Before choosing a career in drumming and before we look at the specific drumming career beginners tips, it’s important to know what a drummer actually is and what his main job is. So, if you’re interested in starting along the journey to become a drummer. You need to have profound knowledge and awareness of the basic fundamentals. The fundamentals of drumming and all that it entails.
So, let’s start at the beginning…
What Is a Drummer and What Do They Do?
Before going into specific careers within the drumming world. Let’s take a quick look at the main responsibilities of the drummer.
As part of a band or orchestra, drummers provide the beat for the music. Keeping time and adding fills and flourishes when appropriate. Although many have been accused of adding them in inappropriate places. Not a good thing especially where auditions are concerned.
Drummers must have a good understanding of melody, harmony, and especially rhythm. They must react quickly to changes in tempo or dynamics. When playing in larger bands it is common to have drum charts to follow. That show all the dynamic and tempo changes within the music. It’s no wonder that drummers are considered to be the backbone of any great band or orchestra. But that isn’t to say he is the one and only. Music is a team sport so it is common for honors to be shared among the whole band, so to speak.
Now we understand a little more about what a drummer does and his role in the band. Let’s move on to look at drumming career beginners tips and drumming career possibilities and potentials.
The Different Types of Drumming Careers
When most people think of drumming, they picture a rock concert or a band playing in a large club or similar venue. But, there are many different types of drumming careers to choose from. Each with its own unique challenges and rewards.
Session Drummers, for example, must be able to learn and play new songs quickly. Often with little time to prepare. They must also be able to adapt their playing style to fit the needs of the artist they are working with.
Concert Touring Drummers, though, must be able to endure long hours of travel. And still, maintain a high level of energy during performances.
And Studio Drummers must be comfortable recording takes in isolation. And working closely with producers to achieve the desired sound. I’m not referring to session drummers here. Because a studio drummer may be a concert drummer. Or a theater drummer who happens to be recording drums in a studio.
So, we begin to see that although these can be individual drumming career paths. They also integrate with one another.
These two types of drumming careers are what most, but not all, drummers aspire to. Usually, the main benefit of the session drummer. Over many years they will have played and recorded many albums with a variety of artists. They may also spread their wings and do some theater tours too. And also play sessions with well-known artists.
From my own perspective, these are the most prestigious drumming gigs available.
But, many other drummers may prefer the fame that may come with being a concert drummer.
While each type of career has its own advantages and disadvantages. All professional drummers share a passion for music. Along with a commitment to excellence.
It’s not really an ideal way to describe one drummer over another. Because in most cases a drummer will is required to play in a variety of situations. Both in the studio, theater, clubs, and concert halls to name a few. It’s part of the charm to be able to play in so many musical situations and often a requirement. Either way, a drummer would normally practice and develop in all areas. The experience is then only a simple matter of waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Having developed in most areas this isn’t such a big deal.
Other drummers (including the ones before mentioned) work as Freelance Musicians. Performing with different bands and orchestras. Others still become music teachers (including the ones before mentioned). Working in schools, stores, or private studios.
Some drummers prefer a more permanent position in a local band (or not). Playing local, national, or even global tours. Whilst others prefer the variety that freelancing lends itself to. Others still prefer a sales position in the local music store. In such cases, the drummer would most likely play in one or more bands locally.
All drummers share a passion for the rhythmic sounds the instrument avails itself to. Whatever path you decide to choose, with hard work, practice, and dedication. Any drummer can find success in this ever-evolving field. In a never-ending array of drumming positions and possibilities.
In this, the drummer carves his way into the industry based on his level of skill. And unique playing style and abilities.
How to Become a Drummer – Getting Started
For anyone looking to become a drummer, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
- First, it is important to practice regularly to develop muscle memory. And to build and maintain your coordination between the limbs. Again this involves more advanced muscle memory programming. Built atop the foundational programming. The drums are less musical than other instruments. So the precision, sound quality, accuracy, and dynamics have to be almost perfect. This is of course achieved through regular perfect practice.
- Second, it is important to listen closely to the music you are playing. And to the other instruments in the band, to stay in sync. Drumming is a team sport so the music must come first when it comes to where to focus.
- Third, it is important to have a good sense of timing and rhythm. In this area, the drummer must be a master of time.
- And Fourth, it is important to be able to play with both hands equally well. It is a drummer’s constant and never-ending battle to build strength in his weaker hand and foot. This is vital to create balance within the drummer’s mind and body.
These are only a few of the things that any aspiring drummer should keep in mind. It takes practice and dedication, to become a great drummer over time.
So, if you’re interested in learning how to play the drums. Here are a few more considerations and tips to get you started on your musical journey.
