Learn to Play Drums – More Top Tips For Beginners!

Learn to Play Drums – More Top Tips For Beginners!

When I started to learn to play drums way back in the 60’s it was at a time when live music was all the rage with the pop scene. I was fortunate in that my father was the manager of a very popular dance hall situated in Tottenham North London with a resident group the “Dave Clark Five” and the “Johnny Howard Dance Band” .

I was introduced to the drummer in the dance band and he offered to give me lessons and boy was he good, a real musician who could not only play but also site read music. So not only did I get to see the “Dave Clark Five” play and rehearse their first big hits “Glad all Over” and “Bits & Pieces” but I got to learn to play drums in the classic traditional style from a great teacher. This helped me tremendously and taught me to understand the rudiments of music and to play in different styles , which enhanced my drumming experience.

How to hold the sticks – Most modern drummers tend to hold the sticks in the matched grip with the palms turned down and the sticks held in the hands by the thumb and first fingers, but the traditional method is for the left hand to be held palm up with the stick laying across the palm underneath the thumb and between the 2nd & 3rd fingers. I believe this promotes far more control and dexterity from the wrist and allows greater versatility as you improve you skill.

Rudimentary Exercises – When you start to play any instrument you need to play exercises that will increase the dexterity and suppleness of the wrists and fingers. The drums are no exception and I would recommend practising the following exercises.

Playing 4 beats to the bar alternate between left and right hand for 4 bars and then reverse to right and left hand like this //LRLR//LRLR//LRLR//LRLR// //RLRL//RLRL//RLRL//RLRL//. Each stroke should be of the same weight. Start of very slowly and gradually increase the speed.

The Paradiddle – This a great exercise for strengthening the wrists and improving left and right hand co-ordination and needs a lot of practise to perfect, but is well worth the effort in the long term.

Again play 4 beats to the bar for 4 bars and then reverse as follows:- //RLRR//LRLL//RLRR//LRLL// //LRLL//RLRR//LRLL//RLRR//. Start very slowly and gradually increase the speed and then when you feel able try and double the speed to 8 beats to the bar.

Don’t forget that the drums drive the rhythm and timing for the rest of the band and it is essential that a good drummer, apart from anything else, can keep perfect timing, just like a metronome.

 

Drummer – Paul Hammond

Drummer – Paul Hammond

Everyone has their own drum greats, their personal favourite skin bashers, who they’ll fiercely argue the case for no matter what. The thing is, for a lot of those guys, the case has already been argued, and everything has already been said. The world knows them, they crop up in all time fave drummers polls with depressing regularity. Not to take anything away from them, in most cases they deserve it, but what about the other guy?
So, we thought it would be a good idea to build up an archive of profiles arguing the case for the unsung heroes of drumming. Some are dead, some still with us, but all have one thing in common – a drumming talent that deserves further recognition.

Paul Hammond – Atomic Rooster, Hard Stuff.
There’s a decent chance you’ve heard of Atomic Rooster, but a somewhat smaller one you can recall Paul Hammond. Mention the band in drumming circles and your likely to hear something along the lines of “Oh yeah, Carl Palmer wasn’t it?”
There’s the problem. No sooner had the ex-crazy world of Arthur Brown pair Vincent Crane and Palmer formed Rooster in 1969, than the latter promptly went off to form, yes, you’ve probably guessed it, Emerson Lake and Palmer.
There’s no doubt the debut self titled album that Palmer played on features some class playing, but for me, Hammond is the quintessential Rooster Drummer. He plays on their only hit singles Tomorrow night, and The Devil’s Answer – top five and the most likely the first time you heard Hammond in action) and their best two albums, Death Walks Behind you, and In the Hearing of Atomic Rooster.
After In the Hearing Of, Hammond left Rooster to form Hard Stuff with then-fellow Rooster band member, Guitarist John Du Cann. He would join Crane again for a brief period of Spinal Tap-like rotating drummer syndrome however, in Rooster’s 80’s reform period, but the past glories were never recaptured.
There’s something about 70’s drummers. Most of them were taught by jazzers, and the level of skill back then was so high, it makes many of today’s players in contemporary bands of relative age and experience look like oafs. Bearing all this in mind, Paul was still a cut above most. There’s a strong jazz feel, but a strong rock presence too in his playing. He was creative without looking overly free-form, and was capable too of one of the most important things – keeping it simple when needed.
The best case for Hammond is to sit through Death Walks Behind You album. His playing electrifies the album and  augments Crane’s ivory-work beautifully throughout. There’s an obvious knowledge of technique which shows through in some of the most prog sections, but a hard rock edge too
Sadly, following Vincent Crane’s suicide in 1989, Paul died from a drug overdose in 1992. Only Du Cann remains from the classic line up, and we’re left with a couple of albums, and whatever live footage we can find, to remember this classic line up of an underated band, and its even more underated drummer.

