Are Drums the Easiest Instrument?Posted by Mike Schuck
Every teenager has tried their hand at learning a musical instrument at least once, and chances are you have too. Witnessing the performance of the musical society during the orientation session at college is often times enough to convince impressionable freshmen into learning how to play an instrument.
Guitars are perhaps the most popular choice among these teenagers and freshmen—and drums aren’t too far behind in the list. There is something powerful about the image of the drummer who forms the backbone of a musical act with a whole array at his command. However, with choosing an instrument comes the question of actually learning to play it.
So now having chosen the drums as your instrument of choice, you must be thinking to yourself, what’s the truth about drumming difficulty? Aren’t they some of the easiest instruments to get a grip on? The answer to that is a mix of yes and no. Unlike many other instruments which require you to learn rhythmic breathing, the barrier to entry for drumming is lower. This is because to start drumming, you really need to only pick up two sticks or even your hands and start drumming away. Chances are even amateurs will settle into a beat soon.
It is easier to get into the groove of simple beats with drumming. However, if you want to take it to the next level and actually desire hopes of playing in a band or competition as the main drummer, then that is where it will get difficult. This is because compared to other musical instruments, you have much more to master with drumming.
Serious drumming is not just about knowing how to use your two hands or two sticks to make a beat, you have to control an entire platform of affiliated instruments.
The complete list you will have to master is:
- Bass drum
- Floor tom
- Snare drum
- Hanging/Rack toms
- Crash cymbal
- Ride cymbal
- Splash cymbal
- China cymbal
If that already sounds daunting, then we must tell you that to some extent, it is— but that’s the case with every step worth taking in life. This is just the name of the game with any musical instrument.
There are, however, some steps that you can take to give yourself an advantage and substantially reduce drumming difficulty for yourself.
1. Hire an Instructor
Unless you are some savant who has been gifted with an innate ability for rhythm and flow, chances are you will need to learn these things—and more—about drumming.
This initial learning period where you learn the alphabets of drumming is perhaps the most tedious in the entire process. You will have to painstakingly look up notes, patterns and beats online and watch videos all this while having to practice them out. If you instead hired the help of an instructor, this process can be simplified considerably.
Learning from an instructor confers numerous benefits and lowers drumming difficulty. An instructor will do many things for your drumming sessions.
- Inculcating proper technique
- Mistake corrections
- Source of learning material and information
- Show you, instead of tell you
- Supervise you
Above all, regularity and discipline are required to master any instrument. With an instructor you are much more likely to develop that mindset sooner.
2. Correct Equipment Purchase
The quality of your equipment can significantly impact your drumming difficulty and pace of learning. Conversely, there also mistakes you can make in your purchase. The obvious mistakes you can make in your equipment purchase is going for a very cheap set in order to save money or splurging all at once at a high end set.
Both of these approaches are wrong.
A cheap drum set will not allow you to properly attune and listen to the beats, rhythms, and nuances of sound required to correct your technique. It will also probably not stand up to sustained and long time usage. On the other hand, a very expensive set is unnecessary for a beginner stage and only a waste of money.
Rather, it is wiser to go for mid-range options and ensure you get the following:
- Practice pad
- Drum set
- Drum sticks
The second and third are obvious. A practice pad is really for those downtime pop up practice sessions which can be done anywhere and don’t create much noise. Similarly, a metronome can be programmed with different beats and tempos allowing you to practice them. These two are the perfect and necessary supports for your drumming aspirations.
3. Slow and Steady
Learning any instrument is a methodical process which needs its own pace and time. You can’t attempt to jump several steps ahead and bite off more than you can chew. You will only sabotage your own self if you do so in drumming.
It is better to grasp the basics strongly and perfect them so that you can do them in your sleep. That will give you a strong foundation to jump off for complicated maneuvers later.
4. The Right Mindset
The journey to becoming a professional or master drummer can be a long and arduous one. People are content to settle for less but if you want to play on stage, then going in with the right mindset will help to keep you steady during trying times.
The right approach can do wonders for focus and motivation which you will need while practicing those long hours.
So, to come back to our original question, are drums the easiest instrument? In a sense they are, but basically, no. Like all sports or activities which demand use of our skills, drumming too requires practice, steadfastness, investment, and the right type of teachers.
Nothing worth gaining in life comes easy and that certainly holds true for the ability to dazzle a crowd with your drumming beats while head banging.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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