- First, it’s important to choose the right drum set for your skill level and budget. If you’re a beginner, look for an entry-level set that includes all the essentials. A kick drum, snare, hi-hat, a couple of toms, a ride, and crash cymbals. But don’t get too hung up on this. In the learning phase, it’s more important to focus on the drumming rather than the drums. Having said that, the better kit you have the more you will enjoy playing/practicing on it.
- Once you have your equipment in place, TAKE YOUR TIME. Practice at a slow tempo to get comfortable with the feel of the drums. As you build up your skill level, start learning basic rhythms and beats. But focus more on the rhythms and beats and not so much on the speed. Speed and endurance will come later. If you can’t play it slow you will never play it fast. Everything is reflected here. Meaning, that the better you play something at slow tempos. The better and faster, and more accurate you will play at faster tempos. This is not a race. It’s an exercise in PRECISION.
- Once you have a solid foundation, you can start experimenting. Experiment with different styles and techniques over time. You’ll be making music in no time!
The Benefits of Being a Drummer
Drumming is a great way to relieve stress, get some exercise, and express your creative side. It can also be a great social activity. Connecting you with other people who share your passion for music and drums. And best of all, it’s a lot of fun!
Drumming has many benefits for your physical health. It helps to improve coordination and stamina, and it’s a great way to burn calories. But the benefits don’t stop there. Drumming has also been shown to reduce stress levels. As well as produce lower blood pressure, and boost immunity. And for those who suffer from anxiety or depression. Drumming can provide a much-needed outlet for release.
So whether you’re looking to improve your physical health or mental well-being. Picking up a pair of drumsticks is a great place to start.
Having said that, having a great exercise routine apart from drumming. Will help the drumming to become much easier. Drumming is the end and not the means from my own perspective. Don’t get me wrong, drumming is still a great workout, as it requires both upper and lower body strength. (enhanced and made easier by bodybuilding of course). And because drums are portable, they can be played anywhere. Drumming can help improve coordination and timing.
Whether you are looking for a new hobby or a way to improve or maintain your health. Drumming may be the perfect activity for you.
Famous Drummers To Get You Inspired
Some of the most famous drummers have been those who have pioneered new techniques. They pushed the boundaries of what is possible on the drums. One such drummer was Buddy Rich, he began playing drums at the age of 2 years old (yes! I said 2 years old) and was known for his speed, power, and endurance. Another was Elvin Jones, who helped to define the role of the drums in jazz. Both of these drummers had a profound impact on the history of music. And their stories are still told today.
While Rich and Jones were both remarkable drummers. They were also very different in their approach to the drums. Rich was a virtuoso who was always seeking to push himself further. While Jones was a more restrained player who focused on groove and feel.
Regardless of their differences. Both Rich and Jones left an indelible mark on the world of drumming.
There are few instruments more essential to a band than the drums. Not only does the drummer provide the rhythm and beat for the music, but they also help to set the tone and mood of the song. As a result, a great drummer can be the difference between a good band and a great one.
Over the years, there have been many famous drummers who have made their mark on music. As well as drumming history. Dave Grohl, for example, is best known as being the drummer for Nirvana. One of the most influential grunge bands of all time. Mitch Mitchell was the drummer for Jimi Hendrix Experience. And he helped to define the sound of psychedelic rock.
And not forgetting John Bonham – Led Zeppelin’s longtime drummer. and is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
Each of these drummers has their own unique story. And their contributions to music are legendary.
Drumming Tips for Beginners
As we have already suggested, drumming is a great way to let off steam and express yourself. If you’re new to drumming, it’s important to start off on the right foot. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your drumming experience:
- Find the Right Basic Gear. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started, but you will need a few basics. A good practice pad is essential for developing proper rudiment techniques. And a set of quality drums or practice kits will help you develop your foundational skills. Make sure to invest in a good pair of sticks – you’ll be spending a lot of time griping them, as well as a good drum stool. You’ll be spending a lot of time sitting.
- Get Comfortable. When you’re first starting out, it’s important to find a comfortable position. Check your posture, sit up straight with your feet flat on the foot pedals, and invest in a good drum throne. Your upper arms should be in a relaxed position at your sides. And your hands should be able to move freely with the sticks held loosely.
- Don’t Overthink It. The key to successful drumming is consistency and coordination, not speed or power. Focus on keeping a steady beat and hitting the drums in predictable patterns. As you become more comfortable with the basics. You can start to experiment with more complex rhythms. Make it easy on yourself for the first year until you get grounded with the basics of drumming.
- Have Fun! Drumming is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy yourself. Experiment with different sounds and grooves along with your favorite tunes. The more fun you have, the more likely you are to stick with it in the long run.