Are Beginning Drum Lessons For Your Child?

Are Beginning Drum Lessons For Your Child?

No matter how old your child is, if they tell you they want to take beginner drum lessons there are two simple tests for you to conduct before spending hundreds of dollars on a drum set for them. One test is for you. The other is for your want-to-be-drummer. If your child doesn’t have a little bit of innate rhythm they will be very frustrated with beginner drum lessons and may give up on music all together. Conversely, just a little bit of rhythm will get them started with what could become a lifelong hobby – or even a career.

So let’s see how you, as the parent, do on your test before even discussing the child’s test. Step One For You: Get in your car, turn your radio on, tune it to your local rock music station, and turn the bass to its fullest setting and turn it up until the car begins to vibrate. If this doesn’t bother you, you will be a good drummer’s parent. If this bothers you, there is one other option you have in order to not go crazy and that is to buy a portable sound booth. If that’s not an option then you must steer your child away from beginner drum lessons or you’ll be arguing about when he can practice, where he can practice and your nerves will be on edge.

If you passed Step One, let’s move on to Step Two: Answer this question honestly. Do you have enough room in your home to accommodate the drum set, a guitar amp, a bass amp and at least three people?

If you said “yes” to Step Two, let’s move on to Step Three. Would you be willing to have a band come and practice at your house every week? Would you be willing to have a band practice at your house several times a week? If you have a child who is only 8 or 9 years old you may not think this would be a big deal. But remember, if your child stays with the drum lessons, he or she will become a 14 year old, then a 15 year old and the band members will also be teenagers. Band rehearsal is always at the drummer’s house because the drum set is too cumbersome to haul. The guitarist and bass player only have their guitars, amps and perhaps a couple of pedals. (That’s why we covered Steps Two and Three.)

Did you pass Step Three? Let’s move on to the final step, Step Four. Is your house one of those homes where every kids helps themselves to the sodas in the fridge or the snacks in the cupboard or do you expect your children’s friends to wait until they are offered a refreshment? This isn’t like baseball where the moms take turns bringing snacks. The other band moms don’t even know their kids are helping themselves at your house. But your child is most likely telling the others it’s OK.

If you’re still onboard, then you’re the perfect drummer’s mom or dad.

Now let’s see if Junior has the very basic rhythm needed to get started with beginner drum lessons. The drums are the most difficult instrument to learn. Unlike guitar or keyboard or a wind instrument, drums require the ability to simultaneously do something different with each hand and each foot. This is what causes beginner drum lessons to be incredibly frustrating to some kids.

Remember when we were kids and we tried to rub our head with one hand and pat our stomach with the other? That’s how you’re going to test your child to see if beginner drums lessons are a worth exploring. Have your child sit on a chair with her feet on the floor and rub her head with her left hand and pat her stomach with her right hand. While doing that count out loud, “1 -2 -3 – 4, 1 -2 -3 – 4” at varying tempos and ask her to tap her left foot on the odd numbers and right foot on the even numbers. Partway through ask her to switch her feet to tapping the left on “1 – 2” and the right on “3-4.” Then, while continuing to tap her feet, have her switch her hands so the left hand is patting her stomach and her right hand is rubbing her head without missing a beat. Finally go back to switching feet to the left tapping on odd numbers and the right tapping on even numbers and change the hand motions so that the left hand is now rubbing her stomach and the right hand is now patting her head.

How’d she do? If this was very difficult, forget beginner drum lessons and suggest she play a bass or keyboards. If she laughed at how easy this was, head straight to the music store and get a starter drum kit and sign her up for those beginner drum lessons.

 

Finding a Junior Drum Set For Your Young Drummer

Finding a Junior Drum Set For Your Young Drummer

What is nice about junior or starter drum sets is that even though they are quality instruments, they are generally affordable. There are enough on the market now that you can generally find one for between $ 100 and $ 150. This is far less than the several hundred dollars you would pay for a real drum kit. Plus, junior drum kits usually come with all the accessories needed to start drumming right away, like drum sticks, bass pedal, throne (drumming seat), and drum key. This means child drummers can usually start drumming right away once they purchase their kit.

There are junior drum kits in a variety of configurations, but generally choosing one is relatively simply. Starter drum kits are normally first categorized by how many ‘drums’ are in the kit. You’ll find 3-piece, 4-piece, and 5-piece junior drum sets, which really defines how many tom-tom drums come with the kit in addition to the bass drum and snare drum. Any of these configurations are fine for a young drummer to start drumming, it just a matter of preference and budget. Junior drum sets also come with cymbals and a high-hat to complete the drum set components.

