Percussion Learning Methods

The best way to learn the Percussion

As part of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Percussion’ series, this segment will give you the tools to determine which approach to learning will most likely be most effective for you as well as your personal situation.

Percussion Learning Methods

What Systems Are Best For Mastering Playing Percussion

All humans learn in a different way. Many people can remember telephone numbers instantaneously, while other individuals might not even be able to read. We’re all special and different. It’s for that reason that I can confidently point out that there isn’t one perfect approach to learning a musical instrument.

You will discover four primary options open to you, each with their strengths and weaknesses:

  • Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one learning
  • Traditional, face-to-face, group lessons
  • Video Tutorials
  • Apps 
Whatever your individual situation, one of those four choices will be appropriate for you.  We only need to find out which one…
Percussion Learning Methods

Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one lessons

Having private, one-to-one lessons can be an incredible experience if you find the right teacher. There really is no substitution for absorbing all the knowledge of your teacher.

Our percussion specialist Sam Jowett was taught by Chris Stock (BBC National Orchestra of Wales Principal Percussionist) at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Not only is he one of the best teachers in the world, but also one of the best percussionists. The fact that Sam could soak up his experience in four years was a priceless gift.

There is a problem though:

Not every teacher has the experience of Chris Stock.

In fact, the scary thing is that to become a music teacher, you don’t need any qualifications at all. Nothing. Zip. As a complete novice, you could be taking money from people and pass yourself off as an expert. And this, dear reader, is the biggest downside to a traditional teacher:

Quality control.

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 going to see every week. If you can find this person, you have then achieved something most people fail at. Being inspired by your teacher is the magic dust that will keep you learning for years to come.

Out of all the options on this page, this is the most expensive.  But as usual with things in life, you tend to get what you pay for…

Percussion Learning Methods



Traditional, face-to-face, Group lessons

Percussion Learning Methods

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find group lessons, especially in a school setting.  The ethos is similar to one-to-one sessions, but the cost is much lower as the teacher has to divide their time between all the pupils.

For orchestral instruments, such as percussion, group lessons are quite a good idea to start with.  The majority of professional percussionists after all end up as one of a team in an orchestra. 



Video Tutorials

Free Courses

Youtube Ted'S List

YouTube is the largest source of video lessons on earth. There is no more effective place than YouTube to find instructional content for the percussion. Due to the sheer amount of options on the platform, it’s not possible to review all of them.

Similar to most mass appeal platforms, 95% of the content is total trash, with the other 5%  cost-free gold dust.  Finding that 5%, however, is certainly challenging!

Some YouTube channels that we recommend are made by Vic Firth where you can find Timpani, Xylophone, and Snare Drum.

If you don’t want to spend any money and are happy to devote time while seeking for top quality content that drives you, then there is no greater place.

Paid Courses

Paid Video

With an incredible number of paid programs on the net, it’s totally out of the question to examine them all. So we thought we would simply provide you with the the most widely used alternative:


Udemy is popular the world over for online learning in thousands of different disciplines. It can provide beginner, intermediate and advanced percussion tuition, with an average cost of approximately £49.99 for a course of lessons.



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Zoom Lessons

Music Lessons Online

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.

Percussion Learning Methods

Bonus Courses...

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.

Percussion Learning Methods - Summary

If you want to play percussion, have a fantastic technique, and learn to read music, then getting a face-to-face, one-to-one teacher is by far the best option. The Percussion family have different instruments under it so it would be best to seek help from a professional.

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