Each month we will be featuring different
drummers and styles of music, letting them speak their mind on all aspects
of drumming, equipment, what they love about the drums, philosophies and their
reflections on music from the drummers unique perspective.
Please contact us if you would like to share your thoughts at info@MetroMusicMayhem.com.
Derek Odom, Yahoo! Contributor Network
So you'd like to be a drummer,
eh? Everyone wants to be Gene Krupa or Neil Peart on the first
day, but it just isn't going to happen. Learning to drum is
a process, and not usually a fast one. The key is patience
and trying to emulate what you hear your favorite drummers
playing. Then listen to yourself and be critical; be overjoyed
when you improve, but also be a tad hard on yourself when
you don't. Trust me, if you stick with it, one day it all
just clicks and you tell yourself "Hey, I'm not half
bad!" Until that day comes, though, please take your
time and don't rush your drumming - you'll pick up bad habits
that are very hard to change later.
1. Go slow. The speed will come,
for sure, but making yourself drum as fast as you can every
single time you practice will hurt your play in horrible ways.
Take your time, making sure you have great control before
you attempt to speed up, your future band will THANK you for
on your meter. Everyone loves a drummer who can do
insane rolls and double bass beats, but unless you can actually
play in time, all the fancy drum stuff in the world doesn't
mean much. Almost every band I've encountered would rather
have a simple drummer who keeps great time than a monster
who can do 47 different kinds of amazing rolls and solos but
can't find the beat to save his life.
to the radio. Slap some headphones on and put the dial
on your favorite station or play a CD. Playing with recordings
is a great way to learn because the tempo stays steady no
matter what. You'll know real quick what you need to work
on when you find yourself drumming way ahead of the beat in
an already fast song. Try different stations and styles of
music as well, don't just drum what you want to play. In one
hour of drumming you could play some oldies, some funk, some
punk, some country and some alternative. Heck, when I was
learning I'd even play to the Spanish stations because I couldn't
understand what they were saying so there were zero cues for
when stuff was coming up in the song other than the music
a video or two. Videos on hand / stick technique, foot
positioning, snare work and actual beats are all great to
watch if you are just starting. To be honest, I know a few
veteran drummers who could use some video time to brush up
on their chops. Spending a few dollars NOW on a DVD can prevent
you from trying to change a bad habit years from now, when
it will be much harder to accomplish.
what you will play. If you are a heavy metal fan, you
may want thicker, heavier sticks than the drummer who likes
to relax with some jazz. If you want to get into classic rock
or funk drumming, usually a 5A or 5B size will work, depending
of course on the size of the drummer, how hard or soft you
play and your technique.
a practice pad. These little gems are very inexpensive
at around twenty dollars and will allow you to practice drumming
at night when mom wants a quiet house, when traveling, while
watching TV or really anywhere you have a little stick room.
They usually consist of a wooden base with a rubber top of
varying density and are about the size of a snare drum head.
You can set the drum pad on your lap, a table, a chair, a
bed or anywhere else that is comfortable and you won't bump
into things. I personally find these are especially effective
with headphones or while listening to the stereo.
the basics down first. One-two beats and simple rolls
are all over in the music you hear for a reason: they work.
Def Leppard and AC/DC are two of the most successful bands
in history, and both their drummers incorporated simpler drum
technique and solid beats to create a driving sound. If asked
to solo, I'm sure either drummer would happily oblige, displaying
skill and speed only dreamed of by many drummers. Learn basic
fills, rolls and beats and get them down PAT before moving
on to more complicated things like off-beats or drum rolls.
how to tune your drums. A well tuned drum sounds exponentially
better than just slapping a head on and going. In fact, it
greatly increases the life of the drum head if you have it
installed the way it should be. There are videos all over
which can teach you the proper methods, or you can talk to
an experienced local drummer.
away from the cymbals for a while. Sure, they are fun,
and extremely loud. However, until you can play many different
kinds of beats and do them respectably, you just aren't ready
for them. Same goes with the hi-hats - keep them closed until
you are experienced enough to begin using yet another appendage
to work them. Your drumming will sound infinitely better in
the long run, and you won't break as much stuff.
a little soft. Yea, I know it's fun to bash the things,
and you think it looks cool when drummers break sticks on
stage left and right, but it isn't good technique and it can
be harmful to the equipment. Play around with this a bit,
try really smacking your snare good and hard, then medium,
then rather soft. Not barely tapping it, mind you, but softer
than a medium hit. I think you'll find that the difference
isn't all that great, and if you try playing softer you'll
see improvements in speed and endurance almost immediately.
Besides, sticks and heads are expensive, why not keep them
as long as you can?
I hope that if you are a beginning
drummer and reading this, you will take at least a couple
things away from the article and try them out. Remember, the
most fun isn't always the best way to learn!
Derek is a freelance writer and author living in Southern California.
He works as a Guns.com contributor and writes articles for RCNitrotalk.com.
He writes dark fiction as well as fantasy.