So you’ve got a set of drums, or have access to some. You’ve picked up some neat tricks through trial and error, but are considering if you should get drumming lessons. The question is, are drumming lessons worth it?
Drumming lessons can help you to learn skills more in-depth over time than studying alone, and provide you with access to professional mentorship, tools, and opportunities that are hard to access otherwise. That said they can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating if the teacher isn’t matched well with the student.
To learn whether drumming lessons are worth their time to you, consider the pros and cons of taking them, both in person and online.
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The Pros of Drumming Lessons
Let’s start with the benefits of learning to drum through either a physical or virtual training program. There are quite a few, but they break down into three basic categories: benefits from professional instruction, structured learning, and connections and networking.
As with any skill, one of the best ways to learn is via a professional with years of experience in the field. Having a professional drummer as your teacher, like the ones as Drumeo Edge, means:
- Having someone who is intimately familiar with the proper techniques
- Having someone with extensive industry experience and insights on how it works
- Having a teacher with credible training who can guide you through the basics
- Having the time it takes to pick up the skill properly
Some lessons also come with additional resources, especially when considering online options. These resources can make it significantly easier to implement your skills and practice on your own between lessons, meaning you’re more likely to pick up the skills you need faster and with better accuracy. These resources can include:
- Rhythm guides
- Sheet music
- Notation exercises
- Play-along tutorials
When choosing a teacher, always inquire what sort of additional resources they can provide for you.
Professional drumming lessons provide a set structure for learning and improving on the skills needed to play well, pacing them out over time to give you a chance to practice what you’ve learned and master it before moving on to the next piece. Doing this also means you’re less likely to lose interest because you are stuck on a particular topic – you can dedicate extra time and instruction to it before moving on.
Taking drumming lessons has also never been easier because of the advent of the internet. Online drumming lessons offer a kind of flexible learning schedule that lets you take things at your own pace and match it to your own needs rather than the needs of a physical teacher. Many of these programs are free, meaning you can pick up the basics at no cost and test the waters before committing fully.
Connections and Networking
If you’re looking to drum professionally once you’ve learned to play, then having a network of connections through your teacher and local music shop can mean a world of difference in finding gigs. It also means having a place to advertise once you do have gigs; a teacher will be happy to show off a successful student and a store will be happy to show its instruments in use.
Working with a professional teacher or program also means having access to tools and trade materials that might otherwise be difficult to get your hands on. As mentioned above, many drumming lessons will provide additional material, which can include industry-standard software and listings that can help you drum professionally.
The Cons of Drumming Lessons
With the positives laid out for consideration, it’s time to think about the negatives of taking drumming lessons. Here are the potential drawbacks for investing in professional instruction, which, like the benefits, break down into three basic categories:
- The cost of take part in the lesson,
- Potential for false information and scamming
- Inadaptability and incompatibility
We’ll explore each in more detail below.
Expensive to Keep Up
Drumming lessons, like any other professional music lesson plan, can be incredibly expensive. Yes, you’re benefiting from a professional’s experience, but you’re also paying for that experience on top of their time and labor, and that doesn’t come cheaply.
Most in-person lessons cost between $15 and $40 per half hour of instruction, depending on the teacher’s reputation and local rates standards. This can mean, if you are taking lessons once per week, it can cost you up to $2,080 annually, and that’s before the cost of the actual drum kit itself and accessory equipment, which can add another $500 to that total.
Online programs can be just as expensive, ranging between $29 and $66 per lesson if you’re working with an individual teacher or roughly $20 per month with most online courses. Some online courses can go up to $30 per month, which is cheaper than an in-person teacher, but means you’ll be learning at a slower rate.
False Information and Scams
As mentioned earlier, we have more access now to drumming instruction via the internet than ever before. But as with any other aspect of internet learning and purchasing, there’s a high potential for problems to arise from the lack of proper vetting with these courses, not the least of which is that you cannot see what goes into the editing of the video, and the real effort it takes to perform well.
Because anyone can post a tutorial or set of lessons online, that means there will be plenty of misinformation to sift through. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, there are going to be tutorials that show off all the wrong techniques, methods, and pacing, making it needlessly frustrating and difficult to learn even the basics of rhythm and musical structure.
On top of this, there are going to be false programs that rely on naïve learners to pay for things that don’t actually exist, or are not worth the money you pay for them. These programs could be led by anyone, whether or not they have any real-world qualifications. I advise you avoid inexperienced teachers by checking out our comparison of top online drum lessons.
Inadaptability and Incompatibility
When taking lessons from a teacher in person, you run the risk of that teacher being incompatible with your learning style. This may cause you to lose interest or become discouraged, especially if the teacher is unwilling to adapt their teaching methods to your needs or is simply unable to find a style that works. This can be both a huge motivational and monetary setback.
The same can be said for online lessons. In the same way that they have a long list of benefits, online lessons can also have serious drawbacks.
- Because they are generally prerecorded, there is no chance of adapting them to your learning style.
- Online lessons are already limited in that they depend on the student being able to understand and grasp new topics and techniques relatively quickly with little help, which, for a beginner, might be extremely difficult when just following along.
- Limited access to a personal computer or spotty internet connections can set your learning back significantly.
However, it can also be easier to drop one teacher and move to another teacher when doing online classes since you have access to so many.
Are Drumming Lessons Worth It? Final Thoughts
The answer as to whether drumming lessons are ultimately worth it will come down to the individual in the end, but looking at the topic more broadly, the simple answer is yes, it’s very much worth the extra time and money to invest in your education through lessons.
As with any new skill, having someone there to guide you through the first steps, giving you a solid and actionable place to start, can mean the difference between a fleeting interest and a dedication to a fun hobby or even a new career. Trying to learn completely on your own can leave you floundering in a sea of conflicting information, and having someone there to help you sort through it makes a difference.
If you are able to dedicate the time, effort, and money toward a professional teacher and the requisite equipment, then you should enroll in drumming lessons. You have far less to lose than you do to gain by having someone on your side while you learn.