How to Teach Yourself Drums – The Different Options
Have you recently taken an interest in learning drums? Maybe you’ve had an interest for a long time, but have never been able to pursue that interest. Either way, you may be wondering if you can teach yourself to play drums and what sorts of resources are available to help you.
If you’re determined to teach yourself the drums, there are a number of different ways you can do so. Some of the options for learning drums on your own include taking online lessons, watching tutorial videos, and reading books on how to play drums.
If you want to save time though, the best option we've found for teaching yourself drums at home is using structured online lessons from professional drummers.
Read on to learn more about all the different resources you can use, the amount of time you can expect to put in, whether teaching yourself to play the drums is a good idea in the first place, and tips to help you get the most out of your learning.
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All the Different Ways to Teach Yourself Drums
These days, there are seemingly endless resources to help you learn just about any skill you can imagine. And, in many cases, those resources are just a click or two away. Who knew that it could be so easy?
Of course, finding the resources is only the beginning of the adventure. Once you’ve found them, you still have to use them to learn!
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some of the best resources available for teaching yourself drums right here in this article. That way, you can spend less time searching for the tools you need and more time practicing rhythms!
Keep reading to find out all about the different ways you can teach yourself to play drums as well as the various resources available to you.
Take Online Lessons
Did you know there are tons of different online drum courses? In fact, do a quick search for “drum lessons online” and chances are, you’ll find more options than you know what to do with. Some of the lessons are free, but often not structured so harder to get an overall picture of what you need to learn. Others are paid courses, such as the drum lessons at Drumeo Edge and Udemy.
The paid courses are usually a bit more in-depth, though if you’re not fully committed yet, you can learn a great deal from the free lessons as well. If you go with a paid course, the price you can expect to pay may vary widely depending on the course and who’s offering it. Remember, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better.
In addition to the drum lessons linked above, some other great options to check out include:
- Drumeo Edge
- Drum Ambition
- Online Drummer
Each of these courses offers several different curriculum and payment options, as well as free lessons to get you started. Many of them also provide online support to keep you motivated, sheet music and videos so you can learn your way, and the chance to advance as far as you want.
Watch Tutorial Videos
If you’re not ready to commit to paid online courses, you can add some free tutorial videos to your arsenal of free lessons. YouTube is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn a skill, including how to play the drums.
In fact, check out this awesome list of beginner drum lesson videos you can watch completely for free.
The great thing about watching tutorial videos is that they give you a visual of what you’re trying to learn. Practicing a new type of rhythm or drumroll? Most tutorial videos will show you how to do it, in slow motion, with a description of how to place your hands and hold your drumsticks.
Tutorial videos make it easy for you to visualize the skills they teach.
Watch Other People Play
Another great way to learn is to study how the pros play. This is a good excuse to check out your favorite bands in concert, explore the local orchestra or drum line, and watch videos of some famous drummers.
You could also check out the drum corps of the different military branches, high school and college bands, and local band competitions.
The more you are able to immerse yourself in watching how others play, the more you’ll begin to pick up their forms and habits.
Read Books About Playing Drums
Check out your favorite bookstore or local library, and you may just find a treasure trove of information. There are lots of instructional books for how to play the drums that you could read. These books will explain about the different types and styles of drum playing, drum theory and history, and of course, practical instruction.
The best instructional books will also contain lots of pictures and diagrams to help you visualize each step.
In addition to physical books, there are also ebooks that you can download instantly. Both books and ebooks may be found at the library, at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, and even Amazon.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the options and aren’t sure where to start, check out relevant books by Mel Bay and Alfred Music.
Use Play-Along Tracks and Sheet Music
For those who read music, you can download sheet music pages and play along to mp3 tracks of some of your favorite songs. Some of the tracks include the drum part so you can play along to what you hear, while others leave the drum part out so you can fill it in yourself.
If you don’t read music, you can still use these play along tracks to play by ear. Playing along to actual songs will help you get a real-world feel for how to play the drums. It will allow you to practice the beats and rhythms you learn in a more “hands on” way.
You can also use YouTube videos for the same purpose. Simply do a search for your favorite songs, make a quick playlist, and then play along.
Consider Hiring a Personal Instructor
While you can learn a lot using books and online resources, the best way to make sure you’re learning them correctly is to receive personalized instruction. You can find and hire drum teachers, either in person or online, through the Take Lessons website.
Having a drum teacher will help keep you accountable. The teacher can offer tips and encouragement when you’re struggling, can make sure you’re performing rolls and rhythms correctly, and can recommend further materials for learning. Some may also be able to teach you to tune your drums if needed.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Lastly, the best way to learn and progress in the art of playing drums is to practice what you learn. Once you’ve learned the correct forms, practice them again and again until they become second nature. Then, start building and adding new forms and skills.
The most important part here is that you are practicing correctly, and practicing every day. If you don’t practice correctly, then you’ll be mastering skills that aren’t quite right, and you’ll have to unlearn them in order to learn them correctly. And if you don’t practice consistently, you’ll struggle to remember what you learned the last time you practiced.
How Long Does it Take to Teach Yourself Drums?
Once you’ve explored your resources and decided on which ones you want to use, you may be wondering how long this is going to take. How long until you go from drummer wannabe to extraordinaire?
The short answer is, it depends on how much you’re willing to put into it.
