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.

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Ten Tips for Beginning Drummers
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 it.

2. Work 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.

3. Play 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 itself.

4. Get 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.

5. Decide 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.

6. Get 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.

7. Get 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.

8. Learn 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.

9. Stay 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.

10. Play 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.

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