your next door neighbors might not be as encouraging for you to do so.