For those who have plenty of time to practice, have chosen their resources wisely, are passionate and determined, and have a bit of natural talent, the learning may come quickly and easily.
For others, it may take more time than they’re willing to put into it.
That said, the great thing about teaching yourself the drums is that you can go at your own pace. It takes determination to be successful, but you don’t have to feel pressure to succeed in a certain amount of time. Simply be willing to allow yourself the time you need, and sooner or later, your efforts will start to pay off.
Is it a Good Idea to Teach Yourself Drums?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Because it’s possible to teach yourself almost any skill if you put your mind to it, are an avid researcher, and have the time and space.
These traits–your determination, research ability, and lifestyle–are key to successfully teaching yourself anything, and playing drums is no exception.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some questions you should ask yourself before deciding to teach yourself drums. The answers should help you determine whether teaching yourself is a good idea, or whether you’d be better off learning from an instructor.
Are You Willing to Put in the Work?
Teaching yourself anything, including drums, takes a special level of determination and self-discipline. When you teach yourself, you have no formal instructor to hold you accountable, so it’s much easier to simply give up or not put in the time you need to master the skill.
Of course, the flip side is that, when you teach yourself, you can go at your own pace–there’s no pressure to learn as quickly as the rest of the class or keep up with the instructor’s pace. But even this takes an ability to discipline yourself. If you are unable to set your own pace and meet your own goals, then you will never advance in your playing.
How Do You Learn Best?
Those who are most likely to succeed at teaching themselves share several learning similarities. They love to read and research, whether online or in book form. They are curious and enjoy exploring various forms of media, including videos and written materials. And, most importantly, they are able to perform a skill after reading about it or watching someone else perform it.
When you teach yourself drums, there is no instructor to help correct your form or walk you through the various steps. In short, you’ll have no one to tell you whether you’re doing it correctly. So it’s extremely important that you are able to learn by reading and watching as easily as you learn by doing.
Do You Have the Space for a Drum Set?
This isn’t an essential necessity, at least at first, because you can use nearly any surface as a drum to learn and practice rhythms. But it is an important thing to consider.
Would it be possible to have a drum set where you live, if you chose to have one? Do you live in an apartment where the possibility of being able to have a drum set, even somewhere down the road, is pretty low? Do you live in a quiet neighborhood that would likely be disrupted by your practicing?
It’s also a good idea to consider other elements of your home and lifestyle. Do the people you live with support you in your interest, or are they likely to discourage your practicing? Do you have the time to commit to researching, learning, and practicing?
If you can’t have a drum set where you live; you’re likely to disrupt those who live around you; or you’re concerned that learning drums might not fit into your lifestyle–then chances are, you’ll quit long before you’ve fully learned to play.
Tips for Teaching Yourself to Play Drums
So, you’ve decided you have what it takes–the home, the lifestyle, the determination. You’re going to teach yourself drums no matter what it takes!
Good for you, and best of luck!
But, since you’ll need more than just luck, here are a few tips to help you in your journey.
You Don’t Need a Drum Set at First
What? Didn’t we just say that having space for a drum set is important?
It is, but only so you have the option of buying one if you want to. You don’t need to have your own personal drum set, especially at first.
The great thing about learning the drums is that you can turn almost any surface into a drum for the purpose of practicing–couch armrests, coffee tables, chairs, windowsills, bookshelves, books, you name it. You wouldn’t want to go tapping on all of those surfaces with a pair of expensive drumsticks as they'll break, but you can easily learn the rhythms by using your hands.
Again, the choice of whether to buy a drum set is entirely up to you, and you can buy it at any point in the learning process, if and when you feel that you would benefit more from having your own.
Learn the Correct Techniques
This goes back to what we talked about earlier. If you practice your forms and techniques incorrectly, you will learn them incorrectly. It takes a lot more time to unlearn an improperly learned skill than it does to learn it right the first time.
Use a Metronome
When you’re a drummer, timing is everything. You will often find yourself playing some very complex or off-time rhythms, so it’s important to have a strong sense of the underlying beat and how fast or slow it’s going.
That’s where a metronome comes in. Metronomes produce a clicking noise at a steady beat. This clicking can be sped up or slowed down, depending on your needs.
There are numerous metronome apps that are free and available for download, so there’s really no reason not to use a metronome when learning the drums. It will make your life a lot easier and your playing much more effective.
Play Along to Your Favorite Music
We touched on this a bit earlier as well. Use the play along tracks noted above, or use YouTube videos or Spotify to create your own playlists of practice music. For that matter, you could even use old CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes–whatever works for you!
If you don’t read music, it would be helpful to start learning. Even if you are self-taught, it isn’t difficult to get a sense of the patterns. Follow along with the sheet music for songs you’re familiar with, and see if you can understand how the markings on the page translate to the music you’re hearing as you listen.
Immerse Yourself in the Process
It’s said that the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the culture. The same applies to learning any skill, including playing the drums.
Don’t just read a book about playing–watch videos, play along to music, take online lessons. That doesn’t mean you have to jam-pack every day with nothing but drum activities, but the more time you put in, the more resources you use, the better your chance of success.
How to Teach Yourself Drums, Final Thoughts
Teaching yourself to play the drums takes time, effort, and determination, but it can be done. If you’ve recently taken an interest in learning, or finally decided to pursue that interest you’ve had for years, then check out the resources provided in this article to help you get started. This Drumeo review should be helpful.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!