So, you’ve just started playing the drums.
What do you think? Is it as good people say it is? Good, I’m not surprised…
But, like everything, it comes with challenges. The persistence to carry on, the shifting of your life to accommodate enough practice time to see a real change, getting stuck in a rut with what to learn to advance, and above all, seeing others online playing ten times better than you. But, never fret. It will take time. Everything does. And, I assure you, the person who seems like the best in the world, is ALWAYS learning. Learning new grooves, new ways to play, and so everyone will always be a beginner as we are always learning.
With this article, I will plan on saying something different to you. I’m sure you’ve heard everything online, there is a strong sense of “LISTEN TO ME AND MY TECHNIQUES” on the web and that is not really what I am aiming to do here. My goal here is to provide tips and tricks of the trade that will just put you and your mind at ease when it comes to picking up a new instrument – and in this case, its the drums.
The copious amounts of stuff that is thrown in new kids faces on the kits now is stupendously ridiculous, bargaining power to take their naive money straight from their hands. You’ve come to relax and get comfortable into what made you fall in love again with the drums, then stay. Please, open a cold one and read on.
1. GUILTY PLEASURES
I mean, for the first tip, it’s pretty simple. But, I’m going to be rather crude here and say, ignore all what online has to offer. Just sit down on your kit, and bash away. Seriously. Whatever gets you through it – a particular song, a particular groove; no matter how embarrassing it is. Get lost in the kit and JUST PLAY. That’s the beauty of the kit, you can play loud and get lost for half hour without anyone telling you otherwise. All depending if you have considerate neighbours, of course.
2. GROOVE, BABY
Now, you’ve got that out of the way. Here’s where you get your thinking cap on and THINK GROOVE. Through my tendency as a drummer for ten years, I have found that groove and HOW you groove is quite possibly the most important goal to achieve as a drummer. Of course, time-keeping is up there too, but without a strong sense of groove, I’m afraid your time-keeping abilities will never be up to scratch. GROOVE is what makes us want to bounce on our drum thrones, GROOVE is what makes the audience bob their heads discreetly when no one is looking – and it’s bloody brilliant.
You want to know how to achieve the best groove?
I have found that the best way to achieve the best groove is playing to slow funk or RnB songs. Blending your ability to perfectly play the drum kit to a slow beat as well as optimising your approach to getting your groove on to a funk track is AN UPMOST PRIORITY. Well, I think anyway. You may have the fastest chops in the universe, but when it comes down to it, no one wants to see that. They want to see a confident, composed drummer who knows how to play a kit. So, start off with practicing to this. As ever, the slower the better. Because, this really gets to know your kit in the best way possible.
3. PATIENCE, YOU MUST HAVE, MY YOUNG PADAWAN
YES. YES. YES. I cannot stress this enough. Patience is such an important tip to push at an early stage of your drumming journey. It won’t come overnight that’s for sure. You may see these professionals using the kit with such ease and grace, but you cannot forget, they have been doing it all their lives. Every day. You need to the patience to push through, because every mistake you make is progress. Because, then all you have to do is to just perfect your mistakes. STRAIGHT FORWARD, RIGHT? Good.
You also don’t want to rush into doing loud, fast fills because it will sound awful. You want to take it slow. I know that is quite possibly the worst advice to give to someone who has found this amazing thing that makes awesome sounds and noise, but yeah, it’s true, I’m afraid. Take things one at a time. Boring things. Like, rudiments, for instance. Take things slow when you’re not even hitting the kit, get to know how your drums tick – RESEARCH ABOUT THEM, FIND ALL YOU CAN ABOUT DRUMS STARTED. Because once you find about its history, the more you’ll want to be part of its future.
You’ll agree with me when you search up the very first drum kit that was ever made.
4. MINGLE, MINGLE, MINGLE
Another tip that I would love to give you lot, is the power to mingle with other players. The power to mingle and to NOT get jealous or envious of their achievements. Instead of putting on a cold front, or a defensive stance, congratulate them on their progress. Let it be a lesson to you, to motivate yourself. Not to damage yourself. Because, at the end of the day, you are all in it together to see this thing through to the end. Whether you make it big time professionally, or as a semi-professional tutoring here or there in your local town, it’s all success to us drummers. Because, it’s doing something you LOVE. And that’s great.
5. STAND STRONG
Welcome, you’re one of us now. You’re part of the best community of the world. Stand strong with that. Work with that – we’re all here for each other. And that’s all it ever will be. You see a lot of competition online – some negative, some not – but you’re all here for one reason and one reason only. THE DRUMS. Let’s never forget that.
Or, we’ll become like guitarists, and that’s not something I want to be a part of …
Enjoy playing drummers.
That’s all from me for now. See you on the next one.