Watch our drum teacher, Rintaro Mikami, play the drums!
When learning to play drums, one might ask themselves "how do you play drums?" or "Is there an easy song to learn on the drums?" and "Can I learn to play in a band?" This blog on drum lessons will provide its best guidance as possible on how to get started on learning drums. The first steps of learning a task is often the most challenging. The fascination of the drum set might be what is enthusiastic for a student to be geared towards the drums. Such a motivation can what helps a student to practice should he/she wishes to reach the full potential. This blog will go into steps on approaching the drums and its lessons.
The Drum Kit and its Parts
Each drum and cymbals were used to be played individually in orchestra. However, around late 1800s, people started assembling these drums and cymbals together so that only one player can play all parts. The first drum set player in history is Baby Dodds, who opened the gate of possibilities on this instrument. Let’s start understand each drum and cymbals and understand their role.
The Snare Drum The snare drum is the one of the important voices on the drum set. The snare drum is the center piece of the kit and is usually responsible for accenting back beats so that people can dance. The sound that the snare makes is from a shell that is made from wood like maple or birch or metals such as aluminum or stainless steel.
The Bass Drum The Bass or kick drum produces the lowest pitch on the drum set. This sound is crucial parts of the groove in order to be grounded and stable. Bass drum is played by leading foot with pedals. It requires different technique from the hand and requires coordination.
Toms There are two types of tom toms include the rack toms and the floor toms. Toms originally came from Afro-Cuban, and often used for fills in. Basic set up is 1 or 2 rack toms and 1 floor tom. But you can add more toms if you would like to. Toms has to be tuned differently so that drummer can play them melodically.
Hi-hat Cymbal Hi-hat cymbal is another important part for making groove. Hi-hat produces high pitch and staccato sound that is responsible for adding subdivision of the groove. Also, it is important part for creating “feel” of the groove. It also can be controlled by left foot and adding different colors on your playing.
Crash Cymbals Crash cymbals is used for marking the top of the measure, phrase or section. It produces louder and washy sounds.
Ride Cymbals Ride Cymbals is interesting cymbals on the drum set. It usually used for producing the beats. It’s almost same role as hi-hat but ride cymbal sustains longer. It also can be used for additional crash cymbal.
Finding a good pair of sticks is important to play drums effortless. There are many different sizes of sticks available on the music store and you might be confused with which one is right for you. But, in fact, most of the manufactured sticks are based on three different basic sizes, which are 7A, 5A and 5B.
7A has short and the thin diameter. It’s great for female drummer or kids. Even for an adult male who has smaller hands.
5A is the most basic stick size. It’s balanced the most.
5B is thicker and heavier model. It’s great for playing music like Rock because it produces fat and big sound.
At the end, there is no rule for choosing sticks. It is actually fun part to try different sticks then find one that fits for your hands and style. Have fun with it!
If you don’t have a drum set, or having noise trouble with your neighbors, I highly recommend to get a practice pad. You can reduce the noise a lot and it enable you to practice everywhere.
A metronome is another equipment for the beginners guide to playing drums. A drummer is expected to maintain a steady tempo in which a metronome can help train. Practicing with a metronome becomes an important key step for beginner drummers as it can help develop a sense of strong time and rhythm. Metronomes can include accent features that can change the feel of different time signatures. Most drum beats will occur in 4/4 time signatures but other odd meters can include 3/4, 6/8 or even 12/8. Time signatures may seem intimidating but it is a common place for these rhythms to be explored from the beginning
Holding Drum Sticks
When holding a pair of drum sticks there are two different techniques; the matched grip and the traditional grip. A matched grip are the sticks being held the same way in both hands. Thumbs should rest opposite to the index fingers on the stick. There are three variations to this grip, the German, American and the French grip. The American grip will have the hands turned at the 45 degree angle. This grip can benefit the use of wrist movement with the fingers controlling the grip. The German grip will have the palms facing downwards with the wrist driving the motion. The French grip will have the thumbs face the ceiling with the palms facing each other. The traditional grip is used in jazz and drum lines. One end of the stick is placed between the thumb and the index finger while the other end is on the cuticle of the ring finger. With this grip the forearm is rotated while playing. Beginning drummers can experiment which grip works best. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose how to hold the sticks. But definitely it’s great idea to work on it with the teacher so you don’t need to take a risk for muscle pain or injuries.
That’s it for now! If you are interested in learning more about drums, visit Juliet Music and Art and book lessons with Rintaro Mikami. He will surely help you to start your drumming journey.