So you want to learn to play the drums? But, you do not have a drum set, and you want to see how you like it before you make such a big investment. What do you do? There are many ways to get started, and I’m going to show you a scalable method that will allow you to progress without spending a lot of money up front.
First of course, you will need drumsticks. I highly recommend that you buy these locally and in person instead of online, that way you can get a feel for the different sizes and shapes to determine which ones are the best fit for you. Most cities or towns have a local music store that sells drumsticks. You don’t want to choose a pair that are too heavy or too light, but find that sweet spot right in the middle. Also drumsticks vary in their thickness, so you want to find something that feels comfortable in your hands. Children of course would want a thinner stick, while adults with larger hands would opt for a thicker model.
Now what do I play on? The best way to get a good drum feel is through practice pads. They come in two basic shapes; round and octagonal. Many people start with the models that literally strap to your leg. The pad sits on top of your thigh or knee, and connects underneath your leg. You can even get a pair of them. You could have one on each leg to get the feel of transitioning from one drum to the next. This allows you to practice holding the sticks properly, and striking the drum in the most optimal manner(which we go over in lesson 1). You can literally pick these up for about $20 each on Amazon.
Another way to get started is to purchase a practice pad that comes with a tripod stand. This allows you to angle the drum in a way that is comfortable for you and leaves your feet free for their own motion. Then you can buy a bass drum pad which will help when we get into the lessons that involve playing the snare and bass drum together. This is a bass drum pedal similar to one that is used in a real drum kit, but the striker hits a pad attached to the base which gives it the “real feel” of playing. So when you start learning limb independence with the base and snare drum, these two will be invaluable to your training.
So now you’re watching the lessons, and getting excited about your new skills. You’re practicing on the pads, and getting really good. You have decided that this is for you and you’re going to commit to becoming a pro! What is the next stage in your equipment buying?
There are many directions you could go in at this stage, but I’m going to give you the one that one of my students used that worked well for him. He bought an electronic drum set that sat compactly in the corner of his spare room. It was the Yamaha DTX450K to be exact, and was built on a collapsible frame which could be stored very easily. It had real drum sounds(which are programmable), and could be played with headphones so you don’t disturb the neighbors. I believe his set was around $500 which included everything, even the symbols. He could do and learn everything that could be done on a conventional set, but at a lower price.
So now you are a pro! You are one of our best students, and are ready to move up to the big time. This is the exciting part of the journey that you get to explore on your own. When you are ready to buy a full-size drum set, you need to first explore what your needs and style of play dictate. If you are a rock drummer, you may only need a basic four or five piece set with the standard symbols. If you are a jazz drummer, you may want to explore slightly larger sets and accessories that complement that style of music. Here again, I wouldn’t buy something online without testing it in person first. Most larger music stores have sets that you can test to get a real feel of what your needs might be. Also, their salespeople could make recommendations for you, that you may not even have considered.
Now my friend, you are a true drummer! You have a new kit and the skills necessary to take your playing in any direction you like. If you choose to join us at JonKois.rocks, we would love to get a video of you playing to add it to our students section. Our goal beyond just online drum lessons, is to build a community of players that share and interact with each other so that we all may benefit from our successes.