Music is a language that crosses cultural barriers and connects our souls in weird and wonderful ways.

When we relate to the same rhythm we forget about our differences and are led by our hearts.

There is a rhythm to nature and combined with the beat of our hearts, it might be the reason most of us feel a connection with and easily fall in love with music.

Maybe you often try to decipher the beats in the songs you hear, or you’ve always had the urge to learn how to play the drums. Maybe you can play other music instruments and the idea of learning how to create those fascinating drumming rudiments to drive the song tempo excites you.

Learning how to play drums can be an exhilarating experience, but it also takes practise and dedication. It is therefore imperative that you find the right teacher for the job. In this blog we will explore the things you need to consider as you explore and discover a suitable and inspiring music tutor.

A Mentor Who Drums To the Same Beat

Do you want to learn drums the classical way with a full drum kit, or are you more interested in hand drumming?

The world of drumming is more diverse then you think and even although it’s quite easy to establish a rhythm, the complexities around drumming are something you only realise once you start exploring it.

First you have to establish base rudiments, the building blocks or sticking patterns to drumming, before you broaden your drumming vocabulary and explore different techniques.

As an experienced drummer you might also learn to add percussion instruments to bring diversity to your skills.

Finding the right drumming teacher might be easier if you can identify the genre of music you want to drum to or have a specific drum in mind you'd like to master.

Some music teachers are classically trained and will have the capabilities to train students across a broad range of musical instruments, but there are certainly some teachers who specialise in drums and some who are experts in certain types of drums.

A practised drummer in a band would be very familiar with the specific genre they perform, and by taking drum lessons with them you will learn how to create the same type of sound they do while also getting some inside information on what it means to become a drummer.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

The world of music is expanding every year, as different sub-genres pop up and new drumming methodology expands.

Man playing African drum
African drums continue to inspire world music. ~ Photo by Nate Greno on Unsplash

There will however always be some classic styles and types of drums that you can consider learning:

  • Rock and Roll makes use of full acoustic drum sets with its specific rock grooves. Learn a drum solo from a classic rock song you love.
  • Disco, dance and hip-hop will help students become more versed in sixteenth note grooves and syncopation. In this day and age musicians use a lot of electronic sounds to create modern tracks and you might be lucky enough to experiment using an electronic drum set.
  • Metal, punk or grunge styles of music are fast-paced and will push you to quickly learn and master drum rudiments, while the laid-back vibes of Bluegrass & Country Blues will teach you about the implementation of the triplet grooves.
  • In Jazz, blues and funk you’ll use a drum set to first establish eight notes, swung quavers and sixteenth notes before you start to explore the art of improvisational drumming; something that gives Jazz that free feel.
  • Latin music will expose you to the samba, rumba, mambo, cha-cha and reggae styles, each coming with distinctive rhythms and accompanied by drums like bongos, congas, cowbells and timbales.
  • African drumming is associated with hand drum or stick drumming techniques. It’s a style that has influenced music globally and Djembe drums are quite popular in genres like afro-pop.
  • Classical music and orchestral drumming will expose you to a kettle drum, kick drum, base drum and cymbal, but if you should learn to play with an orchestra you would likely play other percussion instruments like a xylophone or marimba.
  • Marching bands provide a good basis by deconstructing drumming to allow musicians to individually master the tenor drum, snare drum or cymbals.

It is thus clear that there are plenty of options around the musical style or type of drum you can learn to play. Finding a teacher that suits your ambitions would make the experience much more enjoyable and deciding which genre you like most would be a good starting point.

Different Approaches to Learning How to Play Drums

Many roads lead to Rome and when it comes to drumming you can approach learning to play drums using a variety of methods. Some people start off by watching videos or concerts where their favourite drummer knocks out drum beats they love. They then try to copy these and supplement the learning process with additional books and literature.

Headphones on shelf
Some musicians copy some of the classics as part of learning. ~ Photo by Mark Solarski on Unsplash

Other beginners research basic drumming techniques online. Multiple platforms, including YouTube, have hundreds of tutorials on the best rudiments you can practise when you learn to play drums.

