Drumming has been around for thousands of years, but not necessarily in the forms that we know today. It is thought that we would beat on objects to create a sound that mimics what we would class as a drum.
Through the study of artefacts from China, it is assumed that drums, or something similar, were made out of alligator skin from as early as 5500BC and in other cultures, it is thought that they were used in religious ceremonies and gatherings.
It is not thought that there is one inventor of the drum, but rather it evolved over time, but the structure of drums that are used by those in today's music industry has ties to Egypt. The five-piece kit that is much more modern has been adapted from European classical instruments and has shaped modern music as we know it.
The sound of the drum is determined by the shape, type and construction of each drum shell. The reason that each drum will sound different is to produce different effects for different genres of music. Below are some recognisable dates that are important to the creation of the drums.
5500BC - First evidence appeared of drums made from alligator skin
1450 - A large basis of percussion instruments was founded as medieval prototypes to modern ones
1650 - First creation of the snare drum
1890 - First appearance of drums that were used with foot pedals and the creation of a drum 'set'
1960 - Sets become larger and more detailed
The late1900s - Early 2000s - Very popular in forms of music and music bands
With them now being extremely popular, not just as a musical tool, but as a hobby, a job and other means of entertainment, people are becoming more and more interested in learning how to play the drums.
Drum lessons can be for anyone of any age and they are intended to help those who have not yet mastered the art of drums and encourage them to learn how to play. Whether you have no experience or some, drum lessons can be vital to gaining experience.
Each drum lesson will be different depending on the abilities of the student and the teaching methods of the instructor. Whilst beats can be performed on the drums and you are able to make rhythms and beats without lessons, knowing how to actually play the drums is different and requires technique and knowledge.
If you are interested in drum lessons, we have outlined some of the most basic and common features that you will explore in your lessons.
Most instructors will teach you how to learn the basics of drum beats and how they can then be applied to songs. Knowing how to get the foundations of the basics is extremely important for it can help you achieve good practice in the future.
Some techniques that they will explore are simple, such as good practice for holding your sticks. This is so that you are able to hit the drums accurately.
In addition, it can be wise to learn coordination skills at this point so that you are able to work on using more than one of your limbs at one time. The more complex the rhythm then the harder it can be in terms of coordinating. There are suggestions that you should start with one drum and slowly start to add in others and learn how to coordinate as you go along.
There are various learning methods that each different instructor will teach. This can be those such as heel-up or heel-down, which are the two most common techniques used by drummers alike. The first technique, heel-up, is used on the basis that your heel will rise slightly above the pedal, but the ball of your foot will stay in the same place.
The other method, heel-down, sees that the bottom of your foot will stay on the pedal and the lower leg and ankle will push down.
Decide which method you prefer and discuss this with your instructor. Ensure that you only stick with one method.
Learning form is an incredibly important part of learning how to play the drums. This can involve the best way to sit at your drums and the space in which you need to comfortably play. You do not want to cause unnecessary strain on your body by the drums being at the wrong height. This can also contribute to the sound. Being in the right position will make playing much easier.
With that being said, any instructor could add their own techniques into the lesson, so before deciding where to have your drums lessons, ensure that you do your research.
Are there benefits to drum lessons?
Some people prefer to learn instruments by themselves and there is a wide community of self-taught instrumentalists. With that being said, the best and most effective way of learning any instrument is to have guided lessons.
As well as learning how the play the drums, drum lessons provide a multitude of other benefits, such as:
Drums are a powerful instrument and playing them can increase your confidence. You need to hit the drums with confidence and be sure in your hits. Take confidence in your decision to learn how to play and develop confidence in your abilities as you gain knowledge. Drums can be a complex instrument and knowing how to play them successfully can lead to higher levels of confidence.
The drums can be a great way to learn how to express yourself. You are able to hit the drums with intent and develop your own beats and rhythm, expressing yourself in a way that is personal to you. In addition, those who play the drums are creative and this helps form your creative expression.
As you can imagine, hitting a drum can be a fantastic way to relieve yourself of any stress. You are able to take your stress, frustration and sadness out on the drum set in front of you. It is thought that playing the drums, just for a few minutes, can help to reduce such symptoms of stress.
