Learning the Drums

With the How Do I learn Guitar thread out there, I though I would open one up for those wanting to bash some drums in a productive manner. I just bought a nice kit from the drummer of my band so that I can start learning how to do more than just rock the drums in Rock Band. I was wondering if anyone out there had some advice on getting started. I plan on having my drummer show me a few things and help me get everything set up correctly (I'm sure the way I set up the kit could be improved on). Also, anyone else had the drum bug bite them due to Rock Band. I know quite a few people started playing guitar after guitar hero.

Just like any other instrument, make sure to get the fundamentals down. That especially includes posture, how you hold the sticks, and learning to strike from the wrist instead of from the elbow.

From there, get on your rudiments.

(Paradiddle paradiddle paradiddle...)

Learning how to hold your sticks right is crucial! I had been holding mine wrong for almost 17 years. Well, not totally wrong, just slightly and after making an adjustment it's like a new world has opened up.

These 2 sites have some good instructional videos. Rather than explaining holding sticks I'll let the video do it for you. One of these (if not both) has a one -


A couple of things I make sure to do are sitting high enough so my bass leg is not at a 45 degree angle. I like to be a little higher so my knee is pointing down a bit. I think this gives you better bass control and doesn't let you tire out so easily. Also, I try to keep cymbals at a minimum reach distance. It feels like I'm expending extra energy to reach them if they're too far out. This can throw timing off and just make things get a little sloppy at times.

These are just a few things I have. You need to find what works best for you, but I know that when I thought I knew what was best for me I ended up being wrong. I'm constantly trying out new things.

I know it's supposed to come down to personal preference, but learn to hold the sticks with the modern, matched style. Traditional looks cooler, but I find it's not as versatile. (I guess traditional does cut down on accidentally clicking sticks together on a poorly set up kit, too.)

Anyway, that's my vote.


I got a 5 drum Enforcer set with a hi hat and crash ride cymbol for a STEAL.

Issue is I have never played drums.

McChuck and other drum enthusiasts where do I start!

Is this your first instrument? If so, what about singing in a choir or something with sheet music?

McChuck wrote:

what about singing in a choir


Find sheet music for some old, old rock (before it got dirty / good): Elvis, Buddy Holly, early Beatles. This is a pretty good spot, too, if you ask me.

Find your local music shop and take some lessons for like a year. You will get important fundamentals and will gain the ability to teach yourself if you have a decent teacher.

Learn with a metronome.

If you have a DSi or 3DS and some headphones, you can literally buy a $2 drum machine and just have it play on every 4th beat. You could probably find something for free on an Android device. Or download some free drum machine software on your computer and crank out mp3 files of your own metronomes at different speeds.

Do anything it takes to play along to a perfect "tick tick tick tick."

As the drummer, you will have to BE that metronome for the rest of the performers. It's best to learn how to do that right.

I have to second that: always practice with a metronome. Practice at variable speeds. Learn to play something tight at slow speeds, when you're comfortable with a particular ostinato, you then can speed it up. STOP BEFORE INCREASING THE TEMPO. You risk the habit of speeding up over time if you don't heed that advice.

SuperDave wrote:

Find your local music shop and take some lessons for like a year. You will get important fundamentals and will gain the ability to teach yourself if you have a decent teacher.

As someone currently ignoring this advice, I can say this is really good advice.

I have enough natural music ability to pick up the drums pretty easily, but man I get the worst hand cramps when I play fast and from what I can tell it's due to bad form. I need to find the money for lessons so I can get the fundamentals that I couldn't teach myself.

Thanks all!