Can You Learn Drums On A Practice Pad

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In answer to the question, “can you learn drums on a practice pad”, the answer is a resounding, “yes you can!” Of course, drums are percussion instruments used either in a solo or band setting. Though they can seem daunting at first, due to the complexity involved in developing coordination with the limbs, drums are relatively easy to learn the basics of. Ironically, the basics are the most important aspect of drumming. And they need learning, practicing, and developing over a long period. A decade and more in most cases.

Because of the long hours and years of practice needed to become a great drummer. One or more practice pads of varying kinds are an essential drummer’s tool. They’re a great tool for learning how to play drums. Because they allow you to perfect your technique without making too much noise. Yet, the allure of a great drum kit can be strong. So, discipline is another asset to have in your armory of drumming tools, skills, and abilities.

Additionally, practice pads are portable, so you can take them with you wherever you go. Most importantly, practice pads allow you to develop muscle memory. Which is essential for playing drums. So if you’re looking to learn how to play drums, investing in a practice pad is a great first step. Even before you have a full drum kit.

How To Use A Drum Practice Pad

There are many different types of practice pads on the market. But they all serve the same purpose. To provide a quiet, consistent surface on which to practice your drumming skills. Especially drum rudiments. To use a practice pad, it’s important to understand its construction and how it produces sound. Or lack thereof.

The perfect practice pad in most cases would comprise three main layers:

  • A harder plastic or wood surface,
    A foam base,
    A layer of felt, rubber, or other material.

The hard plastic or wooden surface provides a consistent playing surface. foam base helps to reduce noise and vibration. While foam base helps to reduce noise and vibration. The felt, rubber or other material top helps to produce a realistic drum sound. As well as reduce the harshness of hitting a hard surface of wood or plastic.

But this isn’t usually the case. Most practice pads are simply a piece of wood or other hard material with a rubber or felt striking area. These surface layers are usually made of quite hard materials. Although I have never found one that was perfect for me. There are plenty that are quite adequate, and most do a good job of allowing you to practice your rudiments. In fact, you shouldn’t get too stuck thinking about it. Whichever practice pad you choose will most likely be good enough. They will each get you started until you can afford to buy several and test them all out.

In most cases, to get the most out of your practice pad, it’s important to strike it in the center with the tip of your stick. Just as you would if you were hitting an actual drum. This will help you develop precision and control as you move around the pad surface as you would a real drum. Lighter at the edges and medium strikes in the center. You then leave plenty of room to accent various notes and add some dynamics to your practice time.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to use your practice pad to improve your drumming skills. And thus make progress toward your drumming goals.

Beginner Drum Lessons On A Practice Pad

In reality, there are no set exercises to practice using a practice pad. In fact, anything you play on a snare drum can and should be practiced using a practice pad. A good place to always start is with “the BIG three”.

  • Single stroke roll (right – left – right – left, right – left – right – left, etc).
  • The double stroke roll ( right – right – left – left, right – right – left – left, etc).
  • Paradiddles (right – left – right – right, left – right – left – left, etc).

You can then practice all the other rudiments one by one, including:

  • Flams,
  • Drags,
  • Double paradiddle
  • Triple paradiddle,
  • Ratamacue
  • 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 stoke rolls

And you can even create your own mixed variations of each of the above. This may need some more advanced reading music and playing abilities. But if you buy yourself a few drumming books that practice snare drum exercises. Then you are heading in the right direction. You can always use the books I mentioned earlier in this post on dynamic drumming to get started.

Best Drumming Practice Pad

You no doubt already know that perfect practice makes perfect. And, that a regular drum set is obviously too loud for most apartments or living rooms. And so it can be difficult to keep moving out of the way unless you have a dedicated practice area. That’s where a drum practice pad comes in. A good-quality pad will have a smooth surface that simulates the feel of a real drum head.

As suggested, this gives you the chance to work on your rudiments and hand technique. Without making too much noise and disturbing anyone. Additionally, many pads come with built-in metronomes. Which can help you keep time while you play. And because they’re small and lightweight, practice pads are easy to take with you wherever you go. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your drumming skills, invest in a good quality practice pad.

I will include a few samples in the form of a shopping list, to let you take a look at a few of the better options. But if these are out of your price range, don’t be afraid to get yourself a cheaper option. Most practice pads do their job. And that’s to allow you to practice where and whenever you want. Without disturbing the rest of the family or neighbors.

