Drums form the rhythmic foundation for many kinds of music. While it may seem easy to tap out a rhythm, there’s a whole lot more to becoming a skilled drummer than just feeling a beat or pulling off a dramatic roll. If you want to learn the drums, you’ll need the guidance of an experienced teacher to help you become familiar with the different kinds of drums you’ll be using and teach you how to make them come alive.
The Drum Family
A basic drum set comes with four different types of drums. This is a good set to learn on, although as you progress in skill and technique, you may want to customize your drum set with additional pieces. You can also select various sizes for the different drum styles, but beginners should start by becoming proficient with each of the following:
- Snare—The snare drum produces a sharp, distinctive crack when struck. It also makes the drumroll sound that you’re undoubtedly familiar with. Most snares consist of a metal shell (stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, or brass) and snares which produce its unique sound. The snare drum is placed in the center of the kit and played with sticks, brushes, rutes, and sometimes hands in order to produce different sound qualities.
- Bass Drum—The bass drum is the largest drum in the set and usually rests on the floor. The drummer plays the bass using a pedal, and generally uses it to keep a steady rhythm.
- Rack Toms—Two tom-toms mounted over the bass drum provide a fuller, warmer tone than the snare drum. Standard rack toms may have a 10-inch, 12-inch, 13-inch, or 14-inch diameter, depending on the sound you want to achieve.
- Floor Tom—The floor tom is a little larger than the rack tom and produces the deepest tone in the set, excluding the bass drum. Mounted on a floor stand or suspended with a cymbal stand, the floor tom is usually as deep as it is wide. It produces a full, resonant tone and is played with sticks.
Most drum kits also include several cymbals, but it’s best to become proficient with the various drums before adding cymbals to your repertoire.
Why You Need a Skilled Drum Teacher
Playing the drums may seem easy, especially if you learn by imitating the drummer in your favorite band. But you’ll never reach your full potential if you don’t seek the instruction of a teacher. Your drum instructor will:
- Teach you how to read musical notation specific to percussion.
- Show you proper technique and correct errors you may not even notice.
- Help you master stylistic approaches for different kinds of music.
- Teach you how to keep a good rhythm and play with various meters.
- Teach you to play different types of beats, rolls, and fills.
- Help you learn how to select the right drums, how to tune them, and how to utilize them in various settings.
- Keep you practicing.
Every band needs a good drummer, and most would prefer one that can keep accurate rhythm as opposed to one that can perform a lot of fancy rolls and beats. Your teacher will help you master the basics of good percussion playing first, and then guide you as you expand your technique to explore various stylings. As with any instrument, practice forms the foundation for becoming a skilled drummer, and your teacher will hold you accountable to practice consistently and correctly.
Ready to give it a try? Practice hard, be patient, and invest in a quality teacher—you’ll be glad you did!
This is a TBMA original article written for our Tampa Bay Music Academy readership by Susan McClure. If you find it to be helpful, we would love for you to re-post it on your blog. Please contact us first for permission. Visit our website home for information on finding a music teacher in Tampa, Odessa, Land O’ Lakes, Citrus Park, Westchase, New Port Richey, Lutz, Trinity, Keystone, or Tarpon Springs Florida who offers private piano lessons, guitar lessons, saxophone lessons, voice lessons, or music lessons in any other instrument proficiency category. TBMA teachers (piano, guitar, voice, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion) pride themselves in a reputation for an uncompromising commitment to excellence and special care taken for every student. We remain absolutely committed to providing an outstanding enrollment experience beyond any other in the region. Call us today. We look forward to hearing from you!