They will get you started on single or double strokes and flipping between them, flam strokes, paradiddle and double paradiddles. However, with this approach, you might pick up some bad habits that could negatively influence your drumming technique and hamper your playing.

A more practical and ‘real-time’ approach would be to take some music lessons from a professional and experienced teacher. Drumming requires active participation to enable learning, therefore having someone to evaluate and correct your technique as you go will help to speed up your learning process. Lessons will also ensure that you master the basics and lay a strong foundation before you delve into more advanced techniques.

Your next question is probably, "Where will I find the right teacher?" We’re happy to say that this may  be easier than you think … Let’s start by looking at whether the services of a teacher at a music college will suit you or whether you’d prefer private drum lessons?

Music School or Private Lessons?

Music education is something everyone can benefit from, as music not only teaches you to play and master a musical instrument, it also helps you to relax, improves memory and gives you an outlet to express yourself.

A formal education in music at a music school will most certainly steer your life in the direction of the performing arts if you set out to become a professional drummer, but maybe you just want to learn to play drums for the fun of it at this stage?

Most music schools provide open classes where different music teachers give lessons to a variety of students. These tend to be a more cost-effective option and are great if you are still figuring out whether drumming is really your thing.

Taking group classes will hopefully allow you to use the music college’s drum kits and equipment and hopefully they have practise rooms you can book to save the relationship you have with the neighbours.

The downside to group classes is the fact that the music teacher is shared by everyone. The bigger the class, the less individual attention you’ll get, and the teacher might not be able to provide the direction and corrections around your technique you’d like them to.

Having group classes also means working within a set class programme. This might work for you, but should you require more flexibility around scheduling and prefer a more customised approach to learning, a one-on-one private tutor is something to consider.

Finding your own drumming teacher from a musical college or online will afford you the opportunity to have a professional’s undivided attention while you learn. Not only will they customise your music lessons to your needs and capabilities, they might also have a drum set you could use while you are starting out.

Sheet Music and spectacles
Tertiary musical education will teach you to read musical notes and notations ~ Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

A private teacher will give you specific exercises to speed up your own development and with only the two of you in class it will be a lot easier to re-schedule training sessions if you have to. The added benefit to getting our own private tutor is the fact that they can also save you time by giving you lessons at your house.

Finding a Match

There’s nothing worse than something you love turning out to become something you hate. Imagine dreading every single music lesson because the teacher keeps nagging you about the technical flaws you need to fix. This might even be a reason why you gave up music at a young age …

The correct drum teacher for you is not only someone who will be able to teach you all the technical stuff, it will be someone whose personality enhances your learning.

Your music tutor's teaching style should continue to inspire and motivate you!

Not everyone is born to be a teacher and even though some music teachers are musical geniuses, they are not good at teaching. Make sure you find someone who will keep you eager and hungry to learn.

Drumming teacher
There is a drumming teacher at your fingertips. ~ Photo by Nana Yaw Otoo on Unsplash

To get you more excited, here are some of the things you might learn when you take your first musical lesson:

  • Drum parts
  • How to set up your drums, drum accessories and doing drum tuning
  • Holding drum sticks or your hand positions for hand drumming
  • Music notation, tabs and learning how to read music
  • What you would need to get started
  • Exercises and homework to get you started.

A Tutor at Your Fingertips

Modern technology is connecting teachers and students in new and exciting ways. You can easily find a drumming teacher or musician in your area through a simple Google search.

Platforms like Superprof allow you to explore and compare music teachers' profiles. You can see what they specialise in, what their educational background is and access testimonials to learn a bit more about their personalities before contacting them.

Ensure you are prepared when you approach your new prospective music teacher by preparing a set of questions to help you assess whether they are right:

  • What is their teaching approach and primary focus area?
  • What types of drums or genres do they specialise in?
  • Can you use their drum set to practise?
  • What are their fees, scheduling and will they provide a free lesson as ‘taster’?

Whatever your personal ambitions are around wanting to learn how to play drums, there is a perfect drumming teacher out there to get you going.

Now, let’s hear that drum roll as you follow the beat of your heart and find a teacher near you.

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Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.