Drums Learning Methods
The best way to learn the Drums
Within our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Drums’ series, this specific section will give you the knowhow to determine which way of learning will most likely be best for you and your personal situation.
Most important choices for Drum Learning Methods
Humans learn in different ways. Some have got photographic memories; some can speed read, while others can’t read whatsoever. We are all distinct, and because of this, there isn’t one ‘correct’ technique of studying a musical instrument.
The four vital learning strategies that exist are:
- Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one learning
- Traditional, face-to-face, group lessons
- Video Tutorials
Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one classes
If you think of drum lessons, this is probably what you imagine. A one-to-one lesson, either at the teacher’s house, a purpose-built music room, or even the teacher coming to your house to teach you on your own drums.
Teaching at your own house has the advantage that you will be playing on your own kit and you don’t have to travel of course.
Having lessons at a purpose-built music studio either at the teacher’s house or another building can often mean that it is set up to listen to music loud enough to play along to. In an ideal set-up there might be two drum kits set up opposite each other, so the teacher can play one and you can play the other. This is especially useful if you are opposite-handed to your teacher (ie, if you are a left-handed player who sets up their drum kit left-handed but your teacher is right-handed).
There really is no substitute for having one-to-one lessons with the right teacher for you. It can be an incredible experience that encompasses so much more about learning music than just playing the drums. Mine taught me so much about the music business in general and what makes not just a good drummer but also a good musician. Make sure it’s the right teacher for you though – do you want to learn heavy metal? Jazz? Reading showband music? How much experience has the teacher had in these different areas? I was personally very lucky to have the world-renowned Paul Brodie teach me as he only lived a few miles away from where I grew up and I can honestly say, to this day, I always still think about nuggets of information he taught me about playing the drums every time I sit down at the kit.
There is a problem though:
Not every teacher has the experience of Paul Brodie/Ruth Nye.
In fact, the scary thing is to become a music teacher on any instrument, you don’t need any qualifications at all. Nothing. Nada. It could be someone with terrible technique who’s been kicked out of every band they were in, who funnily enough now has lots of time on their hands and is quite happy to take your money.
The drums are a very physical instrument and bad technique can cause you all sorts of injuries and pain down the line.
And this is the biggest downside with a traditional teacher:
You need to find a really experienced teacher who you connect with. Who understands you and your needs. Who makes you laugh. Who you look forward to seeing every week. If you can find that teacher, you have then achieved something most people fail at. Being inspired to play and motivated to learn is the biggest gift a teacher can give you.
Out of all the options on this page, this is the most expensive. But with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Conventional, face-to-face, Group sessions
Depending on where you live, you may be able to discover group classes. The ethos is much like one-to-one trainings, though the charges are much lower as the teacher needs to divide their time between all of the students.
For orchestral musical instruments, for instance violins, team lessons are quite a smart idea to get started with. Nearly all professional violinists of course find themselves as one of many violins in an orchestra. The drums is slightly different however. It is very much a solo instrument.
How many times have you ever seen drummers playing together in a group? Thought not…
YouTube is definitely the greatest source of training videos in the world. There is absolutely no greater place than YouTube to discover instructional information for the drums. Due to the sheer level of options on the platform, it’s out of the question to review all of them.
Like most mass appeal platforms, 95% of content is complete rubbish, with the other 5% no cost gold dust. Finding that 5% however is certainly difficult!
By far the best place to start for learning drums is the youtube channel, Drumeo. They have over a million subscribers, have plenty of free videos and are usually well recorded and look and sound super clear. They also have drummers that specialise in different technique so you can start following the ones that interest you.
You can start with the free lessons and pay as you go.
For those who would prefer to not shell out your money, and to take advantage of the free material on YouTube, you’ll need to spend a decent amount of energy looking for a well-respected coach that you like.
With an incredible number of paid lessons on the internet, it’s totally impossible to review them all. Therefore we thought we would simply give you the most widely used choice:
About the Author
If you’re looking for that one-to-one setup, but don’t want to trek around to a teachers house every week, then online lessons can work really well.
There are A LOT of companies out there that do lessons over Zoom, so you have to be ultra careful the quality is up to scratch. But the service we have found that has consistently great feedback is www.lessonwithyou.com. We like that they offer a half-hour lesson completely for free so you can try out the service and that they offer flexible scheduling with no contracts. They have teachers from Julliard, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins – so the standard is high. Lastly, we LOVE that they don’t as for your credit card details for the trial lesson.
Shiela E. Teaches Drumming and Percussion
Masterclass is the premier tuition service currently available. Non of the classes are designed to make you an expert. They are designed to help you ‘dip your toe’ into your genre of choice, and then use the platform to jump off into more specialised learning.
Sheila E – yes, THE Sheila E! – teaches the drum course. It is more of a taster than getting into the nitty-gritty of drumming but she is very inspiring so if you have the subscription anyway, it well worth checking her out.
The main disadvantage for online lessons is there is no one to check your technique out and as mentioned above, this can lead to injury and problems down the line without this being complemented by in-person lessons.
Drums Learning Methods - Summary
As with most things in life, what you get is what you pay for. Having said that, literally anyone can become a private music teacher and charge whatever they like. It’s an investment in your future, so take the time to find not only a great teacher, but a great teacher for YOU.
Group lessons, YouTube lessons etc. are a great place to start, but ultimately, you’ll need an actual, human teacher to help make sure you don’t develop bad habits. However, the internet can be a very inspiring place!
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