How To Play Drums For Beginners – 4 Practice Tips

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So you want to learn how to play drums for beginners? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Playing drums is a lot of fun, and it has health benefits too. Not only is it a great way to relieve some stress. It’s also a great workout! But it goes deeper than that. The constant movement helps the body to remove toxins through the sweat glands. Which helps keep the body healthy.

Besides the health benefits and before you start banging away. There are a few things you should know before you start playing the drums.

Start With The Kit: First, you’ll need to choose the right drum set for your budget and skill level. If you’re starting out, you may want to consider a starter kit that includes everything you need to get started. Once you have your drums, it’s time to start practicing!

Develop Your Techniques Over Time: Technique is very important when learning drums. For starters, be sure to hold your sticks the right way, and maintain good posture while you’re playing. It may take some time to get comfortable with the correct techniques, but it’s worth it in the long run. It’s important to understand that your techniques will improve over time. So don’t let making mistakes get in your way.

Warm Up First: Whenever you practice, be sure to warm up your hands and arms first. Don’t forget to stretch!

Use A Metronome To Practice: And don’t forget to always practice with a metronome. So you learn to keep a regular and steady beat. Start slow and increase the tempo as you get more comfortable playing. You may have to practice without a metronome first until you get your limbs cooperating. The Drum Coach has a great article to help you develop your limbs. It will help you understand the general process of learning a drum beat.

Not forgetting to have fun! Learning how to play drums for beginners should be enjoyable. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break and come back later. With practice and patience, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!

4 Tips To Learn How To Play Drums For Beginners

Over the course of many years of experience learning to play drums. I’ve come across quite a few useful tips that can benefit anyone starting out.

Using these strategies can help you to avoid having problems later on. And make your learning process easier, more efficient, and more fun. In other words, you’ll get better, faster and enjoy yourself while you’re doing it.

The following are basic tips that I’ve found useful for beginning drummers. I have also added some footnotes for each tip.

1) Learn how to play drums for beginners slowly at first. This tip is true for any musical instrument and drums are no exception. In fact, it may be truer for drums since staying in precise time is so important. Of course, it’s tempting to start bashing away as fast as you can. Especially when you’re starting out. Which is bound to result in poor timekeeping and a loss of technique.

Instead, shift your focus to playing a beat or fill slow, with a metronome, in time. The Drum Coach has written a complete article on this subject alone. See the How To Play Drums To A Metronome article and learn to play in time, more of the time. Then, increase the speed. Make sure at each tempo increase, you maintain the same control as at the previous, slower speed. You’ll be surprised how tight this will make your playing once you are playing the beat or fill at full speed. But you must play it slowly first. Even when you think it’s good, make it great instead, and excellent instead of great. Keep improving at slower tempos over time.

Footnote: This first tip is the traditional way to teach drums and to some degree, I agree is a very helpful point. But, I will state here that the most important part of the above process is playing slow. When I was about 25 (approx). I realized that to get where I wanted to be I would have to get better. Not only in a technical way but better at what I was already doing in general. As I developed, I practiced everything at 60 bpm, never any faster.

I did that because learning at such a slow tempo forces you to get the drum strokes on the click of the metronome. The spaces become bigger and thus, there’s more room to think about your technique. How you perform the movement that you are doing and so on. Much like Tai Chi practice starts slow but when used in real-life situations, it is lightning fast.

2) Learn how to play drums by playing along to CDs or albums. One of the best (and most fun) ways to practice drums is to play along with your favorite band or song. Making practice time fun will make you practice longer and thus, become better. Faster.

There’s also a practical side to playing along with a CD that will force you to stay on strict time. And, it will also make it pretty obvious when you’re not quite in the pocket (i.e. dead on the beat). Of course, you could (and should) do this with a metronome as well. But, let’s face, it jamming along with a rockin’ tune is a whole lot more fun.

Footnote: This again is the traditional teaching. I would adjust the traditional though, as it can result in many hours of wasted time. Moreso, if you aren’t disciplined enough to keep control of your progress.


