“Few occupations pass the solitary hours more fruitfully than playing a musical instrument.” -Stephen Hough
A Canadian team from McGill University in Montreal conducted an MRI study where the results were published in a magazine called Nature Neuroscience. The study went on to show that music increases the number of synaptic connections between neurons. It increases the number of neurons and neuronal prolongations which favours cerebral youth.
Whether you play the electric or acoustic guitar, violin, saxophone or set of drums, playing music is good for the brain and creativity.
But in order to learn how to play drums in an effective way what should be done?
Superprof is happy to provide some tips and tricks to learn how to play the drums with or without professional lessons.
It’s not enough to buy a drum set, have it at home and motivate yourself to play. If your motivation is strong at first it will slowly fade away as you learn.
For many people, the drums can seem like an easier instrument to learn in comparison to the electric guitar or trumpet but this line of thinking is completely incorrect.
Becoming a talented drummer requires a lot of work. You will need to know how to hold a rhythm, how to play binary or ternary rhythms, guide other instruments in the band all while knowing how to improvise and perform solos. Those are many components to remember!
We all have moments in the day, week, month and year when we are a lot more motivated than at other times. Sometimes procrastination grabs a hold of us for a long time, more than one would like!
The brain responds to stimulation. To motivate oneself, you need to identify the correct stimulations and put them in the correct place.
Motivation can occur at various different times:
The point is to identify what motivates you. Make a list of around 15 to 20 activities that motivate you and participate in some of them when you feel a drop in motivation.
Sometimes you need to recharge your batteries by taking a long way in the woods. This can reset your priorities and get you motivated again! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Pressing that “motivation button” might do the trick because it sends the right stimulation to your brain; to work on playing a percussion instrument.
If you have the right motivation and perseverance, striking a cymbal, the hi-hat, a snare drum or bass drum with your sticks will come easily and you will impress your music teacher during beginner drum lessons!
If you need more ideas, the book 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself by Steve Chandler comes highly recommended.
Making a playlist of songs you like or want to play on the drums is a great way to progress.
When you do make this fantastic playlist, think about separating the easy pieces from the complicated pieces of music. This is a very good idea because it will prevent you from becoming unmotivated.
The songs of Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis and The Who are examples that are not quite attainable for beginners to play.
If you do not know which songs to include in your playlist, rely on and trust in the knowledge of your professional drum teacher. If you are self-teaching yourself, here is a great list of songs to choose by many talented musicians that are suitable for everyone’s personal music preferences:
Other songs are available with their tablature and drum score on the internet by searching “songs for beginners on drums.”
Some choose songs such as Highway to Hell and Boulevard of Broken Dreams to start and with time by listening and repeating the music their bodies and minds assimilated when to hit and what to hit.
Some AC/DC songs can be played by beginner drum students. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Learning how to play drums, just like learning guitar and other musical instruments, requires vigour, perseverance and motivation in order to progress. The first couple of months are always the most difficult but also the most beneficial because during this beginner stage one acquires the groove, drum sounds and rebounds. All of this is essential for the future.
The whole world knows that in order to progress playing the cello, bass, drums and so on, you have to work hard on the basics. The fundamentals lay the foundation for the future.
You have probably already said this to yourself: “Tomorrow I am going to take this seriously.”
Maybe you kept your motivation for a day, a couple of days or even a few weeks before dropping your practice sessions.
Why do you think this happened?
There are primarily 2 reasons for this. The first one is that maybe your short team goal was not SMART.
A SMART goal must meet 5 criteria in order to be realized:
Another reason why many give up is that they did not tell anyone. A commitment or goal to oneself is rarely held…
Whereas if you tell your music instructor, parents, boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend that you will, for example, learn to play the double pedal on drums 10 minutes per day during the month, chances are your loved ones will regularly ask you about your progress.
Also, if you missed a day, you will have to find an excuse and let’s be honest no one likes having to justify themselves…
Perhaps in the future, you will have an intermediate musician to play with. This can highly motivate both parties during drumming lessons!
A routine does sound boring, but they are essential when you want to learn something.
Being organized and having a schedule will allow you to master the right touch when hitting the cymbals. It will also help you synchronize the movements of your left and right hand.
To do this, one must be completely aware of the work to be done in order to become a better player:
The next step is finding the time:
Write down your available time slots and book them so that you can progressively learn the acoustic drums!
Planning your drumming week helps to set up easy to follow habits. Good habits are essential for progress, especially when playing a musical instrument!
Another important key, also boring, but extremely effective: deliberate practice.
Geoff Colvin speaks about deliberate drum playing practice in his book Talent is Overrated. He explains that talent is overestimated and a person’s abilities are not the reason why people have incredible results whether they are athletes, musicians or artists.
Success comes from hard work, motivation and deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice meets different criteria:
However, if you decide to use this technique, do not forget to have fun too! For example, devote 30 minutes of your training session to deliberate practice and the rest of the time to having fun banging on the drums!
A metronome is very useful to improve the tempo even without the instrument in hand! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Did you know that it is possible to practice the drums without the actual instrument?
The best way to do this is to take advantage of breaks from work or your daily life and participate in active relaxation as opposed to passive relaxation (watching TV, scrolling through your Facebook feed…).
10-minute breaks will allow you to work several elements:
Enjoy your moments away from the drums by listening to other artists, other styles of music (jazz, funk or rock genres that are popular on the drums), go to music festivals, learn to sing different rhythms, read magazines that offer tips about drumming, learn the music rhythm theory…
What is a playing pad?
A playing pad is a plastic accessory covered with a sheet of rubber to practice at home without making too much noise. These playing pads are present on an electronic drum kit.
What does bpm mean?
BPM means beat per minute. It is an acronym used to express the heartbeat or tempo of the music being played.