Every beginner who has either just started learning drums or thinking about it has a question in their mind. How hard is it to learn to play the drums? Simply put, drums are actually very easy to learn but extremely difficult to master. While you could be dishing out simple beats in a short time, you will find that complex techniques need you to commit towards learning them for long periods of time.
Learning to play the drums
Learning drums is actually easier than a few other instruments. However, as with any instrument, it is important that you take it slow. As a beginner, the biggest mistake you can do is to try and play complex beats very fast. It is always best to slow down and perfect your basic beats and grooves before you try your hand at more complex techniques.
A metronome will be a great asset for a beginner. You will be able to keep time properly and ensure that you do not play a song too slow or fast. A metronome will ensure that you will be able to better time a tune. So, make it a point to always play with a metronome.
The drumming technique is another aspect that you need to consider. There are plenty of choices that you will have to make. Do you wanna play with a heel up or heel down foot technique? Do you want to use a traditional grip or an American grip for holding drum sticks? It is important that you decide on these based on your playing style.
Deciding your playing style is actually pretty straightforward. It is usually based on the type of music you like, so check out the drummers of your favorite bands and use them as your starting point.
While the above-discussed topics are crucial, nothing is more important than practice. You should be willing to practice every day and commit yourself to learn drums. Many people quit because they practice only once a week and end up not being able to effectively learn. Even if you cannot get a full drum kit to practice instead you can use practice pads. You can even use your pillow or your own thighs to practice.
Once you have crossed a certain point, see if you can practice with other musicians as drums are meant to form the backbone of music rather than be a standalone instrument. You will be able to learn faster and be able to better understand your role as a drummer. If you really want to become one read our article about How to become a professional drummer.
Are drums hard to learn? Well, The honest answer to this question is it depends. Some people are naturally gifted so they learn everything quickly while some learn via hard work. So it is quite impossible to predict how good a drummer someone will become.
That said, if you like tapping beats on your desk when you are bored or if you drum on your steering wheel while being stuck in traffic, you probably will not find an actual drum set to be that much of a threat.
As long as you understand the basics of stick motions and what every component of a drum kit does, there is no reason you will not be able to comfortably play basic beats and grooves.
How long does it take to learn drums?
This is an extremely subjective question. The answer varies from person to person depending on many factors.
This includes how many hours of practice are you willing to put in, are you going to take drum lessons, and do you have space where you can practice without driving your family members and neighbors crazy.
Also having prior experience with music can speed the learning process. Having even a little knowledge of song and song structure will make it easier to learn. You will actually need to take many things into account as becoming a good drummer is a long journey.
The typical rule is 10000 hours of practice to become great at anything, this is probably true for learning drums too. Therefore, you must be willing to put in months and years of deliberate practice.
On average, it should take you about six months to a year before you can start properly playing songs. You will not be able to bang out the most complicated of tunes, but you should be able to play the songs that you enjoy.
However, this again depends on plenty of factors. If you want to speed up the learning process, you could spend your time looking at other drummers and replicating their motions. However, while this is a good starting point, you will have to look at developing your own style as you cross a certain point.
Are drums harder than guitar?
Drums and guitar are vastly different instruments, so the learning curve is quite different between them.
Drums are actually easier to learn than guitars when you are starting out, this is because for learning guitars you will have to learn basic fingering techniques and know how to transition from one chord to another. This is quite difficult when compared to getting a basic drum beat right.
However, once you have crossed the initial stages, drums tend to be a little harder to learn. Learning advanced techniques like paradiddles and flams is very difficult. This is not to say that learning advanced guitar techniques is easy, many of them in fact take years to perfect. However, complex rudiments on drums tend to be much harder to perfect than many guitar techniques like hammer ons and sweep picking.
Each instrument has its own advantages and disadvantages. Drums are typically preferred as they are much easier to learn. However, just remember that you will have to put in a lot of time and effort compared to other instruments if you plan on mastering it.
Is it easy to learn drums by yourself?
While it is not exactly very hard to learn to play drums by yourself, it is easier when you have some sort of guiding hand. You could practice for hundreds of hours, but if you practice the wrong techniques you will not get the benefit out of those hours.
When you learn with a drum teacher you will get insights that you will never be able to discover on your own. Their experience and learning can help hasten and improve your learning process.
A drum teacher will be able to help you establish a good technique and easily point out any mistakes that you make. They will also be able to advise you about what equipment to get and how to tune it. You will also be accountable when you have a teacher watching over you, so you are less likely to slough off. With the whole world now online, you can get quality online drum lessons for much cheaper than in-person classes.
That said, it has never been easier to learn drums by yourself than now. With YouTube filled with hundreds of thousands of hours of drumming lessons and with hundreds of apps that are meant to teach you drumming, learning drums by yourself is not all that hard.
The choice of whether you want a teacher or not is up to you. There have been great drummers who have never taken an hour of class in their lives and there have been great drummers who have learned drums academically. Learning by yourself will save you a significant amount of money, but having a teacher will make learning faster and better.
Can I learn drums at 30, 40, or 50?
Humans are instinctively explorers and are always open to new experiences. I can not stress it enough, you can never be too late to learn a new skill or pick a new hobby.
It is never too late to learn anything, including playing drums. Even if you are well over 50 years old, you should still be able to pick up a bongo and dish out incredible beats. Drumming actually has many health benefits for senior citizens, both mental and physical ones.
If you are middle-aged, you can still pick up a standard acoustic drum kit and start learning. You will be able to play your favorite beats and songs in no time.
However, there are a few minor concerns when you are learning drums later in life. Tendinitis is a common drumming injury that is caused by repeating motions over a long period of time, especially in older people. That said, it typically only affects drummers who have been practicing for many hours a day for more than a decade. Thus, I think it is safe to say that the health benefits of drumming far outweigh the small risk of tendinitis.
Another concern about drumming is the risk of hearing loss. No one can deny that drums are loud, but if you take the proper precautions you will not be risking any hearing loss. Similar to tendinitis, hearing loss is usually the result of years of blasting the drums without any ear protection.
Hearing loss is actually a bigger risk than tendinitis as drummers are usually tempted to play as loud as they can. The good thing is that there are many hearing protection devices available, they don’t cost a lot and are actually quite comfortable to use. If you wanna know when the music gets too loud, there are plenty of apps in smartphones and smartwatches that can notify you when it gets too loud.
So, how hard is it to learn drums? Well… the answer comes down to you. If you stay committed, be patient, practice deliberately, remain positive and work on mistakes without getting frustrated, learning drums will be less hard work and more fun.