Good morning, and thanks for visiting Midnightdrummer.com.
Today, I will try to answer the following question the best I can:
Are drums hard to learn?
This question isn't that easy to answer, because there are many things which can make learning to play the drums more difficult and others will make it easier.
But you can try for yourself. Here's a video.
I will discuss this in more detail during the blog post, but here's one thing I'd like to mention up front:
Anybody can learn to play the drums!
At least until a certain point. That's what I found out as a drum educator.
Here's what this article is about:
Are drums hard to learn?
Learning to play a musical instrument provides you with a plethora of benefits.
Not only do many musicians have a cool party trick available; according to Musicnotes.com, drummers also have increased focus, improved health, and even heightened empathy!
For this reason, many people gravitate towards easy-to-learn instruments, especially drums.
But is it hard to learn drums?
Is it hard to learn drums?
First, this question isn't at all easy to answer, because there are many variables to be considered.
After all, learning to play drums is dependent on things like:
#1 Do you own a drum set?
This might sound funny, but not all beginner drummers own a drum set right from the start.
That means that practicing at home can be limited to particular hand-techniques, while drum grooves on a drum kit need to be practiced while taking the lessons somewhere else.
Even if a drum kit isn't available at the beginning, every drummer should buy the following essential items for being able to practice at least basic hand and finger techniques at home.
Starter set for beginner drummers
Talent is another variable which determines if you perceive drumming as hard, easy or anything in between.
The more talented you are, the easier you will learn at least the basics. When progressing and becoming a better drummer year by year, talent alone will not help to improve your ability as a drummer.
Other variables like practicing routines and perseverance will lift any musician onto another level.
Of course, a drummer needs to practice as much as possible to develop certain skills on the drum set.
The more you invest, the quicker you will reach your goals and become a decent or even professional musician.
If you are motivated to become a better drummer, it's easy to sit down and practice.
If there's no motivation coming from inside yourself, playing drums, like any other instrument, will become tough.
No one is born a master!
That means that everybody who wants to become a better or a professional drummer / drum teacher needs to work on his / hers skills on the drums.
This can take years of practice, but finally you will make a switch from beginner to intermediate, to pro.
How long does it take to learn drums?
Common wisdom, to an extent, does hold true. Drums are exceedingly easy to pick up – at first.
In fact, almost anyone can play a basic drum groove within 30 minutes after being introduced to their drum set. In particular, this is true if the drum groove is only being played on one or two instruments, like snare and bass drum. Whereas drum grooves which are being played on 3 or even 4 instruments at the same time, can become very hard to play.
Video – learn your first drum beats
If you like to try it for yourself, just watch this video:
However, it gets more complicated with more complex drum grooves, faster drum-fills, chops and songs which don't belong to the mainstream genre like pop- and rock music.
Generally, it takes a year, or two, of consistent practice before one reaches an intermediate skill-level.
At this stage, you should be able to play the pop- and rock music you hear on the radio or TV by ear.
How long it takes to achieve a professional skill-level varies a lot.
It can take 7-10 years, although a more accurate way of putting it may be that it takes 10,000 hours of practice on a drum set, practice pad and in learning different music styles.
Are drums harder to play than guitar?
There’s a frequent debate between guitar players, drummers & musicians in general, that takes place on which is the easier instrument to master, and thus, a better beginner instrument.
More difficult to learn: Drums or a Guitar?
To answer this question, we must first look at the stages of learning of both instruments. The initial phase with an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar is undoubtedly more difficult than with acoustic drums.
This is because guitars have strings that people require time to get their fingers used to. In comparison, drums are pretty simple to hit with a drum stick.
However, this role reverses as you learn each instrument more deeply. Although guitars are certainly a challenging instrument, especially at higher levels, playing drums can be even more difficult.
Most Pro-drummers are multitasking monsters, playing different rhythms with each limb of their bodies.
While the right foot hits the bass drum pedal on 1 and 3 and the snare drum on 2 and 4, the other hand might play eighth notes on the ride cymbal while the left foot plays off-beat notes on the “+”.
And yes, that's something talented drummers can learn within 6 months of taking drum lessons.
One role that the drummer must play is ‘keeping time’. This means that it is up to the drummer to make sure the song and the beats are all timed as they should be.
This can make drumming significantly harder than playing the guitar. Moreover, some techniques that drummers use, such as drum rudiments, can be pretty difficult to learn.
Can you teach yourself to play drums?
Having a drum teacher when learning to play drums can make the process significantly easier and faster.
This is because a teacher will know what exercises (drum lessons) you should play next in order to be challenged sufficiently for you to improve.
When learning by yourself, you may have to spend a lot more time researching on what tunes you should learn in what order.
So taking a drum lesson with a great teacher at a music school can help you a lot.
Moreover, having a teacher has other benefits, too, such as helping you develop your physical skills.
Drums are a demanding instrument, especially when it comes to physical technique.
A teacher can be massively helpful during this process as they can recommend the right techniques for you, keeping in mind how far your skills have already developed.
Despite the help that a dedicated teacher provides, it is still possible to learn drums on your own. Just ask the thousands of teenagers who learned to play in their basement!
Even Phil Collins learned most of his drumming-skills by playing and learning on his own.
With access to information on the internet as well as video tutorials and online drum lessons, you can chart your own course just the same.
Only, it may take a little longer, as mentioned above.
Do you have to read music to learn drums?
Musical notation plays a crucial role in most instruments as it helps record and track musical melodies & groove ideas.
Because of this useful function, most music for drums is also written in musical notation.
Thus, even as a beginning drummer, it is crucial that you learn to read musical notation. Although the task may be daunting, fret not.
Reading musical notation – at least for drums – is relatively easy to learn.
Moreover, considering that you want to learn drums, learning to read music will only take up a fraction of the overall time you dedicate to this task.
Is it easy to learn drums by yourself?
If you want to be able to play proper music, drums are no easier than any other instrument to master. This primarily boils down to two reasons:
Firstly, drums require a great deal of physical technique.
When playing drums, you have to move your fingers, wrists, arms, feet, as well as the rest of your body in order to reach for all the drums in the set.
There are many techniques out there for how to do this most efficiently. You will have to find and learn the right one for you.
Secondly, the drummer needs to keep time for the song and the band. This is a more challenging task than it seems, especially when you are trying to play a song at the same time.
In fact, many intermediate and professional drummers continue to struggle with keeping time and need to use tools such as a metronome to aid the process.
Is learning the drums hard?
Drums are not particularly easy to learn, even under the best of conditions with a drum instructor at your side.
Learning drums by yourself adds another layer of difficulty to the whole process, as you will have to make your own syllabus as you go.
Despite this, many have still learned drums by themselves. After all, is something really an accomplishment if it’s very easy?
Hence, even if learning the drums themselves is difficult, the task can be made a lot easier with the right amount of motivation, passion, and organization.
As long as you build from the basics and do not rush into the deep end, anybody will be able to succeed!
So – what do you think?
Are drums hard to learn? Please let me know in the comments!
Enjoy drumming, and talk soon!