The Evans Real Feel (2-sided) Practice Pad

This is probably the most used practice pad. I have one and use it all the time. The feel is great and it feels just about as real as a real drum. Almost!

If you’re not sure, I would make this a first step to getting started practicing your rudiments.





The ENO Music 10″


For convenience, the ENDO Music 10″ pad is another possible choice.

This rubber practice pad has a built-in metronome and sounds.
I must say, I have never tried one of these but they could be a nice addition to your practice tool kit. After or as well as the Evans real feel pad.

Again, if you’re not sure, I would stick with the Real Feal pad only getting this one to try its capabilities. But that is because I haven’t experienced one of these kinds of practice pads myself. They could be great. but I prefer to use an external metronome.



The Donner Drum Practice Pad Set

This convenient pack includes the practice pad and snare drum stand for quick and easy use. As well as drumsticks and a bag.

If you’re just starting this could be a good option. Then upgrade the pad itself with the Evans Real Feel pad when you’re flush enough.

I suggest this because it’s nice to try a variety of pads until you get one that has the right feel for you. And a volume and vibration level that suits your environment. Although, most pads are a massive reduction in decibels than an actual snare drum.

Again, I haven’t experienced one of these pads but they do look as though they are a good place to start. If you’re new to drumming or a seasoned pro. Especially with the included stand.



Drummers Practice Pad Kit

A good step up from practicing on a regular practice pad is to get yourself a low-end electronic kit. You can then practice as you would on a full drum kit. They’re very quiet compared to an acoustic drum kit so you should be able to put the practice hours in. It’s a great way to improve your drumming skills and coordination between the hands and feet. The pads allow you to play quietly. So you can practice without disturbing your roommates or neighbors.

But a regular practice pad is still advised as you can practice wherever you like.

The kits available today also come with a variety of different-sized pads. So you can choose your setup to better suit your needs. The pads are typically made from high-quality materials, so they will last for years to come. And won’t break down under heavy use. Whether you’re a beginner drummer or a seasoned pro. A practice pad kit can become an essential piece of your drumming development tools.

The first practice kit I ever used way back in the 80s was a homemade wooden kit. I had the pads cut at the local wood yard, purchased some rubber, and glued them in place. And let me tell you, I spent many hours practicing using that kit. So no matter what your budget is, it’s quite easy to create your own practice kit or buy one ready-made.

Electronic Kit To Use As A Full Practice Pad Set

After practicing using a single pad, you could build up to getting yourself a full kit. First in the form of a low-end electronic kit. Then perhaps a higher-end one later. Something like this one to start. You can use the electronics if you wish, but I would use it as a practice kit only with no electronics. Unless of course, you like the idea of electronic drums.

The beauty of these low-end electronic kits is that they serve as great practice kits. For the drummer to be able to practice on something like a full drum kit. You can then practice the beats and rhythms of drumming. Get the science and muscle memory programmed before using a real kit.

I haven’t experienced this particular kit but it looks like it can do the job. The job of allowing a drummer to practice moving around the drums. Whilst making the least amount of noise.



Different Types Of Practice Pads For Drummers

There are a variety of practice pads available on the market. Each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The most important factor to consider when choosing is the surface material. Many pads are made with a rubber or gel surface, which is designed to mimic the feel of a real drumhead. These pads are ideal for developing proper technique and muscle memory. But realize, they are still far from the real thing. Although some are close to it.

Yet, electronic kits can still be quite loud. The vibration alone makes them less than ideal for use in apartments or other small spaces. Foam-based pads, though, are much quieter but don’t provide the same rebound as rubber or gel pads. They make you work physically to play the pad rather than relying completely on the bounce.

This can make it difficult to develop proper stick control. But, it does help build strength in the wrists and arms. The best practice pad for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Placing a noisier pad on a pillow can cut some of the vibrations out and make them more usable. Due to fewer vibrations being sent downstairs to the other members of the family.

End of Practice Session

So, what are your ideas, methods, and ways of using the practice pad? What practice pad do you prefer to use? Do you have any twists on using practice pads that other drummers could adopt? Share your ideas and insights in the comments to help another drummer out.

the Drum Coach

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