There seems to always be a demand for drummers out there in the world. Drums are one of the most popular instruments out there on the market and the basic skills and techniques can be picked up over a weekend. Even though drumming is easy to start, becoming a master may take several years and overcoming many of the hurdles. Of course, with spending time and practice at your craft, you can learn the fundamentals and rhythm and continue to complex music. The most important thing and what slowed me down was not learning good habits in the beginning. We have created some free online drum lessons to get you started.
Getting Started With Your Hands Instead of the Drums
You don’t have to have much to get started here or have a massive drum kit like some of the pros have. To get you started, all you need are just your hands and the top of your legs while you are in a seated position. Getting a good sense of rhythms before sitting in front of a drum set will make things less intimidating when you play drums online.
Before getting frustrated with not having good rhythm on the drums, take a deep breathe and let’s learn the basics. Most successful drummers out there know how to read sheet music and understand that values of the music. Understanding how to count notes will help you master rhythm and learn more complex beats.
Understanding Notes Values and Reading Music
When you are looking at sheet music or you are getting instruction from another person, you want to make sure that you understand each notes value. Starting off with the basics, counting with a bar of 4/4. This means that you will find 4 quarter notes in the measure. The quarter note is what is getting the individual count. If you are starting out tapping out on your legs, you want to tap 4 equal beats with one of your hands. This will give you the four beats per measure. The 4 beats per measure are the quarter notes.
The notes that you will come across are whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes. There will be other notes that you will run across as well like thirty second and triplets on occasion. Starting with the whole note and moving down from there you will be breaking up the beats per measure. So say if you have eighth notes in a bar then you would have 8 notes per measure. When tapping out the beat or keeping track of how many notes you will have to count on the down beat as well as the up. So when counting eighth notes you want to count off 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 while playing a note on the “and” as well as the number.
Try and tap out some beats with your hand on your left and keep a steady pace. Getting a metronome or using Youtube will help you find the beat so you can practice keeping that steady pace. I know that if you don’t have a drum set you can’t practice technique, but you can always practice rhythm.
Getting Setup With a Basic Drum Set
Every drum kit is different and you will find many variations on the market. The are some common things that you will find in each set. Some of the things that you want to think of are the different sizes as well as the sticks used and also which brand that you prefer. You will find many of the drum sets on the market include most of the following:
Standard Bass Drum: This you will see in many kits and creates a loud booming low pitched sound when the head is struck by a mallet that is weighted and controlled by a foot pedal.
Different Types of Cymbals: You will find many different types of cymbals on today’s market and they come in different shapes, sizes and sounds. A basic cymbal is constructed of metal and is in a circular shape. When you strike a cymbal it will resonate. There are 4 different common types of cymbals that you will come across the most on the market.
Ride Cymbal: This type of cymbal is used repetitively in a lot of the music that hear today. It has a deeper sound and resonates after each strike leaving a resonating sound.
Hi-Hat Cymbals: This is actually considered a pair of cymbals which are turned on each other and controlled by a foot pedal. When playing the Hi-Hat, you usually use your left foot to play the cymbals and when the pedal is pressed the cymbals come together. The best part about the high had is you can strike them if they are closed or apart making different sounds.
Crash Cymbal: The crash cymbal makes a very long and loud sustained sound. You will notice the use of crash cymbals at the end of different measures or for dramatic effect in orchestral music and other types of music as well.
Splash Cymbal: The splash cymbal makes a splashing metallic sound similar to water splashing. After striking a splash cymbal, it dies quickly and will add basic fills to go with your beat.
Snare Drums: Normally the Snare drum is located on the non dominant side of the drummer and is played with the non dominant hand. The Snare is a bright drum and is tight which will give you that crisp sound. There are usually metal rattling beads under the snares drum head which will give a resonating shuffle after being struck.
Tom-Tom Drums: You will find many different types of tom-tom drums outer there on the market. The most basic kit that you get may have a floor top which is deeper of the three most common that you will find. The other two common are the Mid-Tom and the High-Tom which has the highest pitch of all. It all depends on how the tom-tom is tuned to get the array of deeper noises.
The next step in becoming a better is using proper grip. There are two basic grips that work for most drummers and this may vary between types of music played. The first type of grip that we will discuss is traditional grip. This grip is where you hold your drum stick in the cradle of your hand while placing your index finger and thumb on the top of the stick on your non dominant hand. The other hand will be holding the drum stick using matched grip. Some of the Jazz Drummers out there prefer traditional because of the control over the snare drum.
Matched Grip explained: This grip is a common grip that is used by many drummers out there. This grip is where you hold the sticks between your index finger and thumb towards the bottom of the stick. Also you will wrap the rest of your fingers around the sticks. This gives great comfort and wrist control.
Picking Out Your First Starter Drum Kit
If you are new to drumming, I wouldn’t pick an expensive kit to start with because you may not stick with it if you lose interest. Going to your local music store will give you some ideas of what to buy for your first kit as well as local drummers or. If you look online for drums, you can find deals on the same set you can find in stores. The only thing I would look out for online is high shipping prices.
Another great resource is used drum sets that people are selling locally and on ebay. Once you have a good idea on what you want to purchase you can start looking at all the deals to play drums online. If you are on a very tight budget and want to see if you enjoy drumming then I would recommend looking for a friend with a drum set. Another idea is if you are still in school, you have the option to use the band rooms equipment and they will probably let you practice after hours. People that are into music are usually very friendly and will be more than willing to help you with your goals.
Posture Posture Posture: Posture will make all the difference in the world when practicing and developing your skills. This will also make things comfortable for you and reduce the discomfort in your arms and body when you first start.
-Make sure to sit straight on your chair or throne and keep your elbows in. It is always a good idea to keep track of where your floor pedals are and to keep them close. You will find the right position for yourself with practice.
Another key thing that is inexpensive and will help you in the beginning is a metronome. This will allow you to keep up with tempos and you your brain will get a better at understanding music rhythm. If you don’t have to money to pick up a metronome, you can always go to youtube and play a video with the correct tempo.
Starting With Your Online Drum Lessons
Since you have been practicing on your knees, now is a good time to try things out on your drum kit. One of the best places is your hi-hat to start with playing some 8th notes. While you are hitting the hi-hat you can use the base drum on beats 1 and 3 and the snare on 2 and 4. This will help with your coordination.
If you are struggling with this, a good tip is to count out loud to make sure you develop good tempo. Eventually this will come naturally and you will count in your head sub consciously. If you get comfortable with practicing this exercise, mix it up adding different drum.
-Some things to start off with are playing first with your right hand and right foot on the same beat. At first your muscles won’t be used to all the movement, but once you develop your skills it will all fall into place.
-Another key tip is to be relaxed when playing the drums. If you are trying to play to quickly slow down your pace a bit. There is no rush here and you want to learn good habits.
A key factor to developing your skills is to getting your snare drum rudiments handled. There are two parts to this, the double and single stroke. These will help you gain the independence you need when it comes to your limbs working together. So what is a single stroke? A single stroke is where you strike the drum once back and forth from each alternating hand. If you let the drum stick bounce on each alternating stroke once then you will get 2 hits creating the double stroke.
This will help you develop your patterns and rolls very quickly. There are 26 different American drum rudiments. getting a mastery on the basics will help you become pro with these online snare drum lessons.
There are so many different parts to a drum set, but if you start with the basics and build from that, you will have a great foundation. I will include more free online drum lessons down the road for more intermediate techniques. For now, this is a great starting point for your drum lessons.