What I mean is that in conjunction with the above traditional approach. It would be a good idea to write drum charts for the songs you play. And to use the practice time as a development process and not only a fun pastime.

Begin by writing a basic map of the tune then add fills and phrases as you become aware of them. I explain this more in the Drumming Foundations Series Part 6 Book (coming soon). Which at the time of writing isn’t published yet. But the Series as a whole teaches the student to understand drumming charts. As an integral part of the whole program.

Either way, don’t waste too much time playing along to records or CDs. As you could benefit more by developing your skills at such times. Everything in moderation applies here too.

3) Learn how to play drums for beginners by focusing on keeping time, not flashy drum fills. As I mentioned at the outset, keeping precise time is the most important aspect of drumming. Of course, it is very impressive to be able to play flashy fills and exciting rolls. But a drummer, first, is there to keep time for his/her band.

And so be sure that your beats, above all, are precise and as perfect as you are able to develop them. Don’t get me wrong, being able to play insane fills is definitely a great attribute for a drummer. But, especially when you’re starting out, you want to focus more on timekeeping. And less on crazy helicopter fills and wild double bass rolls. Unless the music requires that kind of drumming.

Footnote: This tip is one of my favorites and most controversial. I say that because the greatest drummers can play the basic stuff by laying the time down and in the pocket“. They can also play the technical stuff and of course, some of this involves a thousand notes per mile so to speak. It is the music that you are playing that should lead you to play what the tune needs. If it needs something complex then by all means play your heart out.

But if the music requires solid time then play that. They say a fish grows to the size of the tank it swims in. So if you want to play contemporary fusion style music and drumming then you may need to change your pond. As you develop and grow as a drummer.

You may stand a much better chance of succeeding as a technical drummer. If you live in a country conducive to that kind of music. The US will more likely accept complex playing for instance. But in the UK, more straight-ahead rock playing is usually preferred (in general). And more acceptable to British audiences. Although that is changing.

But that is only my experience. You may find something completely different. So read your environment as you develop your drumming and as you decide which direction you want to go in.

4) Learn to play your drum rudiments. You will find the 40 Drum Rudiments in a ton of places. Starting with the Internet, various drum videos, and a multitude of books. Although they may seem boring to practice (compared to jamming to your favorite songs). The rudiments are very important to improving your drumming.

Not only do they improve technique and skill on the kit. You’ll also notice that they make up parts of any song you choose to play. You might say they are the “building blocks” of drumming. A solid grasp of the rudiments will make learning songs, and creating beats and fills much easier. As you develop your drumming abilities over time.

The Drum Coach has written a Drumming Rudiments For Beginners article so be sure to check it out. And begin advancing your drumming technique.

Footnote: This again, is a controversial tip. Everyone is very different. And although the above recommendations are quite valid for all drummers. Most will find that they find some more difficult to master than others. I myself was never great at single-stroke rolls. The basic reason was that my strong point was always double-stroke rolls. As I spent many hours per day practicing them in my early days.

I didn’t do the same with single-stroke rolls. As I didn’t see the point at that time in my development. But that was a technical decision made at that time and not a practical, sound-based decision.

In short, the rudiments produce different sounds and feels so both will need work. I do find though, that learning the top 8 rudiments to near perfection is an absolute must. Those being:

  • Single Stroke Roll
  • Double Stroke Roll
  • Paradiddles
  • Double Paradiddles
  • Flams
  • Drags
  • Buzz Roll
  • Ratamacue

…along with good old 1/16th note sticking variations and triplet sticking variations.

Then, most of these rudiments, coupled with added flams. Should, be high on any drummer’s rudimentary practice sessions. Especially the triplet flams and 1/16th note flams using a variety of stickings.


The drums are a fun instrument to learn to play and I’d encourage anyone with an interest to give them a try. If you do, try following the tips I’ve laid out above. And I’d be willing to bet your learning and playing experience will improve.

Do you have any tips for beginners? if you do, then add your comment below to share your drumming wisdom. And don’t forget…

Have fun!

The Drum Coach

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