“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” - Plato
Music has charms to soothe the savage breast. This is a common expression when talking about music. While it does soothe the proverbial savage beast, you need to practise to get the most out of it.
Drums are an instrument with a lot of potential. They often accompany other types of percussion, provide rhythm, or just make noise (according to some). However, drums are also at the heart of jazz music (and its derivatives).
With that in mind, is it worthwhile attending a course on learning how to play the drums?
If you dream of becoming the next Thomas Lang, Tony Royster, Steve Gadd, or John Bonham, you should have a look at the different ways to learn how to play them!
In this article, we'll be looking at drum schools and music schools, the pros and cons of them, and how they can help you learn to play the drums.
What is a Drum School?
As you’ve probably guessed, this is a type of music school that specialises in music education and teaching people how to play the drums! The drums aren’t really like the harmonica, piano, guitar, trombone, or bass. The drums (and percussion) are a special kind of instrument and a drummer is a different kind of musician to a pianist or someone who plays the violin or clarinet, for example.
Rather than traditional music theory, you’ll need to learn about rhythm, tempo, and time signatures in order to play the drums. The curriculum for drummers is very different from those playing brass instruments and your music teacher will have to be a specialist in percussion instruments.
A drum school provides training for aspiring and experienced drummers. You’ll be helped by a gifted teacher, too. You need to keep in mind the differences between a music school and a conservatoire. A lot of music schools are private businesses and more accessible than the conservatoires, which are essentially universities specialising in music, drama, and art degrees.
The students, unlike self-taught musicians, will be accompanied by a teacher who will provide tuition (for a fee) and prepare them for either a recital or audition. In some cases, when you sign up, you’re signed up for the whole year!
Music schools have existed for centuries and were even around in the Middle Ages! They’ve stood the test of time and have taught many students over the years how to play the drums, ukulele, piano, flute, etc., as well as how to sing thanks to quality tuition from talented teachers.
The Level Required to Attend a Drum School
Your level is quite important when it comes to attending a drum school, but probably not for the reasons you have in mind. In fact, while everyone can get some type of musical training, it’s important that your training is suitable to your level in order to get the most out of it. Drums are an instrument for all levels, after all!
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That’s why there isn’t a specific level you have to have. Instead, you need to know what level you are so that you can attend the right class and get the right training. The same goes for all classes including music theory, jazz piano or classical piano, and playing the guitar.
While most schools offer classes by level, not all do. It’s important to make sure that when attending a drum class at a school or getting a private drum tutor that you do your research!
Playing the drums at a school can be a lot of fun if you’re attending the right class and making progress. It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning for fun or for professional reasons. You can also pick the type of drums and drumming you prefer. Your teacher will also help you find the right drumming equipment.
Training at a Drum School
Music schools and drum schools, more importantly, don’t tend to offer free classes and you can often sign up for classes when you want. This means that it’s quite easy to start learning to play the drums whenever you want. However, there tend to be fewer classes during the school holidays.
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Your classes will depend on the teacher who’s providing them. A good teacher will help you get the most out of every minute you spend with them and also make you feel like playing the drums outside of class and maybe even inspire you to become a professional drummer. Music is about having fun, after all!
Even if you’re learning the electric guitar, saxophone, or drums, most classes in a music school are in groups. While a lot of the classes will be organised into levels, you still need to keep in mind that the lesson has to work for every student. This means you mightn’t all have the same tastes when it comes to music.
This means you’ll have to be patient as you won’t always be studying exactly what you want. The most important thing is to be passionate about learning and wanting to play the drums.
Don’t forget that are also private tutorials for learning how to play drums so that you can get lessons tailored to you. You can learn the basics alongside a professional drummer, for example.
Important Information About Drum Schools
Drum schools aren’t conversatoires. There are many different ways to learn about musicology and different teaching approaches to learning how to play an instrument. There are also a few details you should be aware of.
In addition to enrolment, teaching approaches, etc., there is also the price to consider as one of the most important aspects to consider. The average cost tends to sit around £100 per month for proper drum training. Of course, there are schools that cost more and others that cost less.
If you want to learn to play the drums either in a school or with a private tutor, you’ll need to invest both time and money. You’ll need to pay teachers, invest in equipment, and also travel to where your lessons are. We can’t forget that there are also online drum lessons if you can’t afford the latter.
You need to carefully consider where your lessons are as you’ll need to go there once or twice a week depending on the type of course that you’re attending. Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of several nearby schools or have to travel to the other side of town to attend the only one that’s near you.
If your school is a couple of miles away, you mightn’t want to walk there when it’s raining cats and dogs. On the other hand, if you live in the flat above the music school, you shouldn’t ever really miss a class!
Your teacher’s passion for teaching the drums is arguably the most important thing to consider when learning to play the drums. You never know whether you’re going to get along with your teacher before you meet them and it’s really important that you do. While this isn’t usually the case, it’s something you need to keep in mind.
You need to make sure that your teacher employs effective teaching techniques that work for you. While you can’t always find this out before you start your class, you should try to find out as much about them as you can.
In short, drums are a great instrument to learn in a class at a music school. However, before you attend your first drum lesson and start playing drums, you should carefully consider your options and decide which type of drum instruction is right for you.
If you're an absolute beginner, you'll probably need to invest in drum sets including a bass drum, snare drum, cymbals and hi-hat, tom-toms, and sticks. As you progress through your drumming lessons and you learn different musical styles, you may want to add to your drum set. For example, jazz drumming doesn't require a double bass pedal, but metal music certainly does.
Beginners shouldn't go out and buy a lot of stuff for their drum kit as they won't be aware of exactly what they need. Learn some drum beats and rudiments before you invest in a kit like you've seen famous drummers playing.