A drummers brain is thought to release endorphins that can release feel-good feelings as they drum, stimulating the brain to rid itself of negative emotions.
There are fitness advantages that come with drumming. It can often work the entire body, with the pedals working your legs and the drum sticks working your upper torso and arms. It can make you sweat and you are able to achieve a great workout during your lessons.
As with the case with most people who know how to play instruments, it offers an academic advantage. You are using all four of your limbs at once, which means that you are stimulating the brain and this can improve your intelligence overall.
It is also thought that drums can have an influence on your ability to do maths with counting the beats, and in addition, you are likely to develop better in terms of academics.
Disadvantages to drums lessons
Whilst we recommend drum lessons, it is possible that there are some disadvantages to taking such lessons. We have outlined some of the possibilities below.
You need to ensure that when you are deciding which lessons you are wanting to undertake, you pick those that are of great quality. This can include the standard of the drums. You do not want to learn on the most basic and standard drum set, so ensure that you are learning on those that are of high quality.
With that being said, if you are wanting to learn on your own drum kit, it can be hard to buy one that is expensive in the first instance. This is why learning on an instructors drum can be beneficial, providing theirs is good quality.
It is extremely possible to have drum lessons from a bad teacher. This means that you will find it difficult to learn from them. Ensure that you research the instructor and perhaps read reviews on their lessons. Alternatively, if you are struggling to learn from your instructor, it may be that you are not able to learn with the teaching style that they are using.
In this instance, be sure to change teachers and find someone who is much better suited to you and your learning needs.
Drum lessons could work out to be expensive, but with that being said, if you are truly wanting to learn how to play the drums, the cost of lessons would be a small price to pay for success. Costs can vary depending on the knowledge and experience of the instructor and once you feel you have enough knowledge on the basics, you may feel that you no longer need an instructor.
Additionally, you may not require lessons as often the more you learn and adapt.
Drum Lessons for Kids
If you are interested in putting your kids through drum lessons, you may be wanting to learn more about how this works for them as kids. As with most musical instruments, it is recommended that drum lessons should be started for kids who are aged between 6 and 7 years old. This is because they are most likely going to gain the mental focus that they need in order to learn how to play the drums.
They are likely to learn the same benefits, techniques and skills needed as an adult who is learning how to play the drums. At this age, they are able to hold the drum sticks and discover the needed rhythm. They are able to count (which is important) and they are at an age where they are able to say what type of things they are interested in doing, as well as telling adults what they are finding difficult/easy.
What is drum sheet music?
Drum street music is called Drum notation and involves the form of writing down music that is specific to percussion instruments. Reading drum notation involves the knowledge of reading symbols that allow you to communicate musically. It is different from sheet music in the way that sheet music will refer to the notes, but drum notation refers to the part of the drum you should hit.
The symbols written in drum notation will signal which part of the drum set to play and when. By learning drum notation, you will develop the ability to play drum rhythms and beats, including those that you have never heard before.
It is useful for beginners to learn drum notation as it can help with coordination and playing the drums. You read it by starting from the right side of the page and going left. A guide to reading drum notation can be found here:
Drum Notation Guide by Drum Magazine
How much is a drum set?
The price of a drum set will really depend on the quality of the said set. On average, however, you are looking at around 300$ to $1000, but they can cost more.
In the UK, you are looking to spend around £250 - £1,000. Once again depending on the brand, size and quality of your drum kit.
You are able to find drum kits for beginners are a reasonable price (the lower end of the scale) and slowly increase the cost of your kit the more experienced you get. You do not need to buy a high-end drum kit as soon as you begin learning how to play.
That cost can then progresses between $700 - $1500 the more advanced your kit must become. This does not mean you have to purchase them at that cost, but they are better suited to the needs of an intermediate player.
An advanced players set may start at around $1,500. This ensures that they are using the best quality drums around. Furthermore, once you have mastered the drums, you are going to want to keep exploring the instrument and what better way to do that than through the exploration of drums kits.