How To Become A Professional Drummer: What You Need To Know

Posted by Mike Schumacher


You have just graduated from music school. Congratulations! You’ve striven, practiced your butt off and now it’s time to get out there and “make it” as an expert drummer.

Or maybe you’ve worked hard in the school of “real life”, and have actually been working gig after gig towards getting your big break. But how do you take your drumming and elevate it to the point where you’re a professional?

This guide on how to become a professional drummer will help you learn the basics of taking your drumming to the next level!

Get As Good As You Can Get

how to become a professional drummer

You need to learn new techniques or polish the ones you already have and become an expert drummer.

Thanks to the internet, there are many websites and resources that can help you with this too.

Make your fundamentals strong and solid. Discover your fundamental drum patterns (paradiddles) and do not let them erode.

There are thousands of other drummers out there who are trying to make it, so get as good as you can to stick out from the pack.

Practice What You Do Best

how to become a professional drummer

Try to set at least 60 minutes aside for one practicing session a day, ideally longer. It’s fantastic to find out all the drumming styles out there, however, it’s easier to market yourself if you are truly a master of one style.

Maybe you’re a metal drummer, or a marching band drummer, or a ska drummer. It doesn’t matter (although I’m not sure ska drummers are getting too much work these days!), just focus on one aspect and master it.

For example, It’s better to be a world-class reggae drummer, than a drummer who can play all different styles just decently.

Network As Much As Possible

Networking is crucial in any job, and music is no exception. Network as much as possible.

Participate in musical events, conferences, and regional gigs. Try to make contacts and distribute tape-recording demonstrations if you have any.

Speak to professionals and music companies and make as many connections as possible.

You can also get associated with drumming groups in your city or town or simply get together with good friends who take pleasure in music and connect with them – you never know who will make it, so make friends with other aspiring musicians!

Don’t Be Afraid To Do Weddings And Corporate Jobs

wedding band drummer

Playing wedding and corporate gigs is a great way to make a good amount of money, especially when starting out.

You can even do it part-time and still be able to take pleasure in gigs and during the night. Covers Bands, Wedding Events, Business Events – use your imagination.

It is remarkably easy to play at celebrations, corporate gigs, wedding events, and other occasions for real money.

Individuals search for quality and skills more than experience when it comes to finding a band for these events, so brush up on your fundamentals, and learn some popular songs!

Bring Extra Skills To The Table

how to become a professional drummer

Bringing extra skills to a gig is a proven way to work out a higher rate and help stand out from a million other drummers. Got a good voice? Terrific! You can sing backing vocals from behind the package.

Play other forms of percussion? You can land that acoustic tour playing a cajone.

What else can you give the table? Think about your special skills and market them effectively.

Keep Up With The Industry

electronic drums

Always stay up to date and in-touch with the current happenings of the musical world.

If you are playing contemporary genres, utilizing electronic elements in your sets can truly give you an edge.

Nobody knows exactly where the industry is headed in the next twenty years, but if you keep your finger on the pulse, it will be easier to adapt to a changing musical landscape.

Don’t Stress About Endorsements

The excitement of having all your preferred gear handed to you for practically absolutely nothing is absolutely killer, but let me break some news to you: endorsements aren’t all that typical.

They are provided to a performer based mainly on popularity and each company has its own setup requirements to necessitate an endorsement.

Rather, work on developing your talent with the gear you have and the benefits of your labor will pay off in due time.

Learn As Many Styles As Possible

music drum styles

Research study popular tracks in a variety of styles, finding out the characteristic rhythms and feels, and you’ll be equipped to provide whatever’s asked of you.

You might also be needed to carry out alternative plans or remixes at the drop of a hat, so be all set to re-interpret the music as quickly as possible.

That straight forward rock tune may get turned into a metal song, so make sure you can adapt and keep up with your fellow musicians!

It’s important to note that this is after you’ve mastered your original style!

Be Professional

Do not let your individual life or social problems obstruct your work and career. Draw a line between your work (which is drumming!) and play, and learn to keep the different aspects of your life separate.

There definitely are inescapable scenarios at times, however, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence in expert life.

If you become known as a guy who is constantly partying before a show, you will quickly find it difficult to land gigs, and you will be out of a job.

Don’t Forget To Protect Your Hearing

protect your hearing professional drummer

Noise-induced hearing loss and chronic ringing in the ears might put you at a significant disadvantage and damage your satisfaction of carrying out and listening to music.

Wear them when practicing, carrying out, and even attending other performances. It’s an easy and important investment in yourself.

You might even go one step even more and have a look at in-ear screens for drummers, which can be absolutely fantastic.


If you wish to end up being a professional drummer, forget the concept of a “session drummer”.

Those don’t exist any longer, except in rare cases. If you wish to pay all of your expenses from drumming, you need to end up being as versatile as possible, once you’ve mastered your “core style.”

Besides practicing as various styles as possible, and becoming fluent in them, play out as much as possible.

Thank you for reading this guide on how to become a professional drummer!

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