The Challenges Of Learning How To Play Drums
before you start building your Neil Peart-sized kit, there are a few things to learn
Sure, there are lots of more practical, portable instruments to choose from. But for whatever reason (and maybe it was that Who documentary where Keith Moon throws his gear out of the hotel window), your heart is set on becoming a great drummer like your heroes Art Blakey, John Bonham and even Dave Grohl. But before you start building your Neil Peart-sized kit, there are a few things to learn.
If you want to be an expert drummer, it takes time, dedication and concentration. Developing your hand-eye coordination and the ability to pound out two different beats at the same time is no easy feat. Before you start twirling your drumsticks high above your head, you'll also have to learn the difference between quarter notes and eighth notes, downbeats and upbeats and a variety of tempos. You've all seen the Oscar-nominated film Whiplash, right? Unless you want J.K. Simmons' hurling a chair at your face, take your drumming education seriously.
You don't need a full kit to practice drumming. During the initial stages, which are all about developing your sense of rhythm, you can practice using your lap or desk. At your local music shop, you can purchase quieter electronic drums with a built-in headphone jack. (This is extremely handy if you have upstairs neighbours or easily annoyed parents.) Very few people can afford the luxury of their own studio. Even if you are regularly attending lessons, dedicated musicians practice constantly. The drummers you see on the subway who are constantly beating out rhythms with sticks in hand have the right idea. Even holding sticks takes a little effort. Before you can toss them in the air, you'll have to learn the difference between a matched and traditional grip and figure out what brand works for you.
Why not head to a great music store in your area to learn the basics from a qualified salesperson? Many chains have in-store lessons that specialize in whatever style of music you love. Jazz drumming for instance is all about that swing, while for a rock band it's the literal backbone of any song. While the rhythm section sets the tone, pace and tempo for the band, great drummers also have their own sense of power and identity. There's a reason why Sleater-Kinney rocks and it may be their secret weapon - drummer Janet Weiss. While you don't have to take an eight-minute solo to be remembered, you should develop your own style and encourage the band to follow your lead.
Whether you're searching for books to learn from, music sheets, sticks, drumpads or your very first kit, check out the great Canadian music store Long &McQuade. This company is known as the largest music chain in Canada, with 65 stores coast to coast. They offer lessons so students can learn the basics of music theory, stick control and typical drumming patterns. Anyone can head to www.long-mcquade.com to learn more.
It's time to take pride in your progress this year and learn how to drum. From The Ramones to Led Zeppelin, rock n' roll is guided by the beat. And when you're finally pro enough to invest in a full kit, purchase it from a great music shop with a performance warranty. You know, in case you throw it out of the window.
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