There are also different size child drum sets, and most will indicate the age appropriateness for each set. You’ll find small sets made for children ages 3-7, then sets for ages 7-10. Some of the larger child drum sets are suitable for children all the way into their teenage years, which they will use as long as they are fond of drumming and until they are ready to upgrade to a full set. These junior drum sets will also last many years as well, as the main parts that wear down are the drum heads which are easily replaced.

Finding a great drum set for kids is relatively easy as well. Many major musical instruments manufacturers who make drums will also make junior drum kits as part of their product offerings, and as mentioned they are generally affordable. You will find some upscale junior sets with more features that cost more. However another option is buying a used junior drum set. Since young drummers are always upgrading to full sets, and because their junior drum kits are usually perfectly useful, there are always plenty of used drum kits on the market. Looking on eBay for used child drum sets is a smart place for parents to find their child’s first drum set.

So if you can stand the noise of your child enjoying his new drum kit, but are willing to introducing him to the new world of drumming, then consider a starter drum set and get them started off in the right direction.

 

How to Buy a Drum Set For a Beginner Drummer

How to Buy a Drum Set For a Beginner Drummer

Buying any musical instrument for a beginner can be a daunting task for parents. Do you spend a lot of money to be sure they have the best? Or do you get the cheapest in case they don’t stick with it?In some instances, it doesn’t matter. But with others, it matters a lot.

Buying a drum set for a beginner is one of those times it matters the most. Several professional rock music drummers share their recommendations for buying the first drum set for a young rocker.They all agreed that one of the most important considerations is the “throne,” which is what a drum chair is called. Parents frequently overlook the throne, thinking it’s just something to sit on.

While a drummer does sit on it, given how the body moves while drumming, it’s critical that the right throne be purchased for your child. It must be a sturdy, well-balanced seat to help your child play better and to prevent injuries. The throne is the only part of the entire kit that is used ALL THE TIME. When shopping for the throne, find a sturdy seat that is easy to move up and down. This will likely be harder to find for a beginner than you may think. Many beginner thrones are a pain in the … butt…to move up and down, so people end up just leaving them at one height, which can be uncomfortable and non-ergonomic and lead to back injuries and poor playing posture.You can’t make a final decision on the throne until you pair it with the drum kit.

So which sets should you consider? While our professional rock drummers didn’t agree on brands or set ups, they did all agree that it’s best to forego any set that is marketed as a “beginner set.” They just don’t last long enough to be worth the investment. For a little bit more you’re better off buying a mid-level set up. The sound created by a beginner set doesn’t sound like “real drums” and kids often mistake that for their own playing deficiency. When you invest in the mid-level set you’ll get a truer sound, a more durable set which will last longer and perform better. All of the top name brands have a mid-level set. Consider DW, Gretsch, Yamaha, Pearl, Tama, Mapex or Ludwig and you won’t go wrong. For a mid-level, five-piece kit with no cymbals, you’re looking at $ 700 – $ 1,000.

All of these brands will deliver on quality wood, good construction, etc. so it often comes down to look and the image your rocker wants to project about himself or herself. However, there are a few things to check on whichever set you settle on. Check the hardware carefully to make sure it is sturdy. Look at the stands. Are they double-braced? How’s the bass drum pedal? If it feels flimsy, move on to your next choice. Are there boom arms on the cymbal stands for better cymbal placement?

Speaking of cymbals, a beginner should start out with a hi hat, a crash and a ride. These can be bought in packs. They’ll probably want more but this is all they need to get started. The brands the professionals recommended were Zildjian ZBT Rock pack; Sabian B8 Rock pack, and Paiste PST rock pack. It’s just personal preference.

Finally, your young rocker will need drum heads. Remo is the best known and most widely used brand. They are the standard for pros and beginners alike because they are known to last longer than other brands.With this information in hand, you’re armed to go shopping for your child’s first drum set. You may be inclined to go to a Best Buy or Guitar Center because they are big brands. Or your neighborhood specialty shop. You’ll likely have better luck at a shop in between those extremes; a mom and pop local shop. Your Sam Ash or Guitar Center is going to have the cheapest sets both cost-wise and quality. Your specialty shop may have a mid-level set or two, but the selection won’t be too vast. If you don’t have a mom and pop music shop in your town then go to the specialty store and tell them you want a mid-level set.

If they don’t have one on hand they may be willing to bring one in for you to check out. If you must go to Guitar Center or Sam Ash, inspect the drum set very well. Their products are primarily machine manufactured so the sound can be very different even between two of the same brand and model.Unless you have someone with you who really knows their drum sets, stay away from CraigsList or individual sellers.On your way out the door, be sure to pick up a few 5B drum sticks. There’s an entire selection of drum sticks for all different styles of playing and types of music but most beginners begin with 5Bs.

 

Playing the drums is easier than you think.