Inspiration and Essential Tips for Newbie Drummers

The nationally and internationally known drummers show how it’s done. This entices younger and older music fans to take the sticks into their own hands. But will you ever make it as far as the following five artists?

Phil Collins, born in England in 1951, is known today as a singer and composer. He became known as a drummer with Genesis, later he was successful on his own, among other things with film music and musicals like “Tarzan”. Especially his drum solo from “In the Air Tonight” is still well received not only by his fans.

Ringo Starr, born in 1940 and also British, is actually called Richard Starkey and was the drummer for the Beatles. Although he is not as present as Paul McCartney, he also has a long and successful solo career with several studio albums like “Liverpool 8” and “Ringo 2012”. He has also performed repeatedly with other artists such as Eric Clapton.

Dave Grohl comes from Ohio, USA, and played in the band Nirvana in the early 1990s. In 1995 he founded the band “Foo Fighters”, where he performed as a singer and guitarist.

Lars Ulrich is a musician with Danish and US-American roots. In 1981 he co-founded the internationally successful band Metallica.

Bela B. is a drummer, singer and guitarist with the band “Die Ärzte”. As a soloist he released his first album “Bingo” in 2006. His new album from 2017 is called “Bastard” (Bela B featuring Peta Devlin & Smokestack Lightnin’).

Manfred Durban was the legendary drummer of the Flippers. As a founding member he accompanied the Schlagerband from 1964 until their dissolution in 2011. Unforgotten is the coolness with which Durban stood behind his pads at concerts and ignited a real drumfire. Durban died in 2016 at the age of 74. Among the most famous hits of the Flippers are “Weine nicht, kleine Eva” or “Die rote Sonne von Barbados”.

How do you become a drummer?

Before you buy an acoustic drum set, it makes sense to attend a course or look for a drum teacher. Only with the right practice can you be sure that the playing technique is right and that posture is not damaged. The teachers will be happy to give you information about the appropriate address where you can get a drum set.

There are many differences between the drums themselves and the settings. This is exactly why you should first familiarise yourself with the basic set and seek advice from a specialist. Each percussion instrument sounds slightly different, even if the basis is the same.

How the basic percussion set is composed

The drums can be modified with additional parts or certain settings, but there is still a kind of standard model. The indispensable elements include:

  • the base drum, which is responsible for the bass noise: it is struck by a heavy mallet by pressing the pedal.
  • the fixed snare drum with loose, rattling metal parts below the drum bottom. When you hit the drum, you first hear the click, followed by the so-called resonance shuffling. Usually the snare drum is mounted on the weaker side of the drummer.
  • the tom-tom drums, which in classical drums are composed of the deep floor-tom, the mid-tom and the higher high-tom. With a simple beginner drum set there is often only one Tom, the Floor-Tom. Large professional drums can also include several tom-toms.

Learn more about drums for beginners

The research in the specialist shop for instruments as well as in the Internet brings the beginners to different drum types. For the beginning it is often sufficient to buy a cheap, small drum set or a used set. If you are looking for musical connection and practice possibilities at school or university, you may even receive drum lessons and can use the available instruments. Connecting to a band also motivates you to practice and gives you the chance to take over the drums of a former member or to find a good contact address where the instruments don’t cost too much.

The sense of rhythm – indispensable for drummers

An important prerequisite for drummers is the ability to keep time. You don’t need a complete drum set to train that. Just one hand drum can be enough to do the first exercises. With your hands or sticks you beat the rhythm to the music coming from the radio or other musicians. If you don’t have a drum, you can easily hit your thighs or the edge of the table with your hands. So you get used to the simple drum rhythms and start with the first basics.

Songs and pieces of music with a clearly audible rhythm are particularly suitable for this. This can easily be imitated.

If you are sitting on a drum set for the first time, it is difficult to play the different drums. That’s why it’s important to do a few exercises beforehand. So it doesn’t come to frustrations on the drums themselves so fast.

Up to what age can you learn to play drums?

Is there an age limit for drummers? Basically you hear the answer that it is never too late for that. However, there are certain limitations, especially if you set your goals very high. If you want to learn the drums from the ground up and bring them to mastery while playing, you should start at the age of 20 at the latest. After that the ability to learn gradually diminishes, even if you are musical.

The versatile drums are also suitable for late beginners, if they don’t make too high demands on themselves. For the learning of the various techniques one must plan enough time and complete above all regular training units. This requires a certain amount of dedication and stamina. With a lot of practice and love for drums, 40 or even 60 year old beginners can play in a private band and perhaps even perform in front of a smaller audience.

How drummers approach a piece of music

If you play drums, you divide a piece into bars. In the beginning this happens consciously, later this way of counting changes into subconsciousness. Usually you start with four-four time: Here one measure consists of four beats. These are beaten evenly and are quarter notes. The tips for beginners are as follows:

  • Count along to stay in rhythm
  • use a metronome that improves the awareness of the beat
  • change over time from short to longer pieces

After the quarter notes, eighth notes are counted. Here you can hit the drum with the second hand at “Two”, “Four”, “Six” and “Eight”. Even if it gets boring after a while: This basic exercise requires some concentration.

Learning to play drums as an autodidact or with a teacher

Depending on the age of the beginner, it is generally recommended to look for a teacher. But books, CDs and online guides can also be used to get you started. At concerts, it helps to observe the drummers and to learn a few things from them. But at some point, it’s time to attend a professional course, at least temporarily. Here you get a direct support, because beside the instructions also the control of the progress so far is useful. You’ll also find out what your actual status is and whether you’re ready to play in a band. Through the contacts of drum teachers and music schools you can quickly find other music enthusiasts who would like to welcome you into their circle.

Drummer with professional standards

If you want to become a professional drummer, you should start early enough with this instrument. In comparison with other instruments, the upper limit of 20 years is relatively high: pianists often start at the age of six and even violinists should not be much older if they want to play professionally. If you already know how to play other instruments, you may be able to start playing later.

However, the demands on professional percussionists are extremely high. When they sit behind their drums, they sometimes treat them almost tenderly, but with some pieces they seem to hammer them in. The music is always in the foreground. This is the distinctive characteristic of drummers who know exactly how to handle their instrument.

Six tips for percussionists willing to learn

To get better on the drumset, you need practice. It also makes sense to stick to a few basic rules. This will help you to become better at playing the drums over time. The tips look like this:

  1. Finding a suitable room so that you are not disturbed yourself and do not disturb the surroundings.
  1. Practice for at least 15 minutes every day.
  1. First learn the feeling, then the forms and the figures, finally the fills; that way the band gets the right rhythm.
  1. It’s not speed that counts, but uniformity in timing and punch.
  1. Let the sticks bounce off and don’t pull them up – this makes playing the drums easier.
  1. Don’t let them discourage you, just keep on playing.

Playing drums in a band

Making music together fuels the fun factor and motivates. In addition, you can perhaps even perform once, be it in a private setting or at a larger party. In a course you can find like-minded people and you can also assess your own abilities well. In a percussion group drumming is even more fun and you still learn something new.

Some drum courses also take place as part of a holistic training program. Here the learning effect is less, nevertheless it is a nice feeling to make music together with several people. And if you discover an unexpected talent here and the enthusiasm awakens, the path soon leads to the right drum teacher.