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How Can You Learn to Play the Drums on Your Own?

By Yann, published on 29/08/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Music > Drums > How to Teach Yourself Drums

“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart..” – Pablo Casals

Studying music is a commendable activity as it demands a lot of work, even with the help of a classically-trained professional. Sometimes, though, we can’t afford it, we don’t have the time, or we just prefer learning to play an instrument on our own.

The drums are a type of instrument that requires technical ability which can be difficult to teach yourself. While more and more people in the UK are deciding to teach themselves a musical instrument, we need to have a look at the pros and cons of becoming a drummer without the help of a teacher.

That’s what we’re going to look at throughout this article, the advantages and disadvantages of learning to play drums on your own and the various ways you can do it.

Establishing Your Goals without a Teacher

Many people want to learn how to play a musical instrument in order to express their creativity and enjoy themselves. Once you’ve worked out which instrument you want to learn, you need to work out how to learn to play it without the help of private tutorials or music theory lessons. This can be really difficult if you’ve had no prior musical training and are learning how to play drums from scratch.

How do you read sheet music for drums? Once you can read sheet music, a whole new world will open itself up to you. (Source: Barni1)

It can be quite difficult to define objectives when it comes to playing the drums. You need to work out what draws you towards the drums, work out why you want to learn to play them, and then how you want to learn to play them.

There are a lot of reasons for learning to play the drums:

  • Improving your coordination and movement
  • Learning more about the instrument
  • Understanding rhythm
  • Forming a band
  • For work
  • Playing the drum beats to your favourite songs
  • Copying your idols
  • And many more…

How long does it take to learn how to play the drums? Are you planning to be a drummer in a band? You’re probably going to have to learn how to play them first! (Source: musikschule)

As you’ve probably gathered, there are thousands of reasons for learning to play the drums. The most important thing when teaching yourself how to play the drums is to be patient, driven, and talented. The same goes for teaching yourself how to play the guitar, piano, or any other instrument for that matter.

That’s why you can’t get demotivated because there’s no tutor or drum teacher to pick you back up when you’re playing drums on your own. Some people choose to learn to play drums on their own while others have no choice in the matter. Whatever your reasons, you have to careful to avoid picking up bad habits that will hinder your progression.

We’re going to assume that you have a drum kit or at least access to one as this is the very bare minimum you’ll need to start teaching yourself how to play. After a bit of time, your drum kit will become your best friend!

Keep in mind that when you buy your first drum kit, you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune. One of the best things about learning to play the drums is that you can buy all the parts of a drum kit individually. If you don’t know the first thing about drumming, you should get just a bass drum, a snare drum, and a hi-hat to get you started with some basic beats.

Once you’ve got the hang of some basic rhythms, you can then add various cymbals and tom-toms to your kit so that you can start practising fills and licks and adding them to your beats.

To progress without the help of a drum tutor, you need to remain motivated. The same is true if you’re learning how to play the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, or accordion!

Rhythm, coordination, improvisation, and drum tabs shouldn’t scare you.

So how can you learn to play the drums without the help of drum lessons or a drum tutor?

With no other students to compare yourself to or exams to gauge your progress, self-taught musicians run the risk of quickly losing motivation. You need to work a lot on evaluating yourself!

Establish Your Level

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Friedrich Nietzsche

It can be difficult, regardless of what you’re doing, to evaluate your own level. Of course, this can be very simple if you’re starting from scratch, having never played the drums a day in your life or taken a music theory class.

Which are the best free online drum tutorials? The drums might seem complicated at first, but you’ll eventually figure them out! (Source: nadfrank)

While you may think this would be a hindrance, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Starting from scratch is the easiest place to start from. On the other hand, if you’ve already got a good grounding in music theory, have already played the drums or another percussion instrument, things are more complicated.

Can you effectively gauge how well you’ve mastered using cymbals, for example?

You’ll need to evaluate your own abilities by doing little tests on your instrument and improving your evaluation skills bit by bit. Just like playing an instrument, you can also improvise when learning to play one.

While you can skip over certain skills, you still need to be driven, above all, when it comes to learning how to play the drums.

Am I better with my right hand or my left hand? Is the metronome helping or hindering me?

What are acoustic drums?

How can you learn the fundamentals of tempo and time signatures?

Do you need to have studied how to play the drums as a child?

There are a lot of questions that you probably won’t know the answer to when you first start. However, by asking them, you’ll be able to more effectively establish your level. By knowing what level you have, you can establish your objectives and get equipment appropriate for what you’re going to be doing.

The Right Musical Equipment

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ― Confucius

If you have the drive and know your level, you’re ready to start teaching yourself how to play the drums. Of course, your level will change as you practise and learn with the myriad of tools available to self-taught musicians.

What equipment do you need to start playing the drums? To start learning to play the drums, you don’t need to go out and make yourself a recording studio. (Source: SplitShire)

It’s difficult to learn how to play the drums with absolutely no resources or tools. You’ll need them as otherwise, you’ll be completely alone in your learning.

How can you teach yourself to play the drums without the help of private tutors or music teachers?

If you want to learn to play the drums effectively, you’ll need drums and probably some drum tabs.

What’s better than playing along to your favourite songs when learning to play an instrument?

Drum tabs are simplified versions of sheet music for drums that you can find online. We’re not talking about online drum lessons, but rather using the internet as a resource for helping you to teach yourself.

Keep in mind that you can sign up to online drum lessons if you see yourself becoming demotivated or if you’re starting to plateau. You don’t need to give up, after all. Everyone has days where they’re lacking a bit of motivation.

The internet can help you a lot, especially when it comes to teaching yourself to play the drums. There are websites with simplified tabs, practical advice on things like tuning your drum kit, etc.

Whether you like reggae, funk, rock, or folk music, you can play along to your favourite songs and improve your drumming technique. Even if your determination is your favourite learning resource, it doesn’t hurt to have some tabs on hand to help you.

If you still don’t feel confident teaching yourself to play the drums, you can always look at learning to play the drums online, in a drum school, or with the help of a private tutor who can tailor their lessons specifically to you! A tutor can work with you to establish a learning plan with goals that are appropriate to your level and learning style. They can also take the time to focus on anything you’re struggling with if you tell them.

The drums are a percussion instrument that requires a lot of work! They are integral in almost every popular song nowadays and are famous around the world. This is one great reason to start learning how to play them.

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