Don’t forget, if you get serious about developing your drumming and decide to pursue a career in drumming. Remember to Set Your Drumming Goals. And become acquainted with some basic Time Management Skills for Drummers.
When you’re first starting out, drumming can seem like a daunting task. There are so many different techniques to learn and pieces of equipment to master. But, with a little practice, anyone can become a skilled drummer and choose a career in drumming.
What Is a Career In Drumming Really Like?
Within the context of these drumming career beginners tips it’s important to understand that a career in drumming can be both rewarding and challenging. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to use your creativity and passion to make music. And that can also entertain and inspire others. On the other hand, it can be difficult to find steady work before you’ve established yourself. You may also have to practice for long hours to perfect your craft. But if you love music and are willing to work hard, a career in drumming can be a great way to make a living.
And who knows? With enough practice, you might end up being the next world-famous drummer.
The best drummers are always working to improve their craft. And they are constantly seeking out new opportunities to perform. At the same time, a career in drumming can be extremely gratifying no matter where your next gig is. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on a stage and playing your heart out to a cheering crowd.
What Skills Do You Need To Become A Successful Drummer?
We have already covered some of the basic, getting started drumming career beginners tips. But let’s look at some more specific skill sets involved in becoming a working drummer.
To be a successful drummer, you need to have a good sense of rhythm and timing. This of course means you should be able to keep a steady, consistent beat. And know how to use dynamics to add interest to your playing.
It’s also important to be able to read music and understand how to count time signatures. Many drummers also find it helpful to have some knowledge of music theory. While not essential, this can give you a better understanding of how drum parts fit into the structure of a song.
Drumming is a complex art form. And it requires a large degree of coordination between the limbs. One of the most important skills a drummer needs is a well-developed ear. This means being able to focus on the other instruments in the band and make decisions on the fly. About how to contribute to the overall sound. Finally, a drummer must have stamina. Enabling him or her to play for long periods of time without tiring.
So now you have an idea of the requirements to become a successful developing drummer. Let’s now start at the top and work our way down to the drumming career possibilities at each level.
How To Become A Session Drummer and What Are the Benefits?
A session drummer is a drummer whose hired to play on a recording or live performance. While some session drummers may specialize in a particular genre of music. Others may be versatile enough to play multiple styles. In a variety of live and recording situations.
It is important to have a strong foundation in music theory and technique. It is also helpful to be well-versed in different styles of music. Having a good ear for music and being able to play by ear are also important skills. The ability to learn songs fast is essential.
The benefits of being a session drummer include being able to work with a variety of artists. Earning a good income, and having a flexible schedule. To become a session drummer, you should take lessons from reputable instructors. Learn to read music and develop good sight-reading skills.
It is also important to have a strong sense of rhythm and timing. And to be able to play with precision and accuracy in a dynamic and somewhat flawless way. It takes hard work, practice, and dedication, but the position is worth the effort.
Session drumming can also be a great way to make connections in the music industry. Indeed, knowing other well-established musicians and having good relationships with them. Is one of the cornerstones of being a successful working session drummer.
Finally, session drumming can also provide a full-time income stream for drummers.
To begin, it’s probably a good idea to play on studio sessions as part of the whole drumming experience. And not try to become a session drummer exclusively to start. The reason being is that in today’s world you would have to have a very high degree of skill. Built up over time to even get your foot in the door. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done. In the end, it’s really about who you know in the industry and what doors they can and will open for you.
Playing Drums In A Local Band
This is one of my top drumming career beginners tips. There’s something special about playing drums in a band. When everything comes together and the music is flowing, it’s an amazing feeling. And experience. It’s a great way to connect with other local musicians. And to create something beautiful together.
Playing in a band also helps to improve your drumming skills overhaul. The music you create can be a great sounding board for further drumming development. As you probably guessed, playing drums in a band is not the end. It is just the beginning of further development.
You may be constantly challenged to keep up with the other members of the band. If they are better musicians. And that push will make you a much better drummer in the long run. Besides, performing in front of an audience is exhilarating. It’s a chance to share your passion for music with others. And maybe inspire them to pursue their own musical dreams. Whether you’re rehearsing in a basement or playing on stage. You can almost guarantee you will enjoy being part of a local band.
But there are a few cons to working in a local band. The first of which is that the pay is usually very low. Once all expenses are deducted from the band fee, the remaining amount is divided among the band members. What you get paid is dependent on a few factors. The main factor is how much the band leader. (usually the lead singer or keyboard player) Is out for themselves only. And is using musicians for his or her own benefit?
They do exist, I myself have worked for a few. I mean a $3k gig results in $60-$75 for each of 5 members? There’s something wrong with the math there. But, the experience I gained whilst playing in several local bands was priceless. (I prefer to see myself as a session player). So, even if the pay is low, I still recommend every drummer should join a local band at least once. At least as a first step into the drumming world. You then create other income sources by using a little entrepreneurial creativity.
Playing Drums In Function Band
Function bands are one of the most popular types of music groups out there. They provide live music for corporate events, weddings, parties, and other occasions. And drums are an essential part of any function band. As the rhythmic foundation of the group. Drums provide a lively pulse that gets people moving and sets the tone for the rest of the band.
But playing drums in a function band is not only about keeping time. It’s also about reading the crowd and knowing when to ramp up the energy. Or lay back and let the other instruments take the lead. It’s about being a team player and working dynamically together. working along with the other musicians to create a cohesive sound.
I loved playing in function-type bands in my earlier career. The money was much better (3-10x better) than working in a local rock or pop-style band.
But the real allure for me was that in many cases you’re required to read drum charts. This opened many doors for me to work with some of the best music directors in the country. And so play on a variety of tours and one-night theater sessions.
The possibilities are endless regarding the style and size of the band you may work with. It is really a case of “what is your favorite music” and “where are you willing to work/travel”. And then pursue a band that fulfills those needs.
Once you have established yourself as a working drummer. You can then move away from actual playing drums to other avenues such as:
Writing About Drumming
Now we come to my favorite of these drumming career beginners tips. Writing. I may not be a budding Shakespear but I do enjoy the journey. If you’re interested in writing about drumming, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to be aware of the different elements of drumming. This includes everything from the different types of strokes you can use. To the way, you position your hands and feet.
Once you have a good understanding of the basics. You can start to experiment with different sounds and rhythms. And then pass those on to your readers.
Another important aspect of writing about drumming. Is to describe the feelings and emotions that come with it. For many people, drumming is a fun and relaxing activity. But for others, it can be an intense and physical experience. Be sure to capture this in your writing so that readers can get a sense of what it’s like to sit behind a set of drums.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start exploring the world of drumming through your writing. I have come to love writing about drumming and related subjects and it is my main source of income at present. I just don’t have the time to play anymore. Although I have written a collection of drumming books that I am hoping to create video lessons for. But that’s for another time.
The opportunities to write about drumming really have no end. You can express yourself through blogging or writing books. And the beauty of that is that you don’t have to sit waiting for the phone to ring. You can start any time and continue without end. Then of course it becomes about selling your work or products. That is related to the subjects you choose to write about.
Becoming A Drum Instructor
The role of a drum instructor is threefold. First, the instructor provides students with the ability to learn how to play the drums. Through a simple system or process. They provide a foundation for the student by teaching basic concepts and techniques. Second, they help the student develop their own style and technique. By providing guidance and feedback. Third, they motivate and encourage the student to practice and improve their skills.
The end result of which is that they help the students prepare for performances. By providing tips and advice on stage presence and musical interpretation.
By becoming a drum instructor, you can have a positive impact on the lives of your students. And help them to reach their musical potential.
I haven’t done much one-on-one teaching of late as my writing takes up most f my time. But when I was teaching one on one, and I am talking 20 years ago, I was making $40 per hour. That would be closer to $150 today. So there is still scope to become a teacher. Whether you decide to do that one-on-one in the real world or you choose to do it online is up to you.
Online Drumming Opportunities
If you ever wanted to share your passion for drums with the world? Becoming an online drumming teacher could be the perfect way to do it. Not only will you be able to reach students from all over the globe. But you’ll also be able to design your own course materials and set your own schedule. Plus, teaching drums online gives you the opportunity to build a business. Almost entirely around something, you love to do.
If you’re thinking about becoming an online drumming teacher, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you’ll need to invest in some quality recording equipment. This will allow you to create high-quality video lessons. Your students can then follow along with your lesson schedule. Additionally, you’ll need to create a robust website. Somewhere your students can access your lessons and track their progress. Finally, don’t forget to market your business—after all, it won’t do any good if no one knows about it!
Consider whether becoming an online drumming teacher is right for you. Before going in full force. If it is, then there’s no time like the present to start sharing your passion with the world.
You don’t only have to stick with teaching. Either one-on-one private or online drumming lessons anymore. You can create a program that runs on autopilot through videos of recorded lessons. You can then develop into the writing arena and write your own drumming books and more.
But why stop there, move into the blog writing arena and start a successful drumming blog. You may even choose to focus entirely on drumming career beginners tips, tricks, and advice. That’s if you have time between all those local band gigs you’ll be doing.
So, where are you and your drumming now? What do you plan to do in the future? and more importantly, what will your future dream drumming career look like? Let us know in the comments.
Here’s to you creating the perfect drumming career for you.
The Drum Coach